April 22, 2010 09:05
Hwang Jang-yop, a former secretary of the North Korean Workers' Party, on a recent visit to Washington met with the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, who supervises a total of 16 intelligence agencies, it emerged on Wednesday.
Hwang defected to South Korea in 1997.
According to those close to Hwang and activists for North Korean rights, Hwang met Dennis Blair for about an hour in Washington early this month. Blair reportedly focused questions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as a person, including what Kim was like when he was young, considering that Hwang used to know Kim well.
Blair also reportedly listened to Hwang's views about Kim's governing style, the power succession in the North, and the possibility of regime change in the North.
Hwang was said to have told Blair to work closely with China, since it would be hard to achieve goals through negotiations with Kim alone, associates said. He advised Blair to focus on breaking up the North Korea-China alliance, because no North Korea policy would be successful as long as the alliance holds.
The DNI has an office of North Korean affairs. There is speculation that Blair approved Hwang's trip to the U.S. to hear directly from him.
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