Senior N.Korean Defector Casts Doubt on 'Cuddly' Kim Jong-un

  • By Kim Myong-song

    May 15, 2018 12:27

    The former No. 2 man in the North Korean Embassy in London casts doubt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's new cuddly and approachable image in a new memoir published Monday.

    Thae Yong-ho said Kim has a "short and violent" temper. In the book, he recalls how he too expected a sea change when Kim first came to the power in 2012, as Kim hosted a Western-style party, took joyrides, and publicly appeared on the arm of his wife.

    Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju

    But he points out that soon afterward Kim's reign of terror started, purging and executing officials for trifling offenses. After Kim's uncle and eminence grise Jang Song-taek's execution, "more than 10,000 people were sent to prisoners, mine fields or internal exile," Thae writes.

    Asked at the book launch about the reason for Jang's execution, Thae said "Kim had developed a hatred of Jang since childhood," because Jang apparently kept the boy away from his grandfather Kim Il-sung, who did not like Jong-un's mother.

    At the launch, Thae warned the world should not be deceived by Kim's current charm offensive and claimed the North Korean leader has no intention of giving up his nuclear weapons.

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