February 21, 2019 12:10
The daughter of acting North Korean Ambassador to Italy Jo Song-gil, who disappeared with his family last November, was taken back to the North by state security agents, another defector claimed Wednesday.
Thae Yong-ho, the former No. 2 at the North Korean Embassy in London, claimed he confirmed the daughter's abduction through various channels.
"I don't know how many children Jo has, but the child that was in Italy was sent back North," Thae told the Chosun Ilbo. "Jo and his wife are together now."
He added, "I am no longer in a situation where I can publicly urge Jo to defect to South Korea. North Koreans who defect to South Korea are branded traitors and their families face tougher punishment, but if they live quietly in the U.S. or Europe, the punishment is less severe."
Earlier, Thae called on the UN to protect Jo and wrote to Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and the South Korean ambassador to Italy.
"I thought it was strange that I didn't get a response from anyone, but now I understand. They kept silent because of Jo's daughter, and I think I should also keep quiet from now on."
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