A former North Korean operative gives his first interview since defecting in 2014

Former North Korean operative Kim Hyun-woo, who defected in 2014, shared his insights on the regime, succession scenarios, and diplomacy with the US in his first-ever interview since defecting.

Background: Kim worked for North Korea’s top intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security, for 17 years before defecting to South Korea.
* He served in various divisions, analyzing intelligence data and working at an overseas branch.

Reason for defection: Kim feared persecution amidst power struggles and turbulent shifts within the intelligence agency during Kim Jong Un’s rise to power.
* He fled with his family and has not returned to North Korea since.

Insights on North Korea: Kim currently works at the Institute for National Security Strategy in Seoul, where he shares firsthand knowledge of North Korea’s political and social system, which is valuable due to limited information flow in and out of the country.

Succession speculation: Kim doubts that Kim Jong Un’s daughter is being prepared for leadership, as there is no concrete evidence according to North Korea’s protocols and traditions.
* He admits, however, that the possibility cannot be completely dismissed.

Diplomacy with the US: Kim recommends a two-track diplomacy approach involving informal and indirect private channels to break the current diplomatic stalemate with the United States.

View original article on NPR

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