N.Korean diplomat (a potential member of the O Kuk-ryol family) from North Korean embassy in London defects

“A DPRK diplomat in London is going through procedures to seek asylum in a third country,” the JoongAng Ilbo said. “The DPRK Embassy made belated attempts to figure out the diplomat’s whereabouts, but has failed.”

The report said the unnamed diplomat had been previously tasked with keeping track of North Korean defectors who had settled down in London’s environs, as well as regularly handling consular services.

The diplomat, who was not named and alleged to have left with his wife and children, had also been requested by Pyongyang to prepare measures to counter the UK’s increasing criticism of North Korea’s human rights violations, the JoongAng said.

According to unamed sources, the diplomat who defected is Thae Yong-ho (Minister at the London Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). He’s a member of the O Kuk-ryol’s family (O Kuk-ryol is a North Korea 4 stars  general and since April 2009, has been a Vice Chairman of the NDC. His biosketch is available there.

O Kuk Ryol
O Kuk-ryol

I have no certitudes about O Kuk-ryol’s fate. Some family members of the DPRK leadership already defected in the past (such as from the O Jin-u family).

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Nicolas Levi

Analyst on North Korean issues

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