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Thae Yong-ho: Top North Korean Diplomat Defects to South Korea

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Top North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho, who disappeared from the country’s embassy in the UK, has defected to South Korea, officials in Seoul have confirmed.

Thae Yong-ho and his family are under the government’s protection, a South Korean official said.

He was the ambassador’s deputy and is thought to be the highest-ranking North Korean official ever to defect.

Thae Yong-ho’s main mission in London had been to spread positive perceptions of the North Korean leadership.Kim Jong un aunt plastic surgery

He had been due to return to Pyongyang with his wife and children.

Thae Yong-ho had come under pressure from his government to quash growing criticism of North Korea’s human rights record, sources say.

In the past, Thae Yong-ho had argued the British were brainwashed by their ruling class into believing “shocking, terrifying” lies about North Korea under its leader Kim Jong-un.

“If the people in this country, or in America, knew that there is a country in the world where there is a free education, free housing, free medical care, then they’d have second thoughts,” he had said in one speech.

South Korean Unification spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said: “On his reasons for defection, Minister Thae cited disgust with Kim Jong-Un’s regime, admiration for South Korea’s free, democratic system and the future of his family.”