Thae Yong-ho, the highest level North Korean official to defect in two decades, says information will bring change to the North Korean people.

Nov 1, 2017

The highest-level North Korean defector in two decades says America should bring change peacefully by challenging the totalitarian regime's grip on information rather than resorting to military action.

As tensions soar over North Korea's nuclear weapons development and President Donald Trump prepares for his first trip to Asia, Thae Yong Ho offered rare insight into the reclusive North Korean system and the insecurities he says drove leader Kim Jong Un to ruthlessly purge ranks and accelerate nuclear weapons development.

Speaking Tuesday at a Washington think tank, Thae said Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, lacked the respect of North Korea's senior leadership after taking power in 2012 as the little-known, third son of his predecessor and father, Kim Jong Il. To build his legitimacy, Kim Jong Un championed the rapid progress toward a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile that could threaten the United States — which now puts him on a path to confrontation with Trump.

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