Thae Yong Ho shares insights on inter-Korean summit
Following the recent summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In, North Korea’s former deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom, Thae Yong Ho (pictured above), who defected with his family to South Korea in 2016, spoke with Daily NK to offer his insights on the historic event.
The following is a transcript from the interview and has been edited for length and clarity.
Daily NK (DNK): What are your thoughts on the inclusion of the words "complete denuclearization'"in the Panmunjom Declaration?
Thae Yong Ho (TYH):The declaration states the North and South are moving towards achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. While the words are 'the North and South,' the two countries hold different understandings of what "denuclearization" means in practice. For South Korea, I think it means that any temporary stationing of US nuclear weapons would not become permanent and that the US would pledge not to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances on the peninsula.
DNK: How do you think North Koreans will be affected by news of the summit in state media?
TYH: People in North Korea have been talking about the denuclearization of the Peninsula for decades, actually. Their first demand is for the US to "withdraw all nuclear weapons." But the US did this in 1991. Second, other US nuclear-related military assets are a problem for them. For example, even now, during joint US-South Korean military exercises, the US utilizes nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. .....