Soldier in daring DMZ defection says 80 percent of younger North Koreans not loyal to Kim

by WorldTribune Staff, November 19, 2018

Most young people in North Korea feel no loyalty toward leader Kim Jong-Un, according to a North Korea soldier who defected across the DMZ in 2017.

Surveillance video shows North Korean soldier Oh Chong-Song running from a jeep and then shot by North Korean soldiers in Panmunjom before collapsing across the border in South Korea. / United Nations Command via AP

“Inside the North, people, and especially the young generation, are indifferent to each other, politics and their leaders, and there is no sense of loyalty,” the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun quoted a man it identified as Oh Chong-Song as saying.

Oh, 25, crossed the border through the joint security area (JSA) in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in November 2017. His dramatic dash across the border under a hail of bullets fired from his comrades made global headlines.

Related: Unarmed N. Korean soldier hit by 5 of 40 shots fired into S. Korean territory at DMZ, Nov. 14, 2007

“Probably 80 percent of my generation is indifferent and has no loyalty,” Oh was quoted as saying in a report published on Nov. 16. “It is natural to have no interest nor loyalty since the hereditary system is taken as a given, regardless of its inability to feed people.”

Oh added: “If the regime was able to feed the people, they would applaud it, but they are given nothing.”

He said the food distribution system has collapsed, but North Korea still was “excessively” idolizing Kim Jong-Un.

On the day he fled the North, Oh said he had some trouble with friends and started drinking. On his way back to his post he broke through a checkpoint and, fearing execution, decided to keep going.

“I feared I could be executed if I went back so I crossed the border,” he was quoted as saying, adding he had no regrets about defecting.

The hospital in South Korea that treated Oh said he had been shot in his buttocks, armpit, back, shoulder and knee, and sustained other wounds. Dozens of flesh-colored parasites, one of which was 27cm (11 inches) long, were found in the Oh’s digestive tract during life-saving operations, according to the lead surgeon, Lee Cook-Jong.

Oh said he understands the former comrades who shot him. “If they didn’t shoot they would face heavy punishment. So if I was them, I would have done the same.”

The newspaper said Japanese intelligence officials had confirmed Oh’s identity.

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