Top defector Hwang: Military rebellions frequent in N. Korea

Special to World
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

North Korean defector Hwang Jong-Yop last week said that military rebellions are frequent in North Korea and that the military could be used to press reforms in the communist state under dictator Kim Jong-Il.

Hwang called Kim a failed leader but described him as a "brilliant" dictator.
Hwang has been in the United States for his first visit since defecting. He is the highest-ranking North Korean official ever to break with the communist regime.

Kim maintains control of the military but the military is the only element that can lead an uprising.

"When something happens, the organization that has courage and uses weapons is the military," Hwang said in a meeting with South Korean reporters.

He said rebellions in the North Korean military in the past have occurred at the company and platoon levels. All of them were put down with force.

The senior military leadership in Pyongyang supports Kim, Hwang said.

Later in an interview with The Washington Times' Bill Gertz, Hwang said Kim's ultimate goal is to become dictator over a unified, communist Korea.

He called Kim a failed leader but described him as a "brilliant" dictator.

Hwang said Kim's "priority in life is to become the supreme ruler of the unified Chosun, or, as you call it, Korea."

"Before Kim Jong-il came to power, there was his father, Kim Il-sung. No one starved to death under Kim Il-sung. However, after Kim Jong-il came to power, millions of people starved to death. The economy has been destroyed, and the whole government and the country became one big prison. As a politician, he is a failure."

One official told The Washington Times that Hwang had given U.S. officials significant information on North Korea's nuclear program.

Hwang was a top aide to Kim Il-Sung but defected in 1997 after breaking with the younger Kim. He said he believes Kim Jong-Il is capable of using nuclear weapons in order to hold on to power.

"What kind of ideology does he live by? This man is very egotistical. He is watching out for his self-interest, and his self-interest only. He believes that as the leader he can decide everything; that he owns everything; and that he is the center of everything. A totally egotistical man," he said.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts
Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives

See current edition of

Return to World Front Cover

Back to School Sweepstakes