Tue, Oct 28, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Top defector to brief US on Kim Jong-il


After six years under virtual house arrest in Seoul, Hwang Jang-yop, who proudly clings to his status as North Korea's highest-ranking defector, was to arrive in the US yesterday to talk with Washington's elite about the inner workings of North Korea's secretive government.

Hwang, who was North Korea's chief ideologue and served as tutor to North Korea's dictator, Kim Jong-il, has been eagerly awaited by American conservatives. He is to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meet with Bush administration officials and give interviews.

In a recent interview in Seoul, Hwang, 80, made clear that he would oppose any deal in which Kim would give up his nuclear bombs but remain in charge in North Korea. But with the Bush administration now offering North Korea a regional security guarantee in exchange for dismantling its bombs and bomb factories, Hwang's message may be out of season.

"I absolutely oppose giving North Korea guarantees if the North withdraws its nuclear weapons program," he said. "I completely oppose any policy that will ensure maintenance of the North's dictatorship."

"It is necessary to put America in a leading role of a coalition of South Korea and Japan to eliminate the North Korean dictatorship," added Hwang.

For four decades, Hwang was part of North Korea's communist dictatorship, rising to become president of Kim Il-sung University and secretary of the governing Korean Workers' Party. He is said to have been the author of the nation's policy of juche, or self-reliance.

But in 1997, Hwang defected to Seoul. His family paid a steep price for this betrayal. His wife and one daughter are believed to have committed suicide. His son and another daughter, and his granddaughters, are believed to be in slave labor camps.

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