Highest ranking North Korean defector says USIM plays important role

Thae Young-ho, former Deputy Ambassador to the North Korean embassy in the UK and the highest ranking diplomat to defect from the DPRK, has repeatedly commented on the importance of U.S. international media’s Korean programming.

At his first press conference after defecting on December 27, 2016, he said, “When I was immersed in the regime of North Korea, I was encouraged by Radio Free Asia’s articles written by a defector and read every single one….These, I can say confidently, inspired me in making the decision to come to South Korea with my family.”

A few months later, he told VOA’s Seoul Correspondent that “…Voice of America has been playing very important role to bring back the human rights to every citizen of the world, and so far, VOA played a very important role to push the world to better world…The North Korean regime also pays great attention on the contents of VOA, so I think it is very important that VOA should further strengthen its activity, and also its contents so that, one day, I hope VOA is remembered by North Korean people as … the main player who contributed a lot for the reunification of the Korean peninsula.”