Thae Yong-ho, who defected to South Korea from the North Korean embassy in London, may be planning to visit the United States, according to Japanese media. File screenshot courtesy of Proletarian TV/YouTube
Jan. 25 (UPI) -- An outspoken North Korea diplomat who fled Pyongyang's embassy in London could be planning a trip to the United States to meet with Trump administration officials, according to a Japanese newspaper.
Quoting U.S. and South Korea officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, The Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday that Thae Yong-ho is making arrangements to meet with officials and North Korea experts in Washington, D.C.
Thae also plans to provide interviews to U.S. journalists in the course of his trip, according to the report.
Thae, who defected to Seoul last summer, said in early January that he wants to meet with members of the new Trump administration to provide them with information on the Kim Jong Un regime.
"If properly informing the [U.S. government] of the true intentions of North Korea's nuclear development helps the United States to establish a rational, precise policy toward North Korea, I would not hesitate visiting the United States," Thae had said.
In an interview with the BBC this week Thae said Kim is prepared to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction, but the current regime will eventually collapse.
According to the Asahi, Thae is planning to propose continued pressure against North Korea in the form of sanctions.
The planned trip also reflects some concern on the part of the South Korean government, which granted Thae his asylum, that President Donald Trump could overturn the existing policy of sanctions, the Asahi reported.
Pyongyang is still waiting for the outline of a Trump North Korea policy.
Advisers close to Trump have said the administration could opt for a wide range of North Korea policy, from adopting tougher sanctions to even initiating dialogue with Kim over a "hamburger meal," or granting the dialogue North Korea seeks as it strives to be recognized as a nuclear weapons state.
Thae had said Kim would never give up its nuclear weapons, even for "$1 trillion, $10 trillion."
The former senior diplomat had also said Kim should be handed over to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.