North Korea calls ex-diplomat 'human garbage'

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 16, 2018 at 11:20 AM
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May 16 (UPI) -- North Korea condemned a high-profile defector in the South as part of a series of verbal attacks that have put the United States and South Korea on edge, including top officials overseeing military exercises on the peninsula.

Pyongyang previously accused ex-diplomat Thae Yong-ho of child rape and embezzlement following his defection from London in 2016.

Thae kept a low profile during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, but recently began speaking to reporters ahead of the release of his book on the North Korean regime.

Thae's return to the public spotlight might be irritating North Korea.

Without referring to Thae by name, KCNA condemned the "South Korean authorities" for "presenting the world's human garbage on the grounds of the National Assembly," South Korea's parliament.

Thae had made a rare appearance on Monday at the parliament building, to introduce his book and share his opinion on the recent inter-Korea summit and North Korea's intentions ahead of the June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

South Korean newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported the North Korean statement was likely targeting Thae.

The publication of Thae's book is quickly becoming a highly anticipated event in South Korea.

News 1 reported Wednesday that Thae says in the book North Korea could use Britain in its nuclear negotiations with the United States.

The regime recently invited British journalists to the planned "dismantlement" of its Punggye-ri nuclear site on May 23-25, in addition to journalists from member states of the six-party talks.

Britain and North Korea have diplomatic ties, and Britain has supported the Kim regime with English language exchanges for North Korean bureaucrats.

According to Thae's book, Britain has served North Korean interests by criticizing U.S. policy on the peninsula.

North Korea also recently targeted White House national security adviser John Bolton.

"We do not hide our feeling of repugnance toward" Bolton, North Korean diplomat Kim Gye Kwan said, according to Pyongyang's news agency KCNA.

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