The aunt of Kim Jong Un, who has been living a secret life in the U.S. after defecting from the regime 18 years ago, is speaking out for the first time.
Ko Yong Suk, and her husband Ri Gang, fled North Korea in 1998, fearing they would lose their privileged status, when Ko’s sister –the mother of Kim Jong Un – became sick with terminal breast cancer.
“My friends here tell me I’m so lucky, that I have everything,” Ko Yong Suk, as she was known in North Korea, told The Washington Post. “My kids went to great schools and they’re successful, and I have my husband, who can fix anything. There’s nothing we can envy.” Her husband Ri Gang adds, “I think we have achieved the American Dream.”
The couple’s new names and home state were kept hidden to protect their three children. The Post reported the couple lived several hours away from New York City.
The 60-year-old, who runs a dry-cleaning business with her husband also acts as an informant on North Korea to the CIA, the newspaper adds. The couple claimed CIA operatives sometimes would arrive in their town to show them photos of North Koreans and ask who they were. The CIA declined to comment.
Ri Gang now says he wants to visit Pyongyang again to help ease the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. “My ultimate goal is to go back to North Korea. I understand America and I understand North Korea, so I think I can be a negotiator between the two,” he said.
“If Kim Jong Un is how I remembered he used to be, I would be able to meet him and talk to him.”