South Korean newspaper DongA Ilbo had reported that heads of defector organizations in South Korea along with defectors formerly of North Korea’s elite class would launch a refugee government early next year in Washington D.C.
Now it seems a group of North Korean defectors has temporarily put on hold plans to establish a DPRK government-in-exile in the United States, a leading figure in the organization told NK News on Friday. North Korean defector Dr. An Chan-il, who was described as a leader of the movement in DongA’s report, confirmed to NK News that the report was true and that plans were in motion, but later said that “the plan has been delayed”.
An, head of the World Institute for North Korean Studies based in Seoul, said his group wanted to provoke regime change by building up an anti-Kim Jong Un government.
“A government-in-exile is what the Kim Jong Un regime is most afraid of. I laid out the plans this April at an event for defectors around the world. My suggestions drew a furious response from Pyongyang,” An said.
An has not given more concrete details of his organization’s membership and an exact timetable for the plans, and despite his claims that his group has provoked a “furious response” from Pyongyang, NK News could find no references to it in North Korean media.
One North Korean observer said the idea of North Korean defectors establishing a government-in-exile in the United States was an attempt to enhance the bargaining power of North Korean defectors.
“The community of North Korean defectors [are] playing a hidden card by building up the government-in-exile,” Jiyeon Ihn, president of Now! Act for North Koreans! (NANK), a group affiliated with the Ministry of Unification, told NK News. “They want to be respected as negotiating partner… It’s a [symbolic] gesture.” Read more