Thae Yong Ho, who was number two in the North Korean embassy in London before defecting with his family, says after his initial surprise that President Donald Trump won the US election, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now sees it as “a good opportunity for him to open a kind of compromise with the new American administration.”
But Thae insists Kim will only talk on his terms, pointing to the leader’s New Year’s Address. In the address, Kim made it clear that if the US continued its current policy against North Korea, he would continue to add nuclear weapons to the country’s military capability.
During his campaign, President Trump said he would be open to meeting Kim.* Thae makes a plea for the president to reconsider, saying it would give the North Korean leader legitimacy he currently doesn’t have in his own country.
“Even Chinese President Xi Jinping and even Russian President Putin — they haven’t even met Kim Jong Un,” he says.
Thae claims that despite commanding loyalty through fear, Kim is still struggling to secure the legitimacy enjoyed by his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea.