Seo Jae-pyong, executive secretary of Association of the North Korean Defectors, criticized the opaque nature of the process, saying an unknown person had been in contact this spring asking for participation in establishing a government-in-exile. But they left neither a name, details about the organization, or a phone number.
“How can they proceed in secret without introducing themselves [to defectors]?” Seo told NK News.
Jung Gwang-il, head of North Korean human rights organization No Chain, said he had been aware of the project since early this year, but disagreed with the plans.
“I can’t accept the idea of establishing a government-in-exile because it’s nonsense. Do we live in the 1930s (Japanese colonial period)?” Jung, who was imprisoned in a North Korean political prisoner camp, told NK News. “It’s ridiculous that someone who hasn’t put any effort into improving the North Korean human rights situations at international organizations like the UN claims [representation]. This is illogical.”
Henry Song, a North Korea human rights activist based in Washington and the North America Director for No Chain, said the so-called “elite” defectors should cooperate with existing organizations.
“While I welcome this particular defector’s desire to help his homeland by establishing this ‘exile government,’ I seriously doubt how much of an effect this new organization will have,” Song told NK News. “It would be very symbolic, but without much weight or relevance in the overall scheme of things.”