North Korean Defector Group vows further action

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The defector group that calls itself Free Joseon (Free North Korea) could be the first organization to have successfully infiltrated a North Korean diplomatic mission.

Pyongyang’s first public acknowledgment of the incursion into its Madrid Embassy recently came when it complained North Korea had been the victim of a “grave terrorist attack”, calling it a “flagrant violation of international law.” It called on Spanish authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Normally, says Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean studies expert at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, North Korea would be loath to mention anything at all that might puncture “the myth of invincible, unassailable, infallible, omnipotent leadership.” But these days, too much information is flowing into North Korea for its government to keep the Madrid embassy incident a secret.

Free Joseon’s significance lies in “the symbolism of hope, perhaps even justice, created in standing up to, in defying the powerful, oppressive state,” says Lee.

Two years ago, under a different name, the group was apparently successful in spiriting away to safety a potential heir — or possible threat — to the Kim dynasty. Last month, rebranded as Free Joseon, it made a declaration of revolution and announced the establishment of a “provisional government” to take power in Pyongyang.

Free Joseon says on its website that after Madrid incident hit the news, it is suspending operations for now, due to negative media coverage. But it urges patience, and says it is planning big things for the future.

[NPR]

This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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