News / Asia

Former North Korean Soldiers Vow to Overthrow Kim Family Rule

A new organization in South Korea vows to end Pyongyang's government and unify the Korean peninsula
A new organization in South Korea vows to end Pyongyang's government and unify the Korean peninsula

Multimedia

Audio

A new organization in South Korea, claiming it includes more than 100 former North Korean military members, vows to end Pyongyang's government and unify the Korean peninsula. The North Korea Peoples Liberation Front also says it has support from current members of the communist state's military, but political analysts are skeptical.

Exit 3 of Seoul's Singil subway station seems an unlikely place to begin a revolution. But 75 people who say they are former North Korean soldiers and other defectors gathered there to do just that.

Quest to liberate homeland

Clad in camouflage fatigues, some with pellet guns holstered on their belts, they stood at attention in the rain to launch their quest to liberate their homeland on its 62nd anniversary.

They shout, "The souls of those who starved to death curse Kim Jong II!"

Leaders of the group they call the North Korea Peoples Liberation Front then read a statement condemning to death the North Korean leader and staged his mock execution.

The group says it will leave the actual overthrow of North Korea's government to co-conspirators it claims to have inside the country. The group says it is in contact with disaffected officers of the North Korean army.

Namkung Young, a political science professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, says the group's members certainly know better than most outsiders what the situation is like inside North Korea. But he says they should be realistic and know there is little chance of achieving their goals in the near future.

Impact on relations

The professor cautions that South Korean government support for such an organization could further worsen tensions with Pyongyang.

South Korea's government is saying little about the group. An official at the Unification Ministry, who did not want to speak for attribution, notes any group has freedom of association in the country as long as it does not violate the law. Beyond that, he says, the ministry has no comment about the group.

Some North Korea scholars are skeptical. They ask if the group has collaborators in the North Korean military, why would it publicly reveal that?

Human-rights experts and many governments consider impoverished North Korea to be one of the most repressive nations in the world. Defectors say citizens can be condemned to years in harsh prison camps for any criticism of the government.

Discontentment

A U.S. military analyst is unaware of any independent corroboration of the group's claim that troops in the North are discontented enough to try overthrowing the government.

North Korea is preparing to hold a rare political meeting. Political analysts believe delegates of the Workers' Party will elect, for the first time in three decades, new leaders. Among the fresh faces may be the supreme leader's third son, Kim Jong Un. That could be the first significant step by the elder Kim to pass power to his little-known offspring, who is believed to be about 27 years old.

North Korea says party delegates will meet in Pyongyang in early September. Dress rehearsals have been held but just when the meeting will begin – like so much else in the reclusive state – remains shrouded in mystery.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid