Is An American Defector Tweeting From Pyongyang?

February 8th, 2013
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A Twitter account purporting to belong to an American man who defected to North Korea after the Korean War is publishing tweets from Pyongyang. Anecdotal evidence indicates the account could be real, but little more is known regarding its authenticity.

James (Joe) Dresnok is the only remaining American defector left in North Korea, leaving his post as a soldier in the U.S. Army and fleeing across the DMZ in 1962. For nearly 42 years he was neither seen or heard, until a documentary film crew interviewed him for the movie Crossing the Line.

Since the account was opened in September 2009, ‘Dresnok’ has only posted 23 Tweets, beginning with a documentary that documents his life story:

When the Dresnok account is able to Tweet, it touches on just a few subjects, including events in Dresnok’s personal life:

On his life in North Korea, the Dresnok account says,

On current events in North Korea and abroad the account tweets:

On the topic of his general feeling within the country:

Apart from sporadic tweeting, the Dresnok account has not found the time to follow many others apart from Jindallae Safarini, the so-called “flower of Korea”, who in turn chose to follow the JamesDresnok account upon the creation of her own Twitter account (note: the authenticity of the Jindalle account can also not be verified, and was coincidentally set up a day after NK NEWS first mentioned her in this report.). ’Dresnok’ also follows Uriminzokkiri (North Korea’s social media outlet), and, perhaps in a subtle hint to the origin of these accounts, the North Korea Research Group from the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs.

In short, although the authenticity of the account is highly questionable, tweets originating from within Pyongyang nevertheless make entertaining reading.

Update: As a reader has pointed out, the account does not use North Korean romanisation conventions to spell Korean names, again calling into question the authenticity of the account.

Picture: KCTV