The two adult sons of James Dresnok, an American who defected to the North in 1962, appeared in a video released by North Korean state media on Friday and confirmed their father’s death last year.
In an interview released by the Uriminzokkiri outlet, Ted and James Dresnok, who also go by Hong Soon Chol and Hong Chol respectively, tell Roh Kil-nam of the U.S.-based Minjok Tongshin that James Dresnok had died in November of a stroke.
“Our family was shocked because my father died unexpectedly,” James Dresnok, the younger of the two, says. “But my father ended his days without regret.”
Kim Jong Un was briefed on his father’s health condition on November 3 last year, James adds, and the leader had “cared” for him and ensured he received intensive care.
“My father asked us… to become sincere workers who only respect [Kim Jong Un] and also left a request to well-raise our children so that they can continue to brighten the way,” Ted says.
The two also take the opportunity to attack the U.S. and the recent passage of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2371 against North Korea.
“If I tell you my thoughts, are not the U.S. imperialists raising war hysteria madness as they little know about the army and the people of the DPRK now?” Ted says, adding that he is “convinced of our victory” should war break out.
“If the enemies launch a preemptive shelling against the DPRK, we will never miss this opportunity and wipe out the land of the U.S. from this earth forever,” he says.
North Korea would not be swayed in the pursuit of its nuclear program, James says, adding that the DPRK is an “ideologically powerful country” and “military power.”
“The U.S. must know straight. We are not such a country that will succumb to someone’s sanctions or war madness.”
This is the brothers’ second appearance on Uriminzokkiri, which is intended primarily for consumption by foreign audiences. They first appeared in May last year, in an interview in which they praised their adopted country in fluent Korean.
During their interview last year, it was revealed that both serve in the Korean People’s Army (KPA): Ted as a secretary for the educational department and James as a Sang-Wi, or “senior lieutenant”.
In Friday’s video both say they are married and have children: Ted has two eight-year-old sons and James has a seven-year-old daughter.
Their father, who NK News learned in April had died sometime in 2016 after a serious illness, had been a U.S. military serviceman who defected to North Korea by running through a minefield across the demilitarized zone.
News about the death of Dresnok, one of only a handful of Americans who defected North following the Korean War, had, until Friday, not been publicized by state media, despite him having played numerous roles in North Korean films over the years.
Known as “Jim,” Dresnok was in 2006 featured in the documentary “Crossing the Line,” where he was seen visiting a Pyongyang hospital in one scene to address chronic health problems apparently caused by smoking.
According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, Ted and James were born from a Romanian mother, who was abducted by North Korea and later ordered to marry James Dresnok. She reportedly died of cancer in 1997 at age 47.
Ted (right) and James (left)
Featured image: Minjok Tongshin/ Uriminzokkiri
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