North Korea’s state-run Uriminzokkiri outlet recently attacked two prominent defectors based in the U.S. and UK, as part of a series of videos released mid-October and late November.
A total of seven well-known defectors were targeted, in two series of videos claiming the escapees have been living overseas under false identities.
One U.S.-based defector, surname Jo, was accused of concealing her identity as a Korean living in China.
Jo, who holds U.S. citizenship, has been a prominent advocate for human rights in North Korea.
She most notably testified at a U.S. congressional hearing over China’s repatriation of escapees in 2012 and attended a public hearing by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK in 2013.
In the video, Kim Sun Hwa, who claims to have lived with Jo and her mother in Helong city, Jilin province, said Jo was lying about her identity.
“[She]… is not a defector but Joseonjok who had stayed in China,” a North Korean male anchor said in the video.
“Therefore, the testimony of this woman is all a pack of lies.”
Uriminzokkiri — an outer-track outlet mainly aimed at an overseas Korean audience — also accused another high-profile UK-based defector, surname Kim, of lying about his identity.
The DPRK state media interviewed one teacher and two alumni from a high school in Kilju County where Kim was said to have graduated, with both claiming they had never met him.
Another overseas-based North Korean woman – who claimed to have lived in the same Chinese town as Kim – described him as a “complete Joseonjok” in an interview filmed in June.
The woman, whose face is blurred and name is not revealed, claimed that she had witnessed Kim’s mother giving birth to him.
In the interview, she also claimed Kim had forced one North Korean escapee to marry him.
The Uriminzokkiri also attacked a high-profile defector journalist, surname Kang, currently employed by the Seoul-based Daily NK.
“Kang … fabricates materials on agitation and discontent claimed to take place inside our society and distribute them after undergoing reprocess to make them favorable for hostile forces,” the anchor said in the video.
Kang’s younger sister In Suk said Kang’s assertion that their father was the member of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League was false.
In Suk said her sister “writes articles slandering the fatherland” to earn a livelihood using her talent for writing.
The video also includes a news conference by Ko Hyon Chol, a former defector detained by the DPRK since July 2017.
Ko accused South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) of disguising Koreans living in China as defectors to “receive more money from the U.S. and to damage the DPRK’s dignity.”
Part one of the series, released more than one month before the first two, attacked four well-known defectors, including Ji Seong-ho – praised by U.S. President Donald Trump during his State of the Union speech.
Hit pieces on prominent defectors were for a longtime a mainstay of Uriminzokkiri’s output, though the past year has seen a marked decline in this kind of programming.
Ko Hyon Chol and Jon in February, too, denounced defector Lee Na-gyeong for “spreading ridiculous lies” about the DPRK in the media and accusing Lee’s husband Choi Seong-uk of spreading counterfeit DPRK won in the South.
Another North Korean defector Ju Ok Soon who returned to the North also appeared in a video provided by the Uriminzokkiri last October, in which she spoke out about her six-year “painful” life in the South.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Uriminzokkiri
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