North Korean Officials Flood to China, Possible Mass Defection

Sources within the South Korean government report that a large number of senior North Korean officials have fled to China in the wake of Jang Song-Taek’s execution, presenting a golden opportunity for South Korean intelligence. One official is rumored to have a list of North Korean spies living in the South, another has knowledge of North Korean provocations planned for sometime between January and March.

Online, South Koreans eagerly anticipated further evidence of a collapse in the North and any revelations about spies in the South.

Article From Segye Ilbo:

[Exclusive] 70 high-ranking North Korean Officials, including Jang’s former aides, fled to China.

A senior official related to North Korea’s nuclear arms and slush funds in secret contact with Seoul concerning possible defection

List of possible defectors includes former ambassador and high-ranking party and military officials.

Jang is reported to have transferred more than ₩70 million to Kim Jong-nam, the elder half brother of Kim Jong-un.

A group of about 70 North Koreans-high-ranking party, military officials, and their families-are reported to have fled North Korea into China around the time Jang Song-Taek, former deputy chairman of North Korea’s Military Commission, was executed.

Some of the group are known to be in touch with South Korean intelligence while they lie low at a safe place in China and decide whether to defect.

A North Korean officer watches the hunt for Jang Song-Taek's associates and makes a call to South Korea's intelligence service, saying he may have some interesting information...

A North Korean officer watches the hunt for Jang Song-Taek’s associates and makes a call to South Korea’s intelligence service, saying he may have some interesting information…

On December 18th, a source within the South Korean government said, “Jang’s aides, who are concerned about being targeted for a political purge by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the wake of the execution of Jang Song-thaek, as well as some other officials fearing the reign of terror in the North have escaped from Pyongyang to China en masse.” The sources added, “Intelligence authorities (of South Korea) have already identified about seventy North Koreans who fled in recent days.”

The mass exodus of North Koreans to China, including dignitaries, is highly unusual, presenting fresh challenges to China-North Korea relations as well as inter-Korean ties over the handling of the escapees.

The sources said, “the group of seventy North Koreans does not count the ordinary North Koreans who may have fled, the list includes a former ambassador who served in multiple European countries and an official who handed over confidential documents containing Pyongyang’s provocation plans.”

In a November 17th teleconference with military commanders, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin stated that North Korea is highly likely to make provocations sometime between late January and early March in 2014. The government source said that the minster’s comments were based on the classified documents from the high-ranking North Korean official who spoke with South Korean intelligence.

Military sources familiar with intelligence on North Korea said, “We know that among the North Korean officials is one who is well aware of how slush funds of the ruling family in North Korea have been run and another heavyweight who is bargaining with the National Intelligence Service (of South Korea) to share a list of Pyongyang-deployed spies in the South and nuclear arms-related information,” adding, “Most of the escaped North Koreans want to defect to South Korea.”

Another source said, “If one of Jang’s lieutenants want to defect to South Korea, chances are high that he has been in charge of Jang Song-Taek’s secret funds. An official who has handled Jang’s money would not survive in North Korea, since one of the charges Jang faced was corruption.”

Some lawmakers of the ruling Saenuri Party floated the possibility that Kim Jong-nam, the elder half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, might even decide to seek asylum in the South.

According to the intelligence agency’s assessment, Jang’s swift execution was triggered by his attempt to make Kim Jong-nam the leader of North Korea rather than his nephew. Jang is known to have sent a total of $70 million to the elder Kim.

Diplomatic sources said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to receive any information regarding the flight and possible defection to South Korea of North Korean officials,” adding, “It appears that intelligence authorities will be taking direct control of the situation in the interest of security.”

In a hurriedly-arranged meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly, Minister of Unification Ryoo Kihl-jae said, “We need to keep a close watch on the possible defections of Jang’s aides,” adding, “I have no knowledge about the defection of Jang’s aides and a deputy prime minister-level official that has been reported in the media.”

Comments from Naver:

mola****:

We must get our hands on the list of North Korean spies here.

xhrl****

Hey Kim Jong-un, you just opened Pandora’s Box.

kbio****:

Reporter! Your article will encourage North Korea to tighten its border patrol and prevent more North Korean residents from fleeing out of there.

ingl****:

I trust NIS officials. Though you are in trouble right now, but I think you guys work hard to fight against foreign spies. Please do your job for the sake of our nation. If you do well, it will be all dae-bak for us.

ilik****:

When Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jing said,”North Korea is likely to make armed provocations between January and March of next year,” the opposition Democratic Party (DP) said, “vague predictions stir up unease among people,” and made partisan attacks. The DP always does things this way.

ykro****:

North Korea has already began its implosion. Pyongyang’s collapse is just a matter of time.

rlwn****:

The most welcome news is that a North Korean official fled with the list of North Korean spies here. Let’s find out how many spies operate in the South. No need to have a trial for them, all they need is summary execution. But they are not worth bullets, so shatter their brains with a hammer.

hjle****:

Why are the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice (CPAJ) and religious groups remaining silent about the execution of Jang Song-Taek and the people around him? Is it because these things happened in other country? Aren’t they supposed to pray for peace for all? or are they just politicians pretending to religious people? Please, you need to talk about it.[…] [Note: In a November 22 mass, CPAJ called for President Park’s resignation over the spy agency’s alleged meddling in the 2012 presidential election and said that North Korea’s November 23, 2010 shelling of Yeonpyeong island near the western maritime border can be described as inevitable because the maritime border has had problems before, sparking strong protest against the priests.]

prel****:

Kim Jong’s ascent to power brings us one step closer to the unification of two Koreas. The day when taxes for defense will be lifted and taxes for unification are collected seems close now. I think it will not be long before the Republic of Korea will become resurgent, one unified Korea able to take on the Number 1 country in Asia. With Japan on the verge of self destruction, a reunified Korea will beat Japan easily. China has as much trash as it has talent, so it will be long before China joins the ranks of advanced nations..[…]

Comments from Daum:

비니파더님:

My feeling is that it will not be long before North Korea’s collapse. We need to quickly unification and get rid of that bastard Kim Jong-un. It will be a pity for the Saenuri Party because they will no longer be able to play around with McCarthyism. Quickly bring the North Korean officials here, catch the spies and execute them all. And keep an eye out for spies who try to run away.

야생국화:

For our part, We need to drive away the North Korean sympathizers here in North Korea.

푸른:

The list of spies must include Lee Seok-ki and Lee Jeong-hee.

dlathdxo:

North Korean spies here will get fucked soon. They will get identified after we get that list from the North Korean official. I will personally fire 100 bullets at the heads of the Unified Progressive Party (UPP) bitches when they are caught fleeing to North Korea.

홍어헌터:

I think cutting the source of money will make Kim Jong-nam defect to South Korea soon.

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  • lonetrey / Dan

    A hopeful situation, perhaps it will lead be the beginning of North/South Korea reunification.

    Quite a long way to go, I know, but still a chance at hand.

    • http://mykafkaesquelife.blogspot.com/ Taiwan Explorer

      Would be better to not reunify these two countries, even if North Korea becomes democratic. Taiwan doesn’t need China, Austria doesn’t need Germany. They can all develop well on their own. The primary goal should be denuclearization, peace, and economic development of North Korea, if you ask me. That’s just my 2 cents.

      • ElectricTurtle

        While I was one of those who voted you up, I only somewhat agree. In general I think smaller nations are better positioned to be more efficient and accountable, but your examples are not consistent. Germany and Austria have been separate for most of history, they were only completely joined for a brief period. Taiwan too was functionally separate from China until Koxinga brought the last Ming loyalists there and made it a target for Qing hegemony, but for thousands of years it was independent. Korea is the opposite, for the millennium preceding World War 2 it was one nation, and it was culturally homogeneous for much longer. So what Korea “needs” is much more amorphous than a simple economic equation. I do think reunification would be good, but only if the North completely collapses. If it can’t happen in a way similar to the East/West German model, it’s not worth doing.

        • Zappa Frank

          a unification however may also a real pain for south korea. All counties that experienced that kind of division still have to handle with it after decades or centuries. Germany is great, but if there is a part of Germany with some problems is exactly the east part that is still not at the level of the west… in Italy is even worse, after more than 150 years of unification the south is still considered a burden money eater (actually the north-central part of Italy would be as competitive as the north Europe if it wasn’t for the south)..
          It may come a mass internal immigration from north to south, with internal racism, or on the opposite movement of factories to north due to a special treatment by government with a loss of works position in south… not talking about the government north people need that may even bankrupt korea, or the tension that result in using tax collected on south to develop north.. just to say, is not going to be easy.

          • kimjongwho

            Unification would cost lot of money for South Korea but they can get loans to build infrastructure and share some of the investment returns with other countries.

            In the long run, South Korea would have a China in it’s backyard. There’s no more need to outsource to factories in China when North Koreans are willing to undercut the Chinese….by working for food.

            Not to mention natural resources and rare materials South Korea imports.

            It’s all about execution, North Korea would be an investment South Korea needs to make wisely. The returns from it would be tremendous. Combining military of the two Koreas (after modernizing North Korea’s) would result in even a greater boost for power projection.

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        wat

      • kimjongwho

        i lol’d

      • Balkan

        Taiwan doesn’t need China? What would happen To Taiwan if the mainland Chinese government decided to economically block it?

        • http://mykafkaesquelife.blogspot.com/ Taiwan Explorer

          Haha… Taiwanese company would move the factories to Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, and the unemployment rate in China would go up. We don’t need China, they need us.

          • takasar1

            i dont think you understand the situation. a) taiwanese firms dont employ so many mainland people to the point where letting them off could not be offset by the ccp recruiting them in many different capacities to help continue the investment binge. b) taiwanese firms would be even more hurt by this, moving production isnt exactly easy, it takes time, money and guts. things which the vast majority of businesses today dont have.

          • BigpimpingBalla

            tawian didn’t made china,it was soviet union and american the who one who made china what it had become today.

      • Isaac

        Your analogy is stupid. Korea has been a singular nation for centuries united by blood and culture.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Or the opposite. The people leaving might be those that actually have the slightest idea that MAYBE the Kims aren’t gods, meaning the North is now full of people that believe the sun is farted out of Jong Un’s fundament.

  • Juche Advocate

    Fake report!

    • David Carruth

      Based on what evidence?

  • YourSupremeCommander

    China would send them right back. They have a better chance digging a tunnel to SK or getting into a raft.

  • takasar1

    yeah…i doubt anything is going to happen in north korea and i also doubt the authenticity of this report. fatty is merely consolidating power, expect to see a lot more heads roll before he feels temporarily secure

    as the idiot who thinks this may lead to re-unification and then to the subsequent ‘defeat’ of japan; do you live in a bubble? does the 1990s post-soviet collapse eastern europe mean anything to you? i’m guessing integrating the north into the south will be like clock-work, just invite them down, no worries over living space, standards, inequality, social backlash, jobs and so on. moron. even Germany struggled post reunification. in fact, regardless, korea will most likely remain ‘below’ japan in the power rankings by 2050, i doubt re-unification will do much to offset that. seems like both koreas suffer from delusion

    • TheKorean

      Noone said reunification would be easy in couple years. Reunification will boost Korean economy and military overall. Comparing Germany to Korea is like comparing apples and oranges.

      • CasualObserver

        Yes, it is like apples and oranges. Eastern Germany was far more developed and prepared for reunification than North Korea. Reunification will be a painful and expensive process for the peninsula. How it will affect the economy in the near and mid term isn’t clear. In the long term I agree with you though.

        • TheKorean

          Eastern Germany doesn’t have natural resources as North Korea has nor does it had a huge workforce that can do minimum wages. Northern Korea can be industrious like its Southern counterpart because of its geography. I think what happened in Germany will go opposite in Korea.

        • Zappa Frank

          I don’t agree, even in long term can eventually end in a bad way. As you said east Germany was more developed, but not only, even culturally where less isolated, moreover people from norh korea will likely look at the government for all they need, like is use in communist countries, while south korea is not exactly a welfare state country like Germany is. Besides the separation time is longer and deeper. It could end in a unification of territories and not of people with a north that remain always far from south…instead of a boost I could become a burden with poor people who need everything and that are not able at all to deal with the high-competitive south Korean society. Another issue is about atomic weapons, what will korea do about it?

          • TheKorean

            North Koreans can be as productive and work ethic as South Koreans or even better. Koreans in general were culturally born into societies to compete better quality of life. I don’t think you know the mentality and determination of the Korean people.

          • Zappa Frank

            I think you overestimated the so called “mentality and determination” thinking is a sort of genetic thing that somehow makes Koreans different from other humankind. After about 60years of communism I think mentality is changed, both in south and in north Korea. I base my thesis on what happened to other population after the fall of a communism system.
            By the way, “to compete better quality of life”? more richness maybe.. by what I read and see, by articles and Koreans people comments, life’s quality is not that good in korea.

  • kimjongwho

    seems like a huge backfire for kim jong un. i guess there’s still rational people in north korea. better to die trying to escape to south korea with boatload of intelligence that could seriously cripple north korea permanently than facing certain death by a child ruler.

  • holdingrabbits

    I understand these defectors are useful for information…but who else thinks they should probably also be tried for crimes against humanity?

    • FYIADragoon

      Members of Japan’s worst unit for wartime atrocities during WWII were given complete amnesty by the USA in exchange for all of their “experiment data” (some modern surgical innovations came from this, among other benefits). This was done by a country that is stuck on morality, the USA. South Korea doesn’t even pretend to have that level of conscience. None of these North Koreans will see a single thing happen to them if they have the information they say they do.

      • Balkan

        The American government and morality?!

      • takasar1

        Wow… so dad, seems government propaganda is still alive in the U.S.

  • Balkan

    I really hope that Korea will become a unified country soon. North Koreans have suffered enough and it is time for the ones who caused their suffering to answer for their crimes.

  • lesrallizes

    Hard to decipher fact from fiction with these stories; the South blamed the massacre of ROK citizens (google Bodo League massacre) during the war on the North for years until it was proven that the South (with the approval of the US) commited them. If it is true that Jang was trying to usurp Jong-un with his elder brother then Jang couldn’t really expect less than to lose his head when he was discovered…really seems doubtful that Jong-un would let people with that type of info flee so easily to China (contradicts the stories we hear about how iron-clad the North is in keeping their normal citizens, nevermind high-ranking offficials with sensitive info); once you flee the North, you don’t hang around in China (thinking of going back? think China’s happy to host you? think the South & the US state dept. wouldn’t bring them over in a heartbeat for that info? ) unless you can’t afford the airfare…if true publishing this story allows spies to make their getaway (which is why the ROK gov’t likely wouldn’t allow it if it were)…wouldn’t be surprised if the NIS created this story to fabricate more fictitious incidents that they can pin on the North (most people are still not aware that international resarchers found that the Cheonan ship sinking was not caused by the North)…would also enable them to label opposition party members/supporters as “spies”…it was confirmed that the NIS had illegally meddled in the presidential elections

  • examplesample

    Lil Kim effed up. He should have learned a lesson from his dad, or any random farmer or CEO: step on the little people, never the big guys. The powerful are not a loyal bunch, they will bite if you threaten to stop feeding them.

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