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.
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:
We must get our hands on the list of North Korean spies here.
Hey Kim Jong-un, you just opened Pandora’s Box.
Reporter! Your article will encourage North Korea to tighten its border patrol and prevent more North Korean residents from fleeing out of there.
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.
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.
North Korea has already began its implosion. Pyongyang’s collapse is just a matter of time.
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.
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.]
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:
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.
For our part, We need to drive away the North Korean sympathizers here in North Korea.
The list of spies must include Lee Seok-ki and Lee Jeong-hee.
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.
I think cutting the source of money will make Kim Jong-nam defect to South Korea soon.