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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

July 10, 1997

Statement by the Agency for National Security Planning on the Results of the Investigation of the Defection of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong


I am (Eom Ikk Joon) third vice director of the Agency for National Security Planning. I will now announce the result of the investigation of the defection of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong from North Korea.

Today, we are announcing the result of the investigation and holding a press conference as the first phase of the official investigation since their arrival in Seoul more than two months ago has been completed. We would like to let the public know the result of the investigation and provide an opportunity for them to listen directly to Hwang and Kim on any issue of interest.

First of all, we would like to brief you on the personal background of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong. Hwang was born on February 17, 1923 in Kang-dong, P'yngannam-do Province. He joined the Workers Party in 1946 and studied at Moscow University between 1949 and 1953.

After returning home, he was President of Kimilsung University, Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly and President of the Juche Idealogy Research Institute. At the time of his defection in February 1997, he was secretary of the Workers Party in charge of international affairs and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly.

As for his family, he has a wife, Pak Sung Ok, and one son and three daughters. He lived in a detached house in Sjang-dong, Pot'onggang-gu in P'yngyang, a district where many top officials of the party's secretariat live.

Kim Dok-hong was born on January 22, 1939 in iju, P'ynganbuk-do Province. After graduating from Kimilsung University in 1964, he worked in the university administration as an adviser until 1981 when he began to work at the Workers Party Juche Ideology Research Institute.

Since 1994, he has been deputy chief of the Office of Documents and Research of the Central Committee of the Workers Party, director of the International Juche Foundation and president of the Yogwang General Trading Company.

As for his family, he has a wife, Pak Pong Shik, and one son and three daughters. They are living with his mother in P'yngyang.

The relationship between the two began when Hwang Jang-yop assumed the post of President of Kimilsung University in 1965. From then on for the past 30 years, they had a close relationship. In order to raise funds for the Juche Ideology Research Institute, Hwang established the International Juche Foundation in February 1994 and sent Kim Dok-hong to Beijing as its responsible official. Under the disguise of the "Yogwang General Trading Company," the International Juche Foundation has pushed projects such as raising funds through contributions, brokering trade deals, and arranging family reunions for North Korean-born South Korean businessmen.

From his foothold in Beijing, Kim Dok-hong pushed the plan for their defection after receiving full authorization in July 1996 from Hwang to do so.

The motive for Hwang Jang-yop's defection is because he felt an aversion to Kim Jong-il, who is unconcerned about the severe food shortage and is preparing for war and oppressing the people, since grabbing power for all practical purposes following the death of Kim Il Sung on July 8, 1994.

Hwang is convinced that the Kim Jong-il regime must collapse as soon as possible, if we are to free our compatriots in the North from starvation and open the path to unification. While he was deploring the reality about which he could do nothing, he was criticized by the party leaders for being negligent in propagating the juche (self-reliance) ideology in a seminar held at Moscow University in February 1996. He was called in by Kim Jong-il to account for himself in May 1996. At that time, he was so disappointed and disillusioned that he thought about committing suicide, leaving a note urging the North Korean leader to abandon the policy of war and adopt openness and reform.

After he made up his mind to defect to expose to the whole world the true state of Kim Jong-il's dictatorship and North Korea's war preparedness, he discussed the matter with Kim Dok-hong. On their way home from Tokyo where they had attended an international seminar on the juche ideology, January 30-February 11, they arrived in Beijing on February 11, and sought asylum at the consular section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing on February 12.

In sum, we have come to the conclusion that an aversion to Kim Jong-il's dictatorship, pangs of conscience for having gone along with the dictatorial system and a desire to prevent another war and contribute to future development of the Korean people, all of these made Hwang decide on their defection.

Following their defection, they stayed at the consular section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing for 34 days. They were moved to Baguio in the Philippines on March 18, taking into account the Chinese wish that they go to Seoul via a third country. They arrived in Seoul aboard a special plane on April 20.

Since arriving in the Republic, they have lived in a safe house provided by the Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP) and have actively cooperated with our investigation. They have met with classmates, acquaintances, and other defectors. They have also visited industrial facilities, markets, department stores and other places and expressed a sense of pride as one of the Korean people, saying "we didn't know (the South) has developed this far, even though we have heard that the people are living well."

The ANSP, meanwhile, has undertaken a thorough investigation while providing complete measures for their safety.

The investigation was participated in by high-ranking officials who specialize in North Korean issues and has been carried out systematically and in depth with their voluntary cooperation, made possible by their psychological stability.

Meanwhile, we have cooperated with the Ministries of National Unification, Foreign Affairs and National Defense and other concerned Government agencies by providing them with requested information from the results of our investigation. In particular, we have let high-ranking officials of the concerned ministries meet directly with them and confirm matters of particular interest.

As for our ally, the United States, we have allowed U.S. officials to hold interviews and confirm the information they need, in accordance with the past custom of sharing information on North Korea with each other.

Our investigation covered North Korea's political, economic, social, military and diplomatic fields, as well as the overall situation in inter-Korean relations. Especially, we placed emphasis on North Korea's war preparedness and provocative intentions, the degree of Kim Jong-il's control of the military, as well as his confidants and policy decision-making processes, the economy, the food shortage, the strategy against the South and unification problems.

We also focused on the motive for their defection, the allegation that their defection was simply a ruse, the issue of their ideology and the so-called "Hwang Jang-yop list" (which allegedly contains the names of South Korean collaborators and people sympathetic to the Communist regime in the North) and other matters of public interest.

Hwang Jang-yop has honestly described what he directly saw, heard, felt and thought about all these years while he was within the uppermost hierarchy of power in North Korea.

The following is the results of the investigation of several matters of major concern and interest.

The first concerns the idea that Hwang's defection was simply a ruse.

In view of the grave nature of this question, ANSP conducted an elaborate investigation into the matters that might raise some suspicion, ranging from the motives for his defection, the remarks he made upon arrival in the Republic of Korea that he was neither defecting nor seeking political asylum, and the entire course of his defection from the time he made up his mind to defect through the time he carried it out. The ANSP has found nothing that would indicate that Hwang's defection is a ruse.

Next is about the shift in his political thought and ideology.

In the latter half of the 1960s, Hwang began to build the juche ideology by integrating the dialectic of Marx-Leninism and human-centered philosophical principles. However, Hwang became disillusioned and dismayed as he saw Kim Jong-il use and degrade the juche ideology in 1974 as a tool to prop up his dictatorial rule by linking it to admiration for the revolutionary leader that boils down to a personality cult for Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il. Moreover, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and of socialism in Eastern Europe, he began to recognize the theoretical errors of his own version of juche ideology and its limitations.

At the same time, as he became convinced that with the Communist regime in North Korea there is no hope of attaining the development of the nation nor of achieving peaceful unification of the fatherland. He began to long for South Korea, a free and prospering Republic. Furthermore, since he entered South Korea and confirmed with his own eyes its phenomenal development, he became firmly convinced that the Communist regime in North Korea is doomed, and he reaffirmed the failure of the juche ideology.

In conclusion, Hwang Jang-yop came to renounce the Communist dictatorial regime in the North and chose to take the road of defection to the democratic Republic of Korea. There is no need to raise a question of the genuineness of his defection any longer as he is profoundly remorseful about his past leading role in defending the North Korean regime of Kim Il-sung and his son through the juche ideology.

I will now talk about the so-called Hwang Jang-yop List.

With regard to this question, it is true that Hwang Jang-yop stated that "a considerable number of North Korean underground organizations have infiltrated into South Korean society, and I understand that reports on internal activities in the South have been submitted to Kim Jong-il."

It has been confirmed, however, that he made no remarks to any one along the line that "more than 50,000 agents are clandestinely operating in South Korea" or "I have a list of such agents." The investigation of Hwang has not yielded any such List.

On the other hand, although Hwang did not work in the North Korean agency responsible for subversive operations against South Korea, he has talked about what he heard or the knowledge he gained about the North's underground activities in the South and the Koreans from the South he contacted in P'yngyang or abroad while he was holding one high post or another in the North's hierarchy.

Accordingly, the ANSP is continuing its investigation on the basis of Hwang's statement and various other information and data kept by the authorities concerned. Of course, in accordance with pertinent laws, appropriate action will be taken against those who are found involved in subversive activities against the Republic of Korea as the result of such investigation.

Next follows the Government's position regarding the future activities of Hwang Jang-yop.

As for the treatment of Hwang, basically, the current law concerning protection of and support for the settlement of defectors from North Korea will be applied, while additional support that is appropriate in light of his ability and contribution to the cause of the Republic of Korea will also be provided.

Arrangement will be made for him to devote himself exclusively to research as he desires in order to contribute to the unification of the Korean Peninsula. Measures will be taken to ensure that he can live a stable life with a sense of pride as a citizen of the Republic of Korea.

In short, the defection of Hwang and Kim attests to the fact that North Koreas's ideological foundation built on and propped by the juche ideology over the past several decades is crumbling. As such their defection should provide a catalyst to prompt Kim Jong-il and other North Korean leaders to do soul-searching and bring about major change in the North. Their vivid testimony, I believe, will also help us read the real situation in North Korea and the true makeup and nature of the Kim Jong-il regime.

However, I hope that you all will understand our position that does not allow us to go into further details of the important information provided by them.

Fellow citizens,

Hoping that Hwang's defection will provide a turning point that will cause North Korea to renounce its policy of unifying the Korean Peninsula by force of arms and join in the tide of the times for reform and opening, I also hope that this press conference will serve to dispel groundless rumors and unnecessary speculation concerning their defection and convey to the public the true meaning of their defection to our Republic and thus help us to correctly grasp the reality facing our national security.

With that, I would like to conclude the announcement on the results of the investigation into the defection of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong.

Thank you.


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