North Korean Diplomat Vanishes in Rome

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A high-ranking North Korean official has disappeared into skinny air in Rome, based on South Korean intelligence studies. Jo Tune Gil (his identify can also be transliterated as “Cheo Seong-Gil) was North Korea’s performing ambassador to Italy and was dwelling in Rome along with his spouse; his time period because the North Korean ambassador was set to finish in November. However on January 3, members of the Italian authorities revealed that Jo and his spouse had quietly left their official residence and had vanished, in what appears to be a high-profile defection. The couple apparently left the North Korean compound in early November and has not been formally seen or heard from since.

Members of the South Korean authorities informed reporters that Jo had gone into hiding and was being protected by the Italian authorities.

“He escaped the diplomatic compound in early November and…went into hiding,” Kim Min-ki— a lawmaker on the South Korean legislature’s intelligence committee, informed reporters on Thursday. A spokesperson from the Italian international ministry informed the Related Press that Jo hadn’t requested asylum.

North Korean officers sometimes lead very tightly managed lives when they’re posted overseas; they’re assigned to stay in official residences and are surrounded by guards. Many consider that the protections are in place to maintain them from defecting from their repressive regime. Defections from the impoverished nation are uncommon, partly as a result of the North Korean authorities additionally punishes the households of defectors and smears their popularity, calling them “human scum”. The final senior North Korean diplomat who was recognized to have defected is Thae Yong Ho, who served as a minister on the North Korean Embassy in London. Thae fled to South Korea in 2016.


Jo Served for Over a Decade In North Korea’s European Bureau

Thae Yong Ho, the North Korean official who defected again in 2016, informed South Korean tv that he had labored alongside of Jo Tune Gil for over a decade. The 2 males have been members of the North Korean International Ministry’s Europe bureau. Thae mentioned that Jo got here from a household of diplomats and that each his father and his father-in-law had served as ambassadors for the North Korean authorities.

Thae additionally mentioned that, when he final noticed Jo again in 2013, Jo had a toddler. Intelligence studies haven’t made it clear whether or not Jo and his spouse had a toddler with them once they left the North Korean compound in Rome in November.

Thae informed the AP that he had defected from his put up in London as a result of he couldn’t bear the thought of seeing his youngsters develop up below North Korea’s repressive regime. And Thae speculated that Jo could have defected for a similar purpose: “It might be troublesome for some diplomats to simply accept being referred to as again to the North after having fun with years dwelling within the free West. They might need their youngsters to stay in a unique system and obtain higher schooling,” he informed the AP.

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