Ex-colleague urges missing N Korea envoy to come Seoul

6 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

SEOUL: A former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South urged an ex-colleague missing in Italy to come and settle in Seoul Saturday, as the rare asylum bid makes global headlines, reports AFP.

Jo Song Gil, the North’s acting ambassador to Rome, went into hiding with his wife in November and is seeking asylum, according to Seoul’s intelligence authorities. It would be the first high-profile defection of a North Korean diplomat since 2016 when the then deputy ambassador to London, Thae Yong Ho, switched sides to settle in Seoul.

Jo has not contacted Seoul’s spy agency since he went into hiding, suggesting he was seeking asylum in a third country in the West, possibly the US, according to several media reports.

But Thae, who said he once worked with Jo at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, wrote an open letter urging his ex-colleague to come to the South instead and work together to help the two Koreas reunify.