North Korea Defector Says Elite Turning Their Backs on Kim Jong Un | NBC Southern California
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North Korea Defector Says Elite Turning Their Backs on Kim Jong Un

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    AP
    In this May 10, 2016, photo, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a parade from a balcony at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. The U.S. imposed sanctions on July 6, 2016, on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and 10 other top officials for human rights abuses in an escalation of Washington's effort to isolate the authoritarian government.

    Dissent is on the rise in North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un's "days are numbered," according to the country's highest profile defector to South Korea since 1997, NBC News reported.

    Thae Yong Ho, Pyongyang’s former deputy ambassador to the U.K., said information has been seeping into the country, loosening the strict control the government has over residents.

    Wednesday was the first time Thae spoke with overseas media outlets, but he has been making media appearances since his defection. He has been giving insight about the poor, authoritarian and nuclear-armed country.

    "When Kim Jong Un first came to power I was hopeful that he would make reasonable and rational decisions to save North Korea from poverty," he said. "But I soon fell into despair watching him purging officials for no proper reason."

    He said concern about his university-aged children's future was the trigger for his defection.