The son of the U.S. soldier that defected to North Korea after the Korean war has died last year after 50 years in the hermit kingdom. From The Guardian:
James Joseph Dresnok was among a handful of American servicemen to desert following the Korean war, crossing the heavily fortified demilitarised zone in 1962.
He went on to appear in North Korean propaganda films and was believed to be the last US defector in the country, the others all having died or been allowed to leave.
In a video interview posted on the state-run Uriminzokkiri website, Ted and James Dresnok, his two sons, confirmed their father had a fatal stroke in November last year.
“Our father was in the arms of the republic and received only the love and care of the party until his passing at age 74,” said Ted Dresnok, the elder of the two.
In the video, Dresnok and his brother wore a Korean People’s army uniform, adorned with a badge depicting the North’s founder Kim Il-sung and his son and successor Kim Jong-il.
Both men were born in North Korea and spoke Korean with a heavy northern accent.
“Our father asked us to render devoted service to our great leader Kim Jong-un,” said Ted Dresnok, who also goes by the Korean name Hong Soon-chol.
If war breaks out, he said, “we will not miss the opportunity and wipe the land of the US from the earth for ever”.
Tensions have been mounting in the region since Pyongyang tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) last month that appeared to bring much of the US within range.
That sparked a volley of threats between Pyongyang and Washington, with the US president, Donald Trump, warning of bringing “fire and fury” on the North while Pyongyang threatened to fire a salvo of missiles towards the US territory of Guam.
“We have our dear supreme commander Kim Jong-un. If he is by our side, our victory is certain,” said James Dresnok, who also goes by his Korean name Hong Chol, in the video posted on Friday.
The late James Dresnok, known as Joe, crossed a minefield at 21 to reach North Korea, after his wife divorced him and he was reportedly about to be court martialled.
He was the subject of a British documentary, Crossing the Line, in 2006 and expressed satisfaction with his life in Pyongyang, whose citizens enjoy better standards of living than those elsewhere in the isolated country.
He also told CBS that he would not leave even if “you put a billion damn dollars of gold on the table”.
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