North Korean defector warns pre-emptive USA strike would trigger 'automatic retaliation'

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"We cannot change the policy of terror of the Kim Jong-un regime, but we can educate the North Korean population to stand up by disseminating outside information", he said. They have called for the implementation of the so-called "double-freeze" initiative, which envisages North Korea suspending its nuclear and missile program in exchange for the US and South Korea abandoning military exercises in the region.

North Korea once held public executions to try to stop people there from smuggling in South Korean dramas that they watched purely for entertainment.

Thae fled his post as deputy North Korean ambassador in London previous year and has spent his time since publicly criticizing the regime from his new home in the South.

A rare high-level defector from North Korea told US lawmakers on Wednesday that disseminating more information in the reclusive country would ultimately be more effective than the billions of dollars being spent to address the military threat.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a military parade on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un. He predicted a citizen uprising fueled by dissatisfaction and knowledge of the outside world if the regime does not change-something he said the US government should focus on.

Trump previously threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the USA was forced to defend itself or its allies.

"North Korean officers are trained to press their button without any further instructions from the general command if anything happens on their side", he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

While South Korean content helps North Koreans see the difference in their standard of living, the programs are made for South Korean audiences.

Thae recommended using all available nonmilitary options, particularly information campaigns.

Mr. Thae said Washington should enforce sanctions and distribute information inside North Korea in order to challenge the regime's propaganda and turn people against Kim.

"Do we have military options in defense for attack, if our allies are attacked?"

Some have looked to China, North Korea's chief trading partner, as a way to pressure Pyongyang.

Mr. Trump, who has threatened the "total destruction" of the North, is due to visit South Korea on a five-nation tour of Asia which starts on Friday, November 3.

"If we are determined to use and expand our soft power, I can think one day we can reach the same goal we achieved with former Soviet Union and those former East European socialist countries", he said. It also follows the Tuesday agreement between China and South Korea regarding the issue with the THAAD system in South Korea.

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