Ex-N.K. diplomat Thae publicly speaks at forum

SEOUL-- Former North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho spoke at a forum in Seoul on Thursday to deliver his views on Pyongyang since he defected to South Korea last year, the event's host said.

Thae, a former minister at the North's embassy in London, took part in the forum as a panelist, which was hosted by the Institute for National Security Strategy under the country's spy agency, it added.

It marked the first time that he attended a forum publicly since he started public activities in earnest in late December.

So far, Thae has held closed-door sessions with lawmakers and press conferences and interviews with local and foreign media.

He told Yonhap News Agency in January that North Korea aims to complete development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the U.S. mainland by the end of this year or early 2018.

North Korea is accelerating its nuclear weapons and missile development as the country's leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's speech that the North has entered the final stage of preparations for the test-firing of an ICBM.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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