N. Korea labels defected diplomat as ‘criminal’

North Korea said Saturday that South Korea had lured its Britain-based senior diplomat to defect to the Seoul government, labeling him as a "criminal."

Earlier this week, the South announced that Thae Yong-ho, who served as a minister at North Korea's embassy in London, and his family had arrived in South Korea.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a Korean dispatch monitored in Seoul that the South had convinced the criminal to defect via strategic propaganda activities and to confront the two Koreas.

Tae, known as the No. 2 man at the North's embassy, has become one of the highest-level North Korean diplomats to desert the repressive regime.

The KCNA also said that Thae is a fugitive who had embezzled state funds and sold state secrets.

Thae also raped minors and was under investigation in June for such charges, the North claimed.

Seoul's unification ministry said Thae defected because of his disillusionment with North Korea under leader Kim Jong-un and aspiration for freedom and democracy.

Concern for a better future for his children was also factored into his decision, it added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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