Translation by Tong Kim
Fellow; Washington correspondent and columnist for The Korea Times
Kim Jong Un's Grand Strategy and His Ultimate Goal
Jong Ho Ri
Former Senior Economic Official, Office 39, North Korea
My name is Jong Ho Ri. I worked for 30 years at North Korea's Workers Party
Office #39. I defected to South Korea in October 2014. While working at the
Office #39, I set up the Daeheung Group's shipping company, and I served as its
president and CEO for 7 years. In 2007, former Chairman Kim Jong Il of the
National Defense Commission appointed me as Chairman of the Board of
Directors for the General Corporation for Geumgang Economic Development, and
I served in that capacity for one year. Afterwards, until my exile in October 2014,
I served as the general manager of the Dairen Branch of the Daeheung Group that
belonged to the Office #39, providing special advice to the regime on economic
development. I received several medals, including the title of a workers' hero,
which is the highest medal in North Korea. I also received a master's degree in
As for the motivation of my defection, I saw Kim Jong Un's brutal execution of
his uncle and his aunt and hundreds of high level officials who dedicated their life-
long service to his father and the country. He killed them and their families and
even their children mercilessly by the firing of an anti-aircraft gun that left no
traces of the victims. I saw continuing acts of barbarianism. And almost every day
I saw ranking officials and ordinary people being taken away to a political
prisoners camp. They were driving the people into fear and trepidation. Among
those ranking officials and ordinary people who were either brutally executed or
sent to the prison camp were several of those whom I personally knew, and friends
of my children.
After witnessing these cruel acts of barbarism, I concluded that there was no hope
for the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong Un. This was my motivation for defection
in search for freedom.
I lived in South Korea for one year. After settlement there, I felt it was dangerous
for me to carry out any activity. In March 2016, I came to the United States in
Today, I would like to speak on the significance of President Trump's and Vice
President Pence's capturing of the North Korean human rights issue that had been
slighted on the backburner.
President Trump said at the recent State of the Union address and at a breakfast
prayer meeting that no other regime in the world than the tyrannical North Korean
regime cruelly oppresses its own people. He highlighted the regime's brutality
and its abuses of human rights. He invited nine North Korean defectors to the
White House to listen to their stories, showing a great interest in the issue of North
Korean human rights.
Vice President Pence also met with North Korean defectors to confirm the
horrible human rights situation in the North, and he called the regime in North
Korea a prison state, which confines, tortures and starves its people. He called on
the world to know the truth of North Korea.
There is no respect for human rights in North Korea. The people don't even know
what human rights are. Therefore, it is greatly significant that the importance of
human rights was underscored.
First, the fact that President Trump and Vice President Pence exposed the cruel
characteristic of the North Korean regime and they met with the defectors gave the
people in the North hope and confidence, while dealing a fatal blow to the regime.
They were separating the people from the brutal, tyrannical regime.
The North Korean human rights issue represents a crime against humanity,
committed by the dictator's order, direction, and organization. The United Nations
committee on North Korean human rights concluded that the regime is the worst
since the Nazis.
Second, President Trump's capturing of the North Korean human rights issue
from hiding carries a strong message that we should rescue 25 million North
Korean people from the yoke of tyrannical oppression as soon as possible.
Third, President Trump has shown his strategic intent, through a two -prong
approach, to resolve the North Korean issues by highlighting the human rights
issue in addition to maximum pressure against the North. The human rights issue
can be used as a powerful weapon.
Human rights are based on a universal value, and their abuses constitute a crime
against humanity. Advocacy for human rights is broadly supported in the United
States and the world. The human rights issue can become one of the strongest
weapons to resolve the North Korean issue.
Next, I am going to talk about Kim Jong Un's tactical intent of participation in the
PyeongChang Olympics and about the prospect of what could happen after the
Kim Jong Un has been driven into a crisis without an exit due to the efficacy of
sanctions, military pressure and diplomatic isolation. He is in a serious state of
situation with no hope of survival. North Korea's claim that they can survive
sanctions with the force of self-reliance is a 100% lie.
His decision to participation in the PyeongChang Olympics and his attempt to
have an inter-Korean summit are a highly calculated deceptive tactic designed for
an exit from such a crisis. His tactic is also to interfere with the PyeongChang
First, Kim's reason for participating in the Olympics and his interest in dialogue,
hiding his true threatening traits and making gestures of appeasement, lies in a
fundamental objective of finding a breakthrough to his crisis from sanctions. He is
trying to take advantage of South Korea as a shield.
Until a few months ago, Kim Jong Un threated to turn South Korea and the United
States into seas of fire, frantically conducting missile and nuclear tests. As his
situation was becoming worse by sanction pressures, he started making gestures.
He invited President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang. He sent his sister and North
Korea's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam to attend the opening ceremony of
the PyeongChang Olympics. His actions show how serious is the crisis he is in.
Second, Kim Jong Un's decision to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics and
to respond to dialogue is to use the South Korean President as a shield against an
imminent preemptive strike by the United States, and to earn time to complete his
missile and nuclear programs. Kim is fearing a U.S. preemptive strike. The fear of
a preemptive strike is widely spread equally among the elites and the general
population. Therefore, Kim Jong Un is using tactics of trying to take advantage of
the South Korean people and use them as a shield against an imminent preemptive
strike. Behind the Olympics, North Korea's nuclear and missile programs will
Third, Kim Jong Un also dispatched an art performance troupe of beauties and a
cheering squad of beauties to the PyeongChang Olympics. This too is a deceptive
tactic. Their only purpose is to conceal the regime's evil nature and to interfere
with the PyeongChang Olympics, and to turn the PyeongChang Olympics into a
Kim Jong Un sent hundreds of beauties as members of the art troupe and a
cheering squad in a psychological warfare of smiles and sentiments to appeal to
South Koreans, hiding the true evil nature of the North Korean regime. They are
using the stage of the PyeongChang Olympics for a platform of Pyongyang's
festivity, thereby interfering with the PyeongChang Olympics. In 1988, North
Korea exploded a South Korean passenger airliner in the air in order to interfere
with the 88 Seoul Olympics.
Fourth, Kim Jong Un knows that his situation will be very dangerous even after
the Olympics. He will make all out efforts to make a hole to the sanction regime,
by exploiting the president and the government of South Korea. Depending on the
situation, he will take the South Korean people as a hostage or continue to launch
threatening provocations. As we can see it, Kim Jong Un's card in participation in
the Olympics and engagement in dialogue is not genuinely for peace but a
While I thank President Trump and Vice President Pence for meeting the North
Korean defectors and for showing a great interest in the North Korean human
rights issue, I would like to make a few proposals.
First, I hope that the Trump administration strongly promote the human rights
issue, as with the sanctions regime, government-wide and internationally so as to
eventually resolve the North Korean issue.
The U.S. government is working hard to expose the brutality of the tyrannical
regime in North Korea and to find a solution to this grave issue. However, the
South Korean president keeps his eyes, ears and mouth closed to the brutal nature
of the tyrannical North Korean regime and to the human rights issue.
The people in North Korea, just like the people in the South, want to be free from
oppression and to enjoy freedom and live happily. If the South Korean president
hold hands with the North Korean dictator, it will bring more pains and death to 25
million North Korean people, who are yearning for liberation and freedom. This
must be stopped.
Second, the sanctions regime carried out by the Trump administration is the
toughest ever, that we had never seen. Kim Jong Un who is struggling in a crisis is
attempting to undermine the sanctions by using President Moon Jae-in.
If the president and government of South Korea join in Kim Jong Un's deceptive
tactics of making a hole to the sanctions regime and disrupt the unified effort of the
international community, apply a secondary boycott immediately. Investigate
whether South Korea had secretly provided funds and materials under the pretext
of the PyeongChang Olympics and dialogue.
Third, in order to curb a continuing increase of the dangerous nuclear arsenal, and
to prevent the hardship of the people from the sanctions, please expedite the
military option that will remove the nuclear button. If you cannot stop the
continuing North Korean nuclear program today, South Korea and the world will
be the brutal leader's nuclear hostages tomorrow. Time is running out.
To minimize the danger of a preemptive strike that can bring about a quick
solution, psychological warfare will be effective for the removal of the nuclear
button from within by the North Korean people.
The Korean peninsula is not a peaceful place. For decades, millions of military
soldiers are facing off, aiming their guns at each other, waiting for a last battle that
will determine the fate of the peninsula.
Fourth, even if Kim Jong Un proposes a freeze on his nuclear and missile
programs and a gradual political solution, that will be only to avoid the sanctions
and such a proposal will be a 100% deception. Do not be deceived.
The North Korean dictatorial regime's diplomacy is based on the strategy and
tactics of deception. For the past 25 years, North Korea signed many international
agreements, including the Agreed Framework, only to cheat them, continuing to
advance their nuclear program behind the scene. The North Korean constitution
and the Workers Party convention clearly stipulate Byungjin (a parallel pursuit of
increasing their nuclear arsenal and economic development). The denuclearization
of North Korea will absolutely not be possible, unless Kim Jong Un is removed.
Kim Jong Un is attempting to stay in power for a long time. We don't now when
he is going to bring up the threat of his nuclear weapons. North Korea is a closed
state. If they hide nuclear weapons underground, there is no way to find them.
Fifth, the idea of a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue through
dialogue is like "hitting the rock with an egg."
The North's nuclear program is directly linked to Kim Jong Un's survival.
Dialogue, even 100 rounds of talks, will not produce a desirable result that we
want. Kim Jong Un is the third generation in the regime's dynastic succession of
power. He is dreaming of staying in power for 50 more years. He wants to keep the
dynastic system forever. For the protection of its system, North Korea does not
allow opening, continues its reign of terror, and deprives the people of freedom. It
is a prison state.
President Moon has four years left of his office. If he holds a summit meeting
with Kim Jong Un, how could Moon provide an assurance for Kim's long-term
rule? North Korean diplomatic strategy is for deception. They take what's sweet,
reject what's bitter. Carrots do not pay off. They respond to dialogue only when
they need it.
In the past, Presidents Kim Dae Jung and Rho Moo Hyon gave a lot of funds only
in return for a useless paper of agreement, only extending the life of the North
Korean regime and driving the South Korean people into a more dangerous
situation. In conclusion, any dialogue for a resolution to the nuclear issue should
be allowed only after the Kim dynasty system is replaced.
This page last updated February 20, 2018 jdb
Translation by Olivia Lee, Daughter of Jong Ho Ri
Kim Jong Un's Grand Strategy and His Ultimate Goal
Jong Ho Ri
Former Senior Economic Official, Office 39, North Korea
My name is Ri Jong-ho. I worked in Office 39 of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party
for 30 years. I served as CEO of Daehueng Group, which is one of the main group of Office 39,
for seven years. Appointed by Kim -Jong il in 2007, I served as chairman of KKG, which is belong
to the National Defense, for one year. Before defecting to South Korea on Oct. 2014, I run the
Dalian, China, branch of a North Korea Daehueng trading company while involving national
development of North Korea as a special adviser. I received many honors including the Hero of
Labor Award, the highest civilian honor in North Korea.
My motive for exile is - by watching that Kim Jong-un brutally executed his uncle and aunt
and hundreds of high-raking officials including my friends who were loyal to his father and
dedicated whole life to the country - I felt fury and thought that there was no hope under his
dictatorship. Therefore, I defected with my family on Oct.2014 to South Korea and came to
America as an exile because South Korea was not safe for us to stay and work.
Today, I would like to start with regarding the significance of the capturing by
President Trump and Vice President Pence on the importance of human rights issue. In fact,
human rights are not respected in North Korea, and residents live without even knowing what
they are. Therefore, it is important to emphasize the North Korean regime's cruelty and human
First, that President Trump and Vice-president Pence highlighted North Korea human rights
issue and met the North Korean defectors will give hope to the oppressed North Korean and
deal a deathblow to the dictator. The human rights suppression in North Korea is conducted
under the dictator's order and instruction. The message of President and Vice-president will
separate the residents from the brutal dictator.
Second, human rights issue is a superweapon. Human rights issues in North Korea are
crimes against humanity, therefore, will receive widespread support not only in the United
States but also around the world. It can be the most powerful means to solve problem.
Next, I would like to talk about the tactical intention of Kim Jong-un to participate in
Pyeongchang Olympic and prospects after the Pyeongchang Olympic.
Kim Jong-un is in a crisis under the strongest-yet sanctions, military pressure, and
diplomatic isolation. North Korea claims that they can survive in sanctions deepening on their
own efforts, but it is 100% lie. North Korea's participation in Pyeongchang Olympic and trying to
have summit meeting with South Korea is a highly disguised tactics to escape from the crisis
and disturb Pyeongchang Olympic.
The first purpose that Kim Jong-un is, hiding his nature of evil, took part in the Pyeongchang
Olympics with an appeasement policy is to overcome the crisis of sanctions against North Korea
using South Korea. Until a few months ago, Kim Jong-un threatened that he would turn South
Korea and the U.S. into seas of flame with continuing to conduct nuclear and missile test.
However, as he faced crisis because of sanctions, he sent his sister and Kim Yong-nam for
joining Pyeongchang Olympic and invited President Moon to Pyongyang. This explains the
seriousness of the crisis that Kim Jong-un is in.
The second purpose of Kim Jong-un to participate Pyeongchang Olympic is that he is trying
to by time to compete his nuclear and missile programs utilizing South Korea president as a
shield against the impending first strike. Kim Jong-un is afraid that the U.S. will launch a
The third purpose of Kim Jong-un that sending cheerleaders and the artists to Pyeongchang
Olympic is to mask his nature of evil and make the Olympic a Pyongyang Festival. The hundreds
of artists and beauty cheerleaders, who were sent by Kim Jong-un, took advantage of the
opportunity to turn the Olympic into a North Korean propaganda venue for Kim Jong-un and
the regime and break the Olympic atmosphere.
Lastly, the critical situation of North Korea will continue after the Pyeongchang Olympic, so,
Kim Jong un won't stop to create a hole in sanctions by exploiting South Korea Government and
the public. Depending on the circumstances, North Korea could hold South Korean hostage and
continue its threatening provocations.
As such, North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympic and the dialogue propose
are not purely peaceful purpose, but disguised tactics.
I appreciate that President Trump and Vice-president Pence met defectors who are
under-privileged and show great interest in North Korean's human rights - as North Korean
who knows the inside well - I would like to suggest several ideas to the White House and the
First of all, I hope that the Trump Administration can eventually resolve the
North Korean human rights issue by strongly pushing it on a government-wide and
international-wide like sanctions.
The U.S. government has highlighted human rights issue of North Korea by addressing the
atrocities that Kim Jong-un has committed and tries to do its best to solve it. However, the
president of South Korea, closes his eyes, mouth, and ears regarding the human rights issue in
North Korea and the brutality of Kim Jong-un, only tries his best to impress the dictator. North
Koreans, like South Koreans, want to escape from the dictator's pressures and enjoy his or her
freedom and happiness. But if South Korean president goes hand in hand with the dictator, it
will lead the 25 million North Koreans who long for liberation to great pain and death. It should
Second, the sanctions that Trump's administration imposed were the strongest
that have never been done before. That's why Kim Jong-un is trying to create a hole in
sanctions using President Moon Jae-in.
If the South Korean president and the government attempts to corporate with Kim Jong-un
to make a hole in sanctions and destroy the concerted effort of the international community,
please not to hesitate to apply the secondary boycott at South Korea. It is needed to be
investigated whether South Korea provided funds and materials to Kim regime under the
ground using the Olympic and the dialogue as an excuse - it is very likely because North Korea
didn't take any action unless it was paid in the past.
Third, it is desirable to proceed quickly with military options to remove nuclear
buttons to prevent the increasing risk of North Korean nuclear and further suffering of
residents due to sanctions on North Korea.
If we fail to stop the ongoing nuclear program today, tomorrow will be more dangerous and
South Korea and the world will be a hostage of the brutal dictator. I'm pressed for time. We
don't have much time left. A containment offensive which can minimize risk and a psychological
warfare against North Korea which can lead the insiders to remove its nuclear button by
themselves would be the most effective military options. The psychological warfare against
North Korea is a strategy to win without bleeding. The Korean Peninsula is not a peaceful place
at all, but a dangerous place. The Korean Peninsula has been in a state of truce for decades,
millions of soldiers confronting each other, it is unavoidable to shoot it out one day as long as
Kim regime exists.
Fourth, even if Kim Jong-un proposes to freeze nuclear and missile development
and close the nuclear gradually, it would be a 100 percent trick to avoid harsh sanctions.
Hence, the U.S. should not believe him.
The diplomatic strategy of the North Korean dictatorship is a false tactics. North Korea has
made a lot of agreements with the international community, including the Geneva Agreed
Framework, over the past 25 years, but it has lied and has continued to develop nuclear and
missile programs. It is also impossible to solve the nuclear issue until Kim Jong-un is replaced
because the North Korea's Labor Party constitution and doctrine specify development of
nuclear weapon. And importantly, it is not clear when Kim Jong-un will bring up his nuclear
weapons as he tries to stay in power for long term. North Korea is a closed country, so it cannot
be found if nuclear weapons are hidden in underground caves.
Fifth, resolving North Korea nuclear issue through dialogue is like hitting a rock
with an egg.
Since the North Korea's nuclear program is directly linked to the survival of Kim Jong-un,
hundred times of dialogues cannot produce the desired outcome. This is because Kim Jong-un
took his power by his third generation of heredity and dreams of a more than 50 years long
term power. He did not open the country to maintain his power, and he took away the people's
freedom with a reign of terror, making it a huge prison country. There is nothing that President
Moon who has 4 years left in his term can insure Kim Jong-un who wants to be in power over
50 years. Kim regime only receives whatever sweet and discard whatever bitter, and only takes
the carrots that provided and never give the result that provider wants in return. The North
Korean dictator only raises dialogue when he needs it. Therefore, the dialogue between
President Moon and the dictator will only prolong the life of dictator and put South Korean in
more danger, which Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun did in the past. The bottom line is that
talks on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue are certainly possible when the Kim dynasty is
This page last updated February 20, 2018 jdb