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North Korean defectors seek to create political party

Kim Seong Min, founder of Free North Korea Radio, who was elected as a co-chair of the tentatively named Inter-Korean Reunification Party, speaks during a conference of party promoters at the Federation of Korean Industries building in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Kim Seong Min, founder of Free North Korea Radio, who was elected as a co-chair of the tentatively named Inter-Korean Reunification Party, speaks during a conference of party promoters at the Federation of Korean Industries building in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)



North Korean defectors living here are pushing to create a political party that protects their rights and interests.

On Tuesday, some 200 defectors launched a preparatory committee for establishment of the tentatively named Inter-Korean Reunification Party during a conference of party promoters at the Federation of Korean Industries building.

“We are trying to create a political party that can represent the equivalence and difference between South and North Korean people,” the party said in a statement. The party seeks to give defectors a voice in unification policies, it added.

Ahn Chan-il, president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies, Kim Seong-min, founder of Free North Korea Radio, Kim Heung-kwang, founder and director of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, and two others were elected as co-chairs of the party.

Earlier this month, Thae Yong-ho, who was North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom before defecting to South Korea in 2016, announced he would run in the April general elections under the conservative Liberty Korea Party, which has merged to become the Party for Future Integration.

More than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South since 1996.

(hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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