News

No. 152 / July 21, 1997

Hwang Jang-yop Holds Press Conference To Explain Why He Defected from North Korea


I. Introduction
II. Remarks by Hwang Jang-yop to the People
III. Statement by the Agency for National Security Planning on the Results of the Investigation
IV. Questions and Answers at the Press Conference
V. Highlights of the Decision to Defect
VI. Chronology of Major Events Leading to the Defection

Hwang Jang-yop, 74, former secretary of the North Korean Workers Party, and his aide, Kim Dok-hong, 58, president of Yogwang General Trading Company, came to the Consular Section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing on February 12, 1997, and requested political asylum.

They arrived in Seoul on April 20 after staying in the ROK Consulate in Beijing for 34 days and in the Philippines for 33 days. Since the first phase of the investigation by the ROK Government authorities, including the Agency for National Security Planning, has been completed, they held a press conference on July 10 to explain why they defected and express their opinions on inter-Korean relations.


I. Introduction

1. Outline

Hwang Jang-yop, 74, former secretary of the North Korean Workers Party in charge of international affairs, and his aide Kim Dok-hong, 58, president of Yogwang General Trading Company, came to the Consular Section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing on February 12, 1997, and requested political asylum.

They stayed in the ROK Consular Section in Beijing for 34 days before leaving for the Philippines on March 18. They stayed in Baguio in the Philippines for another 33 days and arrived in Seoul aboard a special plane on April 20. Since their arrival in the Republic of Korea, they have lived in a safe house provided by the Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP) and have actively cooperated in the investigation. They also met with classmates, acquaintances, and other North Korean defectors and toured industrial facilities, markets and department stores.

While providing them with complete safety, the ANSP interrogated them on North Korea's war preparations and the present state of politics and the economy. The ANSP also asked them the questions the public generally want to know.

With regard to the future activities of Hwang and Kim, the Government will provide them with necessary support in accordance with the act for the protection of North Korean defectors and their settlement and with their ability and contribution.

In accordance with their wishes to contribute to peaceful unification of the country, the Government also plans to help them so that they can conduct research on unification.

2. Personal History

HWANG JANG-YOP (74)

Permanent Address in North Korea Ihyon-ri, Ch'ongnyong-myn, Taedong-gun, P'yongannam-do Province
Residence in North Korea No. 10 dong, Sojang-dong, Pot'onggang District, P'yongyang (district for party secretary-level officials)
Birth Was born on February 17, 1923 in Kangdong, P'yongannam-do Province. His father, Hwang Pyong-dok, a scholar of Chinese literature, died in 1972. His mother, Li Tok-hwa, died in 1958. He is the last of two sons and two daughters.
Profession Secretary of the Workers Party in charge of international affairs and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly.

Education and Career

December 1941 Graduated from Pyongyang Commercial School (five-year high school).
February 1944 Quit the Law School of Chuo University in Tokyo, after two years. Employed as a mathematics teacher at P'yongyang Commercial School.
November 1946 Joined the Workers Party.
October, 1949-November 1953 Studied at Moscow University.
January 1954 Head lecturer in philosophy at Kim Il-sung University.
January 1958 Secretary in the Secretariat of the Workers Party General Secretary.
April 1965 President of Kim Il-sung University.
December 1972 Chairman of the Supreme People's Congress (for 11 years).
October 1979 Secretary of the Workers Party in charge of Science Education and head of the Juche Ideology Research Institute.
April 1984 Secretary of the Workers Party in charge of foreign affairs and head of the Juche Ideology Research Institute.
January 1988 President of the Juche Ideology Research Institute, President of the Party History Research Institute and Workers Party secretary in charge of the office of documents.
December 1993 Secretary of the Workers Party in charge of foreign affairs and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly.
December 1995 Director of the International Juche Ideology Foundation.

Family

Wife: Pak Sung-ok, 65 They met while he was studying at Moscow University and she was a censor at the foreign language publishing company. They have one son and three daughters.
Eldest daughter: Hwang Son-hi, 44 Graduated from the Language and Literature Department of Kim Il-sung University; lecturer at the Kim Hyong-jik University of Education.
Son-in-law: Kim Chong-wook, 46 Graduated from the philosophy department of Kim Il-sung University. President of the Juche Ideology Academy.
Second daughter: Hwang No-sun, 41 Graduated from P'yongyang Medical University. Head of the Immunology Research Institute.
Son-in-law: Yun Chol-su, 43 Graduated from Kim Il-sung University. Head of the executive division of the Kim Il- sung Socialist Youth League.
Third daughter: Hwang Sun-ok, 34 Graduated from P'yongyang Medical University. Physician (on leave) at the Medical Research Institute of the University.
Son-in-law: Park Chol, 38 Graduated from Kim Il-sung University. The first director of the Office of the Council, the Foreign Ministry.
Son: Hwang Kyong-mo, 33 Former researcher at the Juche Science Institute.
Daughter-in-law, 30 Niece of Chang Song-taek, brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il.

Overseas Travel and Citations

Hwang has traveled to Russia, China, Japan, India, Vietnam, Cuba, Brazil, Denmark, and other western European countries as the chairman of the Supreme People's Congress and President of the Juche Foundation.

He has received the top Kim Il-sung Award twice (on the 60th and 70th birthday of Kim Il-sung) and the Order of Labor.

KIM DOK-HONG (58)

Permanent Address in North Korea Uiju-up, P'yonganbuk-do Province (precise address unknown)
Residence in North Korea No. 5001, 11-pan, 6-ho-dong, Ch'anggwang-dong, Chungguyok, P'yongyang
Birth Was born on January 22, 1939 in Uiju-up, P'yonganbuk-do Province. His father, Kim Sok jun has died, and his mother, Chang Kum-ju is 79. He is the first son among three sons and five daughters.
Profession President of Yogwang General Trading Company and deputy chief of the office of documents of the Central Committee of the Workers Party.

Education and Career

1950 Graduated from the elementary school of Uiju, P'yonganbuk-do Province (Currently, Uiju First People's School)
1954 Graduated from First Uiju Middle School
1958 Graduated from Uiju High School
1961 Discharged from the 3191 Unit of the People's Security Guards as a sergeant (Served for two years and six months)
October 1964 Graduated from Kim Il-sung University
October 1964 An academic adviser in the Instruction Department of Kim Il-sung University
1981 Deputy director of the General Affairs Division of the Juche Ideology Institute of the Workers Party
February 1994 Deputy chief of the office of documents of the Central Committee of the Workers Party; Director of the International Juche Ideology Foundation and President of Yogwang General Trading Company. (Yogwang General Trading Company is a front for the International Juche Foundation)

Family

Wife: Pak Pong-shik, 55 She was an official at the External Service Bureau of the Administration Council and they had an arranged marriage. They have one son and three daughters who are living in P'yongyang with his mother.
Mother: Chang Kum-ju, 79 Dependent
Son: Kim Mun-chol, 31 Adviser in the Public Security Bureau of P'yongyang city
Daughter-in-law: Kim Young-ae, 29 Sales woman at the general food store in the Moranbong district of P'yongyang
First daughter: Kim Mun-hee, 35 Adviser in a company under the Party Heavy Industry Division
Son-in-law: Shin Sung-jin, 35 Graduate of Kim Il-sung University. Adviser in the Railway Safety Department
Second daughter: Kim Myong-hee, 29 Student at P'yongyang University of Communism
Son-in-law: Choi Myong-ho, 31 A graduate of P'yongyang University of Foreign Studies. Editor at the Foreign Language Publishing Company
Third daughter: Kim Chung-hee, 26 Graduated from P'yongyang University of Commerce. Clerk at Haebangsan Inn

Foreign Travel and Citations

Since 1984, Kim has traveled to Laos, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Switzerland and other countries to inspect councilors in charge of juche (self-reliance) ideology in the North Korean embassies.

From November 1994, while staying in China, he returned to North Korea for about 10 days every month.

He has received the national award, first grade, the Order of Labor and many other awards.

Relationship with Hwang Jang-yop

Kim's close relationship with Hwang Jang-yop began when Hwang was appointed president of Kim Il-sung University in April 1965.

In order to raise funds for the Juche Ideology Research Institute, Hwang established the International Juche Ideology Foundation in February 1994, appointed Kim Dok-hong as its regional head and sent him to Beijing.

Using the Yogwang General Trading Company as a front, the International Juche Ideology Foundation solicited contributions from ethnic Koreans overseas, brokered trade, and arranged family reunions of North Korea-born South Korean businessmen.

Taking advantage of his position in Beijing, Kim was authorized in July 1996 by Hwang to push his plans to defect and seek political asylum in the Republic of Korea.

3. Motives for the Defection

Since Kim Jong-il grabbed power in the wake of the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, in July 1994, he has ignored the suffering of ordinary people caused by the severe food shortage and has stepped up preparations for war against the South and the oppression of North Korean citizens. Hwang felt extreme aversion to Kim Jong-il's rule.

Hwang thought that the Kim Jong-il regime has to collapse as soon as possible if the North Koreans are to be freed from the threat of starvation and the way for unification is to be opened. He felt powerless, however, in the face of the reality in North Korea.

Meanwhile, after he was criticized by the party brass for being negligent in propagating the juche (self-reliance) ideology at a seminar held at Moscow University in February 1996, Hwang was called in by Kim Jong-il to account for himself in May 1996. Hwang was so disappointed and disillusioned that he thought about committing suicide leaving a note urging the North Korean leader to abandon his policy of war and adopt openness and reform.

He then decided to defect from the North in order to expose to the world the state of the dictatorship of Kim Jong-il and the war preparations and dedicate the rest of his life to working for unification of the country. He discussed his defection plans with Kim Dok-hong.

On February 11, he arrived in Beijing after having attended an international seminar on juche ideology in Tokyo (January 30-February 11). Instead of returning home, along with Kim Dok-hong, he went to the Consular Section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in the Chinese capital and sought political asylum on February 12.

In sum, the motives for the defection of Hwang and Kim were a combination of extreme aversion to Kim Jong-il's dictatorship, pangs of conscience for having gone along with the dictatorship, and a resolution to prevent another war in Korea and contribute to the development of the Korean people.


II. Remarks by Hwang Jang-yop to the People

First of all, I would like to thank the Government and people of the Republic of Korea from the bottom of my heart for taking such good care of us and supporting us.

Since we arrived in Seoul on April 20 until today, we have truly learned many things in a new environment. We feel as though we have graduated from a major university.

The people we have met, without exception, were warm and kind like real brothers; they were excellent teachers who have led us by the hand in each and every instance.

Because of the nature of my job in the past, I have visited many foreign countries and have some knowledge of the state of development in the South. However, the reality of the Republic of Korea which we have personally seen and heard went far beyond our imagination.

While observing the reality of the Republic's development that is shining throughout the world, I could not help but express my heartfelt respect to our compatriots in the South who have created a historic miracle, overcoming all kind of difficulties in such a short period of time.

We feel sorry over the fact that only two of us are able to witness such epochal change accomplished by our people. Along with a strong urge to show it to our compatriots in the North as soon as possible, we feel rage at the deceitful character of the North Korean rulers who are continuing to slander and malign South Korea, describing it as a place where people cannot live.

Although the North Korean rulers are clamoring that they have built up a nation for workers and farmers, the workers and farmers are now deprived of the basic right of existence due to starvation and poverty. Even the mountains and rivers, which are famous for their beauty, have lost their vitality and are being devastated.

The sad reality of North Korea is entirely the result of the wrong political system, the criminal policy for unification by arms and the anti- people leadership.

North Korea's political system is a one-man dictatorship of its "Great Leader." The regime, the party and the military, all of these are the personal possession of the Great Leader. Even the people and the nation are said to belong to the Great Leader. The North Korean rulers have put blinders and gags on the people and are demanding that they think and act in accordance with the will of the Great Leader alone.

To hide the real state of their inhuman and ugly regime, the North Korean rulers insist on a policy of national isolation; to save the Great Leader's personal dictatorship, they are forcing their stripped and hungry people to prepare for war and are building up a personality cult.

This is a criminal act that cannot be understood or found anywhere in the world. North Korea's personal dictatorship, which has plunged North Korean society into a living hell by resorting to medieval violence and brazen, deceitful tactics, has to be liquidated.

As I said in my arrival statement on April 20, I have come to the Republic of Korea in order to warn about the danger of an armed invasion of the South by the North and to contribute to the peaceful unification of our country.

While clamoring for peaceful unification, the North is pursuing unification by arms to thoroughly obliterate the South. Saying that they can only trust weapons and the military, they have concentrated on preparing for war.

The North's preparedness for war goes beyond imagination; North Korean society is permeated by a war atmosphere.

There are few in North Korea who really feel the danger of an invasion of the North by the South. Those who are clamoring about an invasion by the South know what they are saying is a lie.

Nonetheless, the North Korean ruler is not making visits to factories and rural villages where workers and farmers are starving, but is instead only visiting military units and exhorting troops to become human bombs to exterminate the enemy and defend the leader.

Today, in North Korea there is no longer a self-supporting economy; all that remains is the military.

There are now only two options that the North Korean ruler can choose. One is for him to admit the failure of the political system he has pursued and shift onto the road toward reform and opening. The other alternative is for him to risk provoking a new war by mobilizing the military he relies on and thus take the criminal path.

Given the fact that he continues to vainly boast that he will bring down imperialism and stick to the red flag of revolution to the end, it is obvious that he has no intention to choose the road to reform and opening and is pursuing the path to war.

It is a grave historical lesson that the only way out for a military dictator who has increasingly strengthened the military is to provoke war. Working within the ruling hierarchy of the North Korean regime for numerous years, I acutely experienced first-hand the warlike intention of the regime's rulers. I could not help but agonize in pain at the thought of the tragedy that might befall all Koreans if war were started again.

We, who were disappointed at the reality of North Korea and had hopes and expectations in South Korea, felt pangs of conscience in the belief that it would be a crime of betrayal against the nation that gave us life if we stood idly by and did not inform our compatriots in the South of the danger of possible war. This thought prompted my resolve to go to the South, even though I had to leave everything behind me.

I believe that if the North's invasion of the South succeeded, the result would be that the South which should play a leading role in unifying the Korean Peninsula--not the North that started war--would have to face greater blame before the Korean people and history.

I am firmly convinced that it is necessary for all Koreans to be firmly united and thoroughly prepared if we are to prevent the impending war and safeguard freedom and peace and thus assure all our people of a safe and brilliant future.

The more I come to witness the enormous difference between the South and the North--a difference as wide as the skies and the earth--the more pain I feel for our North Korean compatriots who are experiencing misfortune, and the more I think of my past mistake of serving the dictators who have led North Korea to the misery it faces today the more remorseful I feel.

I keep telling myself that I should not allow myself to be contented with the warm reception and splendid life the Republic of Korea Government as well as my compatriots in the South have accorded me and forget even for a moment the agony and misfortune that our North Korean compatriots are undergoing.

Together with all those who are resolved to share their good fortune and devote their lives to the task of liberating our compatriots who are suffering under the anachronistic military dictatorship in the North and with the support and encouragement of our compatriots in the South, I once again pledge before all of you, the people of this nation, that I will devote my all, with an indefatigable spirit, to preventing war and achieving peaceful unification on the basis of democracy.


III. Statement by the Agency for National Security Planning on the Results of the Investigation

I am (Eom Ikk Joon) third vice director of the Agency for National Security Planning. I will now announce the result of the investigation of the defection of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong from North Korea.

Today, we are announcing the result of the investigation and holding a press conference as the first phase of the official investigation since their arrival in Seoul more than two months ago has been completed. We would like to let the public know the result of the investigation and provide an opportunity for them to listen directly to Hwang and Kim on any issue of interest.

First of all, we would like to brief you on the personal background of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong. Hwang was born on February 17, 1923 in Kang-dong, P'yongannam-do Province. He joined the Workers Party in 1946 and studied at Moscow University between 1949 and 1953.

After returning home, he was President of Kim Il-sung University, Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly and President of the Juche Ideology Research Institute. At the time of his defection in February 1997, he was secretary of the Workers Party in charge of international affairs and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly.

As for his family, he has a wife, Pak Sung Ok, and one son and three daughters. He lived in a detached house in Sojang-dong, Pot'onggang-gu in P'yongyang, a district where many top officials of the party's secretariat live.

Kim Dok-hong was born on January 22, 1939 in Uiju, P'yonganbuk- do Province. After graduating from Kim Il-sung University in 1964, he worked in the university administration as an adviser until 1981 when he began to work at the Workers Party Juche Ideology Research Institute.

Since 1994, he has been deputy chief of the Office of Documents and Research of the Central Committee of the Workers Party, director of the International Juche Foundation and president of the Yogwang General Trading Company.

As for his family, he has a wife, Pak Pong Shik, and one son and three daughters. They are living with his mother in P'yongyang.

The relationship between the two began when Hwang Jang-yop assumed the post of President of Kim Il-sung University in 1965. From then on for the past 30 years, they had a close relationship. In order to raise funds for the Juche Ideology Research Institute, Hwang established the International Juche Foundation in February 1994 and sent Kim Dok- hong to Beijing as its responsible official. Under the disguise of the "Yogwang General Trading Company," the International Juche Foundation has pushed projects such as raising funds through contributions, brokering trade deals, and arranging family reunions for North Korean-born South Korean businessmen.

From his foothold in Beijing, Kim Dok-hong pushed the plan for their defection after receiving full authorization in July 1996 from Hwang to do so.

The motive for Hwang Jang-yop's defection is because he felt an aversion to Kim Jong-il, who is unconcerned about the severe food shortage and is preparing for war and oppressing the people, since grabbing power for all practical purposes following the death of Kim Il Sung on July 8, 1994.

Hwang is convinced that the Kim Jong-il regime must collapse as soon as possible, if we are to free our compatriots in the North from starvation and open the path to unification. While he was deploring the reality about which he could do nothing, he was criticized by the party leaders for being negligent in propagating the juche (self-reliance) ideology in a seminar held at Moscow University in February 1996. He was called in by Kim Jong-il to account for himself in May 1996. At that time, he was so disappointed and disillusioned that he thought about committing suicide, leaving a note urging the North Korean leader to abandon the policy of war and adopt openness and reform.

After he made up his mind to defect to expose to the whole world the true state of Kim Jong-il's dictatorship and North Korea's war preparedness, he discussed the matter with Kim Dok-hong. On their way home from Tokyo where they had attended an international seminar on the juche ideology, January 30-February 11, they arrived in Beijing on February 11, and sought asylum at the consular section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing on February 12.

In sum, we have come to the conclusion that an aversion to Kim Jong-il's dictatorship, pangs of conscience for having gone along with the dictatorial system and a desire to prevent another war and contribute to future development of the Korean people, all of these made Hwang decide on their defection.

Following their defection, they stayed at the consular section of the Republic of Korea Embassy in Beijing for 34 days. They were moved to Baguio in the Philippines on March 18, taking into account the Chinese wish that they go to Seoul via a third country. They arrived in Seoul aboard a special plane on April 20.

Since arriving in the Republic, they have lived in a safe house provided by the Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP) and have actively cooperated with our investigation. They have met with classmates, acquaintances, and other defectors. They have also visited industrial facilities, markets, department stores and other places and expressed a sense of pride as one of the Korean people, saying "we didn't know (the South) has developed this far, even though we have heard that the people are living well."

The ANSP, meanwhile, has undertaken a thorough investigation while providing complete measures for their safety.

The investigation was participated in by high-ranking officials who specialize in North Korean issues and has been carried out systematically and in depth with their voluntary cooperation, made possible by their psychological stability.

Meanwhile, we have cooperated with the Ministries of National Unification, Foreign Affairs and National Defense and other concerned Government agencies by providing them with requested information from the results of our investigation. In particular, we have let high-ranking officials of the concerned ministries meet directly with them and confirm matters of particular interest.

As for our ally, the United States, we have allowed U.S. officials to hold interviews and confirm the information they need, in accordance with the past custom of sharing information on North Korea with each other.

Our investigation covered North Korea's political, economic, social, military and diplomatic fields, as well as the overall situation in inter- Korean relations. Especially, we placed emphasis on North Korea's war preparedness and provocative intentions, the degree of Kim Jong-il's control of the military, as well as his confidants and policy decision- making processes, the economy, the food shortage, the strategy against the South and unification problems.

We also focused on the motive for their defection, the allegation that their defection was simply a ruse, the issue of their ideology and the so- called "Hwang Jang-yop list" (which allegedly contains the names of South Korean collaborators and people sympathetic to the Communist regime in the North) and other matters of public interest.

Hwang Jang-yop has honestly described what he directly saw, heard, felt and thought about all these years while he was within the uppermost hierarchy of power in North Korea.

The following is the results of the investigation of several matters of major concern and interest.

The first concerns the idea that Hwang's defection was simply a ruse.

In view of the grave nature of this question, ANSP conducted an elaborate investigation into the matters that might raise some suspicion, ranging from the motives for his defection, the remarks he made upon arrival in the Republic of Korea that he was neither defecting nor seeking political asylum, and the entire course of his defection from the time he made up his mind to defect through the time he carried it out. The ANSP has found nothing that would indicate that Hwang's defection is a ruse.

Next is about the shift in his political thought and ideology.

In the latter half of the 1960s, Hwang began to build the juche ideology by integrating the dialectic of Marx-Leninism and human-centered philosophical principles. However, Hwang became disillusioned and dismayed as he saw Kim Jong-il use and degrade the juche ideology in 1974 as a tool to prop up his dictatorial rule by linking it to admiration for the revolutionary leader that boils down to a personality cult for Kim Il- sung and his son, Kim Jong-il. Moreover, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and of socialism in Eastern Europe, he began to recognize the theoretical errors of his own version of juche ideology and its limitations.

At the same time, as he became convinced that with the Communist regime in North Korea there is no hope of attaining the development of the nation nor of achieving peaceful unification of the fatherland. He began to long for South Korea, a free and prospering Republic. Furthermore, since he entered South Korea and confirmed with his own eyes its phenomenal development, he became firmly convinced that the Communist regime in North Korea is doomed, and he reaffirmed the failure of the juche ideology.

In conclusion, Hwang Jang-yop came to renounce the Communist dictatorial regime in the North and chose to take the road of defection to the democratic Republic of Korea. There is no need to raise a question of the genuineness of his defection any longer as he is profoundly remorseful about his past leading role in defending the North Korean regime of Kim Il-sung and his son through the juche ideology.

I will now talk about the so-called Hwang Jang-yop List.

With regard to this question, it is true that Hwang Jang-yop stated that "a considerable number of North Korean underground organizations have infiltrated into South Korean society, and I understand that reports on internal activities in the South have been submitted to Kim Jong-il."

It has been confirmed, however, that he made no remarks to any one along the line that "more than 50,000 agents are clandestinely operating in South Korea" or "I have a list of such agents." The investigation of Hwang has not yielded any such List.

On the other hand, although Hwang did not work in the North Korean agency responsible for subversive operations against South Korea, he has talked about what he heard or the knowledge he gained about the North's underground activities in the South and the Koreans from the South he contacted in P'yongyang or abroad while he was holding one high post or another in the North's hierarchy.

Accordingly, the ANSP is continuing its investigation on the basis of Hwang's statement and various other information and data kept by the authorities concerned. Of course, in accordance with pertinent laws, appropriate action will be taken against those who are found involved in subversive activities against the Republic of Korea as the result of such investigation.

Next follows the Government's position regarding the future activities of Hwang Jang-yop.

As for the treatment of Hwang, basically, the current law concerning protection of and support for the settlement of defectors from North Korea will be applied, while additional support that is appropriate in light of his ability and contribution to the cause of the Republic of Korea will also be provided.

Arrangement will be made for him to devote himself exclusively to research as he desires in order to contribute to the unification of the Korean Peninsula. Measures will be taken to ensure that he can live a stable life with a sense of pride as a citizen of the Republic of Korea.

In short, the defection of Hwang and Kim attests to the fact that North Koreas's ideological foundation built on and propped by the juche ideology over the past several decades is crumbling. As such their defection should provide a catalyst to prompt Kim Jong-il and other North Korean leaders to do soul-searching and bring about major change in the North. Their vivid testimony, I believe, will also help us read the real situation in North Korea and the true makeup and nature of the Kim Jong- il regime.

However, I hope that you all will understand our position that does not allow us to go into further details of the important information provided by them.

Fellow citizens,

Hoping that Hwang's defection will provide a turning point that will cause North Korea to renounce its policy of unifying the Korean Peninsula by force of arms and join in the tide of the times for reform and opening, I also hope that this press conference will serve to dispel groundless rumors and unnecessary speculation concerning their defection and convey to the public the true meaning of their defection to our Republic and thus help us to correctly grasp the reality facing our national security.

With that, I would like to conclude the announcement on the results of the investigation into the defection of Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok- hong.

Thank you.


IV. Questions and Answers at the Press Conference

Hwang Jang-yop and Kim Dok-hong held a press conference at the Agency for the National Security Planning on the morning of July 10. Hwang read his message to the people of the Republic of Korea before answering questions from members of both the Korean and foreign press.

QUESTION: Since your arrival in Seoul, have you heard about the so-called Hwang Jang-yop list?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Yes, I have.

QUESTION: You must have been questioned by the Government authorities. Have you answered about the Hwang Jang-yop list factually? If you did, could you tell us what you told them?

HWANG JANG-YOP : One of the basic North Korean policies on the Republic of Korea, which has not changed over the past 50 years, is to force the collapse of the South internally. The second is to unify the country by arms. In the Workers Party alone, there are many departments that handle affairs of the South, such as the United Front Department and the Social and Cultural Department which are working openly and other departments that manage underground organizations. In addition, there is the operations department in charge of infiltration and a department that collects information. There are many departments.

I was not one of the supervisors; however, such work has become common knowledge as they are carried out through various processes. And I have also picked up a considerable number of stories. Hence, I have not gone as far as to say that there is a list. But I told them within the limit of what I knew.

These are issues that I should not mention here because they have to be correctly confirmed.

QUESTION: Could you tell us about North Korea's determination and ability to carry out a war?

HWANG JANG-YOP : It is a very tough question. That war will eventually and inevitably break out, at some time, has become common knowledge (in the North). Since I am not the commander-in-chief, I can't know whether it will be an all-out war or a limited war. Presumably, however, it will be an all-out war. As for timing, all international and domestic conditions will be taken into consideration. I think it will occur when preparations for the internal collapse of the South and an armed invasion occur simultaneously. I presume that North Korea will provoke a war when the situation in the South becomes complicated or chaotic and when the South's allies are dividing their strength for events in other parts of the world.

QUESTION: In your article entitled, "Choson Problems," you said North Korea has the means of war to reduce the South into a heap of rubble. Could you elaborate?

HWANG JANG-YOP : It is well prepared for war. It can produce weapons 100 percent on its own. All military facilities are underground. It isn't too much to say that the entire territory of North Korea has been fortified. As for specific weapons, I do not know because I am not a specialist.

The "Choson Problems" article was not written for publication, but I wrote it nevertheless to sound a warning about the danger of war. The Republic of Korea should not take this lightly. I have not seen a nuclear weapon personally. We may be able to know five years from now through a special inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But that North Korea has a nuclear weapon has become common knowledge. It cannot be proved. But wouldn't it be a good idea to work out measures assuming that there is a nuclear weapon?

QUESTION: In view of Kim Jong-il's personal disposition, what are North Korea's decision making processes?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Just because Kim Jong-il has not appeared in public often and delivered speeches does not mean that he is an inarticulate speaker. Moreover, he is healthy. I have heard that he was injured when he fell during horse riding; but I don't know well. As for his personal life, I am not very much interested in it. The point is that it is important to oppose the Kim Jong-il regime, to oppose his policy toward the South, and to oppose his ideology. Aren't we able to understand Kim Jong-il through these? His policies and ideas are what matters. Trivial things like he likes to eat hot food are not worth discussing here.

QUESTION: How do North Korean intellectuals feel about Kim Jong-il?

HWANG JANG-YOP : There is no way of knowing what they think about Kim Jong-il because they keep their mouths, eyes and ears shut. I believe that on the whole, those who know what's going on outside their country are not supporting Kim Jong-il.

The reason Kim Jong-il is saying that there is none but the military that can be trusted, is because the people are kept in complete darkness.

Just because there is no demonstration or strike in North Korea does not mean everybody is supporting Kim Jong-il. You should know North Korea is unlike any other country in the world.

QUESTION: Please tell us about your ideological conversion, which has been a matter of debate here.

HWANG JANG-YOP : You should consider what it means that I came to the South after abandoning the North and that North Korea is calling me a traitor. I do not stand on either side in order to lie. Why should I lie when there is little time left for me to live? Legally speaking, when I changed my nationality from the North to the South, it means asylum. However, we cannot think of our fatherland apart from the people and land. It is simply that I have come to my fatherland, which is the Republic of Korea. We should realize that North Korea's land and people are ours, too. I had already abandoned Marxism in the 1960s and made an ideological conversion. I could no longer be patient with (North Korea's) continuing insistence on pursing wrong things when all were heading for openness and reform. I thought I would be a traitor of the people if I kept shouting "Hurray!" in the wrong places.

However, there is no change in the humanism which I have been espousing. It is only that I have been agonizing over how to realize the idea. In this respect, my ideological conversion is still continuing.

QUESTION: Please explain to us the real limitations and errors of juche ideology.

HWANG JANG-YOP : It is difficult to touch on the juche ideology here. It was not formed by me. I only started attaching philosophical meaning to the idea. It is true I have written about it. However, it was done on orders of the Workers Party, and there has been no change in the fact that the base of my philosophy is humanism. I cannot explain humanism in detail on such an occasion as this, which is not a place for debate. Moreover, I am not a socialist, nor do I believe that after capitalism will come socialism. There is nothing that lasts in this world. At present, I am studying the issue of an ideal society, but I cannot talk about it in detail here.

QUESTION: You said the motives for your defection were to sound a warning about a North Korean invasion of the South and to contribute to efforts for unification of the country. How do you propose to contribute to peaceful unification?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I have to give myself a little time. I am studying how to contribute to peaceful unification, with the help of my brothers. I will demonstrate how through action later.

QUESTION: You said there is a strong possibility of a North Korean provocation. How do the people in the North Korean inner circle judge the possibility of their victory?

HWANG JANG-YOP : They are talking about destruction of the South with one retaliatory blow if the South launches an invasion. Moreover, generally speaking, it is an unshakable and unchanging policy that war must be fought once more at any rate. Because of this policy, all the work, including building a house or a road, are being carried out for the purpose of fighting a war.

I do not know well what the people think about war but since they are being educated in a completely sealed society, most of them believe what the authorities tell them, with a few exceptions. In particular, members of the military believe in nearly everything they are told. They also believe that they will win without fail if war breaks out.

QUESTION: When they say they will fight a war, do they mean there is a danger or is it 100 percent certain that there will be war?

HWANG JANG-YOP : That they will wage war is an unchanging policy. It may not occur, however, depending on internal and international circumstances. However, if war breaks out, I believe, it will clearly be the end of General Kim Jong-il. Since it is a policy of genocide, it has to be blocked at any cost. That is why I could not sit still in the North and came, instead, to the South. The possibility of war cannot be measured in 100 percent, 50 percent and so forth. However, it is their basic policy that a war will have to be fought at least once.

QUESTION: In a letter reportedly written before your defection, you said South Korea must not only be better prepared to meet an armed invasion by the North, but also the South Korean armed forces, as well as the Agency for National Security Planning, must be strengthened. Did you actually write the letter yourself. What led you to write such a letter? Did Kim Dok-hong or anybody else assist you in writing it?

HWANG JANG-YOP : That letter which I wrote describes all those things that I had seen in all those years in North Korea and how I felt about them. North Korea, with its economy in shambles and its ideological basis becoming wobbly, is likely to resort to war and, to my frustration, my compatriots in South Korea appear not to be concerned at all. The North is sending its operatives into the South to disrupt the authorities here, but the South seems to have forgotten the painful experience in the past and remains at ease. Moreover, demonstrations and labor strikes continue to take place in the South, which made me angry. From talking with those in the North in charge of subversive operations against the South, I learned the fact that North Korean agents frequent the South as if entering their own homes. Those in power in North Korea will not sit idly by watching South Korea which is well off. It is important for the South to be prepared to face war staged by the North. More important is for the South to ferret out subversives within. Because of close surveillance, I had intended to have "my brother" [meaning his confidante, Mr. Kim Dok-hong, who was with him at the press conference] deliver the letter to South Korean leaders, but the letter somehow became known to the public.

QUESTION: North Korea is said to be facing a serious food shortage. How serious is it? What effect is food aid from outside having on the Kim Jong-il's regime? What about the possibility of that regime's collapse?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Some people seem to think that I came to the South to obtain food aid for the North. Frankly, however, I do not like to talk about the food crunch in the North. You must all have learned about how grave the North's food shortage is. In spite of the food aid, hunger has reduced children in North Korea to skin and bone. Did you ask me if I think the North Korean regime will crumble? Is there any such regime that would endure endlessly? The Kim Jong-il regime will cave in, though it depends on how we wage our struggle.

QUESTION: Have you ever heard anything about forces in the North that are opposing the Kim Jong-il regime?

KIM DOK-HONG : The North Korean regime is using food supply as a principal means of keeping people under its control. Anyone in the North cannot help but starve to death if the regime cuts food rations to him or her. Food rationing is one of the regime's ways of maintaining its grip on people in the North. The food supply is skimpy even in P'yongyang. Except for P'yongyang, North Korea is now paralyzed by the food shortage. As a result, the regime is finding it hard to keep up its rigid control of the people.

QUESTION: There is a rumor that Kim Jong-il is preparing to go into exile. What about that?

KIM DOK-HONG : I have never heard of such a rumor. Why should he seek exile? His ambition is to unify the Korean Peninsula by force of arms. Now that international Communism elsewhere has collapsed, he believes that North Korea is the bastion of international Communism and he regards himself as the world leader of Communist movements.

North Korea at the moment belongs to one person, Kim Jong-il. The Party and the State belong to Kim Jong-il alone. The military has become his private troops and the people his slaves. With a twisted anachronistic stress on loyalty, he demands people be absolutely loyal to him.

With their freedom curbed and creativity numbed, people in the North cannot live decently. Hence the North has deteriorated into a mendicant country. The economy is in shambles and the people in dire distress. Increasingly beefing up its militarism, the regime is threatening to reduce the South to ashes.

QUESTION: How would you describe Kim Jong-il's interest in and control over the North Korean military?

HWANG JANG-YOP : When a political regime has come to the point where it has only the military to depend on to prop up and prolong its life, the regime is near an end. Although the people in the North can now move around freely from one city or province to another without a permit as the food shortage has worsened and economic self-reliance has crumbled, the military remains under strict control. Kim Jong-il wields power over the military which he can mobilize to start war. The military in the North is placed under Kim Jong-il's control so that it follows his orders unconditionally, whatever it may be.

KIM DOK-HONG : North Korea's agricultural production for last year was its lowest ever. In an attempt to cope with the food shortage, the regime has introduced a three-phase approach: the first-phase calls for the people to resolve the food shortage on their own; the second-phase calls for workplaces to help ease the food shortage for their workers and the last-phase calls on the state to tackle the food problem as a last resort if all else fails.

However, given the fact that the present militarist dictatorship in North Korea continues to oppose any move to reform, open up and democratize, there is no knowing when the food shortage can be resolved. In this age, how can one imagine that people are actually dying of hunger? In a country where people work from dawn to night, seven days a week, without rest even on holidays, why is it that the natural environment and the economy continue to deteriorate? Kim Jong-il, who is deifying himself as an absolute ruler and is preparing to unleash war and thus drain the North's limited resources, should be condemned in the name of all Koreans. Seeing a withering North Korea and a prospering South Korea that continues to develop under its political system, I decided to go to the South.

QUESTION: When do you think Kim Jong-il will formally take over power?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I expect that he will assume the helm sooner or later now that the three-year mourning period for Kim Il-sung is over. The junior Kim may delay the takeover somewhat to avoid the hot season. The takeover may well take place within this year, though it may take place next year.

I do not expect Kim Jong-il's succession to power in the North to bring about any fundamental change in relations with the South. The reason is that the North Korean regime's basic policy stance will not change at all. The North will continue its policy aimed in principle at isolating and causing South Korea to disintegrate from within or unifying Korea by force of arms. Once war starts, the North will ignore all agreements made with the South.

QUESTION: Why do you intend to once again study the juche ideology?

HWANG JANG-YOP : When it comes to the juche ideology, I am much to be blamed. My juche ideology differs from the one North Korea is advocating. In other words, my ideological theory has been abused and deliberately misused by the North Korean regime. I have never ever condoned a personality cult.

I want to resume my study of the juche ideology because this ideology has had an effect on many people in the world and also because I want to help correct the misunderstandings that some people in the South have of the ideology. It is my desire that through study I may be able to help bring freedom to people in the North, lead the North onto the road to reform and opening and eventually help achieve unification.

QUESTION: It is said that there is a confrontation going on between hard-liners and soft-liners in North Korea. Will you give us some details?

HWANG JANG-YOP : The North has no such factions as hard-liners and soft-liners. Please, read the situation there correctly. Some might think that in the North the military is a hard-line faction and people like me are of a moderate faction. There can be no such different factions. It is groundless to say that I left the North as a result of conflict between hard-liners and moderates. The North is under a one-man dictatorship that does not allow any factions, not even the concept of factions.

QUESTION: What is your personal view as to when and how unification of the Peninsula can be attained?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Unification must be achieved. As the first step to that, the present North Korean regime must collapse so that the North can move to reform and opening. Subsequently, exchanges between the South and North must be allowed, but people in the North and the South should not be allowed to move their residences to the other side. Otherwise, as in the case of Germany, the South will have to foot an enormous bill--that is the cost of unification.

Of course, the South should provide the North with some assistance in view of the food shortage. However, the North should be able to manage since people there are willing and capable of working diligently as long as they have enough to eat. If the South provides the North with capital that is being exported elsewhere, unification will be advanced to within the next 10 years.

QUESTION: According to some reports, you intended to defect while you were in Japan, but then gave up the plan because of tight surveillance. Is that correct? If so, what exactly was the reason?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I decided to defect as early as July of last year. I had thought that Japan was a handy place for me to carry it out. However, I found it well neigh impossible to do so there; although if I had succeeded, I would have been able to reach South Korea quite soon. Therefore, I gave up.

QUESTION: Who would you say is a pivotal figure in making and implementing North Korea's foreign policy? Is it Kim Jong-il?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I have often been asked a similar question before. There is no one who has real power regarding North Korea's foreign policy. Simply because one stands at the forefront does not necessarily mean that one has real power. I led all activities pertaining to the juche ideology for 20 years, but I did not have real power over that ideology. The one who holds real power in all this is Kim Jong-il and nobody else. If he is placing his confidence in someone today, he will shift it to someone else tomorrow.

QUESTION: By now you have lived in Seoul for some two months since you arrived in the city. Are you pleased with your life in Seoul? How different is the Seoul you see with your own eyes from the Seoul that you imagined in the North?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I have visited many places. I thought South Korea has developed remarkably. Life here is so good, I worried if my resolve [to warn the South against the danger of war being staged by the North] might evaporate. I had been to Seoul several times before liberation. I was very much surprised at the way the natural sights and urban areas have been transformed and the rural, farm communities have changed. I wish people of the North could see all this with their own eyes. The difference between what I imagined in the North and what I actually see here is as great as that between the skies and the ground.

QUESTION: Do you think the South is the ideal place in which to work for the prevention of an armed invasion from the North and to achieve peaceful unification?

HWANG JANG-YOP : I don't think I clearly understood your question. Anyhow, South Korea is also my fatherland. The question as to whether the South is a proper place or an ideal place is irrelevant. While in Beijing, I thought that I would rather die in that city if the Chinese authorities told me to defect to a third-party country. The point is that to me South Korea is my fatherland, too. Should I have been forced back to the land under Kim Jong-il's control or sent to a foreign country?

KIM DOK-HONG : There is no way out for North Korea under Kim Jong-il's dictatorial rule. I came here to alert people in the South to the possibility of imminent war. If malaria threatens to spread from the North to the South, people in the South should take appropriate preventive measures. When the South is fully prepared like that, war can be averted.

QUESTION: Is there any debate in North Korea about whether to move to reform and opening, and if there is to what extent? How big is the number of those who advocate reform and opening?

KIM DOK-HONG : You must see how it really works in North Korea. North Korea is a country that belongs to and is run by Kim Jong- il alone. It is a monolithic regime whose policies and policy lines are all decided by Kim Jong-il himself. There cannot be any factions. If anyone criticizes his policies, he is sent to a political concentration camp or even risks execution.

However, the trend in the world community shows that an open society will survive whereas a closed society will be doomed. Those North Koreans who are closely watching international developments, those who make overseas trips and even some ranking figures are aware of that trend which they think needs to be heeded. How many there are and whether and how they discuss their thinking, I have no way of knowing.

QUESTION: What is North Korea's attitude to South Korean firms' bid for joint ventures in the North and to economic cooperation between the South and the North?

KIM DOK-HONG : North Korea does not like to see South Korean goods, even candy, shipped into the North directly from the South, but would rather have it brought into the North via the International Red Cross Society. The North wants to avoid any possibility of waves of capitalism flowing in and the wind of freedom blowing in from outside. The North, which is threatening to turn the South into a sea of fire, does not like the South to invest in the North.

Recently, however, the North seems to be trying to appear to the international community to be opening its door somewhat, though such moves are being made on a highly selective basis under strict control. Still, the North will likely never open up. Opening and reform will bring an end to the dictatorial regime in the North. Kim Jong-il knows that well.

QUESTION: Do you have any particular person or persons in South Korea you would like to meet with to talk about unification of the Korean Peninsula?

HWANG JANG-YOP : None particularly.

QUESTION: Reports have it that North Korea's energy shortage is so serious that there are workers who cannot go to work because they are unable to commute. How high is the rate of capacity utilization in the North?

KIM DOK-HONG : The food shortage in the North is so serious that not only are many people unable to go to work, but more gravely many are starving, some even to death. The energy shortage is also so grave that most of those living in apartments in P'yongyang have no heating during winter. Many wear fur caps, sweaters and arctic boots to bed. Even then their rooms are so cold they can hardly sleep. They nevertheless have to visit and pay homage with a flower to the statue of Kim Il-sung in the morning.

QUESTION: You must be missing your families you left behind in the North. How do you cope with loneliness?

HWANG JANG-YOP : When I think of my family in the North it virtually breaks my heart. I feel guilty for leaving my family to possible death. My family's life is more important than my life, but the life of this nation is even more important than the lives of my family members.

QUESTION: Do you regard yourself as a defector to the South? Do you think that the Republic of Korea's food aid to North Korea through international organizations should continue?

HWANG JANG-YOP : In what other way can I define myself? I came to the South for the sake of all Korean people. I came here because I regard South Korea also as my fatherland and because I believed that the South gives hopes for the future of this nation.

I witnessed the food shortage in the North and was involved in North Korea's food policy. The situation there is really painful. Although politics involves many factors, my position is that the provision of food assistance must be entrusted to the government authorities one way or another.

KIM DOK-HONG : My brother [Kim calls Hwang "elder brother" according to Korean tradition although they are not related] decided to go to South Korea, motivated by his agony over ideology and a sense of guilt as a member of the North's ruling hierarchy. Beginning in the early 1970s, he opposed the theory of class struggle. It is only natural that one son of a mother can become well off while another son of the same mother does not do as well and likewise some people of a nation can be better off than others. It is the mother's desire to help both of her sons live well as she loves them both. My brother has always been against class struggle in which one part tries to bring down the other part that is much better off, as if it were a deadly enemy.

In the North, we belonged to those who are better off. We lived in deluxe houses and our children could study as much and as long as they wanted. Then why did we choose to come to the South? To warn the South against the possible outbreak of war and work to help establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

QUESTION: Is North Korea bold enough to unleash an invasion into the South, an invasion that might well lead to the collapse of the North Korean regime?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Although nothing has been officially made known, there are some within the North Korean regime who believe that if the North attacks Japan with chemical weapons and destroys U.S. cruisers and other naval vessels by dispatching suicide squads when war is started on the Korean Peninsula, U.S. intervention can be prevented. However, there are also some others who fear that if a full-scale war breaks out on the peninsula, U.S. intervention could lead to the collapse of the North Korean regime.

QUESTION: Would you explain what exactly is your idea about the unification of the Korean Peninsula?

HWANG JANG-YOP : Many people are apprehensive about the cost of unifying the Peninsula. If the North undertakes reform and opening, its economy should be able to come close to that of the South in about 10 years.

KIM DOK-HONG : Only when peace on the Korean Peninsula is assured by the international community, can the North and the South implement economic exchange. The economic disparity between the South and the North must be narrowed if the adverse impact following unification is to be reduced.

Ideological, political and cultural homogeneity must be restored between the South and the North because they have long had systems and institutions that are different from each other. Otherwise, rebellions would break out after unification, making the situation worse than it would be without unification.

QUESTION: Would you tell us about your daily life in the South?

HWANG JANG-YOP: I go to bed early and rise early in the morning. I used to skip breakfast, but after I came here I began to eat some breakfast since I was strongly urged to do so. I like children's story books. I have read 30 volumes of such books since I arrived in Seoul. I spend most of the day writing and rewriting my manuscripts. I take a walk for about half an hour each morning.

QUESTION: Why is North Korea bent on war preparations while it is experiencing economic hardship and a food shortage?

HWANG JANG-YOP : During the past five decades, North Korea has in fact devoted most of its time and resources to making war preparations. The North has built many times more facilities underground than above ground. Backed up by these facilities, the North's design is aimed at launching a blitzkrieg. It is obvious that a prolonged war would be disadvantageous to the North, given its limited economic capability and the likely participation of South Korea's allies in such a war. Knowing that, the North is working out a scenario of a lightning war to achieve its goal before the South's allies join the war. The North would drop a bomb on Seoul even if it would be defeated in the end. Then what should be done to prevent war? First of all, thorough preparations must be made to counter war. You need to take a strong, resolute stance to a trouble- maker. U.S. President Kennedy's unflinching showdown with Soviet leader Khrushchev prevented a nuclear war. The kind of attitude that if they are going to put up a fight, we are ready to meet it is necessary.


V. Highlights of the Decision to Defect

Hwang who was disappointed and disillusioned by the situation in the North was criticized by Kim Jong-il in May 1996. He then decided to defect and help alert the South to war preparations made by the North and contribute to unification of the Korean Peninsula. Since then he has drawn up plans to defect together with Kim Dok-hong.

Around November 1996, Hwang conveyed his intention to defect to a certain South Korean businessman who developed and maintained close business relations with Kim. Hwang was assured of maximum support and safety.

Hwang planned to defect in February 1997 when he was attending an international seminar on juche ideology held between January 30, 1996 through February 11, 1997 in Tokyo, Japan. He withheld the plan as he found surveillance by the Choch'ongnyn, the pro-P'yongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, too tight.

Along with other members of the North Korean delegation to the seminar, Hwang left Narita International Airport near Tokyo at 2:55 p.m., February 11 as scheduled via CA-926 flight and arrived in Beijing, China, at 6 p.m., the same day. He stayed at the North Korean Embassy residence overnight.

Hwang and his delegation were scheduled to leave Beijing by train to P'yongyang on the morning of February 12, arriving at 4 p.m. However, Hwang and Kim Dok-hong, who joined him at the North Korea Embassy, went out in a chauffeur-driven automobile belonging to the Beijing Office of North Korea's Juche Foundation under the pretext that he wanted to purchase a birthday gift for Kim Jong-il.

After arriving at a department store in Beijing, Hwang and Kim got away from the watchful eyes of the chauffeur and took a taxi to the Consular Section of the South Korean Embassy in Beijing at approximately 10 a.m. where they sought political asylum.


VI. Chronology of Major Events Leading to the Defection

Date Event
January 30, 1997 Hwang arrives in Japan to attend an international seminar on juche (self-reliance) ideology
January 31 Hwang visits the Central Office of Choch'ongnyn, the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan
February 4 Hwang delivers a speech at a meeting in Japan of an international relations research society
February 7-9 Hwang participates in an international seminar in Tokyo, Japan on juche ideology
February 11 Hwang leaves Tokyo and arrives at Beijing
February 12 10:00 a.m.: Hwang, together with Kim Dok-hong, goes to the Consulate Section of the South Korean Embassy to seek political asylum

11:30 a.m.: The South Korean diplomatic mission in China telephones China's Foreign Ministry to notify them of Hwang's request for political asylum

5:30 p.m.: The South Korean Government publicly announces Hwang's bid for political asylum

February 13 North Korea's Foreign Ministry announces that the North would retaliate if the South had abducted Hwang

China's Foreign Ministry issues a statement urging all parties involved to refrain from taking any rash, reckless action

Kim Ha-joong, Special Assistant to the South Korean Foreign Minister, pays a visit to the Chinese Foreign Ministry to ask for cooperation

February 14 The Foreign Ministers of South Korea and China confer with each other in Singapore over Hwang's request
February 15 The South Korean Ambassador to China, Chung Chong-wook, calls on Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Tang Jiaxuan to request cooperation
February 17 The North Korean Foreign Ministry issues a statement saying, "if a traitor wants to leave, let him leave"
February 19 South Korea-China negotiations on Hwang's case temporarily suspended because of the death of China's paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping
March 7 Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen says that after an investigation, China will address Hwang's case in accordance with international law and practices and in such a way as to be conducive to stability and peace on the Korean Peninsula
March 8 The South Korean Government notifies the Chinese Government of its willingness to have Hwang and Kim Dok-hong stay in a third country for a month or longer
March 14 Chinese Premier Li Peng in a press conference claims China's jurisdiction over Hwang's case, noting that Beijing does not recognize diplomatic asylum in China
March 15 South Korea-China working-level negotiators virtually agree to transfer Hwang and Kim Dok- hong to the Philippines
March 18 Hwang and Kim are flown from Beijing to the Philippines

The Chinese authorities make public the departure of Hwang and Kim from Beijing for a third country

March 19 Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos announces during a weekly press conference that his government decided to permit Hwang and Kim to come and stay some time in the Philippines and that the decision was made in view of Philippine-South Korea friendship and in hopes of upholding permanent peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region
April 1 Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo L. Siazon says he believes that the South Korean Government accepted China's request that Hwang and Kim stay in the Philippines for one month before they proceed further
April 20 Hwang and Kim arrive at Seoul Airport