A senior North Korean military officer, responsible for conducting intelligence operations, defected to South Korea last year, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Monday. The announcement from Seoul came soon after reports last week which said 13 North Korean nationals who worked in a restaurant in China defected to South Korea on Thursday.
The name of the North Korean official has not yet been revealed but a report by Yonhap said that the colonel used to work in North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau and was given the job of conducting espionage missions against Seoul. The officer was considered elite among the North Koreans who defected in 2015, Yonhap reported, citing a source. The reconnaissance bureau is considered responsible for cyberwarfare, including the alleged cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.
“(The North Korean military official’s defection) is a fact, but we cannot make public detailed information (about him),” Moon Sang-gyun, a ministry spokesman said at a press briefing, according to Yonhap. The source also told Yonhap: “He is believed to have stated details about the bureau’s operations against South Korea to authorities here.”
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