The former North Korean Deputy Ambassador to the UK, described by the regime as “scum” after he defected in Aug. 2016, has told the BBC’s Seoul Correspondent that he is “very determined to do everything possible to pull down the regime, to save not only my family members, but also the whole North Korean people from slavery”.

Thae Yong-ho told Stephen Evans that, now he’s reached Seoul, he’s sure his family in N. Korea have been punished for his defection. This realisation both grieves him and steels him against the regime.

“I’m sure that my relatives and my brothers and sisters are either sent to remote, closed areas or to prison camps, and that really breaks my heart,” he said, his eyes moist.

Asked by Evans if he could imagine his brother shouting to him in anguish from prison in North Korea, and what would he reply, Mr. Thae said: “That is really a question I don’t like to even think about.”

The BBC is planning to start broadcasting in Korean across the whole Korean peninsula. Mr. Thae thinks that information from the outside world will eventually lead to a “people’s uprising” in the North.

N. Korea heads the list of 50 countries in which it’s most difficult to live as a Christian, in the recent 2017 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors, a global charity working with persecuted Christians.

When the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was officially established in 1948, the steady persecution and elimination of Christianity from the national psyche began; it’s thought tens of thousands of Christians live in extreme deprivation there today – many of them in prison or forced labour camps.