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N. Korea regime unstable: defector

From CNN Producers Larry Shaughnessy and Elise Labott

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

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North Korea
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The highest ranking North Korean ever to defect has told members of the U.s. Congress that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Il is unstable and should not be trusted to enter into an agreement to end its nuclear program.

Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., said that Hwang Jang-yop, an 81-year-old former secretary of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party and secretary of foreign affairs, told members of the House Policy Committee, "the regime, albeit it takes great pains to show us it is stable, is in fact profoundly unstable."

Hwang, who defected to South Korea six years ago, was a mentor to Kim Jong Il, and was a close aide to his father, Kim Il Song.

"Perhaps you can say, 'Kim Jong Il, we'll leave you alone if you stop your nuclear program,'" Hwang told reporters after a closed door session with the House committee.

"I don't think there is righteousness in that. On top of that, I don't think any promise that is made by Kim Jong Il would be of any significance."

This week Hwang met with members of Congress and the Bush administration, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, to provide his insights on the North Korean regime.

"We find it very interesting and useful to talk to somebody with firsthand experience," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said about Hwang's first visit to Washington. "Obviously, it helps our thinking."

Hwang criticized U.S. President George W. Bush's offer to provide North Korea a written security guarantee, if Kim promises to dismantle its nuclear weapons' program.

"I don't understand how we can actually guarantee the continued existence of a dictator that abuses human rights" Hwang said.

"It's almost like you Americans telling the terrorist organizations that 'if you promise not to terrorize people again, we will leave you alone.' That's not what the war on terror is about."

His comments come on the heels of reports that North Korea had told a visiting Chinese leader that it is prepared to hold a second round of multilateral talks to discuss its nuclear weapons program.

Wu Bangguo, China's parliament chief and the No. 2 official in the Communist Party, received the commitment from North Korea during a three-day visit to Pyongyang, according to reports by state media outlets in North Korea and China. (Full story)

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