A former North Korean spy who killed 115 passengers when she blew up a civilian South Korean jet in 1987 is talking about the current state of her home country. Kim Hyun-Hee said she was first “chosen” to become a spy when party officials showed up at her school in a black sedan and "plucked" her from schoolyard.
Hyun-Hee was captured after the airplane attack and given a death sentence, but was issued a pardon after South Korean officials decided she had been brainwashed, The Telegraph reported.
Now 51, Hyun-Hee has come out of hiding to share her insights about the inner workings of the North Korean government and its young leader, Kim Jong-un. During an interview she gave from an undisclosed location in South Korea, Hyun-Hee had this to say:
"He's struggling to gain complete control over the military and to win their loyalty,” she said. "That's why he's doing so many visits to military bases, to firm up support. He's also using the nuclear program as a bargaining chip for aid, to keep the public behind him. North Korea is a not a state, it's a cult."
She elaborated about the nuclear program.
"North Korea is using its nuclear program to keep its people in line and to push South Korea and the United States for concessions."
Hyun-Hee also discussed what it was like when she was selected to become a government spy.
"I wasn't even allowed time to say goodbye to my friends," she said. "In North Korea, I was taught that our [founding] leader Kim Il-sung was a god. You were taught to put him before your own parents. You learn from early childhood to say 'Thank you, Great Leader' for everything. And if you said the wrong thing, even if it was a slip of the tongue, you'd end up in the gulag."