A group of North Korea defectors held a conference this week to make plans for the end of the Kim Jong-il regime.
The conference, entitled “Conference of 20,000 Defectors Rising for the Overthrow of the Culprit in the Yeonpyeong Island Shelling and Sinking of the Cheonan, the Kim Dynasty” [yes, that is really the name; check out their banner] was aimed at renewing efforts to topple the communist monarchy.
A statement released at the event stated, "At the moment, the atmosphere is ripe for the People’s Army and people to unite and punish Kim Jong Il." By many accounts, the people part of that equation might be there but the Military First policy of the North Korean regime, which insures that the military receives the priority in the distribution of Pyongyang's dwindling resources, means that the military will likely remain part of the problem rather than part of the solution until the very last moment of the regime.
It is worth noting that the current group of North Korean defectors in the south make for relatively poor fifth columnists. While exile groups often include former government officials and members of the intelligentsia who have some influence on the old county, the vast majority of the North Korean defectors in South Korea come from the lowest rungs of North Korean society. As such, although many still maintain contacts inside North Korea, those contacts generally do not reach people with the means of exerting influence on the regime, much less overthrowing it.
However, the conference also covered an area were I think defectors can be effective:
Park Seh Il of Hansun Foundation for Freedom and Prosperity added, “Thus far, South Korea has only focused on maintaining the status quo,” but added, “In this situation, defectors must become the leading group in Korean Peninsula unification and provide good answers to questions of the future shape of North and South Korea and the principles of a decent and fair reunification.”Letting South Koreans, especially younger generations who have no memory of the Korean War or what life was like under the communists, know about the reality of the lives of over 20 million of their fellow Koreans is vital. A recent report by the Chosun Ilbo reveals that younger South Koreans have little appreciation for how baneful the Kim Jong-il regime really is.