James Dresnok, last US soldier to defect to N Korea, dies
James Dresnok, the last known US soldier living in North Korea after defecting, has died aged 74.

His sons - both born in North Korea - told a state media outlet their father had died in November last year, and was loyal to North Korea until the end.

Dresnok crossed the dangerous Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) marking the border with North Korea in 1962.

His older son, Ted Dresnok, said his father "received only the love and care of the party until his passing".

Ted, who is also known by his Korean name Hong Soon-Chol, also said their father had raised them to be faithful citizens of North Korea.

"One thing that our father asked us to do was to become faithful workers that render devoted service to the dear leader Kim Jong-Un and to raise our children so they will follow and brighten that path," he said, quoted by AFP news agency.

Both he and his brother James spoke in Korean, and wore military uniforms in the video interview filmed by a local news outlet and released at the weekend.

James Dresnok senior spent more than 50 years living in North Korea, becoming a public figure and a film star.His voice was used in messages played across the border at his former brothers-in-arms, telling US soldiers on the other side about his new life and encouraging them to cross the border.

Along with other deserters, he played a prominent role in North Korean propaganda cinema from the late 1970s onwards - playing the American enemy.
'One place to go'

In 2006, he was the subject of a documentary called Crossing the Line, which aired on the BBC. In it, Dresnok told his story for the first time.

"I have never regretted coming to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea", he said in the film's opening minutes, in a deep American voice which retained its accent.

"I feel at home. I really feel at home... I wouldn't trade it for nothing."According to Dresnok and other interviewees, at the time of his defection he was divorced and left his camp for the nearby town without permission on a forged signature.

He was facing court martial for the offence, another officer from his camp told the filmmakers.

Speaking about his decision to defect, Dresnok said he was "fed up".

"To hell with this - I was fed up with my childhood, my marriage, my military life. Everything - I was finished," he said.

"There's only one place to go."

He left at lunchtime on 15 August 1962, not sure if he would survive the trip across the DMZ.

But he survived, eventually starting a new life and a new family on the other side.

Speaking about the current tensions between the United States and Pyongyang, his sons were confident about their homeland's chances.

"If the enemies launch a pre-emptive attack against us, we will not miss the opportunity and wipe the land of the US from the earth forever," James Dresnok junior told the interviewer.

"We have our dear supreme commander Kim Jong-Un. If he is by our side, our victory is certain."

21 Aug 2017 - 21:26 by WDNF International | comments (0)