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More than 20 years ago, the senior North Korean official Hwang Jang-yop walked into the South Korean Embassy in China and declared his intention to defect. His actions triggered a diplomatic standoff with Beijing and brought forth a stream of attacks from Pyongyang’s state media. He was the highest-ranking defector ever from the DPRK, having previously served as the architect of North Korea’s state ideology of self-reliance and as a mentor to Kim Jong Il. This week, author John Cha joins the podcast to discuss Hwang and his legacy in both North and South Korea. Cha, who interviewed Hwang and wrote about his life in a 2012 book, talks about why the former president of Kim Il Sung University defected, his life in the South and his vision for bringing democracy to the DPRK. John Cha (@AuthorJCha) is the author of several biographies about Korean and American leaders and is an award-winning translator of Korean literature into English. His book “Exit Emperor Kim Jong Il: Notes from His Former Mentor” tells the story of Hwang Jang-yop and his insights into the Kim family regime. About the podcast: The North Korea News Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Jacco Zwetsloot (@JaccoZed) exclusively for NK News, covering all things DPRK — from news to extended interviews with leading experts and analysts in the field, along with insight from our very own journalists.