When high school dropout James Joseph Dresnok returned home from military service in West Germany to find that has he had become just another soldier whose wife had left him for another man, he ended up being stationed in South Korea along the DMZ in the early 1960s.
Unable to turn his life around in South Korea and facing a court martial, Dresnok decided that running a gauntlet of land mines was his best option.
Rolling the dice with his life as collateral, Dresnok survived the crossing into the heavily armed 38th parallel, setting off for a new life under a communist regime.
According to fellow US Army defector Charles Jenkins, who was allowed to return to the US in 2004, Dresnok had two boys -Ted and James- with a Romanian woman who was abducted by North Korea.
Both of his sons, who have adopted Korea names, have never stepped foot on American soil.
James, the younger of the two, is a captain in the North Korean army, according to the Washington Post.
The 36-year-old Dresnok -who goes by the name Hong Sun Chol- said he was born in Pyongyang, North Korea in 1980 “under the generous care of Kim Jong II,” during a recent interview.
He said he works for the Workers’ Party’s defense education facility. He also has a wife and two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.
James said he volunteered for the North Korean military due to what he believes is a worsening situation on the Korean peninsula.
“Thanks to the general’s hospitality, we receive gifts on every national holiday. I’m very grateful for the socialism system,” he said.
During the interview, James blamed his father’s shortcomings in life in the United States on policies made by the privileged elite.
Both Ted and James even defended North Korea’s pursuit of building nuclear weapons, claiming that it is necessary for their defense.
“The U.S. wants to make a big deal out of North Korean human rights issues. We are enjoying very equal and free lives here. But look at the US- A white police officer shoots a black citizen in clear daylight, treating black people’s lives as if they were as worthless as flies. I want to tell Americans to break away from their leaders’ mindsets and begin peace negotiations with us. That’s the only way to save yourselves,” said Ted, according to the Washington Post.
It is impossible to know if their statements were their own beliefs because most media is highly scripted in North Korea, but after spending their entire lives there, it is very possible.
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