Italy has not seen a North Korean Ambassador since Pyongyang's former Envoy was expelled in 2017 after the country's sixth nuclear test. According to South Korean lawmakers, Jo joined the embassy in May 2015 as the third secretary.
According to unconfirmed reports in the South Korean press, Jo has defected and is seeking asylum in the West.
"Jo Song Gil and his family are free to choose their place of asylum, and since they are the natural Korean citizens, they deserve the right to be protected by the (South) Korean government." Thae Yong-ho, Pyongyang's former deputy envoy, who was passed over in 2016, said Wednesday at a press conference in Seoul.
"We urge the Italian government to provide all conditions required for Jo Song Gil and his family to enter the country of their choice, in accordance with international law and the spirit of humanity, in the event that Jo Song Gil and His family wants to come to Korea, we urge the Korean government to act proactively to allow safe travel to Korea. "
Thae was attended by several prominent North Korean politicians and critics, including Park Kwan-yong, a former spokesman for the South Korean National Assembly under President Park Geun-hye's conservative anti-Pyongyang government.
Conservative and extreme right-wing figures in South Korea have criticized President Moon Jae-in's government for allegedly ignoring human rights in its quest for denuclearization in North Korea.
That seems to be doing, "said Thae.
" Neither the South Korean government nor do their citizens express their intention to save Jo and his family after their overflowing, and I am saddened by the present situation. "
Thae – one of the highest ranking North Korean officials who has advanced south in recent years – said it would be impossible for diplomats to discuss their intentions to apply for asylum beforehand with other people.
"There is no way to know who is a spy and who is reliable. It is unthinkable to talk to someone about the defection in advance, "he said.
He added that although he was unaware of Jos's whereabouts," I know he needs to be protected wherever he is. "
" I am not happy about the current attitude of the South Korean government. I want the government to say publicly that it is ready to accept Jo if he wants to come to South Korea, "Thae said." The current attitude of rejecting knowledge is unhelpful. "
For his own case, Thae said that the desire for a defect was partly due to their children and their education.
"The children who have lived overseas know what human rights are and what rights they can have in the Western world," he said he.
Wednesday marks the second public attempt by Thae and other defectors to reach Jo.
"When you come to South Korea, you need not worry to make personal safety. Thae wrote, "To protect myself, several security guards keep close daily to me," the country also offers rental housing and resettlement funds until you settle down safely. "
While many defectors are integrated into South Korean society and do not participate in politics, a sizeable minority endeavors to encourage and support others to leave the North, and some also participate in anti-Semitism. Pyongyang's activities and propaganda organizations, several of which were involved, were represented at the press conference on Wednesday.
Such groups have been criticized in the past for undermining the peace process and antagonizing Pyongyang, especially those that use anti-regime propaganda in the past Want to bring North The South Korean government shouts that they have downplayed human rights concerns in their communications with North Korean officials.