By Hyonhee Shin SEOUL (Reuters) – A former North Korean diplomat who staged a high-profile defection to the South on Saturday urged an old colleague who has gone missing in Italy to defect to Seoul, following a report that he was seeking asylum in the United States. Jo Song Gil, the 44-year-old who was until recently North Korea’s acting ambassador to Italy, disappeared with his wife after leaving the embassy without notice in early November, South Korean lawmakers said on Thursday. Jo has applied for asylum in the United States and is under the protection of Italian intelligence, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper said on Friday, citing an unidentified diplomatic source. The State Department and the U.S. embassy in Seoul did not immediately respond to a query from Reuters regarding the report. In an open letter, Thae Yong Ho, Pyongyang’s former deputy ambassador to Britain, who said he went to the same university and worked with Jo before defecting to South Korea in 2016, urged Jo to follow in his footsteps. To defect to the South is an “obligation, not a choice” for North Korean diplomats committed to unification, Thae said, calling Seoul “the outpost” for that task. “If you come… Read full this story
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