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US Soldier Who Defected to NKorea in 1962 Has Died

Image: US Soldier Who Defected to NKorea in 1962 Has Died
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By    |   Tuesday, 22 August 2017 09:26 AM

One of the last living American soldiers to defect to North Korea during the Cold War died last year, The New York Times reports.

James Joseph Dresnok died in November at age 74. His sons Ted and James Jr., who were born in North Korea roughly 30 years ago, told South Korean-born American journalist Roh Kil-nam, who reported the news in a video on his pro-North Korea website Minjok Tongshin. 

"To his last day, our father had lived a life blessed by the love and benefits from the party," Ted Dresnok says in the video.

Dresnok, once a soldier stationed in South Korea, defected while dealing with marital problems and facing a potential court-martial for forging a pass, crossed the Demilitarized Zone in 1962, and was believed to be the last American deserter alive in the country.

"I was fed up with my childhood, my marriage, my military life, everything," Dresnok said in the 2006 documentary "Crossing the Line," according to the Times. "I was finished. There's only one place to go. I crossed over, looking for my new life."

Dresnok's status as an American defector made him something of a celebrity in North Korea, appearing on magazine covers and even staring as the villain in some propaganda films. He told the documentarians that he wouldn't leave the country "if you put a billion damn dollars of gold on the table."

"My father finished his life with no regrets," James Dresnok Jr. says in the video. "If he had any regret, it was that he died early, missing more loving care from the party and the fatherland."

Roh said that the Dresnoks "sounded more North Korean than North Koreans … Except that they were white men, there was no difference at all between them and other North Korean soldiers."

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One of the last living American soldiers to defect to North Korea during the Cold War died last year, The New York Times reports.
US soldier, defected, north korea, dies
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2017-26-22
Tuesday, 22 August 2017 09:26 AM
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