U.S. soldier, James Joseph Dresnok who joined the Kim regime in 1962, has been confirmed dead by his sons. The pair, both born in Pyongyang, spoke in a propaganda video with North Korean state-controlled media, reported the Guardian. The technologically-dated video was posted online Aug. 17 on the North Korean state website Uriminzokkiri.
Dresnok crossed the border into North Korea more than five decades ago. After returning home from the Korean War, a troubled Dresnok was heartbroken upon finding that his wife had left him for another man. The two proceeded to get a divorce, after which Pfc. Dresnok, 21, returned to duty in South Korea and walked across the landmine-littered demilitarized zone (DZM) where he seemingly embraced North Korean life.
Dresnok had not been happy with his life in the United States and was reportedly facing a court-martial proceeding. He had an unhappy childhood, growing up in a rural foster home in Virginia.
According to his second son, James Dresnok, Dresnok “was an orphan, but his misery wasn’t due to his or his family’s fault, rather it was due to American society. It’s due to policies made by the privileged in the U.S.”
Dresnok was interviewed by the BBC for a 2006 documentary called “Crossing the Line,” in which he expressed his reasons for leaving life in the United States and his satisfaction with life in Pyongyang, although he did express his sorrow that not all North Koreans were as fortunate to live with the provisions he was privy to in the capital. During his time in Pyongyang, Dresnok was an English teacher. He also appeared in Kim Jong Il’s personally produced propaganda films playing the part of an American villain. Those who are interested can still find Dresnok on Twitter.
Dresnok is believed to have been the only U.S. soldier remaining in North Korea. It is believed five other American serviceman also joined North Korea after the end of the Korean War in 1953. Many stayed in North Korea for some time, but then were allowed to leave the country.
Charles Jenkins, one of the more well-known Americans to go to North Korea, spent time in Pyongyang with Dresnok and wrote in his book ‘The Reluctant Communist” that Dresnok bullied and assaulted him on at least 30 occasions, the Telegraph reported. Dresnok denied this to be true.
Dresnok’s two eldest sons, Ted and James Dresnok, confirm in the video that their father’s death was caused by a stroke in November 2016. He was 74 at the time. Their mother is said to be Romanian Doina Bumbea who was reportedly abducted by the North Koreans and given to Dresnok to be his wife. According to Jenkins, Bumbea died of cancer in 1997.
The eldest son, Ted Dresnok, said, “Our father was in the arms of the republic and received only the love and care of the party until his passing at age 74.” Both sons were born in North Korea and speak in Korean with a thick northern accent.
“Our father asked us to render devoted service to our great leader Kim Jong Un and to raise our children so they will follow and brighten that path,” continued Ted Dresnok, who is also known by his Korean name, Hong Soon Chol. Ted Dresnok, 36, made his first media appearance in May 2016, also on Uriminzokkiri, where he sang his praises for the country. He works at a Worker’s party defence education facility, according to the Washington Post.
The younger brother, James Dresnok, added, “We have our dear supreme commander Kin Jong Un. If he is by our side, our victory is certain.” James is a Captain in the Korean People’s Army.
In the interview, both sons are seen wearing the Korean People’s Army uniform, one which harkens back to the soviet uniforms of the 1950s when Russia controlled parts of the Korean peninsula. Pinned over their hearts is a badge of North Korea’s first two leaders; Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
Ted and James are also famous in North Korea, having starred in their own North Korean films.
In the video interview, Ted Dresnok commented on the ongoing tensions between the United States and Pyongyang. North Korea threatened the United States again on Aug 20, infuriated by the joint military exercises with the South Koreans on the Korean Peninsula. Dresnok warned that the “U.S. imperialists” with their little knowledge of the regime’s military and its people were raising “war hysteria madness,” according to the Guardian. “If the enemies launch a pre-emptive attack against us, we will not miss the opportunity and wipe the land of the U.S. from the earth forever,” he said in the video interview.
“The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint military exercises will be like pouring gasoline on fire and worsen the state of the peninsula,” said a statement in North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper.
In a May 2016 interview with Minjok Tongshin, a pro-Pyongyang news service based in the United States, Ted Dresnok, dressed in a business suit and displaying a less regimented demeanor, said, “I want to advise the U.S. to drop its hostile policy against North Korea. They’ve done enough wrong and now it’s time for them to wake up from their delusions.”
The comments from both sons “sounded like they came out of the propaganda department,” according to the Washington Post.
When asked about his lifelong dream, James told a reporter, “My lifelong dream is similar to my brother’s. I want to serve my mother country with my life and bring about the unification of the Koreas so the world will see the superiority of Kim’s Korea.”