The highest ranking North Korean official ever to have defected, Hwang Jang-yop (黃長燁) has died at the age of 87 at his home in Seoul. Hwang, who created Juche thought, the ideology which used to be emphasized in North Korea until recently, taught Kim Jong-il in university. He held numerous high-ranking positions in the government. On a business trip to Japan in 1997, he stopped over in Beijing on his way back to North Korea. Instead of returning to the North, he walked into the South Korean Embassy in Beijing and asked for amnesty. He settled in Seoul where he became an activist for the North Koreans and an outspoken critic of the regime of Kim Jong-il.
North Korea has tried to assassinate him. Just this year, the National Intelligence Service caught two North Korean agents posing as defectors who were on a mission to assassinate Hwang. However, it appears that Hwang died of natural causes. His bodyguard found him this morning and the police have found no signs of foul play.
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