North Korean diplomat who defected has left Italy

epa07259919 The North Korean flag flies inside North Korea's embassy compound in Rome, Italy, 03 January 2019. North Korea's acting ambassador to Italy, Jo Song Gil, went 'in hiding' with his wife in November 2018, South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers in Seoul. According to reports citing anonymous diplomatic sources, Jo has reportedly sought asylum with his family in early December 2018 in an 'unspecified Western country.' EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

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National Intelligence Service (NIS) officials, South Korea’s spy agency, told lawmakers in Seoul on Thursday that a North Korean diplomat who went into hiding in Italy last year is now under protection outside the country.

National Intelligence Service officials told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing that Jo Song Gil, North Korea’s former acting ambassador to Italy and Malta, has left Italy and is being protected “somewhere.”

The spy agency apparently meant a third country but didn’t reveal which one. The NIS officials didn’t provide a specific answer when asked whether South Korea was involved in protecting Jo, she said. Lee provided no other details.

The NIS told lawmakers in January that Jo went into hiding with his wife in November.

Via AP

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