Charles Jenkins: US soldier who defected to North Korea dies


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Mr Jenkins walked around the DMZ and surrendered to North Korean infantrymen there when he was once 24

A former US sergeant who defected to North Korea and was Pyongyang’s prisoner for just about 40 years has died.

Charles Jenkins, 77, lived in Japan the place he had settled together with his circle of relatives after his 2004 unlock.

He was once amongst 4 US infantrymen who defected within the 1960s and later was North Korean movie stars, however was once the one person who was once launched.

The others reportedly died in North Korea, together with James Dresnok who was once stated to have died of a stroke in 2016.

Charles Jenkins died on Sado island on Monday, the place he was once dwelling together with his spouse Hitomi Soga, additionally a former prisoner of North Korea. Japan’s Kyodo information company stated the reason for demise was once no longer but identified.

A plan that went improper

Mr Jenkins had led an abnormal but additionally tough lifestyles in North Korea, which he would later chronicle in a memoir and several other interviews.

In 1965, whilst stationed with the United States military in South Korea via the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), Mr Jenkins made up our minds to desert his unit and defect to the North, fearing he could be killed in patrols or despatched to battle within the Vietnam Struggle.

He stated he idea that after in North Korea, he may just search asylum with the Russian embassy, and sooner or later go back to the United States in a prisoner switch.

One January night time, Mr Jenkins walked around the DMZ and surrendered to North Korean infantrymen there. He was once handiest 24 years previous.

However Russia didn’t grant him or the opposite American citizens asylum. As a substitute, they had been held as prisoners via the North Koreans.

The lads had been pressured to review the lessons of then-leader Kim Il-sung; did translation paintings; and taught English. However additionally they was minor celebrities after they acted in North Korean propaganda motion pictures, starring as Western villains.

Mr Jenkins stated his captors incessantly beat him, and performed scientific procedures on him that had been every so often pointless or brutal, together with chopping off a US Military tattoo with out anaesthesia.

‘North Korea needs me lifeless’

Mr Jenkins stated he was once pressured to marry Ms Soga – who was once kidnapped from Japan – in 1980, they usually had two daughters.

In 2002, Ms Soga was once freed after negotiations via the Jap govt. Mr Jenkins joined her two years later, in conjunction with their daughters, the place he surrendered to the United States Military nearly 4 a long time after he had defected and was once given a dishonourable discharge.

The circle of relatives settled in Sado island, Ms Soga’s place of origin, and Mr Jenkins labored as a greeter in a vacationer park.

In August, in certainly one of his ultimate media interviews, he advised the Los Angeles Occasions that he was once nonetheless frightened that North Korea would assassinate him or his circle of relatives. “North Korea needs me lifeless,” he advised the paper.

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