Asia

North Korean defector impressed by Seoul political protests

A high-profile North Korean defector Thae Yong Ho, No. 2 at the North's embassy in London, arrives for the National Assembly's intelligence committee in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. A high-profile North Korean defector told South Korean lawmakers on Monday that he fled because of disillusionment with what he describes as a "tyrannical reign of terror" by leader Kim Jong Un, according to one of the lawmakers who attended their private meeting. (Kim Hyun-tae/Yonhap via AP)

A high-profile North Korean defector Thae Yong Ho, No. 2 at the North's embassy in London, arrives for the National Assembly's intelligence committee in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. A high-profile North Korean defector told South Korean lawmakers on Monday that he fled because of disillusionment with what he describes as a "tyrannical reign of terror" by leader Kim Jong Un, according to one of the lawmakers who attended their private meeting. (Kim Hyun-tae/Yonhap via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A high-profile North Korean defector has told South Korean lawmakers the massive protests that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye still feels strange to him but he sees the demonstrations as the country's strength.

The office of lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said former North Korean diplomat Thae Yong Ho commented Friday in a closed-door briefing to legislators that he was impressed with the South's democracy because its government continued to function despite the protests.

The South Korean government in August announced that Thae, the former North Korean deputy ambassador to London, defected to the South with his family because of his disgust with the North's government under leader Kim Jong Un.