SpyCast 6.20.23
Ep 591 | 6.20.23

"The North Korean Defector" – with Former DPRK Agent Kim, Hyun Woo

Show Notes


This week on SpyCast, Andrew (Twitter; LinkedIn) is joined by former DPRK Agent Kim, Hyun Woo. This is the first time Dr. Kim has stepped out from the shadows to speak. 

What You’ll Learn 


  • The organizational structure of North Korean intelligence
  • The journey of a defector 
  • The training and skills needed to be a DPRK agent
  • North Korean intelligence priorities in the East


  • Bravery and courage in the face of danger
  • State conformity vs. Personal convictions 

And much, much more …  

Episode Notes 

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the security alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea. Formed after the end of the Korean war in 1953, the US-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty commits both countries to defending the other in the event of an external attack. To commemorate the past 70 years of cooperation, the International Spy Museum had the pleasure of working with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea on this program. 

In this episode of SpyCast, Andrew had the unprecedented opportunity to interview Dr. Kim, Hyun Woo, former DPRK Agent. Dr. Kim worked for North Korea’s counterintelligence agency for 17 years, and defected to the Republic of Korea in 2014, where he has since lived and worked as a Senior Fellow of the Institute for National Security Strategy. Tune in to this week’s episode to hear the story of Dr. Kim’s exceptional journey firsthand.  


Every year, Washington, D.C. hosts the Around the World Embassy Tour – Where, for one day and one day only, embassies open their door to the public for a celebration of their country’s food, dance, history, and cultural traditions. If you missed this year, make sure to stop by next year and take a special trip to the Embassy of the ROK to celebrate the people and culture of South Korea. 

Quote of the Week 

“When I envision reunification, I am envisioning reunified Korea under a liberal democratic system as opposed to say, unified Korea under a more North Korean system – That I oppose. My desire is that in a unified Korea, even North Korean populous or population living in northern parts of the Korean Peninsula will be guaranteed fundamental, standard rights as humans.”




*Beginner Resources* 



  • Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights, J. H. Pak (Ballantine Books, 2020) 
  • The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future, V. Cha (Ecco, 2018)
  • In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, Y. Park (Penguin Books, 2015) 
  • Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, B. Cumings (W.W. Norton, 2005) 



Primary Sources  

*Wildcard Resource* 

  • Inspired by Dr. Kim’s love for Sherlock Holmes:

His Last Bow is the last chronological short story installment of the Sherlock Holmes series. In this story, Sherlock tracks down a German spy during the First World War!