Top-level North Korean defector Hwang Jang Yop says Pyongyang will never abandon its nuclear development program, but neither will the belligerent dictatorship of Kim Jong Il launch a nuclear attack.
Hwang Jang Yop, who served as secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and was an aide to Kim, said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, "Pyongyang is often threatening (other countries), saying that it will soon start a war. But it will not use nuclear weapons."
Observers of North Korea say the purpose of the nuclear program is mainly to strengthen Kim's grip on power as his health deteriorates.
The defector said the North Korean regime is in no danger of collapsing for the time being because Kim has consolidated his power by promoting only those who show unconditional loyalty to him.
"The degree of dictatorship has become 10 times stronger than that in the era of his father (Kim Il Sung)," Hwang said.
Hwang said 20 percent of the country's revenues become ruling party funds that can be used freely by Kim. "Fifty percent is used in the military field, and the remaining 30 percent is offered for the lives of the people," Hwang said.