“It’s not a paradise…it is the worst inhuman system in human history,” said Thae Yong-ho – the highest-ranking North Korean defector to ever testify before the House of Representatives – at yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. From U.S. broadcasting efforts to the impact of sanctions, here are a few other key insights Mr. Thae shared:

U.S. broadcasting efforts are critical.

Mr. Thae: “The North Korean regime is very afraid of dissemination of information. So I think, if we continue to disseminate and if we continue to make tailor-made content for North Korea, then I think we can make a change in North Korea… We should make tailor-made content which can educate the North Korean population and I think it is time we should invest to make that kind of very simple tailor-made content which can tell the basic concepts of freedom, human rights and democracy.”

North Koreans are brainwashed from an early age.

Mr. Thae: “From the age of kindergarten, you are brainwashed. For instance, every morning the young children of three or four years are forced to bow in front of the portraits of Kim Jong Il, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Un… The Kim Jong Un regime established a full-scale, stupid brainwashing system depicting Kim Jong Un as a god. So I think we should try to concentrate our efforts to educate North Korean people that Kim Jong Un is not a god. He is just a normal human being.”

“Kim Jong Unism” is an approved religion.

Rep. Rohrabacher: “How is religion treated in North Korea?”

Mr. Thae: “If you read the charter of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the teachings of Kim Jong Un and works of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, it clarifies very clearly that juche ideology and Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Unism should be the only idea of North Korean society.”

Rep. Rohrabacher: “Do they permit people to go to church?”

Mr. Thae: “There are a few churches only in Pyongyang just for show for foreign audiences not for North Korean people.”

Iran and North Korea collusion?

Rep. Mast: “In your opinion, would [North Korea] share their advancements in nuclear technology with Iran? Do you think that they would have a desire to do that?”

Mr. Thae: “Absolutely, because North Korea is a country who wants to sell anything for the hard currency… North Korea was engaged in illicit activities like counterfeiting currencies, drugs, so why not their nuclear technology?”

Maximum financial and diplomatic pressure is needed to counter Kim’s nuclear advancements.

Mr. Thae: “We should continue the current momentum of sanctions and campaign of diplomatic isolation. I think that is the only way to force North Korea to give up its nuclear ambition.”