Once Pyongyang's deputy ambassador to London, Thae defected to Seoul with his family in August previous year, becoming one of the highest-ranking officials ever to defect from the DPRK.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reacts as he arrives for the opening ceremony of the Cemetery of Fallen Fighters of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in Pyongyang July 25, 2013, as part of celebrations ahead of the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War.
"Low-level dissent or criticism of the regime, until recently unthinkable, is becoming more frequent".
That elite status means that while he certainly has strong ties to North Korean leaders, his access to broader popular sentiment may be more limited.
"The only way to resolve the issue of North's nuclear threats is the elimination of Kim Jong-Un's regime", he said. He was the deputy ambassador before defecting with his family to the South in August.
Tommy Fleetwood claims one-shot victory at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
However, he didn't make his first birdie of the round until No. 8 - remarkably that was his first birdie on a par-5 hole all week. But Hayton's final round was disastrous, as he carded a three-over 75 to slide down the leaderboard and finish tied for 13th.
And while Trump has said in the past he would be open to meeting Kim, Thae says it would give the North Korean leader legitimacy he now doesn't have in his own country.
Thae warned against the US or South Korea launching any preemptive strikes against North Korea.
Thae would not reveal how he arranged it, but he managed to bring both his children to London.
He called for continued global sanctions on Pyongyang and publicity campaigns to spread external information in the North and encourage its citizens into "popular uprisings". The traditional structures of North Korean systems are crumbling'. However, that has triggered a corresponding crackdown on illicit information by the Kim Jong-Un regime.
Asked by Evans if he could imagine his brother shouting to him in anguish from prison in North Korea, and what would he reply, Thae said: "That is really a question I don't like to even think about". It's a trap, Thae said, that would ultimately legitimize the North as a nuclear state, as has happened over time with India and Pakistan.