Dear MEL Topic Readers,
North Korean defector: 'I wish I can go back for a day'
What it’s like to defect to another country? For some reason, quite a few numbers of people choose to leave their country with a determination of never returning, while refugees are left no choice but to escape from their country because of a war, natural disaster, or political, religious, racial, or economic oppression. In other words, the difference between a defector and refugee is by will or by force.
The Korean War was fought by both Koreas and their allies between 1950 and 1953. Though an armistice was signed to cease the fight and the Demilitarized Zone was created to separate two Koreas, no peace treaty has been signed. They are said to be technically still at war.
Every year, a few thousand people defect from North Korea, risking their lives. Some try to go across the border, and others take a long journey via China, Thailand to South Korea or the U.S. Making such a life-threatening one-way trip is one thing. But starting a new life in a different country is another challenge. Furthermore, those who defected can never return to their homeland. Indeed, they earned a new life at the sacrifice of their home, family, and friends.
Enjoy reading a defector’s story and watch the video that shows how South Korean public is learning about the North from its defectors.