As the 14th annual North Korea Freedom Week has been taking place in Washington, D.C., a ‘World Congress of North Korean Defectors’ convened at the National Press Club on April 27, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM, during which speakers agreed that having a consistent inflow of information into North Korea is the most effective path toward freedom in North Korea and a peaceful reunification in the Korean peninsula.
The session featured experts in the field, including Dr. Katy Oh, Dr. Tara O, and Greg Scarlatoiu; defectors, including Kwang-Il Huh, Jeong-Hun Choi, Sang-Hak Park; and ambassador Jung-Hoon Lee.
In relation to freedom in North Korea, Jung-Hoon Lee emphasized the need to understand that North Korea is a nation in which information is strictly blocked, and to take an approach with that understanding. Experts must seek avenues through which information could be communicated and received by the North Korean people, such as North Korea's radio broadcasts.
“We’ve confirmed multiple times that through a consistent inflow of information, the state of affairs within the country has undergone much change,” said Jeong-Hun Choi and Sang-Hak Park, who are both defectors and North Korean human rights activists. Specifically, disseminating flyers and using the loudspeakers, to which Kim Jong Un has been responding sensitively, have been significant in bringing about change, they said.
“Up until now, there have been many people rallying and standing up for freedom in North Korea, but this is the time that actual action must be carried out for change in North Korea,” they continued. “For practical action steps to bring about change within North Korea, such as using the North Korean radio broadcasts, we ask for more proactive interest, and we also need the help of the U.S. and South Korean governments.”
Speakers also pointed out that in order for a substantive and peaceful reunification to occur, the Kim Jong Un dictatorship must change, and that Kim would “never give up nuclear weapons.”
Regarding what preparations should be made for reunification, and how the North Korean people could be re-educated, Katy Oh pointed to focusing on re-educating members of the military. Some 4 percent of the North Korean population are in the military, she said, and the organization of the military could be used proactively to explain economics, banks, and other aspects that they would need to adjust to in Korean society to those within the military.
Greg Scarlatiou emphasized that Kim Jong Un is in actuality a god-like figure to the North Korean people, and that in order for the North Korean people to be able to understand the reality of the North Korean government up until now, Kim Jong Un must be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Tara O, who was in Germany when East and West Germany was reunified, said that the interactions between the civilians allowed for a quicker integration among the residents of the East and West. Similarly, O said, interactions between generations and between those in the North and South must occur proactively and voluntarily.
North Korea Freedom Week began on April 26, and will conclude on April 30.
This article has been translated. For the original in Korean, visit kr.christianitydaily.com.