Diverse opinions on how the world should deal with North Korea

North Korean defectors, now living in Seoul, were invited to share their thoughts on how the world can best help North Korea. Some excerpts:

Nayoung Koh, 25, defected North Korea in 2009, now attending university:
“The whole of the international community needs to simultaneously criticize the DPRK about its human record. In my experience – until early the early part of the last decade – capital punishment was commonly witnessed in North Korea and there were almost no criminal trials. However, some of these incidents and practices were photographed by cameras and satellites in the early 2000s and revealed to the world. When that happened, North Korea was severely criticized by the international community – and shortly afterwards there was a temporary halt to the practice of public capital punishment.”

Jinwoo Ham, mid-50s, had been a NK military officer for 22 years before he left:
“The international community needs to have heavy sanctions on the DPRK while it continues to violate the human rights of its own people and remains unwilling to give up nuclear weapons. That is the only way to make North Korea collapse. At the same time, the international community also needs to help North Koreans speak up and rebel against the current dictatorship. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to take advantage of all kinds of media including broadcasting, publications, and video to raise public awareness.”

Jimin Kang, 28, had been in the military before he defecting from Pyongyang in 2005:
“In my opinion, the greatest contribution the international community can make to North Korea will be in the form of economic aid and better quality education. You see, once North Korea opens up, the greatest priority will be in rebuilding the economy. … North Korea needs talented individuals to lead the country into the future. … Therefore what the people of North Korea really need is a transplant of the West’s educational environment into the DPRK.”

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