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“There is no way to get rice due to smuggling in North Korea… I wanted to live like a human.”

“I lived in the border area between North Korea and China, and since 2016 (the authorities) have banned smuggling, there is no way to deal with rice. Eating food and finding daily necessities was very difficult.”

A woman in her 20s who defected from North Korea in 2019 and lived in China recently came to South Korea, talking about the food crisis in North Korea behind a large black screen. Mr. A, who is receiving settlement education at Hanawon, a North Korean refugee settlement agency under the Ministry of Unification, said, “The smuggling crackdown made life so difficult that I came to China.” he complained. He also spoke about the hardships she had while living in hiding in fear of being discovered by the North Korean authorities or the Chinese public security. “When I come to Korea, I don’t have a status. I came here because I want to live confidently like a human being.”

●“Malnutrition due to suspension of food rationing”
The Ministry of Unification unveiled Hanawon in Samjuk-myeon, Anseong-si, Gyeonggi-do to domestic and foreign media on the 10th to mark the 24th anniversary of Hanawon. Internal facilities such as the Vocational Education Center and Hana Clinic were extensively disclosed, and at the same time, interviews with North Korean defectors were conducted. Last year, Hanawon was also released to the domestic media, but it has been 14 years since 2009 that even North Korean defectors who were trainees at Hanawon appeared in front of reporters on the premise of media coverage.

Mr. A, who was sitting behind the screen that day, could not even see his face and body silhouette. It was a measure of concern for the personal safety of family members and relatives left in North Korea. Unlike Mr. A, two other North Korean defectors revealed his face. However, they also did not disclose any information that could identify them, such as their place of origin.

B, a woman in her 30s who moved to China from North Korea in 2014 and recently came to South Korea, said, “When I was in North Korea, food was rationed until I was six or seven years old, but from the age of ten, it was not supplied (food rations stopped).” It was hard to live.” She added, “She suffered from malnutrition and she also lived a life of a kotjebi.” Another woman in he

In common, they said that the containment and strengthened surveillance and control due to the spread of Corona 19 were the reasons for choosing to go to Korea. In fact, looking at the current status of North Korean defectors entering the country by year, the number of North Korean defectors entering the country, which reached 1,514 in 2013, gradually decreased to 1,137 in 2018, before plummeting to 229 with the spread of Corona 19 in 2020메이저사이트. However, after hitting the bottom at 63 in 2021, the number of North Korean defectors is gradually increasing as the quarantine against Corona 19 has recently been eased. North Koreans residing in China or residents in North Korea, who were tired of the control caused by Corona 19, are heading to South Korea right after the lockdown is lifted. Minister of Unification Kwon Young-se, who held a press conference at Hanawon that day, said, “The number of North Korean defectors entering the country has not increased significantly, but it is gradually increasing as many countries are freed from Corona 19.”

●“I learned what human rights are after watching Korean dramas”
Defectors also said that the video content they encountered in North Korea, such as Korean dramas, had an impact on their positive perception of South Korea. Two families who crossed the Northern Limit Line ( NLL ) in the West Sea on a fishing boat earlier in May also revealed that one of their motives for defecting was that they secretly watched South Korean broadcasts and admired South Korean society during the joint interrogation process. Mr. A, who said he had seen the drama ‘Stairway to Heaven’, said, “When I first watched a Korean drama, I saw a different side of Korea from (North Korean) TV .” I also learned that there is such a thing as human rights through the drama.”

Regarding the food crisis in North Korea, which is the main reason for the decision to defect, Minister Kwon said, “The North Korean leadership also thought that if they could not solve the basic food issue, they would face great difficulties, so they imported (food) from China and other countries and calmed down a little. ) is difficult,” he said. “Since the supply chain is not functioning properly, there are deaths from starvation in some areas, and the area where deaths occur is also expanding,” he said. Regarding the disclosure of Hanawon to the foreign press that day, Minister Kwon said, “The government’s position is that it will pay special attention to human rights in North Korea and the support and protection of North Korean refugees,” emphasizing that the stance toward North Korean refugees has clearly changed from that of the previous administration.

r 30s, Mr. C, said, “Due to the new coronavirus infection (Corona 19), identification checks were strengthened in China, but it was difficult to live without an ID card.” I did it,” he said.


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