A North Korean woman by the name of Pak Jong Suk who escaped to the South by way of China in 2006 has returned to the DPRK and lived to tell the story.
Here’s what she said in the most unusual press conference according to the DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency:
“I illegally crossed the border on the night of March 29, 2006 in a foolish hope of meeting my father who went to south Korea due to the A-bomb scare made by the U.S. imperialists during the Korean War and getting money from him”, she said.
“I was taken in by the luring tactics of south Korean Intelligence Service agents in an alien land and handed over by them according to their scenario. This was how I was taken to south Korea at around 9 a.m. of June 29 of the same year”, she added.
She recalled that while living in south Korea for six years she led a life little short of a miserable slave’s for want of money.
Referring to the living conditions of the “defectors from the north”, she said the jobs they could find at best were nothing but waste cleaning, vessel washing and servicing and other most hateful and difficult jobs.
The suicidal rate among them is five times that among other south Koreans, she said. They ardently wish to return to the DPRK, cursing corrupt south Korean society and reproaching themselves.
She spoke of what she felt after coming back to the DPRK after diverting the watch of IS agents.
“A single misstep made me fall into a bottomless pitfall, leaving disgrace to my children. But my motherland injected life-giving water to me who might have become a forlorn wandering spirit,” she noted.
“When I deplaned, quieting my thumping heart, I was stunned by the cordial reception given by officials concerned,” Pak said, adding:
“I felt at that time how affectionate and great the motherland is to me.
I would have no more to desire before I die.
The dear respected Kim Jong Un did not blame me who did so many wrongs in the past but brought me under his warm care. He showed profound loving care for me.
Kim Jong Un made sure that I, little different from an offender, reside in Pyongyang with my son who is a teacher of Pyongyang Kim Won Gyun Conservatory and daughter-in-law.
I am neither a patriot nor a hero who made any tangible contribution to the country.
I am an ingrate who had betrayed my motherland to seek better living while others devoted themselves to building a thriving nation, tightening their belts.
I deserve punishment. But Kim Jong Un did not blame me but was so kind as to enable me to enjoy the greatest happiness. How can I forget this profound love and benevolence so long as I am alive.
The world does not know such tender-hearted leader as the dear respected General Kim Jong Un.
I was reborn thanks to Kim Jong Un identical to the great Generalissimos.”
The Associated Press, which runs a bureau in Pyongyang, notes in its report:
It is unusual for North Korea to hold and televise a news conference for foreign as well as local media featuring ordinary citizens, particularly a former defector. It was not possible to immediately verify whether Pak spoke on government orders or of her own volition, but her comments are in line with North Korea’s efforts to rebut recent claims by rights activists and the U.S. that it abuses repatriated defectors.
A Unification Ministry spokeswoman, Park Soo-jin, said during a briefing in Seoul that there was at least one other known case of a North Korean defector returning to Pyongyang from the South and giving a news conference: A defector surnamed Yoo entered South Korea illegally in 1998, then returned to Pyongyang in 2000 and spoke to the media before coming back again to the South in 2001. The defector now lives in South Korea.