Yeonmi Park Shares Story of North Korea Defection
North Korea is often considered to be one of the most isolated and volatile countries in the world. It is one of the few places on the planet where people do not generally have access to the Internet or news from the outside world. Because of this, many people in the country are unaware of life outside of North Korea and some are fearful to ever try and leave.
While attempting to defect from North Korea is considered very dangerous, some people do attempt to leave by sneaking into either South Korea or China. One individual that did try to leave was Yeonmi Park, who left North Korea with her mother when she was just 13 years old Park and her mother left the country in March 2007 by crossing the Chinese border in the dead of night. They then completed a yearlong journey through China, Mongolia, and South Korea before they were ever able to rest. Park’s father left a few months later, but ended up passing away from cancer shortly after leaving North Korea.
Once outside of North Korea and settled, she was completely shocked by life in a different country. She had stated that she was saddened by the lack of freedom in North Korea and surprised by the access to food that people in the rest of the world had. Yeonmi Park has frequently been interviewed by The Reason and considered a hero by those in the Western world, as well as an inspiration to others that would like to leave North Korea.
North Korea’s government has had a different perspective on Park’s defection. The government’s official stance according to the NY Times has been that Park is a traitor to the country and was in North Korea to attempt to destroy the nation. They have also told many citizens of the country that she and her family were actually spies from the United States.