Home NewsEurope Life in South Korea turns sour for ‘gymnast’ who escaped from the North and back again

Life in South Korea turns sour for ‘gymnast’ who escaped from the North and back again

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Jihyun Park, who fled the North in 1998 and who final yr grew to become the primary ever defector to run in UK native elections, mentioned North Koreans skilled capitalism in black markets and had been drawn to the South after studying about its democratic society by motion pictures. 

However she mentioned the dangers of fleeing had risen since Kim Jong-un got here to energy a decade in the past, including stress on escapees who feared extreme punishment if caught and in addition repercussions for his or her households. Language differences between North and South also made the transition difficult, she said.

Michael Glendinning, CEO of Join: North Korea, a London-based organisation that helps North Korean escapees mentioned individuals who fled to the South confronted very sensible challenges like studying methods to use the web and ATMs, and wanted wider help networks. 

“The dearth of {qualifications} and job expertise, insecurity, and psychological well being issues are all contributing elements to North Korean escapees changing into trapped in low-paid work with restricted profession alternatives,” he mentioned.  

“This implies many North Korean escapees go away a lifetime of oppression solely to seek out themselves reaching far under their potential in life and remaining trapped in a cycle of subsistence.”

Being handled as “second-class residents within the office and social settings” and the guilt of leaving households behind had been all contributing elements for individuals who determined to return residence, he mentioned. 

However regardless of the difficulties, return defections stay uncommon. 

Of about 34,000 North Koreans who’ve fled to South Korea for financial and political causes for the reason that late Nineties, and solely about 30 have returned residence up to now 10 years, in response to South Korean authorities information.

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