North Korea defector ate insects, saw 'bodies on the street' as Kim Jong-un starved country for nuclear power
The defector, Yeonmi Park, revealed that cold, darkness, and starvation were part of everyday life in the kingdom and blamed the regime's nuclear ambition for destroying the economy of the country
A defector from North Korea, who fled the hermit nation at the age of 13, has described the horrors she witnessed as a child in the streets of the country and had to resort to eating insects to survive because of mass starvation. The defector, Yeonmi Park, revealed that cold, darkness, and starvation were part of everyday life in the kingdom and blamed the regime's nuclear ambition for destroying the economy of the country.
Park fled from North Korea and crossed a frozen Yalu River into China along with her mother. The pair, however, were trafficked and raped before they made their escape again to Mongolia. The young defector, who is now 26, in a statement to the New York Post, said that she had "no friends, only comrades" in North Korea and that feelings of affection were only reserved for the ruling Kim dynasty. The United Nations (UN), last year, had warned that over 10 million people in North Korea were facing "severe shortages" of food and other essential products, and that the country's economy had been damaged further by coronavirus restrictions. Pyongyang, however, has maintained that there are zero cases of the deadly infection in the nation despite conflicting reports.
"You’d see so many people just dying. It was something normal for us to see the dead bodies on the street," Park said. "I have visited slums in Mumbai, I have visited slums in other countries, but nothing is like North Korea because North Korean starvation, it’s a systematic starvation by a country that chose to starve us." The 26-year-old said that both her grandmother and uncle died of malnutrition and that she was forced to eat insects to survive as a child.
"If they would spend just 20 percent of what they spent on making nuclear weapons, nobody would have to die in North Korea from hunger but the regime chose to make us hungry," she said. Park also stated that school children in the regime were taught to revere the Kim family, which has ruled the nation for nearly 70 years, as god-like leaders with supernatural powers. She explained how there was "no concept of friends" in schools and students were instead forced to turn against each other in "criticism sessions."
Park also revealed her arduous journey to escape the country when she was just 13. She said that she was "sold" to traffickers for $260 and both she and her mother were raped by their captors in China. She also talked about gangs that specialize in trafficking women and children from North Korea to China and said that some women would work as prostitutes so they could send some money back home. Park and her mother, after spending nearly two years with their captors, decided to risk their lives as they escaped to Mongolia by crossing the frozen Gobi Desert. She later moved to Seoul in South Korea and later to New York City and Chicago. She, however, fears that her relatives could have been executed or sent to prison camps because she has not been able to get in touch with them.