SEOUL, South Korea – An estimated 34,000 defectors have made the life-or-death journey to freedom crossing from North Korea to South Korea.
One of those defectors has now become the North Korean regime’s number one target.
He made the remarkable and miraculous journey from being a child beggar in North Korea to an elected member of the South Korean Parliament.
CBN News He met that legislator, Ji Seung Ho, who now had an ambitious goal.
“My hope as a member of the National Assembly is that the North Korean regime collapses so that the North Korean people can enjoy freedom and faith in God,” he told us. “I want to dedicate myself to creating such freedom and unity.”
Seong-Ho showed us a painting of “kut-say-bee,” a child beggar in North Korea, and described how he survived as a child when millions starved to death.
At the age of 14, he lost his leg and hand in an accident. At the age of 24, Seong-Ho escaped to freedom.
He recounted, “I fled North Korea with neither left nor right leg.” I swam across the Tumen River to avoid the eyes of the North Korean soldiers. I walked 6,000 kilometers to China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and China, and turned around to go 10,000 kilometers to South Korea.”
He added, “The fact that I came to freedom on crutches made the whole world realize how strong the will of human beings is to crave freedom.”
In China, Seong-Ho heard the gospel and became a Christian, and when he came to South Korea, it was like a dream.
He recalled, “Everything I thought, dreamed and prayed for came true. For example, the dream of eating a full meal, like chicken, came true. And I had a dream of walking the world again. When I came to South Korea, the government gave me a leg and an arm.” New prostheses, so I was able to walk again.”
President Trump honored Seong-Ho during his 2018 State of the Union address. Because of his high profile, North Korea has named him their number one target. He says countries should pressure China not to send defectors back to North Korea, where they face death or life as political prisoners.
“People imprisoned in political prison camps in North Korea are treated like animals, not people,” he stated. “And everyone in North Korea is well aware of that.”
Seong-Ho now works as an advocate for human rights and for the 34,000 defectors in South Korea. His role model is Martin Luther King, Jr., and this former child beggar is now meeting world leaders.
“My message is that North Koreans have the right to live in freedom,” he explained. And those who live in a free democracy have a responsibility to save those who are imprisoned and dying. They have a responsibility to make sure that even those who starve to death live and enjoy the freedom we do.”
Despite the current situation, Seung Ho believes that reunification between the North and the South is possible.
He said, “I don’t think it’s impossible.” Because it is clear that North Korea is a dictatorship. I do not know of any dictatorship in history that lasted forever. Moreover, I have the idea that politics should be done with a long-term perspective so that free democracy and the gospel can be preached to North Koreans and integration can be achieved after unification.
Seong-Ho asks Christians around the world to pray.
“Pray for the overthrow of the North Korean regime and for the North Korean people to have the freedom to have freedom and faith in God – to create unity so that they can be integrated into a liberal democracy.”