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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Kim Seong Min

Interviewed June 23, 2024

I was encouraged by Mr. Hwang Jang-yop [Hwang Jang-yop was a senior leadership figure in North Korea who defected to South Korea in 1997.] who also defected from North Korea, when I made up my mind to escape from North Korea. He had a strong vision of helping the North Korean people even though he had to give up all of his privileges while living in North Korea.

In April of 2006, President Bush took the time to meet us and said that the Kim Jong Il regime is evil. He encouraged all of the North Korean defectors who attended that event and he patted us on our shoulders to give us words and thoughts of encouragement. It gave us a lot of pride and encouraged us with those gestures. At that time it was a difficult moment for us and it helped to receive the kind of encouragement from the President of the United States. With each sentence and each word President Bush provided us a great source of courage and pride not only for the North Korean defectors that were present but also for the North Korean people who received the news.

In North Korea I was a writer and I am currently studying a PhD program in writing. I also admire President Havel of Czechoslovakia who was also an ordinary citizen and a writer and accomplished many things of democracy for Czechoslovakia. I met him a couple of times and I am always impressed with his doings. Although he was nothing but an ordinary citizen at first, I admire that he went to great levels.