Kim Jong Un

by Hyeonseo Lee
Damir Sagolj—Reuters

The new year may have stirred hopes that Kim Jong Un might not be so bad after all: he did reach out to South Korea in the Winter Olympics, offer to meet President Trump, and meanwhile suspend missile and nuclear tests. I had faint hopes of my own when he came to power in 2011, knowing that he had encountered democracy and capitalism studying in Switzerland. But he’s even worse than his father. In North Korea, more than 100,000 people face torture and death in forced-labor camps, where one defector witnessed a mother forced to drown her own baby. The camps and regular public executions keep people deaf, dumb and blind in loyalty to his regime. Armed guards now patrol the river over which I fled to China in 1997; they recently gunned down a woman trying to cross in broad daylight. I could never have defected under his regime. He’s the most dangerous person on the planet.

Lee is a North Korean defector living in South Korea and the author of The Girl With Seven Names

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