Interview with Joseph Kim, North Korean Refugee

During a Korean-American leadership conference at Yale University, several students realized that reports of famine, inhumane work camps, torture, and ideological enslavement in North Korea no longer captured the attention of U.S. leaders, policymakers, or even humanitarian organizations. Who would bring justice to North Korea? The students decided they would. In 2004, they started Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), the first nonprofit organization solely dedicated to ending North Korea?s humanitarian crisis through education, advocacy, and aid to refugees, according to LiNK?s associate director of awareness Justin Wheeler.

In this interview, assistant editor Jeannie Choi speaks with Joseph Kim, a North Korean refugee rescued by members of LiNK. Joseph, now a U.S. citizen and resident of Los Angeles, California, shares his story of bravery and triumph escaping North Korea at the age of 15.

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