Home > PRESS > Speaker Series #2: Week 1 Re-cap “Is North Korea in crisis? Internal power struggles and perspectives on North Korea-China relations’

NKSC Speaker Series: Strategies for Change #2 – Week 1 Re-cap!
Wednesday 29th October 2014

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NKSC had a fantastic turn out to the first talk of our the 2nd Speaker Series: Strategies for Change- with over 90 attendees last night! It was fantastic to see so many member of the international community interested in learning more about North Korea to create a community of learning and understanding through real defector insights. Many audience members were eager to ask Lee Myung their pressing questions during the very lively Q&A, the highlights of which you can find below.

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If you would like to download the bullet-point summary of Lee Myung’s presentation, please click the link below.

2014.10.29 Lee Myung Presentation Summary

**Disclaimer: these responses reflect the personal opinions of the speaker only.

Q&A with Lee Myung

Q: How are you adapting to South Korea?
A: I’m still adjusting to South Korea; it hasn’t been long since I came. North Korea, as a rigid socialist power, wants to create a society in which everyone lives equally well with rice, beef soup, and thatched roof houses. However, South Korea has already made this society. In North Korea, South Korea was known as a country of exploitation and pressures, but in reality, North Korea actually wants to be a country more like what South Korea is. South Korea is the country that North Korea is trying to make.

Q: Will China improve its relations with North Korea as North Korea learns to become less dependent?
A: China says that it is enabling North Korea to become less dependent through economic support and trade, but after the third missile test, China has joined the UN Security Council sanction. Since China’s Xi Jinping received Ryonghae Choe, North Korea has had no official relations with China.
We need to distinguish what makes a country independent. North Korea is waiting for China to change its attitude to what North Korea wants.

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Q: Since Kim Jong Un has been in power, have there been official visits to other countries?
A: North Korea has made greetings to Chinese leaders, but their dialogue has no meaning. China has requested that North Korea stop its nuclear development and eliminate tensions on the Korean peninsula, but North Korea has no reason to respond to these requests.

Q: After the purge of Jang Sung-taek, North Korea stopped its economic exchanges and construction on oil refineries. How do you think North Korea will improve its economic relations with China?
A: There is almost no government trade. Even though the Chinese government used to send 500,000 tons of crude oil and 300,000 tons of food per year, it doesn’t send anything now. Export of petroleum and diesel has increased. Rather, activity has increased in trade development, private business, and trade companies, as well as attracting Chinese tourists and developing tourism products. Lowering the price of tourism increases the number of tourists.

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Q: What did you think of North Korea’s concept of “juche” (self-reliance)?
A: I studied the propaganda for “juche”. The reasoning behind its ideology, system, and authority of leadership is perfect. What I mean is I guess you could say that as a theory itself, it is perfect.

Q: On September 3 of this year, North Korea presented a 30,000-page report about its stance on human rights. Do you think the report will encourage the improvement of human rights?
A: North Korea avoids and hides its human rights problem. However, every country in the world has human rights problems. There are also human rights issues in America, so North Korea digs up America’s problems and references them to justify itself.

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Q: Can you discuss the changes in North Korea-Russia relations?
A: Relations with Putin were good when Kim Jong Il was in power. Relations decreased afterwards but are now recovering. It seems like they are developing their relationship. After the rapid cooling of North Korea-China relations, China feels pressure because of North Korea’s developing relations with Russia. North Korea uses China and Russia to put pressure on its opposing countries. But I can say that as long as North Korea cannot fulfill Russia’s demands, it will not be able to develop relations.

Q: Can you discuss the changes in North Korea-Russia relations?
A: Relations with Putin were good when Kim Jong Il was in power. Relations decreased afterwards but are now recovering. It seems like they are developing their relationship. After the rapid cooling of North Korea-China relations, China feels pressure because of North Korea’s developing relations with Russia. North Korea uses China and Russia to put pressure on its opposing countries. But I can say that as long as North Korea cannot fulfill Russia’s demands, it will not be able to develop relations.

Q: After the UN Special Rapporteur’s presentation, if Kim Jong Un concedes to the ICC (International Criminal Court), do you think he would allow the UN Special Rapporteur to visit North Korea?
A: In the past, when North Korea invited into North Korea a person investigating human rights, they showed fake prisons. After the abolition of Yodok concentration camp, North Korea will show Yodok camp after they have moved the people to other concentration camps.

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Don’t forget to RSVP for our next talk on Wednesday 5th November – email your name and affiliation to nksc.seouloffice@gmail.com.