Skip to comments.The Truth About North Korea
Posted on 04/03/2002 8:44:15 PM PST by petuniasevan
The Truth About North Korea
A recent Gallup Poll found that while Americans generally have a negative opinion of North Korea, these attitudes were less negative than views of Iran and Iraq the other two "axis of evil" countries identified by President Bush in his State of the Union Address. Gallup said that, to some degree, this was because "Americans know less about North Korea than the other two countries."
Dr. Norbert Vollertsen is trying to change that. He is the German doctor who spent 18 months inside North Korea. He was able to travel around the country in relative freedom until he realized that humanitarian aid was being diverted and he started speaking out. He was expelled in December 2000. He has recently been in Washington, D.C. trying to get Congress to hold hearings on North Korea. He says the situation is so bad that North Koreans are fleeing to Communist China. He said, "They are hiding in the woods. They do not have any shelter. They do not have any food or medicine. But its much better than in North Korea."
Vollertsen, who worked for German Emergency Doctors in Pyongyang, the capital, has been working with and interviewing refugees and defectors on the China-Korea border. He says that North Korean defectors report that Christians are being tortured and killed for reading Bibles. Some, he said, are forced to undergo biological warfare experiments.
Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute has been helping Vollertsen in his effort, lamenting "the almost complete lack of knowledge in the United States of the regimes lunatic character and why the president is precisely accurate to call it evil." President Bush, who called the regime part of the "axis of evil," accused North Korea of starving its people and developing weapons of mass destruction. Horowitz said North Korea is "worse than Sudan," where Christians also face persecution.
Vollertsen told us, "The defectors at the Chinese-North border say they have been imprisoned because they were reading pages of the Bible, preaching the Gospel or talking about God. They were tortured for reading the Bible. They were used for biological experiments because they believe in Christ. Some were killed. There were mass executions." He said defectors are telling stories of babies being killed just because the mothers are Christian. "The North Koreans do not want another generation of Christians," he said. Vollertsen charged that World Food Program humanitarian and food aid to North Korea, much of it supplied by the U.S., was being diverted to the communist regime. He said that North Korean defectors laugh at the ability of foreigners to be taken in.
Vollertsen, who said he still has sources in North Korea, charged that there has been "no improvement" in the delivery of food aid and other assistance since he was expelled: "All the North Korean defectors told me the same that is so easy to deceive the World Food Program " He urged the new head of the program, James T. Morris, an American who takes office in April, to pressure North Korea for freedom of travel for aid workers, diplomats and journalists. Vollertsen said, "Thats what the North Koreans are afraid of."
Reed Irvine can be reached at email@example.com
NK is the United Nations' role model.