During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump took a moment to share the incredible story of a North Korean defector named Ji Seong-ho.
Trump described how Ji had lost a leg at a young age after being run over by a train and how he eventually escaped the communist nation by traveling more than 6,000 miles through China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand on crutches, facing challenges at every turn before ultimately arriving safely in South Korea.
“Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears most: the truth,” stated Trump, according to the White House transcript.
“Today, he has a new leg. But, Seong-ho, I understand you still keep those old crutches as a reminder of how far you’ve come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all. Please. Thank you,” he added to resounding applause as Ji stood and held his old crutches aloft. “Seong-ho’s story is a testament to the yearning of every human soul to live in freedom.”
Indeed it is, and the defector recently sat down with The Daily Caller for an exclusive interview during which he shared more of his story, and issued direct messages to both the oppressed North Korean people and the corrupt leader of the communist regime, Kim Jong Un.
To dictator Kim Jong Un, Ji stated, “I would like to tell him this — in the land I lived in, you could choose life or death. I chose life. I chose to live in a land of freedom. I won. I achieved victory.”
To his fellow North Korean people, the defector offered a message of hope and said, “Outside North Korea, there is a freedom. If you choose to pursue this freedom, you might have the honor of visiting Washington, D.C. and meet the president. This is a freedom. I hope the day comes soon when many people can escape from North Korea.”
As for those people who foolishly think communism is an acceptable or preferable form of government, Ji stated bluntly, “I cannot find the exact words to describe it. Simply put, it is a horrible thing. Communism is a hell.”
“On the other hand, democracy is a heaven,” he added. “Democratic countries are places where there is freedom of expression and where you can live on the strength of your merits.”
According to The Daily Caller, Ji also spoke of how disabled people are treated in the backwards North Korean regime, and it isn’t particularly pleasant.
Aside from senior military leaders or party officials, those who suffer from a disability are “left out of society and abandoned to wait for death,” and are provided no food, no clothing, no shelter and certainly no treatment for what ails them.
Sick of being mistreated as an embarrassment, tortured and left to die, Ji followed his mother and siblings in fleeing the horrific communist country. Unfortunately, his father was captured at some point in the escape attempt and was ultimately beaten and murdered by the Kim regime.
This young man fled the horrific environment of his home country — on makeshift crutches, no less — in a seemingly hopeless bid for freedom, and overcame incredible adversity on his journey.
Ji Seong-ho truly is a testament to all others yearning to experience liberty, and hopefully his message of hope will find a way to reach his fellow North Koreans to let them know that they haven’t been forgotten by the rest of the world.
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