A former North Korean prisoner is speaking out about his isolated
homeland country and the fate of two American journalists detained
there. Kang Chol Hwan spent 10 years in North Korea's notorious
Kang Chol-Hwan paints a disturbing
picture of chaos and violence along North Korea's border with China.
Defectors risk their lives while North Korean soldiers stand ready to
arrest or shoot them.
He tells journalists in Tokyo that North
Korea wants to control the border area desperately. Once the border
opens up the system will never be the same.
That border is
familiar territory for Kang. He escaped into China more than 10 years
ago after he learned the North Korean government was investigating him.
That followed a decade of abuse and starvation he experienced as a
prisoner at the notorious Yodok concentration camp.
He was sent there with his family because former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung thought Kang's grandfather was a traitor.
now a journalist in South Korea, is speaking out about the North Korean
camps in part because U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee
sentenced to 12 years there. He is convinced the communist regime is
treating both women well.
He says that North Korea's government
will not bother the journalists because it knows the U.S. is a powerful
country. Because the world knows where those journalists are, the
government cannot harm them.
Kang also said that United Nations sanctions will not stop North Korea's nuclear programs, but that China could be influential.
of thousands of North Koreans are thought to have fled hunger and
repression into China. But the Beijing government considers them to be
illegal migrants, and returns them to North Korea, where they face
imprisonment and possible execution.
Kang wants the United
States to pressure China to allow refugees to cross the border. He says
that will lead to a collapse of the North Korean government, if
hundreds of thousands of its citizens flee.