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World Defector to South Korea Who Became a Celebrity Resurfaces in the North

00:35  19 july  2017
00:35  19 july  2017 Source:   nytimes.com

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  North Korea calls US practice bombing run a provocation North Korea has criticized a practice bombing run on the Korean peninsula by two U.S. B-1B bombers as a dangerous move raising the risk of nuclear war.A commentary Sunday in the ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused the U.S. of "reckless military provocations" that are escalating tensions. The U.S. Air Force bombers released inert weapons Friday on a training range in South Korea. South Korean and U.S. fighter jets joined the drill. The bombers also flew with Japanese fighter jets on their way back to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

She even had her own online fan club, indicating that she was among the relatively few North Korean defectors who had successfully adjusted to life in the capitalist South . This week, Ms. Lim resurfaced in North Korea , tearfully recalling a terrible life in the South .

Seoul - South Korea is investigating the case of a North Korean defector who became a celebrity refugee in Seoul, but recently appeared on Pyongyang television to claim she had returned home from the "hell" of the capitalist South . Lim Ji-Hyun, a female defector in her 20s

  Defector to South Korea Who Became a Celebrity Resurfaces in the North © FreedomNK TV via Youtube

SEOUL, South Korea — Until April, Lim Ji-hyun had been a modest television celebrity in South Korea, talking to the audience about the country she knew best: North Korea. She even had her own online fan club, indicating that she was among the relative few North Korean defectors who had successfully adjusted to life in the capitalist South.

This week, Ms. Lim resurfaced in North Korea, tearfully recalling a terrible life in the South.

“Every single day of my life in the South was a hell,” Ms. Lim, 26, said in a videotaped interview uploaded on the North Korean government-run propaganda website Uriminzokkiri. “When I was alone in a dark, cold room, I was heartbroken and I wept every day, missing my fatherland and my parents back home.”

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She even had her own online fan club, indicating that she was among the relatively few North Korean defectors who had successfully adjusted to life in the capitalist South . This week Three weeks ago, Ms. Lim resurfaced in North Korea , tearfully recalling a terrible life in the South .

She even had her own online fan club, indicating that she was among the relatively few North Korean defectors who had successfully adjusted to life in the capitalist South . This week, Lim resurfaced in North Korea , tearfully recalling a terrible life in the South .

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Ms. Lim, or Jeon Hye-sung, as she was called in the North, said she returned to “the bosom of the fatherland” last month and was now living with her parents in her hometown.

She did not reveal how she traveled back to the North. The Unification Ministry, the South Korean government agency that handles issues related to defectors, said it was investigating Ms. Lim’s case. Since there is no press freedom in the North, what Ms. Lim told the propaganda website cannot be independently verified.

“I was lured to the South by a delusion that I would eat well and make a lot of money there,” she said. “It was not the place I had imagined. I had wandered around everywhere there to make money, working in drinking bars, but nothing had worked out.”

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North Korean defector Im Ji Hyun, who became a celebrity refugee in Seoul, recently appeared on Pyongyang television and claimed to have returned However, she recently resurfaced in North Korea following a short disappearance, tearfully recalling a terrible life after her escape to the South .

Defector to South Korea Who Became a Celebrity Resurfaces in the North . July 1, 2017. 13 North Koreans Working Abroad Defect to the South .

Since a famine struck their country in the late 1990s, more than 30,000 North Koreans have defected to the South, a vast majority of them taking a perilous journey through China and the jungles of Southeast Asia to seek a new life.

After an extensive debriefing, they go through a monthslong program intended to help them integrate into South Korean society. But they often find it hard to make the transition from the North’s highly regimented totalitarian system to the South’s fast-paced, hypercompetitive capitalist society. They often cannot catch up with South Korean peers in schools and workplaces. Their strong accents divulge their origin.

Usually toiling in jobs shunned by South Koreans, they save money, which they send to family members left behind in the impoverished North.

North Korea used to call defectors “traitors” or “human scum.”

But since the North’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, took power in 2011, at least 25 defectors have resurfaced, claiming that they returned voluntarily, fed up with life in the South.

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Lim Ji-hyun, in an interview uploaded on a state-run North Korean propaganda website, described her life in the South as “a hell.” The time or date displayed (including in the Timeline of Articles feature) reflects when an article was added to or updated in Newsbelow.com.

According to an exclusive by Joongang Ilbo, on July 16, a former defector of North Korea appeared on a North Korean propaganda media called 'Our Nation'. This individual used to go by the name of Im Ji Hyun back in South Korea and was a celebrity

South Korean officials agree that some of the North Koreans may have returned out of desperation after failing to adjust to life in the South. But they also suspect that some were abducted back to the North after they were lured to China. North Korean agents have tried to blackmail defectors in the South, using their relatives in the North as hostages, they said.

The returning defectors are a propaganda boon for Mr. Kim.

His government has organized news conferences in Pyongyang, where the returnees claimed that human smugglers or South Korean spy agents cheated or kidnapped them to the South. They invariably thanked Mr. Kim for giving traitors like them a second chance. The United Nations has long criticized North Korea as one of the world’s worst human rights violators.

Under Mr. Kim, the North has tightened control along the border with China, the main escape route for defectors. The number of North Korean refugees arriving in the South dropped to 1,418 last year from 2,706 in 2011, according to the Unification Ministry. It has also intensified the crackdown on South Korean movies and TV dramas smuggled from China through which North Korean defectors said they learned of life in the South.

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SEOUL, South Korea — Until April, Lim Ji-hyun had been a modest television celebrity in South Korea , talking to the since the North ’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, took power in 2011, at least 25 defectors have resurfaced , claiming that they returned voluntarily, fed up with life in the South .

"Every single day of my life in the South was a hell," the defector said in a video posted on a North Korean state-run propaganda website. "It was not the place I had imagined."

“In the South, where money ruled, there was only physical and psychological pain waiting for people like me who had betrayed their fatherland and fled,” Ms. Lim said in an apparent warning to North Koreans who might be dreaming of leaving for the South.

Ms. Lim arrived in South Korea in 2014.

From December, she had been among scores of mostly young female North Korean defectors who have tried to build a career on cable TV talk or reality shows. They often appear in North Korean dresses and sing North Korean songs.

Speaking in their unmistakable North Korean accents, these women share often funny or tearful episodes of life in the famine-struck Stalinist state or their dangerous journey for freedom. A show called “Love of South and North” matches North Korean women with South Korean men, placing them in a romantic situation.

These entertainment-driven programs, which often advertise “beauties from the North,” are accused of airing sensational yet unconfirmed allegations from the defectors. But they are also credited for helping South Koreans understand the lives of ordinary people in the North, a neighbor that has seldom generated interest among South Koreans despite its growing nuclear and missile threats.

On the talk show Moranbong Club on TV Chosun, a cable channel, in December, Ms. Lim appeared in a North Korean military uniform and cheerfully described how she used to bribe her schoolteacher with a pack of cigarettes so that she could skip classes and sell smuggled bottles of liquor to make money.

Back in North Korea, she said she and other defectors on South Korean TV shows were often coerced into slandering the North — an allegation the channels deny.

In a separate reality show, Ms. Lim demonstrated how to climb trees and make fire in the woods, skills she picked up while serving in a North Korean military artillery unit.

While pursing her TV career, Ms. Lim lived in a small one-room studio in Seoul. In her fan blog in March, she said she got busier because she just enrolled in a school, uploading photographs of her doing homework, according to the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo. In April, she thanked her fans for a birthday party, calling it “possibly the happiest birthday of my life.”

Soon afterward, she disappeared.

Her fans shut the blog down after she resurfaced in North Korea.

No Korean military talks after North snubs South's call .
South Korea's proposed military talks aimed at easing tensions between the two Koreas planned for Friday failed to take place after the North snubbed a call by the South, a setback for new President Moon Jae-in's hope of engaging Pyongyang in dialogue. South Korea's Defence Ministry was expected to issue a statement at 0130 GMT after the North remained silent on Seoul's proposal made on Monday for talks to be held to discuss ways to avoid hostilities near the heavily armed border.

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