Kim Jong-un strengthens grip over North Korea as ‘Covid makes it impossible to escape’

UN: North Korea representative discusses Australia human rights

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The coronavirus pandemic has made it nearly impossible for defectors to escape as the regime has fortified its borders and ramped up security. As a result, sources within North Korea have revealed stark descriptions of brutality and starvation. A North Korean rescue organisation has said people within the secluded nation have been forced to eat grass and dirt. Human traffickers have forfeited their former lucrative trade in smuggling people across the border in North Korea to export tonnes of methamphetamine instead. The drug trade provides bigger profits and has fewer risks.

One high-profile defector, Pastor Chun Ki-won, known as the “Godfather of North Korean Defectors” is asking US President Joe Biden to urge Beijing to help the plight of North Koreans.

Pastor Chun is renowned for his heroic rescue operations where he’s saved over 1,200 people.

He is known personally to North Korean Kim Jong-un, who has labelled him a “cancer who should be eradicated”.

In the US Pastor Chun is known as “Asia’s Schindler”, in reference to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved 1,200 Jews during the Second World War.

Based in Seoul, the Pastor runs the Durihana Mission, a defector aid Christian organisation, where the group helps guide defectors from North Korea through Asia by foot, truck and trains.

However, the operations of the mission have been placed on hold amid the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking to The Sun a representative from the group, Pastor Ryan Ellsworth, said: “Ever since Kim came to power, he’s worked consistently to ramp up border security.

He has been putting heavy-duty guns on the border to replace soldiers, tightened things up.

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“Previously, they could be given money to look away as they were starving, but that’s stopped.

“Covid has helped North Korea in terms of secrecy, its surveillance techniques are getting better.

“The focus of attention has shifted away from human trafficking.

“Those who were able to help the most oppressed can’t do it right now and there’s been a cracking down on the Chinese Church, which used to help.

“Now it’s too risky, people are in prison who have helped, or have to flee for their own lives.”

Pastor Ryan, who leads the Durihana US branch, in Sante Fe, New Mexico, claims that people in North Korea are so desperate that they’re eating grass and dirt as experts warn another famine is imminent like in the nineties.

He said: “This is a time to be praying for the people of North Korea, so when the door is open again, we’ll be ready. The need will never be greater. Their food and economy situation, things are pretty bad, where they’re eating grass or dirt.

As a result, he has urged on China to help North Koreans.

He said: “China could make things right, they could just apply gentle pressure.

“I don’t see a political will to fight for this people, no one wants to make it an issue.

“There are some Western governments that could do more.

“No one wants to stand up to China.

“North Koreans should be allowed to pass through, according to international human rights.

“But China lets North operatives work in their country and kill people who help North Koreans, everyone knows it.

“We’re not asking the US government to help financially, we’ll do this on our own dime, but stop China forcibly repatriating North Korea citizens, please allow these people passage through your country, you don’t need to give them anything, just let them pass.

“That would be a game-changer.”

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