Pence meets North Korean defectors


As South President Moon Jae-in prepared to host the North Korean delegation, including Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, Pence and his wife Karen met with four North Korean defectors who shared heartbreaking stories of famine, torture and hardship.

“The American people stand with you for freedom and you represent the people of North Korea, millions of which long to be free as well,” Pence told the defectors, two of whom met President Donald Trump at the White House last week.

“We’ve been inspired by your bravery. We ourselves have stood and looked across that demilitarized zone, that line across which you fled. You fled to freedom.”

 Fred Warmbier(R), the father of Otto warmbier who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months gives hug to Ji Seong-ho (second left), North Korean defector while U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks on.

Later Friday Pence arrived at the Olympic venue in Pyeongchang where he met with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. At a leaders’ reception ahead of the Opening Ceremony, the Vice President stopped to talk to delegates at several tables but didn’t come across the North Korean delegation, according to officials traveling with him.

Harrowing tales

At the earlier meeting with defectors, Pence was joined by Fred Warmbier, whose son Otto died soon after being released from North Korean captivity last year. Warmbier shared a warm embrace with Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean man who US President Donald Trump introduced to the nation last month during his State of the Union address.

Trump told Ji’s harrowing tale of how his limbs were run over by a train after he collapsed on the tracks in exhaustion before enduring torture at the hands of North Korean authorities.

Ji fled through an underground network China and other countries in 2006 before arriving in South Korea. He traveled on a pair of wooden crutches he said his father had made for him. With tears in his eyes, Ji hoisted the wooden crutches that his father made, to the thunderous applause from the audience at the State of the Union.

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Pence also met Ji Huron, who escaped and was repatriated to North Korea three times, where she was tortured, underwent a forced abortion and sent to a prison camp. She was released from the prison camp as part of a nationwide pardon of inmates on Kim Jung Il’s birthday, in February 2000.

Kim Hye Sook was incarcerated in a North Korean political prison camp for 28 years. When she tried to escape, she was sold into slave labor and repatriated before escaping to South Korea in 2009.

Kim told Pence, despite the images of North Koreans celebrating at the Olympic games, “we should never forget the millions of North Korean people who are struggling to survive.”

Pence also met Lee Hyeon-seo, author of the best-selling book “The Girl with Seven Names — A North Korean Defector’s Story.”

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‘Stand up for the truth’

The US delegation met with the defectors on the sidelines of a visit to pay respects at the Cheonan Memorial which honors South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack by North Korea.

Pence toured a museum featuring the soldiers’ stories and examined hallowed remains of the Korean warship attacked by North Korea.

“Our objective here today is to stand with our allies,” Pence said before flying to Pyeongchang to attend the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

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(containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;/** When the video content starts playing, inject analytics data* for Aspen (if enabled) and the companion ad layout* (if it was set when the ad played) should switch back to* epic ad layout. onContentPlay calls updateCompanionLayout* with the ‘restoreEpicAds’ layout to make this switch*/if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId) || null;} else {playerInstance = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null;}prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || ”;if (playerInstance && typeof playerInstance.reportAnalytics === ‘function’) {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(//videos//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)://[^/]/videos/(.+.w+)(?:/video/playlists/.*)?$/, ‘/video/$1’);if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = ”;}}playerInstance.reportAnalytics(‘videoPageData’, {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: ”,referrerUrl: document.referrer});}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});/* videodemanddust is a default feature of the injector */CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);



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