A North Korean defector who has sent 60 tons of rice, financial support and waterproof Bibles through some pretty ingenious methods, reacted to the recent Korea Summit and shed light on deprived the people really are.
Kim Yogn Hwa is a North Korean defector and chairman of the North Korean Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea. Since April 2016, he had overseen over 58 innovative rice bottle launches, resulting in around 60 tons of rice delivered to hungry and malnourished North Koreans.
While Hwa supports President Trump on many of his initiatives, he said Trump only has “limited information” about North Korea and the administration, and it is “very difficult for him to the understand the reality of the North Korean” people. He said that despite what the press says, Korean people are still facing immense persecution and suffering under Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Hwa argued that although President Trump met with Kim Jong Un, no one should believe that the dictator of North Korea will actually work to denuclearize his country.
Hwa said the meetings sent a “disappointing” message to the North Korean people, who are utterly desperate.
Hwa recalled that while he was in the North Korean military in the 1970’s, there were floods where water would bring items carried from South Korea. This is where he got the idea of sending items via streams of water. He and his associates studied water streams and started sending bottles of food and information to the North Koreans.
The North Korean Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea has helped many defectors from North Korea settle in South Korea as well as other countries, but their main focus is on people in North Korea.
Kim Yogn Hwa stated that:
His organization was first involved in balloon launch efforts, which would send medication and food items over the border, he decided that the rice bottles would be a more effective means of reaching the people, especially those in inland provinces who are even more isolated from the outside world.”
Kim says that he knows the rice bottles reach North Korea, since during launches, maritime police track their activities on the radar. He said that his organization is able to identify, through some unofficial sources, that 97 percent of the bottles reach their destination, and are often collected by fishermen and fishing boats.
The bottles contain various items to help North Koreans. The rice inside can be used to eat or sell, depending on the need of the person who finds them. The organization also places United States dollar bills on the inside, which can be used to barter. The monetary equivalent of the bottles is what a North Korean would normally earn over a 50 day period.
The coolest part of these bottles is they come with USB sticks that contain New Testament Bibles, hymns, Korean television dramas, medicine, and information about the outside world – which is a necessity in a country filled with propaganda.
Some of the bottles also have waterproof hard copies of the Bible, which allow them to arrive unscathed.
Hwa stated that they sometimes include psalms and hymns as well. They hope that if people learn them, they might also sing them, which would spread the gospel quickly.
The bottles also sometimes include Korean dramas and entertainment videos in order to detail what the rest of the world looks like. The North Koreans only know the propaganda that the Kim regime puts in front of them, so this can bring a bit of truth.
Hwa stated that its been “heartbreaking” for him to hear stories of families making rice porridge in order to “inflate the servings” and make the most of the bottle.
Hwa also mentioned that churches have also helped provide resources to send over to North Korea.
“We are having a hard time. It is not easy,” Kim stated that the bottle launches could really only happen twice a month.
“[But] we know that people are waiting at that time, because they know the flow is coming from the South. We cannot disappoint them, we want to deliver to these people,” he added.
“[There is] nothing more powerful than North Koreans living in freedom in South Korea communicating to North Koreans living under the enslavement of the Kim dictatorship,” Suzanne Scholte, who is the president of the Defense Forum Foundation and chair of the North Korea Freedom Coalition said.
Scholte also said the “most important way we can help the suffering people of North Korea is to support the defectors’ work from rice bottle launches to balloon launches to radio broadcasting.” Scholte helped organize the 14th annual North Korea Freedom Week in May, which showcasted various activists and the efforts they are putting forth to help North Koreans.
“All these methods are critical because to reach the people of North Korea you must employ all these techniques because the regime works so aggressively to keep them isolated from the outside world,” she added.
When asked why some North Korean defectors like Kim Yong Hwa risk their personal safety, financial security and reputation in these efforts, she stated
“It is because they love their homeland and have never forgotten their beloved brothers and sisters who are suffering and they know personally how effective and important this work is. It is an affirmation of what we have always believed: the Truth Will Set Them Free.”
The latest rice bottle launch happened this past Thursday, where 700 kilograms, or 1,543 pounds of rice, “hope and love” were sent to the people of North Korea.
Along with the 1,543 pound of rice included 250 Bibles.