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People Who Never Come Back 2017-05-28 오후 11:31:00

North Korea is currently a country with strictly regulated borders, values confidentiality, and is constantly developing their nuclear weapons program. In addition, the country is interested in kidnapping foreigners as hostages. It is well-known that stepping into North Korea is difficult and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but more than anything, it is highly risky. Only a select few are allowed to enter North Korea and these include: foreign reporters, politicians, or travelers with visas. However, for some people, it is more difficult to exit the country than entering.

Tony Kim, Otto Warmbier, and Kim Dong Chul are all US citizens and are well-known because they were forced to stay in North Korea. These people become hostages and are detained for various reasons, such as illegal entry into North Korea, unauthorized religious activity, or defaming the supreme leadership. Some reasons are unknown. Many of these foreign hostages are released after few months, but a few are taken in for years.

While these people are in detention, they experience harsh conditions. These hostages are forced to stay in enclosed, stuffy prison cells and are given lack of basic necessities like food or water. They must stay in cells that have limited access to sunlight and face the anxiety everyday of what will happen when they open their eyes the next morning. They are forced to confess to actions that the officials want them to say though may not be true. They must also bear through a series of trials and will eventually be condemned as guilty. These hostages are required to perform years of arduous labor, but some are allowed to seek a low possibility of appealing.

Otto Warmbier was an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Warmbier traveled to North Korea as a tourist on a group tour called the Young Pioneer Tours. Reports claimed that Warmbier committed an alleged crime of stealing a propaganda sign from the Yanggakdo International Hotel staff-only floor in Pyongyang. He was staying in the hotel with other tourists. On March 18th, 2016, North Korean news released a video showing the crime itself. A black shadowed figure had snuck up to the wall, detached a sign, and then placed it on the floor. On January 2nd, 2016, he was eventually arrested at the Pyongyang airport while boarding a flight home, while other members of the tour all returned to their homes. Two months later, he had a one hour trial that convicted him of “acting out of hostility against the state.” Later in February, he confessed to the theft he had carried out. Warmbier testified that he attempted to carry it back to the US for someone that was going to pay him with a car as a gift. Since then, he continues to remain in detention.

North Korea considers the method of keeping foreign prisoners under detention as a valuable way to apply pressure on their rival nations and enemies, like the US. Most of the foreigners detained in North Korea are thought to be US citizens. It may also be a way to display strength as threat of a potential war is eminent as well as to display power over foreign countries. Whether their main reason for detainment of foreigners is to start a war, to increase tensions, or to show North Korea’s power, the rest of the world should search for a way to get the hostages out of this country immediately.

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Seoul International School
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글작성자 - Michelle_Yi :
2017-10-26 오후 4:17:40
  Edits from The Junior Herald:
North Korea is currently a country with strictly regulated borders, values confidentiality, and is constantly developing their nuclear weapons program. In addition, the country is interested in kidnapping foreigners as hostages. It is well-known that stepping into North Korea is difficult and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but more than anything, it is highly risky. Only a select few are allowed to enter North Korea and these include: foreign reporters, politicians, or travelers with visas. However, for some people, it is more difficult to exit the country than entering.

Tony Kim, Otto Warmbier, and Kim Dong Chul are all US citizens and are well-known because they were forced to stay in North Korea. These people become hostages and are detained for various reasons, such as illegal entry into North Korea, unauthorized religious activity, or defaming the supreme leadership. Some reasons are unknown. Many of these foreign hostages are released after few months, but a few are taken in for years.

While these people are in detention, they experience harsh conditions. These hostages are forced to stay in enclosed, stuffy prison cells and are given lack of basic necessities like food or water. They must stay in cells that have limited access to sunlight and face the anxiety everyday of what will happen when they open their eyes the next morning. They are forced to confess to actions that the officials want them to say though may not be true. They must also bear through a series of trials and will eventually be condemned as guilty. These hostages are required to perform years of arduous labor, but some are allowed to seek a low possibility of appealing.

Otto Warmbier was an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Warmbier traveled to North Korea as a tourist on a group tour called the Young Pioneer Tours. Reports claimed that Warmbier committed an alleged crime of stealing a propaganda sign from the Yanggakdo International Hotel staff-only floor in Pyongyang. He was staying in the hotel with other tourists. On March 18th, 2016, North Korean news released a video showing the crime itself. A black shadowed figure had snuck up to the wall, detached a sign, and then placed it on the floor. On January 2nd, 2016, he was eventually arrested at the Pyongyang airport while boarding a flight home, while other members of the tour all returned to their homes. Two months later, he had a one hour trial that convicted him of “acting out of hostility against the state.” Later in February, he confessed to the theft he had carried out. Warmbier testified that he attempted to carry it back to the US for someone that was going to pay him with a car as a gift. Since then, he continues to remain in detention.

North Korea considers the method of keeping foreign prisoners under detention as a valuable way to apply pressure on their rival nations and enemies, like the US. Most of the foreigners detained in North Korea are thought to be US citizens. It may also be a way to display strength as threat of a potential war is eminent as well as to display power over foreign countries. Whether their main reason for detainment of foreigners is to start a war, to increase tensions, or to show North Korea’s power, the rest of the world should search for a way to get the hostages out of this country immediately.
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