[imText1]As an ordinary American who carefully watches events in Korea, my message is about the changing views about North Korea here in America. Those views are very different from what Kim Jong Il’s propaganda says.
Americans once regarded North Korea as a crisis only because of Kim Jong Il’s threats to South Korea and his efforts to build nuclear weapons.
In fact, America might have tolerated the existence of nuclear weapons in North Korea if Kim Jong Il showed more regard for human life. While millions of North Korean people starved and died, Kim Jong Il spent billions on weapons, even as other nations gave hundreds of millions of dollars each year to feed its starving people. Kim Jong Il never allowed the United Nations to ensure that the food we gave went to the hungry people who needed it. Later, we learned that much of the food was stolen and given to party members and the army instead. Although you are still hungry, Kim Jong Il refuses to let us give you any food aid this year. This disregard for human life, not just his weapons, makes Kim Jong Il a danger both to you and to us. We know, as you know, why Kim Jong Il is the last fat man in North Korea.
Today, the American view of North Korea is much more sympathetic to the North Korean people. Thanks to the courage of the North Korean resistance and its hidden videocameras, we have seen hungry people eating spilled grain from the side of railroad tracks.
We have seen police and soldiers beating citizens. We have heard refugees in China tell how their friends and family members starved, and how the Chinese persecute and exploit these refugees. We have seen the kkotjaebi wandering in the markets, and the dead lying in the streets. Kang Chol Hwan, who recently met President Bush at the White House, told us about the thousands of people in Kim Jong Il’s prison camps. We sympathize with your suffering, we seek ways to ease it, and we admire more than words can express those who risk their lives to resist Kim Jong Il. Almost no one in America including our leaders -wants war, but more of us believe that resistance in North Korea will grow, just as it grew in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe.
Americans freely debate every controversial issue, including taxes, education, war, and foreign policy. It is very rare that all 535 of our elected representatives agree on any issue. Our sympathy for the people of North Korea is one of those rare issues on which almost all of us agree. In October 2004, our Congress unanimously passed the North Korean Human Rights Act, which requires our government to increase support for North Korean refugees and pro-democracy activities, and which also requires our government to talk about your human rights during our nuclear negotiations. Some would say that by doing so, the United States sacrificed its own interests for a greater moral purpose. The truth is that the United States cannot trust Kim Jong Il as long as his desire for secrecy and repression is greater than his regard for human life.
In that view, the interests of the American people and the North Korean people are the same Kim Jong Il must be replaced by a government that serves and obeys the people of North Korea. Just as Americans want peace, we believe that inside your hearts, you want peace, too. We believe that the way to peace is to help you find your own freedom. Let us all pray that 2006 will be the year your hunger and oppression will finally end. When you are free, and if you ask us for our help, we will be here to help you rebuild your country and your society.