by WorldTribune Staff, February 2, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 2 was slated to meet with a group of defectors from North Korea, just days after the emotionally-stirring appearance of defector Ji Seong-Ho at the State of the Union address.
The president is expected to meet with eight defectors in the Oval Office, The Washington Post reported. Six of the defectors currently reside in South Korea and two in the United States.
One of the defectors scheduled to meet with Trump, the Post’s report said, is Lee Hyeon-Seo, who recounted her escape from the North, which included being sold as a bride in China, in a memoir called “The Girl with Seven Names”.
Lee planned to urge Trump to stop China from repatriating North Koreans who are caught escaping, the Post’s report said.
Defectors who are returned to North Korea face torture and imprisonment and even public execution.
“That’s why even today, many defectors carry poison with them in case they are caught in China. They would rather die than be repatriated to North Korea and suffer a horrible punishment for the rest of their lives,” Lee has written in her prepared remarks to the president, according to the Post.
Related: Riveting State of the Union moment: North Korean defector waves crutches in defiance, Jan. 31, 2018
Aides to former President Barack Obama told the Post they do not recall Obama meeting with North Korean defectors.
Former President George W. Bush met with defectors in the Oval in 2006, during the Six-Party Talks with the North, the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
“The world requires courage to confront people who do not respect human rights,” Bush said.
The Trump White House had not disclosed Ji’s appearance prior to the State of the Union.
“Today he lives in Seoul, where he rescues other defectors, and broadcasts into North Korea what the regime fears the most – the truth,” Trump said during his address to Congress. “Today he has a new leg, but Seong-Ho, I understand you still keep those crutches as a reminder of how far you have come. Your great sacrifice is an inspiration to us all.”