What are Our Intentions in North Korea?

A common goal in literature and the real world is the idea of the creation of a modern day utopia.

A harsh contradiction to dreams of an ideal world can be found when we look at North Korea. A veritable black hole for both people and information, little is known about the country and what is happening inside its borders. As one of the five communist nations remaining in the world, it is controlled completely by Kim Jong-un, the President, whom the North Korean people worship both as a public figure and a God-like leader. The strict rule he and his predecessors have established in the nation makes it tough to gain access to the country and, in some cases, even harder to leave. So now this question is raised: are Americans entering the country simply as tourists or do they travel with rebellion already in mind? On Sunday September 14th, a man named Matthew Todd Miller was convicted by the North Korean Supreme Court to six years of hard labor because he ripped up his tourist visa in the Pyongyang airport and demanding asylum.

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However, the charges don’t end there.He was also accused of being an American spy who entered the country with the goal of breaking the law, just so he could be sent to prison. This way, when he returned to America, he could be a first hand witness to the famously inhumane conditions in North Korean prison and labor camps. Recent reports have gone so far as to call him an attempted “Second Snowden”. Another case of plotting against the North Korean government occurred last year in the case of an American missionary named Kenneth Bae.

He was born in South Korea but eventually moved to The United States when he was 16 years old where he continued his practices as a devout catholic. In 2005, he moved to China with the goal to set up trips to take tourists into North Korea. In 2013, he was arrested by the Korean government and accused of a shocking array of crimes including attempting the organization of a religious rebellion, setting up bases in China for the purpose of destroying the Korean state, trying to convince North Korean citizens to rebel, and conducting an overall smear campaign. As a result of his crimes, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Despite the United States’ immense control as a world power, we are able to do little to when it comes to North Korea. The dictatorship, although considered inhumane, is strong and the borders are impenetrable to all but the smallest and most unassuming groups.

So are people trying to take rebellion into their own hands? While it is impossible to know the true reasoning behind the actions of these two men, hopefully if they return to The United States we will be given some insight into the unknown territory that is North Korea.