Statement of condemnation
of the long-range rocket launch,
disregarding the welfare of 23 million North Korean residents
North Korea defied international and South Korean warnings and fired a long-range rocket at 11:30 AM on the 5th of April 2009.
In light of this reckless act by the North Korean government, we, former North Korean citizens currently residing in South Korea, strongly condemn the North Korean government’s act to secure Kim Jung-Il’s regime while completely disregarding the welfare of fellow 23 million North Korean residents.
North Korean officials have been claiming that it was a ‘telecommunication satellite’ for a ‘peaceful purpose. However, satellite technology development at the cost of starvation of tens of millions of North Korean residents simply can not be justified.
North Korean officials have a long standing history of lying to their residents as well as to the world. They claimed to have launched a satellite, ‘Gwangmyeongseong-1,’ in 1998, which was later revealed to be an intercontinental missile, ‘Taepodong-1.’ At that time, they attempted to deceive their own residents as well as the world, claiming, “The space is filled with songs praising Kim’s regime, such as ‘Song of General Kim Il-Sung’ and ‘Song of General Kim Jung-Il,’ by the satellite.” We, former North Korean residents, were deceived by the North Korean government until we successfully escaped from the Kim Jung-Il’s regime and realized the true identity of ‘Gwangmyeongseong-1.’
More importantly, whether the recently launched long-range rocket is an intercontinental missile or a telecommunication satellite does not matter when the people of North Korea are suffering. Thus, we cannot help but express our disappointment with North Korean government with the concern to prolong and secure its own power wasting capital resources, while completely neglecting the people of North Korea.
Over 500~600 million dollars have been wasted by the North Korean government to develop a long-range rocket (presumably a missile, ‘Taepodong-2’) under the conspicuous slogan to pursue a ‘powerful and enriched nation.’ If these resources were properly utilized, North Korean residents could have been saved from starvation for 2 full years. One missile costing at least 30 million dollars could prevent all of North Korea from starvation for one full month under the assumption that 10,000 tons of corn is consumed daily.
Instead, the sole purpose of Kim Jung-Il’s regime is to secure and prolong their power for a select few, while completely disregarding even the basic necessities of life for the people of North Korea. For the past 15 years under Kim Jung-Il’s regime, North Koreans have suffered severe hardships. After Kim Jung-Il inherited control of North Korea from his father in 1994, 3 million North Koreans starved to death under the reckless political stance, ‘military-first politics,’ and hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their hometowns and country in order to survive while Kim wasted resources on his military.
Kim Jung-Il and his administration begging the world for relief food supply, still refuses to open its door to the world and improve the quality of human rights. This is clear evidence that Kim’s administration is a government that does not care about the wellbeing of its own people . It is inevitable that North Korea will be placed under sanctions by the UN Security Council because of yesterday’s long-range rocket launch. The sanctions could cause further suffering on the 23 million North Koreans in which their only crime was to be born in a country with a dictatorial government that has turned its back on its people. North Korean’s reckless hard-line militarism can not have a place in this world.
The recent rocket launch also shows that peaceful dialogue with North Korea has not been successful in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue. We can no longer turn a blind eye to North Korea’s irrational behavior only because we hope to avoid any conflict. Otherwise, in the future the international community would have to deal with a threat that could escalate out of control.
Therefore, we urge the world for a unified effort to put pressure on North Korea. We must make North Korea realize that they must collaborate with the world in order to maintain peace in the global community.
We, North Korean defectors, hereby strongly condemn the long-range rocket launch by the North Korean government, and sternly warn them to realize that the only solution to keep peace is denuclearization and to adopt an open-door policy.
April 6th, 2009
Association of the North Korean Defectors
Association of North Korean Defector Organization
Committee for the Democratization of North Korea
Fighters for Free North Korea
Free North Korea Radio
North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity
North Korea Reform Radio
Peace Unith Korea Defectore Alliance
People for Successful COrean REunification