“My Life in North Korea”: A Testimony by Joseph Kim, a North Korean Defector

Last month, a fellow named Joseph Kim gave his testimony at Tufts:

“My Life in North Korea”: A Testimony by Joseph Kim, a North Korean Defector

Speaker: Joseph Kim
Fletcher North Korea Working Group
My life in North Korea


Fletcher North Korea Working Group is pleased to host this meaningful event at The Fletcher School. Joseph Kim will share his North Korean life story, the long journey to freedom, and his new life in the U.S. This event will show how the North Korean people suffer in North Korea and what Mr. Kim went through to flee from North Korea in pursuit of a better life. This event will be off-the-record.

Joseph Kim is from North Korea’s northern region. Growing up during the great famine of the 1990’s, at the age of 12, Joseph saw his father starve to death. After his father’s funeral, Joseph’s mother disappeared, and then his sister left him, going to China to search for food. In 2006, at the age of 16, he decided make the dangerous treak out of North Korea, by himself, to look for food and his sister. “In my mind, I thought death is death, whether I die of starvation or from being caught by the North Korean authorities.” While hiding in China, he met a generous Korean-Chinese woman who protected and fed him until he found help from an NGO, Liberty in North Korea. LiNK provided Joseph with a more stable shelter and later helped him escape to China. Only then was Joseph able to make it safely to the U.S.

Joseph arrived in the U.S. in 2007 as an “unaccompanied refugee minor.” He was resettled under the care of a loving foster, mother (Sharon Rose). He has since graduated high school and is currently in college studying international business, while also working part-time managing an educational center. He enjoys practicing Tae Kwon Do, playing soccer, and studying history in his spare time. His greatest hope is to one day find his sister.

His story was featured in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and a recently published book “Escape from North Korea.”

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