College student illegally enters North Korea

In an attempt to bridge the relations between the two Koreas, New York University student Won-moon Joo made the decision to breach national law and cross the North Korean border on April 22. According to the New York Times, Joo crossed the Yalu River from Dandong, China. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Joo further claimed that he wished to demonstrate to the world that a college student could bring about change in the world with the single daring act.

“To be honest, I think that [Joo] simply wanted attention by illegally entering North Korea,” said Albert Kim (12), MUN Vice-President. “While I agree with his agenda to bring about better North-South Korean relationships, if Joo truly wanted change, I believe that he would’ve better organized his plans of entering North Korea. The fact that he did not think it through twice is what got him into the troublesome position he is in now.”

Despite the various attempts of the South Korean government to quickly return Joo back to his family, North Korean delegates have not yet responded positively, causing the tension to rise between the two countries. While there is no guarantee about what will happen to the college student, Joo stated that the authorities have treated him humanely during his stay in a room consisted of three bedrooms and a bathroom, an experience he claims is comfortable despite the disconnection from the world. Joo also added that he is willing to accept any repercussions for his illegal entry into North Korea.

“In the past few years, North Korea has detained many travelers, tourists and missionaries, claiming that they were a threat to the state’s security,” said Jason Choi (10), North Korean Human Rights member. “While some of the captives such as Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae were released, there are some that could not make it safely back to their families. Even after knowing these facts, it is surprising that anyone would attempt to illegally cross the border into North Korea.”

Other than Joo, there are currently two other South Korean captives detained in North Korea. Mainly facing accusations as being spies for the South Korea National Intelligence Agency, the detainees will be facing trials separately in the coming month. According to New York Times, they are expected to receive sentences ranging from several years to life imprisonment in labor camps.