Politician Tells North Korean Defector He Betrayed His Country

Lim Su-kyung at a Pyongyang festival

Lim Su-kyung in Pyongyang, 1989

The Korean netisphere has been a buzz over the weekend as revelations emerge that a Korean politician, Lim Su-kyung, told a North Korean defector who happened to be dining in the same restaurant as her that he was a ‘son of a bitch’, a ‘senseless North Korean defector’ and a ‘bastard betrayer’.

Lim, the so-called “flower of unification”, illegally entered North Korea in August 1989 (see below video) during her student years to participate in the “World Festival of Youth and Students“. Upon arriving back into the South through the truce village of Panmunjom, she was arrested. She’s long been considered a symbol of North-South Korean Unification, so publicly defaming her (or her public defamation of others) will come as a confusing surprise to many Koreans.

Lim Su-kyung returns from North Korea

Lim Su-kyung returns from North Korea.

According to Paek Yosep, the North Korean defector-turned-human rights advocate that was dining at the same restaurant as Lim, he simply wanted to take a photo with her, whom he regarded highly as a fellow Hankuk University of Foreign Studies alumni and whom he remembered from her trip to North Korea. However, when he revealed his North Korean identity, she burst out into a fit of swearing, dubbing him a ‘betrayer’. He subsequently decided to upload an account of the incident onto his Facebook page that has since gone viral attracting hundreds of shares and comments.

Lim Su-kyung was dubbed the "flower of unification"

Lim Su-kyung was dubbed the "flower of unification"

The scandal is sending shock-waves across the internet and comes at a time when the heated debate on expelling lawmakers who harbour pro-North Korean sentiment is at its height (much to the discontent of North Korea) – which has even led one conservative to go as far as swearing on live television to express his feelings against the North. In a country where the slightest suggestion of being pro-North Korean is a highly sensitive social taboo, this will come as a blow to the more liberal Democrats (Lim’s party) who lost against the conservative Saenuri Party (the party of choice for many defectors who are anti-North Korean) in the last parliamentary elections.

As the scandal developed on Sunday, she tweeted that Paek had used the words “execution by firing squad” which had hit her nerves and had led her to act so aggressively. She claimed she would personally explain what she meant later – and that her remarks do not mean she that is a “commie“.

From YouTube:

Korean portal websites have been buzzing, with right-wing forums expressing outrage suggesting the Democratic United Party has crossed the line one time too many (as covered on koreaBANG here and here), while leftist forums are more forgiving, with some suggesting the whole thing is a fabricated conspiracy. Overall, netizens were disgusted with the idea of a communist possibly lurking within their own government’s ranks. The story has generated enough attention to be top ranked news on all three Korean portal sites.


Lim Su-kyung meeting Kim Il-sung in 1989

From Facebook: (now offline)

The following is how it all started.

On Friday evening, June 1st, I went out with close personal acquaintance to Jongro to have some dinner in a restaurant. However, [at the restaurant] I unexpectedly saw Lim Su-kyung sitting across from our table with 2 or 3 other male guests drinking alcohol.

Though we are personally of different political tendencies, she went to the same university as me and not only that, I have always known her as the ’flower of unification’ since my childhood in the North, so being a big fan of hers, I had always thought to myself that one day I must take a picture with her. Despite my acquaintance trying to dissuade me, I mustered the courage to ask Lim Su-kyung to have a photo together and to my great delight she accepted.

On that day, at that time, I wanted to respect Lim Su-kyung as my school senior, and it is that pure motivation that led me to ask her to take memorable pictures. We took 3 or 4 pictures with her beautiful smile, and I left the table saying, ‘Thank you. Have fun.’

However shortly after, one of the waiters came up to me and said that Lim Su-kyung wanted to exchange cups with me.

I was so happy that she asked to have a glass with me, but suddenly the waiter asked to see my phone (the waiter that had taken the photo for us.), so I asked why to which he said he just wanted to delete the badly-taken photos. I didn’t think much of it so unlocked my phone and looked at what photos he was deleting.

But the waiter who had taken the photo started deleting all the photos from my phone. I warned him several times saying ‘please don’t delete everything’, and at long last he gave back my phone, but had already deleted everything. I immediately protested to the waiter by saying he had no right to delete the photos on his own initiative without asking for my permission, but then the waiter said that it was Lim Su-kyung’s assistant who had made the request.

I asked the two people sitting in front of me whether it was true that it was Lim Su-kyung’s aide who had requested for the photos to be deleted by the waiter. I asked Lim Su-kyung whether it was her who had asked directly for the photo deletion. She said ‘Did I? I never said such a thing.’

I stuck to my guns, and asked those who I thought to be her aides again ‘…what wrong have I committed by taking a photo with my great school senior?’ and I said to the waiter who had no idea what was going, that ‘saying lies such as ‘I will only delete those photos that were not taken properly’ and instead deleting information from someone’s phone on one’s own initiative is a complete infringement of one’s privacy.’

At that point, Lim Su-kyung said while laughing ‘…those guys are my aides – please understand that they are here to keep an eye out on me [to protect] against any minor civil suits.’ I immediately said ‘I understand’ and as a joke said ‘you know what would have happened in a situation like this back home in North Korea, don’t you?! ha immediate execution by firing squad. Where would they do this as they pleased, without the leader having commanded it?’ I made the somewhat awkward gag.

But then…

Lim Su-kyung facial expression suddenly hardened and said to me ‘Who are you???’

I thought she recognised me. We were on a TV show ‘Paek Ji-yeon’s Debate to Put an End to it All’ at the end of the last year. We were at odds with each other over the National Security Law issue [to abolish or not to abolish]. I was on the show as a North Korean defector university student. Since we had debated in person, naturally, I figured she recognised my face.

‘Ms Lim, we were on the Paek Ji-yeon’s debate show. I am the North Korean defector student,’ I said.

She then said:

‘Hey! You don’t know ANYTHING so don’t be so frivolous.’

‘Did you know that the Republic of Korea is a democratic republic? How dare you baseless North Korean defector talk back to me, a National Assembly member?

??? ~~!!!

Lim Su-kyung:

‘Hey, aren’t you and that Ha Tae-kyung doing that strange North Korean human rights activity thing? Ha Tae-kyung that son of a bitch, he’s a real betrayer…’

My acquaintance said I should just leave without a word.

I really just couldn’t bare it.

How dare she call us ‘betrayers’?

On whose behalf are you speaking?!!!

‘Excuse me, who? Who betrayed whom??

Ah~ You’re saying that Rep. Ha Tae-kyung and the rest of us defectors betrayed that murderer Kim Il-sung, who they all call father, right?

I’ve nothing to say whatsoever..’

Even before I finished the sentence, she got furious and started yelling at me.

‘Hey, you son of a bitch. You senseless North Korean defector, how dare you to talk back to me, a National Assembly member?? You’ve come to South Korea, so shut the fuck up, and live quietly, you bastard betrayer. You watch your back, got it???

I tried to find something to say but just couldn’t.

Finally, I said..

‘Yes, ma’am! I really appreciate for your warning on the behalf of the whoever it is.

I’ll definitely watch out for myself.

I’ll survive ‘til I die, on South Korean soil.


While I live until the day I die, I’ll be watching you..

We’ll see how this turns out to be. Ms Lim! Thank you for your time. Now I’ll leave you alone.’

And I shut my mouth.

… … …

I’d like to ask those Koreans who share the same thoughts as Lim Su-kyung:

Do we, North Korean defectors truly deserve to be called ‘betrayers to Kim Il-sung and the race’, and therefore have to live in guilt for the [North Korea’s] Workers’ Party?

Effectively in whose words, by the logic of which side, is Rep. Ha Tae-kyung a betrayer? He is a man who saw the reality of cruel North Korea, in which several millions of our compatriots die of starvation, are beaten, frozen to death, and who bravely abandoned totalitarian Kimilsungism (Juche thought).

I endured [her words] to the very end..

Seemed like I had come to the South only to become a murderer [I was so angry].

However, she was my school senior and is still a fellow Korean, so I put up with her comments.

I, as a Korean citizen, and a North Korean defector, got threatened by a member of the National Assembly.

Rep. Ha Tae-kyung, who is also a Korean got a death threat from Rep. Lim Su-kyung, saying she’s going to ‘kill him with her own hands.’

If Rep. Ha Tae-kyung and the likes who are working for North Korean human rights get killed and those he was involved with are forced to seek asylum because of people like Ms Lim, then who’s going to save my fellow North Koreans’ future? Who’s going to take responsibility for the consequences?


I went through her abusive words, over and over again. I managed to record what she said. Ms Lim, I’ll have my eye on you to the very end.


I went home and

I cried all night

I cried for us defectors, who have to put up with hearing ‘betrayers’, ‘sons of bitches’ by members of the Korean assembly. I bit my lips and mourned all night for this unfair reality.

Ah ~ how sad.


Comments from an article hosted on Nate:


How dare she call him a betrayer! Is speaking as the leadership of North Korea’s Worker’s party members or something rather than as a South Korean? I guess I’ve just skimmed through and haven’t really understood this, right?


I kind of understand what the article is trying to say, but it’s hard to read. I’d like the journalist to re-write this article [New Daily article linked above]. This is really big news.


Lim Su-kyung is a member of the Democratic United Party, not the Unified Progressive Party. Mr Paek must have confused them.


If you hate commies, then vote up! And if you ARE commies, then vote it down.


This news sounds kind of big. It’s not that important that this article’s from New Daily. Let’s look at why this news has been reported. First of all, a North Korean defector wrote this article (http://www.facebook.com/yosep2050/posts/334788433256354) on his Facebook page. Second, his Facebook friends got upset and reported it to various newspapers, one of which was New Daily that first made this news public. It is AM 06:47 right now, and the article was uploaded at AM 02:00. New Daily made a fast move. We are likely to see this news on other newspapers. The important thing is.. Mr Paek had the conversation recorded.


Ha Tae-kyung: Once a Juche follower, then he changed his position and became a North Korean human rights activist.
NK defectors: People who risked their lives to defy the North Korean regime and escaped from the North.
Lim Su-kyung says: Ha Tae-kyung and NK defectors are betrayers keke How dare you talk back to me, a National Assembly member!
Who is Lim Su-kyung? The one who ventured to cross the 38 parallel and met Kim Il-sung without the infamous military government’s permission. She is one of those stupid Juche followers and a DUP member. ke ke 90 percent of UPP is commies and a half of DUP is also commie ke ke ke The glass is half full of commies! ke ke What’ll be the fate of South Korea? ke ke ke


Nate surely is left-dominated. It’s full of commies ke ke ke ke


No word can be used other than commies


Make an illegal cross-over to the North and have some jail time for it, and scream out loud for repeal of the National Security Law, then you’ll get a seat at the National Assembly. I’m pretty sure Lim Su-kyung will demand for repeal of the National Security Law, until she dies.


The one who made Han Myung-sook a National Assembly member, Ms Han who’s been a spy in cooperation with her husband, who also made Lim Su-kyung a National Assembly member, they are all members of stupid Jeolla party in connection with UPP.[Jeolla is a traditionally pro-liberal province]


Hey everyone! I’ve made a list of people to expel from the National Assembly.
UPP: Lee Suk-ki, Kim Jae-yun
DUP: Lim Su-kyung
Saenuri Party: Hyung-suk, Dae-sung
Isn’t it neat?


Just think, that kind of person is a politician in our country… It’s fucking frustrating..


Lim Su-kyung ke ke Isn’t she a stupid Juche follower to her core, who went to North Korea? keke She is a proportional representative of DUP. ke ke


She’s got some nerve to call the defector a ‘betrayer’ ke ke ke How dare you to talk like that to a ‘National Assembly member’ ke ke ke ke ke ke


Pro-North bastards are trying hard to fix this situation. But they have to take note: normal Koreans will not feel the same as you guys.


Let’s make this article viral. It’s huge. Lim Su-kyung you crazy commie bitch.


Lim Su-kyung kekeke She’s quite a woman. She took a round and round route from France and the East Germany to North Korea where she made it to participate in a North Korean puppet propaganda show. Hwang Sun who gave birth in North Korea cannot be a match for Ms Lim.


Wow.. Lim Su-kyung is a real-deal commie. How is it logically possible to say ‘defectors are betrayers’? Isn’t that only possible under an assumption that my mother nation is North Korea? I mean it’s scary that a woman like that is a National Assembly member. I also want them to rid the DUP of pro-North Korean members.

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