New Jersey

North Korean Defector Living in NJ Speaks out as Tensions With Kim Jong Un Mount

Youngae Ma, a former intelligence agent for North Korea, is now among less than 30,000 who have defected from the oppressive regime

Following President Trump’s new warnings to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear threats, a woman who escaped North Korea 17 years ago is speaking out and making it her mission to support fellow refugees.

Youngae Ma, who has been living in New Jersey for the past decade, once worked as an intelligence agent for North Korea’s security department.

She was a military member stationed in China when she managed to escape the grasp of the rogue state. She is now among less than 30,000 who have defected from the oppressive regime.

Youngae Ma during her time as a North Korean military member stationed in China.

Ma told a translator, “During my time in North Korea, I realized the government really messed up. Watching the government starve and kill innocent people is what drove me to escape.”

Ma is now well known in her Palisades Park community for selling homemade traditional North Korean dishes and sausages at local markets.

In 10 years, she has used her profits to help more than 1,000 people escape North Korea to China, Russia, or the U.S. like she did. She has also helped them find jobs in their new countries.

Jummy Olabanji speaks with concerned New Jersey residents after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis responded to the North Korea’s nuclear threats.

Though she has assisted many, Ma has been unable to get her own family to the U.S. She believes her sister in North Korea was killed by the government for passing information to her in New Jersey.

Ma believes the recent threats of nuclear war from her native country’s leader should be taken seriously.

“To boost his image and show strength, I think (Kim Jong-un) would do it,” she said.

She says that the U.S. or U.N. may need to show force first to prove they won’t take the threats lightly.

“Someone like that has to be taken out because he will not listen to anyone—not the U.S. or U.N.,” she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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