Learn More About the North Korea Defector Honored During The State Of The Union

It's worth digging into Ji Seong-ho's story.

During last night’s State of the Union address, President Trump honored a special guest in the gallery: North Korean defector Ji Seong-ho. It proved to be one of the most powerful moments during the 1-hour-and-20-minute-long speech. If you don’t know about Seong-ho’s story, it’s worth digging into.

Here's some background

Growing up under North Korea's grueling famine in the '90s, Ji and his siblings were in constant pain from hunger.

"One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food," Trump explained during the State of the Union. "In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs."

He survived, but lost his leg in the process.

"Later, he was tortured by North Korean authorities after returning from a brief visit to China," Trump continued. "His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians. He had -- and he resolved to be free."

Ji trekked thousands of miles on crutches across China and Southeast Asia to escape his homeland.Ji now lives in Seoul, South Korea, where he helps other defectors like himself. He studies law at Dongguk University and serves as the president of Now Action and Unity for Human Rights, a position that allows him to broadcast into North Korea "what the regime fears the most — the truth,” Trump said.

"No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea," added President Trump.

Today, Seong-ho works as an activist to help and inspire other defectors. Here’s more:


Nearly a decade after he escaped North Korea with his brother, the full-time activist lives in Seoul, where he uses radio to help bolster resistance to Kim’s regime.

Each week his programmes are broadcast into North Korea between midnight and 3am, when his team believes Pyongyang’s censors block fewer signals.

“Everyone is entitled to freedom but in North Korea nobody except for Kim Jong-un has freedom,” he says. “It’s a society where you can get executed for saying one thing wrong – even if you’re one of the elites.”

One of Ji’s radio programmes – called Victorious Youth – tells its listeners in North Korea about South Korean youth and the steps taken towards reunification.

abbott tweet

3 days, 16 hours ago

Biden's polling dip threatens Virginia’s McAuliffe and New Jersey Gov. Murphy

New polls following the administration’s bungled Afghanistan withdrawal and inability to slow the spread of the coronavirus show a growing lack of faith in Biden which may extend to those who have embraced him

4 days, 13 hours ago

Arizona sues Biden administration over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Biden announced the mandates last week, sparking GOP opposition

4 days, 14 hours ago

What The French Laundry Has to Do With Gavin Newsom's Recall Election

In early November, Newsom was found to be in violation of his own recommended virus precautions when he attended a friend's birthday dinner at The French Laundry, a three-star Michelin restaurant located within Napa County in Yountville.

5 days, 15 hours ago

Nebraska Gov. Ricketts rails against vaccine mandate: Biden 'pretty ignorant of what's going on'

Ricketts said he is planning to take legal action against the mandate

1 week, 1 day ago

Governors Immediately Push Back On ‘Unconstitutional’ Biden Plan: ‘Will Fight Them To The Gates Of Hell’

Numerous governors have issued statements following Democrat President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday signaling that they will strongly oppose his attempts to mandate vaccines.

1 week, 2 days ago

Gov. DeSantis commends 9/11 responders, rebukes calls to defund police

“If you go down the road of defunding law enforcement, you're going have hell to pay on the back end,” he warned.