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CPAC panelists warn South Korea 'in danger' of falling under 'communist' rule

North Korea CPAC
North Korean defector Lee Hyun-Seung (L) speaks with CPAC Executive Director Dan Schneider (R) at CPAC 2022 in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 24, 2022. |

A North Korean defector argues that the democratic country of South Korea is in danger of becoming a communist state due to the possibility of a “pro-China” and “pro-North Korea” candidate winning the upcoming presidential election. 

The 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists, held its first full day of programming Thursday. For the second year in a row, the conference took place in Orlando, Florida, instead of National Harbor, Maryland, where it had taken place in previous years.

The first full day of the conference occurred as Russia invaded Ukraine Thursday. One of the first panels at this year's conference was titled “I Escaped Communist North Korea." However, it began with a brief discussion from national security experts KT McFarland and Gordon Chang on Russia before North Korean defector Lee Hyun-Seung was introduced.

Lee, who now goes by the name “Arthur,” works for KCPAC, the Korean equivalent of CPAC. He didn’t mince words about the direction he thinks South Korea is headed, although it’s been an American ally for many years. 

In a conversation on the main stage with CPAC Executive Director Dan Schneider, Lee lamented that “the President of South Korea [Moon Jae-in] is a socialist” and “the candidate to replace the current socialist is a communist [Lee-Jae Myung].”

During the talk, Schneider reported that “that communist has closer ties to the Chinese Communist Party and to North Korea than to the U.S.”

The South Korean presidential election, scheduled to take place on March 9, is a faceoff between the Democratic Party of Korea candidate Lee-Jae Myung and People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-Yeol. 

Lee Hyun-Seung elaborated on the situation, warning that Lee-Jae Myung is “fascinated by the socialism and the communism.”

He contended that “they want to make South Korea … a socialist country.”

“So, they want to rig the election so that they can get the absolute power in the Congress and then … [manipulate] the National Election Commission to rig [the] election,” he claimed. 

The defector concluded that “South Korea is really in danger” because of politicians who want to establish “one-party control.” Schneider agreed, suggesting that South Korea could become “the next Venezuela.” 

Lee Hyun-Seung stated that although President Moon and Lee-Jae Myung were “human rights lawyers,” they “never talk about North Korean human rights” and “never talk about Hong Kong.”

He suggested that their silence on the human rights violations in North Korea and Hong Kong is because “they are pro-North Korea but also pro-China.” He expressed hope that the “American people can fight together to preserve our freedom” on the Korean Peninsula. 

At CPAC, Lee Hyun-Seung touched on his experience living in North Korea, which has operated as a brutal dictatorship run by the Kim dynasty for several decades.

“I lived in North Korea for about 30 years,” he said. 

“In North Korea, you are not allowed to gather in one place to express your opinion. … Everybody should be controlled by the regime and everything is controlled by the one man,” he added.

Lee Hyun-Seung suggested that a conference like CPAC would not be possible in North Korea unless it was approved by the Kim regime.

He was asked by Schneider what would happen to him if he told a neighbor that he disliked what the Kim regime was doing. Lee Hyun-Seung said his family would have endured “three-generation punishment.”

In a “three-generation punishment,” grandparents, parents and their children “will be punished severely.” According to Lee Hyun-Seung, “your grandfather will be executed, your father will be killed by the regime and your … children will be sent to political prison camps.”  

“In the camp, when the … young babies were born in the camp, they have to live in the camp for their entire life unless the regime [releases] them,” he explained.

After describing the political climate of North Korea, the defector touched on why his family escaped the country. 

“Seven years ago, my entire family made the toughest decision [of] our entire lives,” he recalled, describing the decision as a choice to “escape for freedom” or “live as [a] slave.”

Lee Hyun-Seung expressed gratitude that his family decided to “leave the country” and leave “everything behind for freedom.” He said freedom is “more valuable than life” and the reason why he decided to escape.

“So many people do not stop escaping,” he said. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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