Andrew Lee grew up in North Korea. He says the roads were full of holes, hospitals were short of medicine, and electricity supply often failed. From a young age, he was taught that the United States was evil and that South Korea was full of beggars. When he was 12, Andrew was left on his own when his father defected to South Korea and his mother went missing. Years later, when Andrew made his way to South Korea, he says he was shocked to see so many cars and bright lights. He eventually reunited with his father and now lives in Seoul.
Hyeonseo Lee grew up believing that her country was 'the best" and was living what she describes as a 'middle class" life. But Hyeonseo’s view of her home country started to unravel when she saw a baby dying in its mothers arms at a train station, and also heard that a friend had died of starvation. At age 17 she left and went to China. She later went to great – and risky – lengths to get her family out of North Korea. Hyeonseo now lives in Seoul.
Sue Mi Terry
Sue Mi Terry is a North Korea and East Asia specialist. She was a Senior Analyst with the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence from 2001to 2008. She describes herself as hardline and says it’s time for South Korea and the United States to stop showing restraint. Sue says the U.S. should make it clear that there would be a forceful response to any North Korean aggression. Sue’s Korean family were divided when the North and South separated in the 1950s.
Andrei Lankov is a History professor at Kookmin University in Seoul and is the author of 'The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia." He did university studies in Pyongyang back in 1985 and has visited North Korea several times since then. He says North Korea is just engaging in another round of bellicose rhetoric to remind the world it exists. Andrei has also written for The Guardian and The New York Times.
Rory Medcalf says it’s almost impossible for anyone outside North Korea to know what’s really happening there. He believes the risk of nuclear war by North Korea is small but can’t be ignored. Rory is the Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute. He was also a Senior Analyst with Australia’s Office of National Assessments.