I had come to the Sino-North Korean border in order to film a documentary about North Korean defectors. Since Kim Jong-un took office, the situation has been dire for those hoping to escape. If they are caught as illegal migrants in China, they will be deported back to the DPRK where they will face torture and imprisonment. Sook-ja had waded across the icy Tumen River several weeks before, carrying a bundle of clothes above her head. She didn't know how to swim and yet she had risked her life in order to find her sister who had disappeared in China. "I came all this way to find her, and... she's gone."
When his father, Kim Jong-Il, died in December 2011, there were speculations that his young successor would have an interest in modernizing and bringing capitalism to the impoverished nation. North Korea announced they would continue with plans for a third nuclear test and test rockets capable of reaching the United States. It may be argued that Kim Jong-un is more dangerous to the world than his father had ever been.
According to a South Korean publication, Daily NK, "[North Korean] authorities are handing down six-month sentences in a labor-training camp to those who didn't participate in gatherings to mourn the death of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il." The same sentence is dished out to those who did attend organized grief sessions, "but didn't weep hard enough, or faked their tears, or didn't seem genuine."