North Korean defector living in NJ keeps eye on Winter Olympics

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BERGEN COUNTY -

A North Korean defector living in Bergen County is keeping a close eye on the Winter Olympics.

Opening ceremonies showed North and South Korean athletes marching together under a flag depicting a unified peninsula.

"I was so deeply moved, moreso than others, and I dream of unification and returning to my homeland,” Young Ae Ma said through a translator.

Ma, now in her 50s, defected from North Korea when she was 17 years old. She was an intelligence agent stationed in China. She says that some of her toenails fell out as she fled to the South Korean consulate.

"On the backs of us countless starving North Koreans, the regime created nuclear weapons to use against the world,” Ma says.

Ma has spent her time in the United States speaking out about the regime's atrocities and helping other defectors. She runs a sausage shop in New Jersey to help fund that cause.

She says that she supports the Trump administration’s hardline diplomacy with North Korea and says that before any talks begin, North Korea must formally apologize before the Olympics come to a close.

"While so many of their people are dying of starvation and so many refugees are wandering the world like beggars, the regime is working with South Korea to stage such pageantry and a show and I can't forgive that,” says Ma.

Vice President Mike Pence is attending the Olympics in South Korea. He has met with some North Korean defectors while there. He did not attend the state dinner, which was attended by Kim Jong Un’s sister.

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