Matthew Miller explains his desire of why he wished to stay in North Korea in interview

Jun Ko, May 23, 2019, 1:23 p.m.


25-year-old Californian Matthew Miller revealed that he wished to remain in North Korea to personally witness the people and country after having been dissatisfied with the reports Western media has made on the country. He had created a plan for himself to stay in North Korea through a notebook he filled with falsified state secrets after arriving in the country through Uri Tours, a company that specialized in tours to North Korea for U.S. citizens. He had also intentionally damaged his tourist visa during his flight from China to North Korea. 

He shared how he refused to leave North Korea after his arrival, despite North Korea telling him to leave their country: "I was trying to stay in the country. They wanted me to leave. The very first night they said, 'We want you to leave on the next flight.' But I refused. I just did not leave." He even admitted that his main fear was that they would not arrest him when he arrived. 

He ended up being removed from his hotel and detained after fifteen days in North Korea after a number of run-ins with the authorities. North Korea analysts generally believed that North Korea would use him as a bargaining chip, but Miller revealed that he had gotten the authorities to detain him after a lot of persuasion on his part. 

He revealed that he was surprised with how well he was treated while detained, having prepared himself for torture: "This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the 'torture'. But instead of that, I was killed with kindness, and with that, my mind folded and the plan fell apart." He shared that he was able to keep his iPhone and his iPad for around a month. 

He expressed his rather unexpectedly-felt guilt for his actions: "I do feel guilt for the crime. It was a crime. I wasted a lot of time of the North Koreans' and the Americans', of all of the officials who spent time with my case", "Before going, I did not think I would feel guilt for my actions toward North Korea. Over time that chaned and I did feel guilt for the crime, so in that sense I consider what I did to be a mistake even though I did achieve [my] goals." 

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