Grace Jo and her mother. Copyright of the Grace Jo image
Image caption Grace Jo (on the right) with her mother in the United States.

Grace Jo, a deserter from North Korea who currently lives in the United States, is disappointed after Donald Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

" I am very sorry that the issue of human rights has not been discussed ," he told the BBC.

The young woman says that the hunger killed part of her family, that forced her to flee and that she lived the horror of the North Korean prison system.

And at the summit I hoped that the issue would have been on the agenda of the two leaders meeting in Singapore.

Not in vain, President Trump crossed to the other side of the world to meet Kim at a summit that few doubted to qualify as historic.

But after knowing the closing statement of the appointment, many voices, like Jo's, doubt that the true results can go further than the symbolic handshake.

Victory of Kim?

"It was a great day for North Korea, and the propaganda will now paint it as a victory for Kim and to some extent it was," assures PRI The World Sung-Yoon Lee, Professor of Law and Diplomacy at Tuff University ( U.S).

Meanwhile, for the Democratic senator by Delaware Chris Coons the summit was "the dreamed outcome " for the leader of North Korea.

"Legitimacy on the international scene, an invitation to visit the White House, neither a clear timetable in the process of denuclearization nor any concession in the matter of human rights," he said.

Copyright of the Reuters image
Image caption The historic greeting between Trump and Kim.

And that last issue in which many coincide with Grace Jo in that it was one of the black holes of the summit.

"It's a strategy," says the young woman, interviewed by Hugo Bachega of BBC Data in Washington.

Jo is now one of the heads of North Korean Refugees in the United States, an association that helps deserters in this country.

"If Kim wants to get money, he needs to get rid of the sanctions," she says, convinced that once he achieves it, the leader of Pyongyang "will keep his regime alive."

Like her, hundreds of North Korean deserters protested in South Korea on the grounds that the meeting between Trump and Kim was a "missed opportunity" to discuss what they consider violations of human rights in their native country.

Copyright of the Grace Jo image
Image caption Grace Jo (on the right), her mother (left) and her older sister lived in China in 2004.

Jo cube that his story can be a summary of how hundreds of people live there and how the meeting on Tuesday also had to go beyond the atomic rockets.

" We can not separate the nuclear issue from human rights, they develop nuclear weapons while people are dying of hunger or in prisons, " he says.

"Days without eating"

In the late 1990s, Jo generation still a girl who grew up in a village in North Korea and whose hair turned yellow.

She says she was "undernourished" and spent days with nothing to eat, that at age five she ate six newborn mice that her mother found under a rock next to the family home.

Of his two brothers, the child died of hunger. The other was so weak that he could barely walk.

His older sister went out one day in search of food and never returned. His father also died after being arrested and tortured for having escaped to China in search of rice.

His mother was then convinced that the only hope generation to escape.

With her and her older sister, Jo walked for three days on unpaved roads and crossed mountains until she finally reached the Tumen River and crossed into China.

Once there, they survived by hiding from the Peking authorities, who often repatriate North Koreans to the defectors they locate.

But in 2001 they were trapped and handed over to North Korea.

Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption The borders of North Korea are closely monitored.

Jo's mother was sent to a forced labor camp, while the girls were placed in an orphanage where they also had to work.

The following year they were released and, again, escaped again. This time they bribed a border guard to let them through.

But again they were arrested and sent back.

"We thought we would die in prison, we had no hope," he recalls now.

Copyright of the EPA image
Image caption North Korean defectors in South Korea demonstrated against the government of Kim Jong-un.

A Korean-American religious pastor for whom they had started working in his time in China was his salvation.

Four months after paying $ 10,000 in bribes to the secret police of the North, he managed to get the family released.

The third and final march to China then arrived.

The new life

In 2008, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees settled them as isolated in the United States.

Now, already a university student in the state of Maryland, she has attended something she always thought impossible: the leaders of North Korea and the United States shaking hands.

But while this is happening, skilled human rights activists denounce that people in North Korea can be imprisoned for almost anything.

Copyright of the Reuters image
Image caption It is the first time that an acting US president meets with a North Korean leader.

The economy is also tightly controlled and the government diverts funds to its missile and nuclear weapons program, the subject that focused the talks in Singapore, despite the shortage of basic necessities.

Jo says that's why he keeps terrible memories of his childhood.

The situation has improved since then, but the UN estimates that forty one% of North Korea 's population is malnourished.

The young woman says that her greatest hope is that after the summit something can change in North Korea, that her people can breathe some freedom.

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