WASHINGTON – One of the highlights of the President’s State of the Union speech came when President Trump honored North Korean defector Seong Ho Ji who responded by standing up on his prosthetic leg and thrusting his crutches over his head.
Why did the double-amputee who almost starved and was tortured by North Korean authorities do that? It was for his family, most of whom also escaped, his translator told CBN News.
"The North Korean regime terrorized with a lot of oppression to prevent them from leaving the country,” Ji’s translator shared. "But they ended up leaving, escaping, and ended up surviving. And he raised his crutches to symbolize victory.”
In his speech before Congress, President Trump talked about Ji’s torture after the North Korean had been in China.
“His tormentors wanted to know if he had met any Christians,” Trump said. “He had."
Those Christians made Ji realize a universal truth.
“There’s someone else outside the world that sympathizes with him and loves him, unlike the North Korean leader,” Ji’s translator said.
This North Korean who used to live just to survive now testifies of his faith.
His translator stated, “After he got to know God, his life changed significantly. And he says now he’s living for spreading love.”
In his speech, President Trump told of that moment Ji as a starving boy was almost killed by a train in 1996.
“One day, he tried to steal coal from a railroad car to barter for a few scraps of food,” Trump shared. “In the process, he passed out on the train tracks, exhausted from hunger. He woke up as a train ran over his limbs. He then endured multiple amputations without anything to dull the pain."
Ji now has an artificial left arm and leg, but still suffers some.
“There are some uncomfortable moments,” he admitted.
Trump also spoke of Ji’s siblings and their sacrifices for their severely-injured brother.
“His brother and sister gave what little food they had to help him recover and ate dirt themselves — permanently stunting their own growth,” Trump stated.
Ji has to admit those were horrid times for his siblings.
“They suffered so much,” he recalled. “Like they had to eat grass on the ground and sometimes just digging trash for food."
But the brother and sister fully recovered their health after their defection to South Korea. Ji also escaped the so-called "Hermit Kingdom" via a long journey across Asia on his crutches.
Thinking about Trump’s decision to put him on the world stage, Ji said through his translator he sees it as one of many God moments in his life.
That translator said, “God has been providing him many opportunities to do good works through him.”