Kim Shin-jo’s example shows that some people can overcome fanatical indoctrination when treated humanely and offered a different perspective on the world.
But unfortunately, some pathologies seem doomed to repeat themselves. Fifteen years after the Blue House raid, Pyongyang made a second assassination attempt on a South Korean president that came even closer to succeeding.
And in December 2016, North Korean media released photos of of Kim Jong-un cackling with glee as his special forces put on a theatrical display blowing up a full-scale mockup of the Blue House.
Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.