North Korea’s sabre rattling continues to heighten tensions in the region. While missile launches and nuclear tests stoke international fears of North Korean aggression, domestically they are claimed as achievements of the leadership and used for propaganda purposes. Despite these successes, North Korean authorities are beefing up internal security and appear focused on regime stability. The North Korean people meanwhile, appear indifferent to the government’s efforts, expressing discontent at state shortcomings.
In mid September, ASIAPRESS discussed these matters with two North Koreans living in the northern border area. The first interview was with a resident near the Sino-North Korean border in Yanggang Province. (Kang Ji-won/Paek Chang-ryong)
◆ “I felt a strong tremble, and cracks ran along the sides of buildings”
Reporter: Did you feel anything around the time of the nuclear test on September 9?
Resident: Several apartments 1km away from my house had cracks in the walls and broken windows. People said that things were shaking as though a train was going by. Some people at the market place said they felt the earth quake; others don’t remember such things. I didn’t feel anything, which may be due to the fact that I live in a bungalow.
Reporter: How does the government let people know about successful missile launches, submarine launches*, and nuclear tests?
Resident: Well, it’s as propaganda (as tribute to the leader’s greatness). Local congregations are arranged for the purpose of informing the people that General (Kim Jong-un) has developed this weaponry. The nuclear test is a warning to enemies not to provoke. But it doesn’t matter to us whether we have nukes or not.
*The North Korean media claims that the country has a powerful strategic submarine-based ballistic missile, developed under the direct guidance and instruction of Comrade Kim Jong-un
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