A non-commissioned officer in a loose fitting uniform says “I am on the way to my home.” The bread was given to the soldier by the reporter who felt pity for him. Taken in August 2013 at Northern part of North Korea (ASIAPRESS)



The duty for a newly conscripted North Korean soldier is to secure his own food from the first day. Most of the military bases keep their own field, called “side field,” to produce vegetables and corns as the state can’t supply enough food to the military.

Everyday works for the soldiers include ‘jobs for eating’ like cultivation, harvest and threshing other than military training. The soldiers should also catch fish in the river or glean woods and straws for heating and cooking.

“People’s Army of North Korea absolutely can’t wage a war in reality, even though the South Koreans and foreigners say that our army seems powerful by watching the military parade,” said one defector who served in a parachute troop.

Their duty was to land at the rear of South Korea by using aircraft and make disturbance. But “the reality was so awful,” he said and continued “First of all, the aircraft for jump training couldn’t take off due to fuel shortage. So the alternative was to jump from a tall tower. Most of the soldiers couldn’t board the airplane because the weight of equipment, including parachutes, exceeded 70kg. They didn’t have enough strength to carry with their empty stomach.”

Kim Jong-un regime repeats the self-praise of “Our country is a military power!” through the state media. They skillfully use the video of powerful military parade or missile launching for it.

It is said, “It is impossible to wage a full scale war for the People’s Army. Soldiers suffer from hunger. Military vehicles are in short supply, but even those vehicles can’t move due to the fuel shortage.”

It is certain that North Korea continues improvement of missile capability and nuclear weapon, which becomes a major threat for Japan, Korea and the US. However, it is pretty doubtful whether they have the practical power to wage a total war.

It is necessary to understand the reality of North Korea, not biased by the propaganda of Kim Jong-un regime.  (ISHIMARU Jiro)

The soldier carries gleaned corn leaves and stalks as cooking fuel. The cart seems to be borrowed from a nearby farmer. Taken in October 2008 at South Hwanghae Province by Shim Ui-cheon (ASIAPRESS)


Border guards are preparing for catching fish in the river. Sakju County was photographed in August 2007 from Chinese side. (ASIAPRESS)

Soldiers in underwear only are weeding a corn field. Sakju County was photographed in August 2007 from Chinese side. (ASIAPRESS)


Rimjingang_banner001* Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters
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