On June 16, the Kim Jong-un regime blew up an inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong, sending shockwaves through South Korean society.
North Korea is strongly attacking North Korean defector groups for defaming Kim Jong-un by sending “blasphemous” flyers across the border. Over the last week, North Korean students, workers, and residents have been mobilized across the country for mass rallies with harsh slogans such as “Tear into and kill human scum defectors.” Each day, state-run media has posted pictures of the large crowds at these events, showing the people’s fury at North Korean defectors and the Moon Jae-in government.
In a statement issued on June 13, Kim Yo-jung declared that the North’s actions were “firmly supported by domestic public opinion.” But what is the real atmosphere inside North Korea? What are the real sentiments of the North Korean people?
ASIAPRESS urgently contacted two reporting partners living in the northern region of North Korea, interviewing them through smuggled Chinese mobile phones. (Jiro ISHIMARU/Kang Ji-won)
◆ South Korea at fault this time
First, we will relay the opinions of reporting partner “A”, a resident of Ryanggang Province in his 40’s. ASIAPRESS spoke with the reporting partner on June 17, the day after the liaison office was demolished. With over 4 years of experience reporting for ASIAPRESS, the reporting partner is not only critical of the Kim Jong-un regime but is also very knowledgeable about South Korean and international affairs.
-- Did you see the footage of the explosion of the joint liaison office?
A: Yes, I saw it. But, I must ask, why are there groups that are sending over propaganda leaflets when the government is trying to maintain friendly relations? It is strange for the same population to be engaged in both activities.
-- Is that your own thinking? Or is that how the authorities have explained their actions?
A: That is what we have been taught at our political ideology lectures. The officials there have been saying, “We won’t deal with South Korea.” However, I also feel that way about the issue this time. We haven’t made any recent provocations like a nuclear test or anything.
--So you also believe that South Korea is in the wrong for sending the propaganda leaflets? How do average North Koreans feel about it?
A: This time, I think many people understand the rationale behind the decision to blow up the liaison office. At the time of the inter-Korean summit, we were enjoying such good relations that we thought that unification could be just around the corner. But our lives didn’t improve at all and South Korea continued sending propaganda leaflets. We couldn’t just sit by and do nothing. I also believe that Moon Jae-in and South Korea were in the wrong this time.
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