The North Korean authorities have enacted a number of measures in the wake of international sanctions introduced in UN Resolution 2371, including crackdowns on population movement and stepping up ideological propaganda in an effort to create an atmosphere of war.
100,000 people, including members of the army, Ministry of People’s Security (North Korea’s police force), and ordinary civilians have been mobilized to take part in mass demonstrations in Pyongyang against the latest round of international sanctions, with a headlining slogan declaring “the people’s readiness for an ultimate fight to the death with the United States.” These and other epithets are being heavily emphasized by the regime in an attempt to whip the populace into a frenzy against their age-old American enemy.
A source in Chagang Province informed Daily NK on August 21 that people are receiving orders from their local neighborhood people’s units to abandon their activities and return home, particularly attacking the “ideological impurity” of traveling workers who follow business opportunities wherever they arise.
The current efforts to stoke anger among the population against the US follows typical patterns in North Korea, aimed at inspiring national unity against a common foe. However, rather than reacting with combined expressions of fear and solidarity, the public appears to reacting with feelings of apathy.
The source noted that there are “people obeying orders to return home but in a relaxed manner, complaining that it won’t matter where they are if war breaks out, suggesting annoyance at such interference with their personal activities.”
People have also been overheard complaining among themselves about how the government has to take such actions to create an artificially tense atmosphere, as without them, the people would show no real concern. “North Korea would suffer unspeakable destruction if war breaks out, so are they really going to attack the US?” one resident said to the source.
Evidence suggests that the regime does not have any such intentions, and is merely focusing on creating an atmosphere of war without undertaking any significant military maneuvers. Years of false claims of a coming “total war” and threats of annihilation have damaged the government’s credibility among the people.
“These latest measures do not represent any change in the regime’s strategy, and their failure to even respond to this week’s joint US-South Korea military drills with exercises of their own is further proof. They will just continue with their saber-rattling, forcing the people to the streets for daily demonstrations, taking pictures and putting on a show, but nobody at this point believes they will really start a war,” the source said.
The North Korean regime is also criticizing its supposed historical allies China and Russia for their support in passing the latest UN sanctions resolution.
Another source in Chagang Province reported that the regime has announced at lectures targeting residents, delivered through the inminban (people’s unit) and at state-enterprises, that the two countries have “surrendered to the United States” and that it is time to “prepare for war against this ultimate enemy.”