Panic sets in as sanctions specifics circulate

Choi Song Min  |  2016-03-08 18:01
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As the news about the tough set of sanctions contained in the recently adopted UN resolution spreads in North Korea, the number of concerned residents is growing. Merchants connected to the export of minerals are reeling after hearing that trucks bound for export have been stopped at the customs office in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province

The news that the UN resolution containing sanctions against North Korea passed unanimously is spreading like wildfire through [domestic] cell phones. People in the North had little interest in sanctions in the past, but these days they are expressing concern that this time things are going to be different,' a source in South Pyongan Province reported to Daily NK on March 7. 

A source in North Hamgyong Province corroborated this news, reporting the same developments on the ground in that region. 

Sinuiju is known as the gateway to China and the ultimate symbol of friendly relations between our two nations. Thats why news of its closure to mineral exports is causing dismay, she explained, adding that a rumor has also taken off that international customs offices in other border towns such as North Hamgyongs Rajin and Hoeryong will be shuttered. 

Further anxiety is being stoked by the fact that trusted allies such as China and Russia are participating in the sanctions and the fact that residents are getting detailed information about the resolutions specific clauses. 

People are further concerned because things have apparently changed significantly since China helped the country to overcome the difficulties during the Arduous March, [famine] in the mid 1990s. People from all over the country are concerned that China might shut the border down totally. If that happens, it will become difficult for everyone to make a living, the source indicated.  

Wholesalers and market vendors are feeling the most vulnerable to the UN sanctions. Their greatest fear is that they wont be able to buy products. Merchants who have been selling Chinese products at cheap prices are expecting a cost increase and have momentarily discontinued sales. 

According to the source, the North Korean authorities have indicated that they plan to hold mass meetings to criticize the UN resolution; however, the residents are not pointing their finger at the international community. Instead, they are blaming the authorities. 

I keep hearing, Those cadres dont care if us normal people starve. If I dont look after myself, Ill surely suffer, she said, adding that to this end, people are busy providing food for themselves and their families, and in some areas, panic buying necessities such as rice before the projected rise in prices. Fears that the customs door to China may close and make accessing food much harder has also contributed to this hoarding trend.

"This is what happens when the authorities pursue useless things [nuclear weapons, missiles] and go around bragging about it," she concluded.

*Translated by Jonathan Corrado

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