North Korean residents reflect on presidents Trump and Moon

[As Heard in North Korea]
Kang Mi Jin  |  2017-06-06 23:43
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"As Heard in North Korea" articles contain radio programming content broadcast by Unification Media Group [UMG], an independent multimedia consortium targeting North Korean citizens.

Reports are emerging that the newly elected South Korean president Moon Jae In and US president Donald Trump have become hot topics of conversation in the North Korean markets. Many North Koreans are currently mobilizing for the "rice-planting battle," and hoping for improved foreign relations. For this reason, people in the marketplaces are discussing the US and South Korean presidents and speculating on the possibility of improving foreign relations.
"These days, people are spending a lot of time in the markets, talking about South Korean president Moon Jae In and US president Trump. Theyre hoping for a better political environment because theyre going through difficulties due to the sanctions together with the seasonal lean period that comes with the spring," a source in North Hamgyong Province recently told Daily NK.
Many North Koreans are showing a general positive reaction to President Moon, while the majority have negative opinions about President Trump.
"The newly elected South Korean president appears capable of building a better relationship with North Korea compared to former president Park Geun Hye. People are saying that if inter-Korean ties improve like in the days when South Korea sent rice and fertilizer to the North, it will make our lives better, the source said.
"As such, most of the residents seem to be hoping for an improvement in North-South relations. They are mostly aware of South Korea's economic prosperity, so naturally, they are hoping for a good relationship with the new South Korean government.
On the other hand, President Trump is regarded by many North Koreans as an obstructor. The Party-run Rodong Sinmun claimed on May 29 that Trumps rhetoric is inducing political  instability and sentiments on the ground suggest that this is in line with residents personal opinions of the situation.
A source in Ryanggang Province said that many feel that for inter-Korean relations to improve, the role of the US is critical, but Trump might sabotage the relationship. Some are also wondering if it will be possible for the South Korean president to improve relations with North Korea against the will of the US.
Such concerns are compounded by the nationwide agricultural mobilization. "The residents have to participate in mobilizations including agricultural support until 4pm, and are only allowed to do private business in the evening for a few hours, so it is hard to find any laughter or joy these days," she said.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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