[Video Clip] Interview with a North Korean Soldier

Inside the train from Chongjin to Sinuiju, Soldier Ordered to Return Home due to Malnutrition

The DailyNK shares with our readers the 5minute video clip containing interview with a low rank (rank one in South Korea) soldier, who was returned home for malnutrition. The voice of the interviewee was altered for the purpose of personal protection. The following is the conversation in the interview.


Kim Man Chul(Kim) : Are you traveling alone?
Soldier : …….
Kim : Eh? Did you eat?
Soldier : I cannot digest even if I eat…….
Kim : how come?
Soldier : My intestines are weak.
Kim : How old are you now?
Soldier : Nineteen.
Kim : Nineteen?


Kim : Did you go to the military after you graduated middle school?
Soldier : Yes
Kim : Since you are lowest rank, you might have served two or three years now.
Soldier : Yes
Kim : What?
Soldier : Yes


Kim : How did you become so weak?
Soldier : …….
Kim : huh?
Soldier : Because my body is weak.
Kim : Are you returning from home?
Soldier : I was in the hospital.
(flow of the conversation does not match)


Kim : You are a soldier but how come you are not retuning to the military?
Soldier : …….


Kim : So you are returning home?
Soldier : Yes
Kim : Are all those people in the front cart eating from your military compound?
Soldier : No, (they are) in the military cart
Kim : How come you are in this cart?
Soldier : because there are no seats.
Kim : …….
Soldier : I am ok.


Kim : Where’s home?
Soldier : (voice cannot be heard)
Kim : Jagang province?
Soldier : Yes
Kim : Where in Jagang province?
Soldier : Gang gye…….
Kim : Gang gye?
병사 : Yes


Kim : What does your father and mother do?
Soldier : (voice cannot be heard)
Kim : no parents? Did you live in your brother’s house?
Soldier : my sister’s house.
Kim : sister’s house?
Soldier : Yes


Kim : You wont be able to do the military work. You have to go and come back. Do you think you can serve in the military in this condition?
Soldier : (voice cannot be heard)


Kim : Will you be interned (at the hospital) again?
Soldier : …….


Kim : are there many like you in your military compound?
Soldier : …….


Kim : Ah, I feel stuffy. What do you eat there?
Soldier : We eat al-yang-mi. (al-yang-mi is rice from Vietnam, not favored by North Korean people because they are dry)
Kim : al-yang-mi and salt paste?
Soldier : We don’t even have salt vegetable.


Kim : You don’t even have salt vegetable? Then what do you eat your rice with?
Soldier : We eat salt in our pockets, but even that we eat without anyone noticing…
Kim : ah…….


Kim : Can you at least eat al-yang-mi??
Soldier : …….


Kim : You must be hungry.
Soldier : …….


Prepare your travel permit and ticket (voice of a train staff)


Kim : are you ill?
Soldier : Yes


Kim : Where?
Soldier : …….

4’55” (end)