Daily NK snapshots from North Korea

North Korean leader visited Mount Kumgang on October 23, 2019. / Image: Rodong Sinmun

Daily NK snapshots are summaries of select articles from our Korean website. Snapshots are written by our staff and are aimed at putting even more of Daily NK’s original reporting into English. 

Socialist women’s union fundraises for the North Korean military 

After receiving orders from their central command in the earlier half of this year, the Pyongyang chapter of the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea (SWUK) launched a fundraising campaign for the Korean People’s Military with the goal of providing “one bowl of boiled chicken soup” per soldier. Raising livestock in the city is difficult, so union members priced the chickens at USD 8 each and collected that amount from Pyongyang households. In the past, members of the SWUK used to bring home-cooked food to the Pyongyang Defense Command themselves. The increase of women in the workforce, however, has led more of them to opt to just pay the cash alternative.  

Read the full article by Daily NK journalist Kim Yoo Jin here [in Korean]. 

Inter-Korean tourist project draws ire from Kim Jong Un

On his recent visit to the Mount Kumgang tourist area, a joint endeavor between North and South Korea, Kim Jong Un ordered the removal of all South Korean facilities. A dramatic about-face from the sentiments expressed during his 2019 New Year’s Address that the North was unconditionally willing to resume the Mt. Kumgang tourist project, this recent censure may be coming from a fit of pique precipitated by the South’s lack of proactive intervention on the issue of international sanctions against the North. In particular, Kim criticized Mount Kumgang for being dependent on the South and his forebears for installing that kind of policy. As this can be interpreted as a rebuke of the policies established by his father, Kim Jong Il, it provides a rare display of dissent from the monolithic Kim cult of personality.

Read the full article by Daily NK journalist Mun Dong Hui here [in Korean]. 

Pyongyangites apathetic toward breakdown in US-DPRK talks

Despite radio silence from the state media regarding the breakdown of denuclearization talks in Stockholm, Sweden, in early October, Pyongyang residents are largely aware of the recent setback in North Korea’s diplomatic relations. This can likely be attributed to many tuning into foreign radio broadcasts to stay informed. However, North Koreans in the city have expressed mostly pessimism and apathy towards the future outcome of the negotiations. A Daily NK interview with a source in the city revealed that the population has been conditioned with anti-American propaganda, such as “The U.S. must be wiped from the face of the Earth,” and “The U.S. is our sworn enemy.” As a result of this propaganda, many Pyongyangites were not surprised about the failure of working-level talks. 

Read the full article by Daily NK journalist Ha Yoon Ah here [in Korean].

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