“Get Rid of the Guys on Top, this Time”

[imText1]Reaction of North Korean people to the country’s nuclear test is reported for the first time.

“Asian Press” had a telephone interview with a junior army officer near the border area, a mine worker and a college professor traveling in China on October 13.

The interviewees anticipated the country’s economy would “struggle” because of Chinese punishment on NK’s nuclear test, and even hoped the international community to “replace the North Korean leadership.”

The Asia Press commented that all the interviewees resided near the Sino-Korean border in North Hamkyong Province and, thus, did not necessarily reflect the popular reaction of average North Korean people. Nonetheless, it still could be surmised that more people started to mistrust the regime since the nuke test.

A border guard officer

▶ How did you hear about the nuclear test?

– Since this fall, electricity has been often cut. Sometimes we can’t even turn on the TV or radio. I heard the news that night.

At first I wondered why a country without electricity would do such nuclear test. There was no special order from the brigade headquarter. The system is normal. China will get frustrated with the test and close the border, and the people’s lives would be painful, again. Soon, I will be discharged from the border guard duty, but I don’t know what to do, how to live in this kind of society.

▶ What is going on inside of the barracks?

– Neither my senior officers nor my soldiers are interested in the test. They are dissatisfied with their lives. I hope the international society gets rid of the guys at the top (leadership), this time.

A college professor traveling in China

▶ What is your opinion on the nuclear test?

– I am kind of suspicious if there was really a nuclear test.

We are often deceived by our government. I think the government might be lying to the international community and the people. What the people really want is to open the country and be rich like China did. Even though the test is real, that has nothing to do with either reformation or opening to the outside world. So I think most of the people will be disappointed anyway.

A mine worker from Musan, North Hamkyong Province.

▶ Did anything change after the nuclear test?

-If China participates in economic sanction against us, rice and oil prices will increase. Those who have power would try to earn profit from that increase. I have to prepare for lack of those basic supplies.