Rumors are circulating within North Korea that Kim Jong Un
will not visit North Hamgyong Province in the aftermath of catastrophic
flooding, due to ‘personal safety issues.’ The leader has reportedly become
apprehensive of the proposal, as a large quantity of rifles and ammunition from
border guard posts and arms storage facilities have yet to be accounted for in
the aftermath of the flooding, thereby increasing the risk of assassination.
“Hundreds of weapons including rifles and
ammunition were buried or lost during the flood,” a source from North Hamgyong Province reported to Daily NK on October 10. “Kim Jong Un
will avoid a ‘Number 1 event’ (any event with the North Korean leader in
attendance)’ in the region until every single one of those weapons is accounted
“In the past, even a single missing weapons report
would have excluded the region from hosting a Number 1 event,” the source
added. “Considering the current atmosphere, Kim Jong Un will likely still
be reluctant to visit the region even if the housing restoration work is
This information was corroborated by multiple sources in North Hamgyong Province.
In North Korea, thorough security inspections are conducted
before any local visit by the leader, together with scenery beautification
projects and the temporary ‘normalization’ of production levels at local state
enterprises. Agents from the Ministry of State Security are deployed to the
surrounding area before the visit, monitoring public buildings and roads to
prevent assassination attempts or other undesirable incidents.
Armed agents, assigned with the mission of “serving the
leader first with eagerness,” guard the surrounding area day and night,
restricting outside access to the site. In many cases, the leader’s highly
confidential on-site visits are abruptly cancelled when movements deemed
suspicious are detected in the area beforehand.
“Recently, the regime mobilized soldiers to search for
weapons along the river, stating that the recovery of weapons and ammunition is
of the utmost importance and connected to the personal safety of Kim Jong
Un,” the source said. “The officials are emphasizing the reporting
measures in place for weapons discovery, even towards the local residents who
have their hands full dealing with flood recovery, and encouraging young
children to search for weapons in the spirit of a ‘treasure hunt.'”
“While the bodies of missing soldiers are being found
one after another in piles of debris in the mines, the military officials are
only focusing on finding missing weapons and ammunition,” the source reported.
“They have even mobilized shock troops and construction units for the weapons
search, announcing that ‘leadership protection’ is the priority.”
Local discontent is reportedly rising as leader Kim Jong Un
refrains from visiting the floodstricken areas, even though 40 days have passed
since the disaster. Some residents are openly expressing disapproval of the
regime, as many are aware that the leader visited the Rason District of North
Hamgyong Province some 20 days after it was struck by Typhoon Goni last year.
Local citizens are commenting that the regime is regarding
the discovery of a soldier’s body as less important than finding a single
bullet, while those enlisted are voicing complaints because military
officials are not holding proper funeral services for dead soldiers. Some have
reportedly made comments like, “Ordinary soldiers like us will just end up as
cannon fodder when a war breaks out.”
Daily NK reported on September 23 that hundreds of border
guards are missing or presumed dead following the severe flooding in North
Hamgyong Province. A significant quantity of rifles, ammunition and other
military equipment stored at border guard posts and military facilities is
known to have been either swept away by the floodwater or buried under swampy mud.