missile launch
On Apr. 2, 2024, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un conducted an on-the-spot inspection of the first test launch of a new medium- to long-range solid-state ballistic missile, the Hwasongpo-16B, equipped with a newly developed hypersonic glide flight combat vehicle (warhead), according to Rodong Sinmun on Apr. 3. (Rodong Sinmun-News1)

North Korean social organizations, including the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea and the Socialist Patriotic Youth League, have been organizing lectures on the need to further strengthen North Korea’s independent defense capabilities.

“While the U.S. and its South Korean puppets are preparing a war of aggression against the DPRK, the leadership of the Marshal [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] has turned the DPRK into a nuclear power that no one can hope to defeat. As long as the U.S. and its lackeys persist in their insane war provocations, we must continue to strengthen our independent national defense,” one of the lecturers reportedly said.

But the young people in attendance expressed irritation at the slogans about “strengthening national defense,” which they said they were “tired of hearing.

“Young people these days don’t even like to hear about strengthening national defense. They may have to listen to these lectures, but they don’t concentrate on them and think about other things. In fact, most of them can’t even tell you what the lecture was about if you ask them afterwards,” the source said.

The source said that even though participants are not allowed to bring their cell phones into the lecture hall, more and more young people are facing self-criticism after being caught sneaking their phones into a lecture to play games or listen to music.

Some people tired of constant criticism of South Korea, U.S.

That’s what happened to a thirty-something who was wearing earphones and listening to music at a lecture in Pyongsong on June 18. The young man had to undergo severe self-criticism at the review meeting held at the end of the month.

“Since they were children, young people have been listening ad nauseam to lectures stressing the need to strengthen the national defense because of the U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Nowadays, they can’t help but smile when they hear that national defense is being stressed for the same reasons as a decade ago, despite the constant bragging about how North Korea has become a nuclear power,” the source said.

The source said that after the lecture, one of the young people whispered to a friend, “I would rather we became an economic power than a military or nuclear power. Another muttered, “I wish I lived in a wealthy country.”

“Young people see little point in being a military or nuclear power and criticize the state for not caring how many people starve for lack of food. People are tired of the constant refrain about strengthening national defense because of the U.S. and South Korea, while people’s lives are getting harder and harder,” the source said.

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