A tense atmosphere is being felt in North Korean society, as rumors spread that if the satellite is intercepted a war will erupt. In the meantime, the North Korean authorities have been actively generating a wartime mood, performing air raid drills and issuing irregular troop mobilization orders.
A source from Shinuiju reported on Friday, “We cannot reach China for business in this tense situation. Many people here feel it, saying ‘a war could break out any minute.’ However, some are also saying, ‘that’ll be the day.’”
Since December of last year, when the winter military drill started, North Korea has been ratcheting up the level of internal tension.
This year’s winter drill runs from December to March as usual. Ever since the time of the drill, the North Korean authorities have been raising the degree of their criticism against the Lee Myung Bak administration, but the citizens have been tranquil, saying “it is just a daily notice.”
In early January, after issuing a warning of provocative acts over the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the authorities also started conducting civilian blackout drills, yet the people did not care.
The only time when the people actually did feel tension was early in March, right before the delegates’ election for the Supreme People’s Assembly.
The authorities stress that “We have to cope with the enemies’ possible provocative acts,’ requiring emergency training of the Worker’s and Peasant’s Red Guard and the local reserve forces. Air raid and blackout trainings and self-criticism meetings by the People’s Units have also been happening.
However, the authorities did not take any special military countermoves at the military or even civilian levels during the South Korea-U.S. joint military drill “Key-Resolve,” from March 9 to 20, though they raised the rhetoric against the South, claiming “it is preparation for a war aimed at our Republic (North Korea).”
The No. 9 Collective Military, which is a huge military unit, composed of several armies, the local reserve forces and the Worker’s and Peasant’s Red Guard announced that it would undertake training, but the exact date was not released.
In late March, blackout trainings and anti-air defense trainings were performed several times a day.
The source implied all this training was relatively ineffective, pointing out, “In a situation where there is no electricity, isn’t blackout training just turning off lamps?”
Several sources explained, however, that this civilian training is not to practically prepare for a war, but to raise the level of tension in the society and to tie the whole people to the Kim Jong Il one-leader-one-ideology system.
However, a rumor circulating among the cadres says that the U.S. and Japan might try to intercept our satellite and so the people are now feeling the strain. The people see that an interception could cause a war.
The source released the societal atmosphere; cadres say interception could occur so the People’s Unit chairpersons have difficulty getting residents to take part in joint construction projects in their neighborhood because “the situation is so tough.”
Several other side effects have been produced by the tension and strain of a warlike atmosphere in factories and farms. “Workers are trying to get back money lent to others and are making haste, trying to wrap up all their dealings.”
He released news of a new decree issued by the authorities, “Even though a war could break out, we have to work right now.” Ironically, the wartime atmosphere among the people generated by the authorities is making the people feel defeatist, so now the cadres are trying to calm the people’s sentiment, saying that “The Americans cannot draw the sword.”