What Is North Korean People’s Reaction to the Nuclear Test?

[imText1]It is true to conclude that many North Koreans are filled with national pride because of the nuclear test. Many North Koreans deem nuclear weapons as their right. Why?

Until the 1980s, the United States and Soviet Union ran a nuclear armament race; in Europe, NATO and the Warsaw Pact confronted with each other. North Korean people at that time thought that there was the Soviet nuclear umbrella for them, secretly stationed somewhere in North Korea, as a counterforce against American nuclear missiles in South Korea.

In the spring of 1984, I took a series of tests, hosted by the municipal government, on mathematics, physics and Russian. The top student was called to Pyongyang, and entered Kim Il Sung School of Intermediate Physics (nuclear physics). I could not make it to the second round.

My teachers called the school ‘Yongbyon Nuclear Physics School,’ and said that only the smartest were picked and trained as specialists in nuclear physics. Once entered into the school, students were guaranteed with bright futures. Already in the sixties, North Korea started training the brightest young students to be nuclear specialists.

In the late 1980s, North Korea, on Kim Jong Il’s order, produced a ten-thousand-ton press machine and large oxygen separator, and there was a rumor that said, with the machines, nuclear weapons could be developed without foreign aid among the people. Many welcomed such news.

In 1993 when North Korea withdrew from the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and a crisis broke out, many North Koreans already knew about the Yongbyon nuclear facility and felt proud of it. I, too, was proud of North Korea’s nuke possession.

October 8 is the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s elevation to the position of Korean Workers’ Party general secretary, and the next day is the eve of KWP foundation day. However, the anniversaries are no more welcomed by North Korean people, now. Nonetheless, news of the successful nuclear test must be a pleasing one for nationalist North Korean people.

Kim Jong Il must have aimed for that effect; stimulating popular morale and suppressing discontent. So he chose October 9.

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