North Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and South Korea used to be one country before 1910 — Korea. Whenever World War II ended Japan overtook Korea. Japan left Korea soon after. Russia’s Soviet Union took over the north whilst USA took over the south. This is how North Korea, as we know it today, became to exist: North Korea is a communist country.
North Korea or DPRK
North Korea is run by the Kim family. The current leader is Kim Jon-un who is also one of the world’s youngest leaders. Before he ruled his father and his grand-father ruled the communist state. The country prides itself on its “military first” policy whereby the country exists because of the army, Korean People’s Army, and vice versa. Korean People’s Army is the 4th largest army, by the number of active military personnel, in the world next to China, America and India who are first, second and third, respectively. North Korea’s large army keeps invasion at bay, however, they could be invaded if they strike other countries with air missiles, for example.
What are people in North Korea allowed to do?
A lot of things we take for granted in western culture cannot be done in North Korea. Protesting or deciding to move to another country, for instance, are forbidden in North Korea. Even going on the Internet is not allowed, expect to a small number of hand-picked individuals who also rank high by the communist government, but North Koreans do have access to computers and an intranet, a closed internet in which selected materials are selected an uploaded.
More recently smartphones have been smuggled into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which means people close to the South Korean boarder can pick up an internet signal. This is beginning to stop people from being brain washed.
North Korean’s who try to escape to another country are severely punished if found. Prison camps are heavily used to reinforce the “great government”.
Change and North Korea
Only recently the government have decided to provide for its people, for instance, allowing farmers to keep bigger cuts of their profit to feed their own family. In many regards North Korea is starting to change slowly.
Tourists can visit North Korea, with rumours that it will be possible to visit North Korea from European cities, but they must be accompanied by hand-picked guards most of the time. Exceptions to this include being in one’s own hotel room. There are also rumours that your hotel room may be bugged but this is not completely clear.
Free speech and propaganda
No North Korean has free speech. The government must look good at all times, as such, media and newspapers, for example, are all state run allowing North Korea’s government to look good in their selected news stories — propaganda.
Each of the 3 North Korean leaders are portrayed to have supernatural powers. Photographs are all edited to further enhance this.
North Korean school children learn a short story called “the story of the returned boots“. This story was created to begin to brain wash children into thinking that their great leader, an official term, is special and dear to their hearts. The story of the returned boots, in a nutshell, is all about Kim Jon-un playing with his friends in the snowy winter. He ran out of the house with soft wellyboots on and he began to notice his friends had wet trainers and, therefore, feet. Once he realised this he ran home to put non-waterproof trainers on so his feet could get wet too — the story of the returned boots. This indirectly states to the North Korean children that their leader is dear and kind. However the amount of people who die each year through starvation is not mentioned.
This is only an introduction to North Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but I hope you get the idea that North Korea is a unique country. This is my main reason as to why I follow North Korean news daily. Within the near future I hope to travel to this “hermit kingdom” for the first time — no ordinary holiday at all. North Korea simply fascinates me.
Posted by Gerald Murphy
- Amnesty International. (2013) North Korea escalates border crackdown. [Online] [Accessed on 23rd November 2013]