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N. Koreans complain about Kim Jong Un’s inspection of tank unit

North Koreans complained about government propaganda following media coverage of leader Kim Jong Un’s inspection of a tank unit, prompting the state security apparatus to take action, Daily NK has learned.

“When the marshal [Kim Jong Un] inspected the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Guards 105th Tank Division, the soldiers were photographed eating rice, meat, soup with red chili flakes, fresh vegetables and fruits. Most Chongjin residents who saw the photos dismissed them as propaganda,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Rodong Sinmun and other North Korean media reported on Mar. 25 that Kim had inspected the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Guards 105th Tank Division and the affiliated First Armored Infantry Regiment and watched the tank crews practicing obstacle-clearing and high-speed breakthrough drills, while also visiting the unit’s mess hall and barracks and taking an interest in the troops’ living conditions.

But according to the source, the soldiers’ unusually fine food attracted more attention from North Koreans than the tank unit’s military prowess, which the media coverage had sought to highlight.

The majority of Chongjin citizens who saw the photos and video of Kim’s inspection of the tank unit recognized that the media coverage was meant to emphasize North Korea’s military and economic status and inspire public pride, but said that the carefully staged propaganda was so far removed from reality that it only discouraged people.

Citizens who had already completed their military service were particularly irritated by the report, the source said. “I never saw this kind of [food] during my military service. I didn’t even get it on my birthday,” one said.

“This will get a big laugh from anyone who has been in the army,” another remarked.

“What makes me even angrier is that this propaganda is so on the nose,” said a third.

According to the source, other citizens were outspoken in their criticism of the regime.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a total crock,” one remarked.

“I’ve lost my ability to feel anything because nothing we want ever happens,” said a second.

“This has absolutely no effect on our lives,” said a third.

“In the midst of all this grumbling, the Ministry of State Security finally got involved. Too many people were criticizing the government for the bureau to arrest them all, so instead it had all agencies, businesses, organizations, and neighborhood watch groups tell the people on Apr. 1 that anyone who complained about the Kim Jong Un’s inspection would be severely punished,” the source said.

The state security agency, which disapproves of markets as capitalist centers of rumor, called a meeting with market managers and representatives of vendors and had them pass on the threat of punishment to anyone who complained about Kim’s inspection of the tank unit.

“On Apr. 1, the state security agent at Sunam Market took the initiative to tell the vendors to keep an eye on each other and report anyone who grumbles or criticizes the leader’s inspection,” the source said.

Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

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Read in Korean

April 15, 2024 at 11:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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