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N. Koreans hopeful that Putin visit will help improve their lives

North Koreans have expressed hope that the recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin will improve their lives, Daily NK has learned.

“People in North Hamgyong Province, such as Hoeryong and Chongjin, hope that the Russian president’s visit will improve people’s lives,” a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province said last Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In general, the reactions were more positive than negative.”

In fact, some people were happy that “the old Soviet era is returning.” Most of these people were people in their 50s or older who hoped for a return to times when they did not have to worry about where their next meal would come from, the source said.

They believe that if improved relations between North Korea and Russia lead to multifaceted cooperation and food aid from Russia, hunger in the country will decrease significantly.

“During the Soviet era, we lived well without worrying about food or clothing, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union began, North Korea has also gone downhill,” said a Chongjin resident in his 60s, according to the source. “Russia is a more developed and wealthier country than we are, no matter how much it’s struggling now. So I hope it will give us a lot of food aid, whether it is wheat or flour, so that our lives can improve, even if only a little.”

“Many elderly people miss food aid because during the time of the Arduous March, people survived because food aid from South Korea or the U.N. was circulating in the markets,” the source said. “So people really hope that the recent visit of the Russian president will be a good opportunity to ease the food shortage a little.”

Others, however, worry that North Korea and Russia will only strengthen their military cooperation.

“Some people have a negative view, saying that Putin only reached out to North Korea because it’s busy fighting a war right now,” the source said. “So, they say, the visit won’t help, and if the two countries only cooperate on military issues, the hope that people’s lives will improve will probably be in vain.”

North Koreans hope that visit will help resolve food shortages

As a result, North Koreans are watching closely to see if Putin’s visit will focus on food aid and other economic issues to improve the food situation and the people’s livelihoods.

“Everyone desperately hopes that the current food shortage will be resolved, regardless of whether they view Putin’s visit positively or negatively,” the source said. “We have to wait and see if the Russian president’s visit will make a substantial difference to people’s lives, but if people’s lives don’t really change after the visit, there will be great disappointment.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin completed a one-day visit to North Korea, arriving by presidential plane in the North in the early morning hours of June 19. As the visit was the first by a Russian president in 24 years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally greeted Putin at the airport. At their summit in Pyongyang’s Kumsusan guest house, the two leaders signed a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” that included a provision for mutual military assistance in case of emergency.

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.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

July 01, 2024 at 12:15PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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