Residents on North Korea's 'regret'

Choi Song Min  |  2015-08-26 16:18
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Startled reactions quickly followed the initial relief felt by residents in North Korea, particularly those in regions abutting the border with South Korea, after the admission of regret on the Norths part appeared in the inter-Korean accord aimed at scaling back escalating tensions on the peninsula, Daily NK has learned. 

At 5:00a.m. on August 25th we received extensive details about the inter-Korean talks and accord via the fixed cable Third Broadcast system. This time being no exception, residents in Kangwon Province have always been some of the most sensitive during particularly fractious times because of their proximity to the South, a source in Kangwon Province reported to Daily NK on August 26th. 

An additional source in the same province corroborated this news. 

Word regarding the landmine incident and the subsequent psychological warfare through the loudspeaker broadcasts spread like wildfire--particularly among residents in regions bordering the South, who were expecting things to continue to escalate, she said. After fully expecting the typical denial of any involvement in the matter [by the North], imagine our surprise when we heard the term regret stated so clearly. 

During particularly fraught times on the Korean Peninsula, she explained, people naturally assume that South Chosun [South Korea] provoked us first but this time around, people pieced together that that is not the case. 

Against this backdrop, then, her explanation of residents automatically interpreting the news--which also appeared in the Party-run publication Rodong Sinmun-- as a clear admission of fault becomes clearer for those of us on the outside looking in. 

While many in South Korea and the broader international community wrangle with the Norths word choice--that is, using regret rather than an explicit apology-- and the implications for inter-Korean relations therein, North Korean residents took away a far different interpretation, according to Daily NKs sources. 

In fact, those with whom the source spoke with regarding the inter-Korean developments exclaimed, So the authorities are capable of admitting their faults! 

Unfortunately, more pressing matters tend to quickly replace these musings and cut off hushed conversations. Its harvest season and this quasi state of war situation thwarted farmers from their work and other residents from the market; in other words, everyone took a hit, she lamented. 

A source in North Hamgyong Province also weighed in on happenings in his region, which, though less tense than regions bordering the South, still felt the effects. Under the quasi state of war, people had to largely stick within their residential areas and were ordered to stay on alert. Personal and business travel certificates were strictly limited; gatherings of almost every manner--drinking, birthday parties, weddings, etc.--were heavily restricted during this period," he asserted.

Now that the high-level talks are over and the quasi state of war has been lifted were all just glad to breathe a little easier and get on with things. We [North Korea] bluffed about an all-out war but couldnt escape conceding in the end."

*Translated by Jihae Lee

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