[Audio] Pyongyang resident surprised to learn Kim Jong Un traveling to South for summit

Ha Yoon Ah  |  2018-04-27 15:38
The above are audio excerpts form the phone call with the North Korean source in Pyongyang who gave this interview. Audio and Video Content: Daily NK

With the inter-Korean summit beginning on the morning of April 27, Daily NK has conducted a brief interview with a Pyongyang resident named Jo Mun Chol (alias) to learn more about what ordinary North Koreans think of the historic meeting.

News of the Moon-Kim meeting has been presented to North Koreans through state media, but this particular resident told Daily NK that the fact Kim would be crossing into South Korean territory was a very surprising point. 

"I heard that President Moon would be traveling to North Korea," he said, adding that according to current rumors, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump would also be traveling to the North for meetings.

Talk of unification has become more common these days as North Koreans discuss the inter-Korean summit, though opinions are reportedly mixed as to whether or not it will actually happen, or just how difficult it will be. 

In addition to talk of North-South relations, residents have also begun to carry more hope of improved relations with China. Some have suggested that North Korea can learn from China's development experience, hoping that economic development of their country will follow.

The following is a transcript of the interview with the Pyongyang resident:

Daily NK: Kim Jong Un is meeting South Korean President Moon Jae In on April 27.

Jo Mun Chol: He (Moon) hasn't come (to North Korea) yet?

Daily NK: No, they'll meet on April 27.

Jo Mun Chol: Oh, I didn't know that. But President Moon Jae In is coming to North Korea, right?

Daily NK: You think that Moon is traveling to North Korea?

Jo Mun Chol: Yeah, people are saying that... and the Chinese president will come (to North Korea) too.

Daily NK: Where did you hear that?

Jo Mun Chol: From people in my area.

Daily NK: How did those people hear that?

Jo Mun Chol: I'm not sure... the American president will come too, I heard.

Daily NK: You heard rumors that Moon Jae In, Xi Jinping, and the American President would be traveling to North Korea?

Jo Mun Chol: Yes.

Daily NK: How are people reacting to those rumors?

Jo Mun Chol: The reaction is... maybe unification can come out of it.

Daily NK: Are people hoping for unification? 

Jo Mun Chol: Of course people hope for that, saying it could maybe happen. But could it really? And who would be the president? 
Daily NK: Do North Koreans hope to receive food aid from the US? Or from South Korea after the meeting?

Jo Mun Chol: I'm not sure. But I've heard it's coming. I asked how they knew that, and they said that everyone is saying that. Again, I'm hearing that Moon Jae In is coming here, the Chinese president, and the American president too. 

Daily NK: Actually Moon Jae In is not going to the North. Kim Jong Un will walk across the border at Panmunjom into South Korea, to join the summit at the Peace House.

Jo Mun Chol: Ah, seriously? 

Daily NK: People around you don't know that?

Jo Mun Chol: Of course not, we didn't know that. I guess people will find out when they see it (on the news).

Daily NK: It's a fact; they will be meeting in South Korea.

Jo Mun Chol: Ah.. I had just heard he's coming to North Korea.

Daily NK: But it's actually (Kim Jong Un) who will be traveling to the South.

Jo Mun Chol: Ah... but as relations are better with China–

Daily NK: Are people hopeful about the meeting with Trump?

Jo Mun Chol: Not really, why would they be?

Daily NK: People really think America is that bad?

Jo Mun Chol: Of course. We don't trust America. We have to eliminate America. (laughs)

Daily NK: Are people hoping that improving relations with China continues?

Jo Mun Chol: Yes, people really hope for that. 

Daily NK: Do people believe the economy will get better?

Jo Mun Chol: The economy will improve thanks to better relations with China, and learning from China.

Daily NK: Is there hope for unification?

Jo Mun Chol: Yes of course. I'm not sure about cadres, but ordinary people hope for unification. Aren't South Koreans living well, and don't they have a developed economy?

Daily NK: How do people hope for unification to occur?

Jo Mun Chol: First, the meeting between the South Korean President and Kim Jong Un needs to go well. If (the meeting) doesn't happen, then (unification) probably won't happen. But it might not happen even with the summit. Who was it before? Roh Moo Hyun held a summit (with Kim Jong Il) but unification didn't happen. So it will be difficult.

*Translated by Colin Zwirko

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