With the Rodong Sinmun in reach, more North Koreans are talking international relations

Kim Yoo Jin  |  2018-05-14 11:38
More North Koreans are showing an interest in politics and international relations following the inter-Korean summit and are discussing news from the Rodong Sinmun (state-run publication) at markets throughout the country, sources say. 

Merchants selling wares at the market pass around the Rodong Sinmun and share their opinions, said a South Pyongan Province-based source in a phone call with Daily NK on May 9. The merchants show interest in even the most trivial of thoughts raised by others. 

Their main interest is [North Korea's] relationship with South Korea and the US and how it will change in the future. Some say that the relationship will never change, while most believe that there will be positive changes, the source added.

Ordinary North Koreans have often referred to the Rodong Sinmun as only good for being wallpaper or to roll up cigarettes. The paper has generally published stories that trumpet state opinion without any intellectually stimulating articles to read. 

The papers full publishing of the Panmunjom Declaration, however, has signaled a change in how the paper is regarded, according to the source. North Koreans are now trying to glean information from even the most propaganda-filled articles.

North Koreans have never reacted in this way before, said the source. The expectations and hope for the inter-Korean summit are being expressed through an interest in politics. 

The source said that North Koreans are very interested in the upcoming US-North Korean summit. The hope that people have for change in the country is at the basis of all this. 

North Koreans are even saying positive things about Kim Jong Un. The North Korean authorities have continuously emphasized that the holding of the inter-Korean and US-North Korean summits are major victories won by the North Korean leader. 

One North Korean woman was quoted by the source as saying,All of this is because Comrade Kim Jong Un has tied the noses of South Korea and the US together and they are now just following him. Cows that have their noses tied to each other follow whoever their leader is. Then, the source said, all the merchants around her expressed agreement.

There remain, however, questions surrounding the concept of denuclearization among North Koreans. Many people find it hard to understand how the nuclear weapons the country has developed for so long despite heavy sanctions could be given up so quickly. 

The nuclear weapons were being developed while we starved, so there is widespread suspicion over why the government has decided to abandon them, said a source in South Hamgyong Province. Most North Koreans want a unified Korea to combine North Koreas nuclear weapons with South Koreas strong economy.

The source further said that, There have been no proper explanations given about denuclearization and so there are many who are wondering why North Korea needs to get rid of them. The source said that most people believe there are things they just dont know about the situation and are carefully sharing their opinions with each other. 
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