From Cradle to Grave, So Goes the Expression

There is no food emergency in the country now and things can only get better. — Alejandro Cao de Benos

Theresa forwards confirmation, via the Daily NK, of my worst fears for a 23 year-old woman who all but recited her own obituary for the guerrilla cameras of Rimjingang:

“It was discovered that, without a home, she had been wandering in the market and on the streets, before dying in a corn field,” the Asia Press spokesperson explained, “Since then was harvest time, she went there to eat corn but seems to have died of starvation.

Her body was apparently already decomposing by the time it was found, but the local People’s Safety Ministry agents were in no hurry to deal with it because she did not have any family, so it was left for a long time.

What might she have become if she had the good fortune of being born in a sane place? What potential was within her that will never be realized or propagated? Do you suppose she even has a grave? Who still defends the sovereign right of a regime to squander fortunes on yachts while this woman, this woman, and these children die and decompose in fields, in riverbeds, or next to railroad tracks? A state that will not allow its subjects to provide for themselves has a duty to provide for them. This was not a case of tragic happenstance. It was a consequence of deliberate government policy, a crime against humanity. Do not even think of telling me that U.S. or U.N. sanctions are to blame for this:

AN AUSTRIAN ”shopper” for the ”Dear Leader” of North Korea has been given a $A4.8 million fine and a suspended jail sentence for breaking an international embargo to sell goods to the volatile despot. The unnamed businessman has been hawking Western luxury products to Kim Jong-il for more than two decades.

A North Korean defector, Kim Jong-ryul, revealed in a book published earlier this year how his boss fell in love with the cuisine of Austria in particular and Western products in general. Kim Jong-ryul, who acted as bagman for many of the deals, painted a world of shell companies, fake freight bills and suitcases full of cash to buy up whatever the Dear Leader desired.

Now at least one individual has been held to account. The unnamed entrepreneur admitted selling at least eight S-Class Mercedes stretch limousines and two yachts worth collectively $A13 million. [….]

Mr Yon used Chinese middlemen and bank accounts to handle the transfers.

There is nothing North Korea needs so desperately — not even food aid — as it needs a revolution. And if this report is accurate, it’s going to get one:

“Amidst freezing temperatures fluctuating between 20 and 30 degrees, soldiers taking part in a joint air force – special operations forces training exercise at a military airbase in Samjiyeon weren’t even provided with food,” reported a source in Yanggangdo on the 6th December.

In North Korea’s current wartime conditions, an article on the 9th December reported that the North’s low altitude AN-2 fighter planes were taking part in counter invasion exercises with members of the of the 43rd brigade 10th corps special forces.

“Cold and hungry soldiers raiding villages for dogs and even roasting the rats and cats they find during winter exercises is not entirely new but the number of soldiers deserting because of their senior officers physical and verbal abuse is growing,” said the source.

This is stunning, if true. For years, I’ve read reports of hunger and indiscipline in North Korean military units, but without knowing more, I’d assumed that those were second-line or shock units. This is the first such report I’ve read about North Korea’s 200,000-strong special forces, which are the units Kim Jong Il is depending on to die facing the enemy at the very entrance to his suryongbunker.

In the end, Kim Jong Il’s greed will be his undoing. It’s just tragic that so many North Koreans will have suffered and died before his misrule is finally brought to an end.


  1. For one thing the AN-2’s mentioned in the exerpt are not fighter aircraft but ancient biplane radial engined transport planes. That the NKAF still opperates these antiques is amazing but true according to confirming info found on the inter-web. The NKAF does opperate Mig 23 close-support attack aircraft. I suppose that the wirter of the NKRadio piece is not an expert on the NK military.

  2. I guess I’m not aware of how bad the food situation is compared to say 1996 when this sort of behavior among soldiers was rampant and regular. Hearing these stories doesn’t necessarily give me any extra degree of hope just because the hundredth cried ‘wolf’ means little to me. I think now I’m most interested in undercover reporting from inside the north, so anything anyone comes across or if anyone knows of dedicated sources for that sort of thing are on internet, post it please!

  3. The AN-2’s are used to ferry in Special Operations Forces. The bi-planes can fly low to avoid ROK radar.

    My guess it that the airmen who maintain them may not be within the inner circle of the North Korean military that the palace actually cares about(although the pilots and the SOF commandos would certainly be).

    In some Korean discussion boards, some former North Koreans told me that these days even the artillery forces in the frontline units are manned by lower songbun(caste) people. The high songbun kids prefer to serve on the Chinese border where there is alot more opportunity for collecting bribes from smugglers and merchants.

    The Spartans certainly seem to be showing cracks in their armor, and given that North Korea is suffering from a shortage of 20 somethings due to the famine of the 1990’s, I wonder if that shortage reaches the nomenklatura. I doubt members of the Core stratum songbun starved but perhaps they might have had fewer kids. That makes me wonder if there are any effects on high songbun recruitment for their elite units.


  4. That poor woman, like the starving children, means nothing to the rotten Kim dynasty and its Chinese apologists.
    Her face should be plastered all over the front pages of newspapers. Make her story the only one until something is done to bring these monsters down.

  5. Unfortunately, there can be no Neda, no Suu Kyi, no Xiabao and no unknown starving girl. (You’d think her ‘hidden beauty’ could be enough to get the media’s mustaches twitching.) Their brand of repression in the DPRK can’t allow any of this, and neither can the world’s complacency. It’s all about bringing them in, involving their stories in the international conscious, and that’s the job of awareness promoters, thousands of them around the world trying to somehow make the world’s worst human rights situation (that’s under anyone’s complete control; I know that other areas of earth are worse though due to total negligence) at least talked about, discussed, realized by average citizens. It’s a hard job, but realistically who all is really working for the North Korean population right now? What’s really going in the direction of their salvation?

  6. Anybody see anything about movements of Chinese military near the border area? The winter is coming on. North Korea has moved to killing South Koreans on land. Tidbits about discontent and starvation are out. What is China showing it knows that we might not?

  7. Jason, if the DPRK had any of those women as martyrs to the Global public than thousands of those women would not be faceless internet names. All the global media have is her and the frozen to death woman in the middle of the either Tumen or Yalu river on Youtube which the man pissed on, (I forget which river it was filmed). One is enough.

  8. Many other Korean women, men and children have starved to death under his brutality. Sickening is that Koreans up until now always blame outsiders. The same outsiders who honestly ask Korea to look itself in the mirror for its own atrocities against thineselves.

  9. Ditto81, I think that’s an unfair assessment. A fair read of Korean-language news sources clearly shows that the worst critics of South Koreans are South Koreans themselves; the notion that they always blame outsiders is K-blog fantasy.

    As for the atrocities “Koreans” are supposed to look in the mirror and see thineselves, do you mean North Koreans or South Koreans or both? Just how responsible are South Koreans for North Korean atrocities? Seems to me the last time South Koreans tried to force out the North Korean government the North Koreans they’re now supposed to save were shooting at them.

    Or are South Koreans to blame for propping up North Korea through Sunshine Policy, as if Sunshine Policy was sufficient and necessary for the regime’s continued existence? Maybe anyone who buys “Made in China” is the real culprit here.

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