〒180-0006 東京都武蔵野市中町2-3-5 IIHA武蔵野1階
Dear MEL Topic Readers,
North Korea says orphan children volunteering on mines and farms
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) lies in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, above the 38th parallel north Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Ever since the establishment in 1948, the one-party republic has been ruled by sole dictators. The incumbent supreme leader is Kim Jong-un, a grandson of the nation’s founder Kim Il-sung. The country with a population of just 25 million, about a half of South Korea, is estimated to have over 1.2 million active military personnel, twice as many as its southern rival or nearly as many as the US whose population is 300 million more than North Korea. However, the country has been isolated diplomatically and economically, and its per-capita GDP and living standards are both the lowest level in the world. The secretive state has been known for its use of forced labor, men, women, and children to work in coal mining, factories, farms, and forests for long hours under unimaginably harsh conditions. In 2020, the administration shut its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the one with China, its economic lifeline. Now, as the country seems to need more cheap labors to make up for the loss, the state media recently praised young volunteers, mostly teenage orphans, for their self-sacrifice to work voluntarily for coal mining. It seems like another propaganda to enlighten people to sacrifice more for the ruling party, nation, and supreme leader.
Read the article and watch the video to learn about this recent move by North Korea.