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Tourist's view of Yanggang Province in North Korea (Suspected Nuke Blast)

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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:09 AM
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Tourist's view of Yanggang Province in North Korea (Suspected Nuke Blast)
Since Yanggang Province in North Korea has become a focal point for the world's attention, here's one tourist's recent view of the area during his own visit to the DPRK:

The main reason I chose this particular tour was the chance to visit Mount Paektu, a mythical mountain to all Koreans. Incredibly enough, for only $3000 we were able to charter a Koryo Air plane with a pilot, co-pilot and two stewardesses for two days. We flew to Samjiyon in Yanggang Province. An airport staffer told me there are often no planes for a whole week. Taking the one-hour bus ride to Mount Paektu showed clearer the caste system in descending loyalty of "core," "wavering" and "hostile" in loyalty to the regime. This area was almost certainly populated with the latter two groups. Gaunt, dark-skinned people walked along the dirt roads, often barefoot. The only vehicles were the occasional military truck, often doubling as a mode for transporting walking civilians. The closer to the Chinese border we came the more visible the soldiers became, literally thousands of them and both male and female. At one point our tour stopped at Amnok River to show us the Chinese/North Korean border. I teasingly told my female guide I could see a talbukja (defector) crossing the river. Not appreciating my sense of humor, she sternly told me they are not "talbukja" but "paebanja" (betrayer). Arriving at Mount Paektu, only one sign propagandizing the regime was evident. Fortunately for future generations, most of the mountain is on the Chinese side of the border, denying the North Korean government the chance to forever deface the mountain rock with their revolutionary slogans as they have done to Mounts Myohyang and Kumgang. Once Mount Paektu becomes available to mass tourism, a dirty little secret that the tour operators will attempt to hide is that on most days the mountain and Lake Chon aren't visible due to heavy fog. We were extremely fortunate in that it was a beautiful clear day with little fog and so could see the mountain and lake perfectly. And what a sight it was!

A visit to Kim Jong-il's supposed birth place, the newly opened Mount Paektu museum and the Samjiyon monument which boasts the second tallest bronze Kim Il-sung statue wound up our Mount Paektu visit. There was certainly no expense spared in the construction and upkeep of these places.

We took a flight back to Pyongyang and ended up at a stamp shop near the Koryo Hotel. The stamps and many propaganda paintings, murals and mosaics showed the pride of North Korea and their worship of the two Kims. However, it also makes a mockery of their repeated claim that the DPRK endeavors to seek peace and friendship with all the countries of the world: missiles hitting the White House, American soldiers being crushed by North Korean soldiers and one stamp of a North Korean soldier thrusting a knife through the neck of George W. Bush don't exactly re-enforce their professed claim. They do make good photos and souvenirs, though.


http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200408/kt200408...
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:14 AM
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1. Second Opinion - Kim Jong-Il's Birthplace
This comes from a fascinating look at the personality cult surounding the Kim dynasty of North Korea; I encourage you to read the rest of the site as well.

Kim Jong-il was actually born in Vyatsk in the vicinity of Khabarovsk, the Far Eastern region of the ex-Soviet Union, but his birth has been falsified as if he was born in a "milyong" (secret camp) on Mt. Paekdu, Yanggang Province. Therefore, the milyong has been designated a sacred ground, which people are encouraged to visit every year. Even a "Kim Jong-il Department" is established in each university, and the curriculum of primary and secondary schools contains lessons about Kim Jong-il's fabricated childhood.

http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/champion/65/pers_...

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burythehatchet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:33 AM
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2. in the final analysis, bush and kim are identical to each other
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:50 AM
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4. I wouldn't say...
...that Bush is as batshit-crazy as Kim Jong-Il. At least, not yet. Give * a few more months.

In the meantime, if you'd like to see some good ol'-fashioned hero-worship of Kim Il-Sung, check this North Korean site out:

http://www.kcckp.net/external_e/
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belle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:48 AM
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3. This was an interesting quote from the first article:
>Taking the one-hour bus ride to Mount Paektu showed clearer the caste system in descending loyalty of ``core, ``wavering and ``hostile in loyalty to the regime. This area was almost certainly populated with the latter two groups.

..attempted coup going on?
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-12-04 08:54 AM
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5. Good question (n/t)
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