Sunday, 19 July 2015

Kim Jong Un's Korea: The Thriving Nation: An Account of A Visit To The DPRK June 2015 By Shaun Pickford

I was able to return to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, after an interval of three years and saw immense improvements in the cultural and living standards of the Korean People. All the progress which is being realized in the DPRK, is based on socialist principles and self reliance. The Supreme Leader of the DPRK, Marshal KIM JONG UN, is working continuously for the welfare of the Korean People and spares nothing for the well-being of the workers, farmers and intellectuals. Such a leader as KIM JONG UN, cannot be found elsewhere in the world, as the DPRK leader is always putting the people first in everything. 

When the concept of socialism has become dirty word among some circles, there is one country which upholds socialism and that nation is the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. The DPRK not only defends its socialist system, but is bringing in more socialism, in other words displaying all the material, ideological and cultural advantages of the socialist system. In the space of a nine days in the DPRK (June 16 - June 25), I was to witness all the successes made in the endeavourer to build a thriving nation on the land of Korea. When the Air Koryo plane arrived at the Sunan airport, I sang to myself the songs "Song of General KIM IL SUNG," "The Red Flag" and "The Internationale", because it was so exciting to be back in this land of Juche once again.

Healthcare is one priority area for the enrichment of a population's living conditions. I was able to go around The Ryugyong Dental Hospital, which is in the eastern part of Pyongyang. Whereas, most capitalist countries are closing down or reducing public health services, the DPRK is expansing them.The Ryugyong Dental Hospital was opened on October 2013 and is located in the Munsu area of Pyongyang. Within the hospital, there are diagnosis and treatment rooms, first aid treatment room, material and dispensary, a shop and  a playground. The hospital has all the latest advances in dental technology at its despoil and helps to increase the level of medical science in the DPRK. This dental hospital plays a vital role in the prevention and treatment of dental diseases and increase the asethic and physical standard of the people.   I told the director of The Ryugyong Dental Hospital and my guide about how dental care is so expensive in the UK and quoted my own dentist as an example ,who stated that a single replacement tooth would cost £2,000. Both the directer and my guide could not believe prohibitive cost of dentistry is in Britain and stated that all forms of dental care were free of charge in the DPRK.

The party and government of Socialist Korea has always put alot of emphasis on the physical and emotional development of children.  On the itinenary of my visit was The Kyongsang Kindergarten in the Manusdae district of Pyongyang. The Kindergarden has latest amenities for the care of the pre-school children and appeared to be ultra modern in its design. All access to the Kindergarden is completely free and takes the burden of childcare off the mothers, so women can concentrated themselves in economic construction, without worry or stress. Marshal KIM JONG UN paid the highest attention to development of The Kyongsang Kindergarten and ensured thed becomes a palace for the young children. The Kyongsang Kindergarden has raised many child prodigies, many of whom achieved first place in the children's and young people's International Chopin Piano Contest. 

Health care for children is regarded as a specialist medical field, so when I visited Okryu Children's Hospital, I encountered a medical centre, second to none, in its quality of provision.  Instead of being like a hospital, The Okryu Children's Hospital was more like a palace in its design and layout, rather than a medical institution. To make the children feel at home, there are 1,7000 fairy tale illustrations in the six storied hospital, as well as indoor playgrounds. As education and intellectual development are important goals for the Workers' Party of Korea, so there are functioning kindergardens and class rooms located within the hospital. Even the cities and provinces outside of Pyongyang, benefit from the hospital expertise, due to the tele- medicine service and just outside the main building, there is the heliport, ready to receive sick and injured children from all parts of the DPRK for urgent treatment. As the capitalist countries such as Britain are closing down hospitals and medical services due to austerity, whereas Socialist Korea is expanding its public health network. Marshal KIM JONG UN makes sure that the Korean children want for nothing in their young lives, so as to live full and happy lives in the DPRK.

For a pleasant day out, I went to the Folk Park, which lays at the foot of Mount Taesong. When I came to Pyongyang in 2012, the park was being constructed and three years later, the attraction is up and running. I observed during the tour of the Park, families and parties of schoolchildren looking around the various models of famous Korean monuments and learning the history of their proud nation. It is the policy of the Workers' Party of Korea preserve and maintain the centuries' old cultural heritage of the Korean People, one can see this policy in the appearance of the Pyongyang Folk Park. The Park consists of general history education, historical relics, folk village, folk games and contemporary times. Walking around the Park, you are instantly transported to various eras of Korean history such as Koguryo and Koryo, to every province in Korea, from Ryangyang to Cholla. All the models and reconstructions of such famous landmarks "The Turtle shaped ship" (the world's first ironclad ship) and The Chomsongdae Observatory, and other temples and pagodas, were perfectly created by the Korean craftspeople. I had the opportunity while in the Folk Park, to have a chat with a Professor of Ancient Korean History and  was able to have watched Korean customs such as a wedding ceremony. 

 I was driven many times through Changjon Street in Central Pyongyang, which was renovated in 2012, the centenary year of the birth of President KIM IL SUNG. Changjon Street, goes well with the fine scenery of the Taedong riverside, comprising 45, 40 and 30 storeyed apartment houses and theatres, schools, kindergardens, pharmacy, catering and welfare service establishments. I was able to a congenial last evening meal of my trip with my guide and driver at a restaurant in Changjon Street. We were treated to such delights of Korean cuisine  as Pyongyang Cold Noodles, Kimchi and even potato chips, washed down with generous amounts of Taedonggang Beer.

Sports is seen as a important activity in the building of a socialist thriving nation in the DPRK. It is the goal of Marshal KIM JONG UN to turn Socialist Korea in a world class sporting power. All Korean people of whatever age and occupation, are encouraged to take up a sport and engage in physical exercise. As a illustration of this policy of sports' promotion by the WPK, I was taken around The Mirim Riding Club, in the Pyongyang's suburbs. The Mirim Riding Club covers an area of 60 hectares, with stables, and indoor and outdoor training grounds. I had the opportunity to visit the indoor riding gymnasium, which is a two storeyed building. The first floor was for horse riding training and the second floor was used as a gallery for seating spectators. It appeared that the Mirim Riding Club was very busy with people with learning to ride horses and perfecting their riding technique. As I was told that the riding club is affordable for most people to use regluraly and practice physical fitness. Touring the outside of the club, I saw riders galloping on the turf course and they reminded me of the Korean People rushing forward to the heights of socialist civilization.

The Workers' Party of Korea's strategic aim is to build up an economic giant in the DPRK, based on independence and self -sustenance. It is the desire of Marshal KIM JONG UN to provide everyone in the DPRK with a affluent life, enjoying all the material benefits of Korean-style socialism to the full.  In compliance with the economic line of the Songun era, there has been given preferential development of the defence industry and of light industry and agriculture.  In recent years, rapid progress has been made in science and technology and in creating a knowledge based economy.    CNC technology have been introduced into many areas of production throughout the DPRK. With the protection of the nuclear deterrent, Peoples Korea wants to diversify foreign trade and encourage investments from outside. An economic development zone is to be setup in every province in the DPRK and, Wonsan, Mount Chilbo and other resorts have been turned into modern tourist zones
Fundamentally, self-reliance and collective management in forms of the Taean Guidance System and the Chongsan-ri method remain the bedrock of the DPRK's socialist economy. Socialism in the DPRK is bulit by socialist methods,and not on capitalist models. The DPRK's economy is not a prisoner of the IMF, the World Bank and the Multi-National Corporations,but is owned and controlled by the Korean People, social wealth and relations in the DPRK serve the people's interests.
The greatest reason for the survival and consolidation of Korean style socialism throughout the decades, has been down to the fact that revolutionary ideology was developed and perfected by KIM IL SUNG and KIM JONG IL. The Juche Idea was not evolved in academic sanctities, but was created on the fierce battlefields of national and class liberation. So from its essence, the Juche Idea reflects the prevailing reality and changes it to suit man, the master of the material and social conditions. Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is an integral whole of the Juche Idea, and the theory and method of revolution and construction clarified by the Juche philosophy. In other words, the basic ideal that runs the idea, theory and method of Juche, the components of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, is the people first doctrine. The Juche Idea is the original philosophical thought that centres on the popular masses and,  the Juche-centred theory of revolution and leadership,  methodology is also people centred. KIM JONG UN formulated the concept of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism to include the theory, ideology and methodology of the Juche Idea into an integrated philosophy, that is suited to the challenges of the 21st century.

I was taken to The Three Revolutions Exhibition in Pyongyang and shown around the hall devoted to The Juche Idea and ideological revolution. One factor in ensuring the continued success of Socialist Korea, has been the role of which three revolutions, have played in constructing socialism in the DPRK. The ideological revolution is the element which has been emphasized, because it is the popular masses who are the masters of nature, social relations and wealth.Only a people with an active socialist conciousness can purposefully and creatively build socialism. It was fascinating to see the ideological achievements of President KIM IL SUNG and of Chairman KIM JONG IL on display in the exhibition hall.  I encountered during my visit to the Exhibition On The Juche Idea, a large of Korean working people looking around the displays on the theoretical - ideological activities of Marshal KIM JONG UN. I was very impressed with the exhibits on the KIM JONG UN's works and activities, which demonstrate KIM JONG UN's outstanding leadership abilities.  The global influence of The Juche Idea can seen in the exhibits on display. There is not a country or a region of the world, where Kimilisungism-Kimjongilisim is not studied, it has become a trend among progressive people to study and disseminate The Juche Idea. The works of KIM IL SUNG, of KIM JONG IL and KIM JONG UN have now been translated into many languages and produced by various  publishing houses around the world, and I was able to see these materials on The Juche Idea on display, including Britain.

Going up to Mount Myohyang, always make for a pleasant day out in the Korean countryside. At Mount Myohyang, there is The International Friendship Exhibition.  The International Friendship Exhibition is a typically Korean-style six stored structure, with a total floor space of 28,000 square metres. The exhibition contains more than 80,000 gifts to the DPRK's Supreme Leaders from every country on the planet. The President, The Chairman and The Marshal had all the gifts presented to them, given over to the International Friendship Exhibition instead, so that the working people can appreciate the tokens of esteem. There has now been included a section devoted to gifts to Marshal KIM JONG UN, from different personalities in a variety walks of life. There were gifts to KIM JONG UN, from Dennis Rodman, NBA Basket Ball Star, from the Mongolian President Tsakhigin Elbegdori, from various organisations in Russia and China, amongst many others.  It was with a feeling immense of satisfaction that I presented a gift of a Doulton ceramic figure of King Henry V  to the respected Marshal KIM JONG UN, at ceremony with high ranking officials of KASS and the WPK present. I said to the DPRK officials at the ceremony, that gift in question, symbolizes  KIM JONG UN's steadfast leadership, courage, heroism and devotion to revolutionary principle. 

President KIM IL SUNG and Chairman KIM JONG IL paid deep attention to the role played by art and literature in the struggle to achieve the independence of the working people and in completing the socialist cause. Art and literature have a profound effect upon the ideological consciousness of the popular masses, that is why a socialist society must have a socialist art and culture. I had the chance to visit The Korean Art Gallery on Kim IL Sung Square for the first time and sample the treasures of traditional and contemporary Korean art. In the Gallery, there are 22 display rooms and and it has a floor space of 11,000 square. Entering the gallery, one is taken through a journey of Korean history, from the eras of Kojoson, Koryo to the Li dynasty, where one can view the industriousness and creativity of the Korean people. The final sentiment of the Korean Art Gallery, is devoted to Korean modern art. I was struck with wonder, that the artistic representations in this section of the gallery, as they were genuine masterpieces inspired by Juche-orientated socialist realism. I recall seeing a painting of the Korean Peoples Army soldiers risking their own lives to put out a fire at a historical site with revolutionary slogan bearing trees.

It has been seventy years since Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule and Korea was divided into two parts by outside forces, principally by the United States of America. Both President KIM IL SUNG and Chairman KIM JONG IL, put forward historic proposals to solve the issue of Korea's division, such as the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo, the Ten Point Programme for Great National Unity and the Five-Point Policy For Reunification.  I arrived in Pyongyang, when the 15th anniversary of the North-South Summit Meeting and Declaration of June 15th, 2000, was commemorated. Chairman KIM JONG IL made it a precept that the reunification of Korea can only be achieved by the Korean People themselves, in the north, in the south and overseas.

I made my way down to Panmunjon,which is a village situated between Kaesong and Seoul, and about four hours' drive from Pyongyang. Panmunjon was chosen as the place where armistice negotiations were held at the first time in June 1951 at the US side. Negotiations began at Panmunjon because the US imperialists realized that they could defeat the Korean Peoples Army and the Korean People by military means, during the Fatherland Liberation War (the Korean War) 1950-1953. Persevered in the north half of the DMZ, are the buildings where the armistice talks were conducted and the document of surrender by the US side. As I approached the actual area of the Central Military Demarcation Line, I could see farmers working away normally  in the fields of the Panmunjon Cooperative Farm, which is located just within the Demilitarized zone. Entering the Joint Security Zone, I noticed how strangely peacefully it was there, at the site of the most intense military stand-off in the world today. When I got inside the building of the military armistice commission, the room was divided into two, north and south Korea by microphone cables on the main negotiating table. It came to my attention that the UK National Flag, the Union Jack, along with other aggressor partners of the US, was displayed in the wall of the southern half of the main building and seeing this, produced feelings of shame for the role that British imperialism played during the Korean War.  On this visit to Panmunjon, I could not see the yankee occupation forces and their south Korean puppets anywhere at all on the southern side of the DMZ, as if they were hiding out of guilt for their crimes against the Korean Nation.  Viewing Panmunjon was an abject lesson in the tragedy of Korea's division caused by the imperialist powers. 

The highpoint of my June 2015 visit to the DPRK, must have been my tour around the newly-renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which is located in the Pothonggang District of Pyongyang. I went to this museum back in the summer of 2009 and when I saw the museum this time around, it was completely unrecognisable, it had been improved vastly, both in terms of quality and quantity. The reconstructed Fatherland Liberation War Museum was opened in time for the 60 anniversary of the victory of the Korean People over the US imperialist aggressors. Covering an area of 93,000 meters, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, it comprehensively shows the periods of the anti-Japanese struggle and the Fatherland Liberation War (1950-53) to the anti-imperialist, anti-US confrontation and Songun Revolution.  Under the auspices of Marshal KIM JONG UN the museum was modernized in July Juche 102 -2013, in order to hand to posterity the patriotic exploits of Generalissimos KIM IL SUNG and KIM JONG IL, and of the heroic feats of the Korean Peoples Army and of the Korean People. On display there are over 300 revolutionary relics and 120,000 war materials in their original state. Using the latest technology, the museum was able to recreate in lifelike detail, the conditions of the Fatherland Liberation War of the Korean People. The museum contained an accurate reproduction of the environment of the battle of Height 1211 and saw that the museum's famous Panorama of the liberation of Taejon, had been made more spectacular. In the outside pavilions, I was shown the evidence of the crimes of the US in the form of captured weaponry by the KPA and taken aboard the apprehended American spy armed ship, Pueblo, which is a constant reminder of the aggressive nature of imperialism. The young female Korean People Army Officer, made for an excellent guide, as she explained the meaning of the exhibits in the museum of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War, with lots of enthusiasm. 

Being in the DPRK, I took the opportunity of calling upon our friends and comrades in The Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front of south Korea, who have a mission in Pyongyang. The ANDF has over the decades, been on the front-line in the struggle for anti-imperialism, progressive democracy in south Korea and for Korean reunification. As a organisation, the ANDF has faced harsh persecution at the hands of the military fascist regime in Seoul, with many its members paying the ultimate price for the independent reunification of Korea, most notably Kim Jong Tae. The ANDF's leading representative discussed in depth the situation in south Korea with the Pak Gye Hee regime in power and the fight for anti-imperialist democracy, the prospects for the independent peaceful reunification of Korea and the global struggle against imperialism. Having had a three hour discussion with the comrades at the ANDF mission, gave me renewed inspiration to work in solidarity with the Korean People's just cause.
I have been endeavouring to study and disseminate the Juche Idea, for many years, since having been first acquainted with the reality of the DPRK. I was able to have an indepth exchange of views and discussions with  prominent academics from the Korean Association of Social Scientists on such diverse subjects as the revolutionary activities of KIM JONG UN, Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, the relationship between Marxism-Leninism and Juche, the WPK's struggle against modern revisionism and the economy of the DPRK.. I found that it was a significant honour to have been awarded the KASS Graduation Certificate in Juche orientated social sciences, I take this accolade as a recognition for all the work and activity in which the Juche Idea Study Group collectively has been engaged in spreading the Juche philosophy, far and wide, in Britain.  My meeting with representatives from the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations With Foreign Countries, further cemented the ties of the Korean Friendship Association (UK) with that DPRK organisation.  

On my last day in the DPRK, I was taken to a beach, near to the city of Nampho. Swimming in the warm, tranquil waters of Korea's West Sea, was a extremely relaxing and invigorating form of exercise. Near to the beach, I spotted a wedding party from Nampho, who were having their reception photographs snapped at the seaside. The Korean People lead healthy and harmonious lives due to the care of the benevolent socialist system in the DPRK. Later on the during day trip to the Nampho area, I was treated to a classic Korean barbecue, consisting of Sea Shells as the main course. The delegation's driver very expertly doused the shells with petrol and they set alight into an enormous blaze, in a matter of seconds. I joked that the DPRK was conducting a shell barbecue test successfully, to beat the imperialists, which received alot of laughters from my Korean friends. The barbecue outside the Nampho Seaworkers' Club proven to be a very memorable afternoon, which was made merrier with the club's waitresses in attendance, and with plenty of Pyongyang Soju and Paektusan Bilberry Wine to drink.

I would like to express my thanks to the KASS Section Head, Kim Ho Su, to my guides Li Wang Ho and Mr.Kim, and to my driver Mr.Yu, for making my June 2015 visit to the DPRK, both an enjoyable and productive one. I want add my gratitude to the First Secretary of the DPRK Embassy in London, Yu Kwang Song, and to the Study Group's Chairman Dermot Hudson, for making my DPRK trip possible at such short notice. 

Visiting and experiencing the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea brings home the actuality of the application of the Juche Idea and of Songun Politics, a thousand times, better than studying Socialist Korea from a distance.  I know that travelling to the DPRK through third countries can be very challenging and expensive, but the more Juche Idea adherents and friends of Korea, go out to the Land of Juche, the better, as it strengthens our ideological bonds with our Korean comrades. Indeed anybody, you who calls themselves, a socialist, an anti-imperialist, a peace campaigner and a trade unionist, must show their solidarity with the Korean People and with the DPRK.  We must as friends of the DPRK smash the wall of lies and poison put about by imperialism's media machine about Peoples Korea and promote the truth about on that brave socialist country in the East.

In June 2015, I was privileged to have seen, that the DPRK was becoming a thriving socialist nation, where material and  ideological conditions were rapidly improving, in time for the 70th anniversary of the Glorious Workers' Party of Korea. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea stands in the international community, as a beacon of human liberation and dignity, the country where human rights are fully realised and practised. The Korean Party and People reject advice and dictates from certain quarters to "open up" and abandon socialism, instead the working people of Korea are militantly advancing under the Juche banner of President KIM IL SUNG and of Chairman KIM JONG IL. Noting is impossible for the courageous and revolutionary Korean People, who are winning victory after victory on the road of Songun, Independence and Socialism, under the leadership of the Respected Marshal KIM JONG UN!

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