After a period of nearly two years since my last visit to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in June 2015, I made it out to Socialist Korea for the celebrations to mark the Day Of The Sun (April 15th, the birth anniversary of President Kim IL Sung). I was invited to the DPRK by the Korean Association of Social Scientists, along with Dermot Hudson and David Munoz. The April 2017 visit will be the seventh time that I have travelled to the DPRK. I consider myself extremely fortune to have had the opportunity to tour People's Korea on a regular basis over the years and see the various changes accomplished within the DPRK.
The first obstacle to going to the DPRK was getting the leave off from my employers and the second, was renewing my passport in time for the trip. A few weeks before my departure fro the DPRK, tensions had been building up to boiling point on the Korean peninsula. The Trump Administration was hell-bent on stirring up confrontation with the DPRK, and US officials were even speaking about the possibility of a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea. Actually on the day in which I began my epic journey from Stoke On Trent to Pyongyang, the news came through that about a US aircraft carrier group heading to the coast of Korea.
On arriving in Pyongyang, I found the atmosphere in the DPRK to be very tranquil and stable, a million miles away from all the hysteria generated by the Western mass media. Indeed the DPRK is a society free from crime, poverty, disorder and terrorism. The renovated Pyongyang International Airport made for a pleasant passenger experience, the new Pyongyang airport was opened in July, 2015. Compared to other international airports, the one at Pyongyang combines efficiency and friendliness. To say the DPRK is isolated, is complete nonsense, as I encountered tourists from many countries at the airport, including from the British based Saga Travel.
One ambition of mine was realised, when I had the chance to visit The Kumsusan Palace Of The Sun, on my other DPRK trips I was unable to go there. The modern history of Korea and the global struggle for social progress is inconceivable without the leadership of President Kim IL Sung and Chairman Kim Jong IL. As somebody who has been studying and disseminating the Juche Idea for many years, I wanted to pay my respects to the teachers and leaders of human emancipation, Kim IL Sung and Kim Jong IL. It was really poignant that in the afternoon of April 15th, the Day of The Sun, I that paid my regards to the Great Leader President Kim IL Sung and the Great Leader Chairman Kim Jong IL, with a sincere heart. I silently wished the Great President a happy 105th birthday and knew that Kim IL Sung behests will be eternal. I felt particularly emotionally on seeing the final resting place of Kim Jong IL, who passed away in December, 2011 on a moving train in the course of his revolutionary activities. The Kumsusan Palace Of The Sun was opened on July 8th, 1995 and was further refurbished by the order of Kim Jong Un in 2012 so as to perpetuate the memory of Kim IL Sung and Kim Jong IL as the Suns of Juche.
All the delegates to the International Juche Conference were informed at short notice, that a military and civilian parade would be held on April 15th. Assembling for the parade, there was a huge sense of excitement at the prospect of attending such an historic event. Before the parade started, Choe Ryong Hae, the Vice-Chairman of the State Affairs Commission made a speech. Choe stated in his speech, the United States is creating frantic nuclear war provocation against the DPRK, but the Korean revolutionary armed forces would immediately mound an annihilating blow against the imperialist aggressors. Choe stressed that the DPRK wants peace, and at the same time is ready for war.
The parade kicked off at 10.00am, at which point the military might of the Korean Peoples Army was mobilised. In order of succession marched units in the uniforms of the Anti-Japanese Peoples Guerrilla Army and of the Fatherland Liberation War (The Korean War). Swiftly followed by the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, the armed successors of the Songun Revolution. In column after column, came the massed ranks of the KPA, there were contingents from Kim IL Sung Military University, Kim Jong IL Military Postgraduate institute, among other armed units. The spectators were in awe of the detachments of the KPA Special Forces Detachments, who would put the fear of God into any potential imperialist invader. Seeing the Worker-Peasant Red Guards on the march, I was reminded that the power of the gun is in the hands of the DPRK workers. Kim IL Sung Square shook as columns of tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and rockets rolled past the reviewing stand. It was certainly breath-taking to have viewed the short range, medium range and the intercontinental ballistic missiles of the KPA. The KPA missiles can hit at the heart of the enemy on any place on the Earth, if the imperialists choose to attack the DPRK.
The second part of the parade consisted of a civilian march past. Colourful floats on different themes went past the reviewing ground, from motifs on the army wives, the coal miners, artists and intellectuals, and health workers. It was a truly awesome display by the more than one million Pyongyang citizens, showing how united the Korean people are around their Leader and Party.
As the parade reached its climax, Marshal Kim Jong Un came around the edge of the reviewing platform and waved at everyone present in the ground level stands and on the square. As Kim Jong Un walked and waved at everyone there, I felt a sense of exhilaration on seeing the Marshal. I was immensely lucky to have been able to view Kim Jong Un at such close quarters. Kim Jong Un came across at the parade as a very energetic and charismatic leader, who is always with the people. In the sphere of politics, Kim Jong Un is the figure who is the most highly regarded by both friends and foes, alike, in the international community.
The purpose of my visit to the DPRK was to take part in an international conference on the Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, held in honour of the 105th birth anniversary of President Kim IL Sung. Looking around at the delegates, the profound sense that the attraction of the Juche Idea was growing throughout the world. In total, there were 90 delegates from 20 countries at the conference, from such nations as diverse as Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, The Czech Republic, Democratic Congo, Finland, Japan, Ireland, Luxemburg, Mexico, Poland, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Thailand and of course, from the UK.
At the conference many papers were delivered on the creative nature of the Juche philosophy and on the application of the Juche Idea to the reality of the DPRK. Aswell, as veteran figures from the International Juche Study Movement like Edmond Jouve and Ogami Kenichi, participating in the seminar were a younger generation of Juche Idea adherents from Russia, The Ukraine and Britain. The information blockade around the DPRK is being constantly breached in this internet age and many more youth and students have become drawn to the scientific accuracy of the Juche Idea. Our delegation was able to have Dermot and David addressed the conference with two keynote speeches. All the delegates had their knowledge of the theory and practice of Korean-style socialism expanded by a series of lectures given by the pre-eminent DPRK Social Scientist Mun Jong Suk.
Part of the programme included a Sports' Day and a karaoke themed barbecue, which was staged at the Pyongyang International Football School. The Pyongyang Football School had been completed in 2014 and has approximately 200 male and female pupils. Dermot tried his hand at balancing a ball on his head and walking slowly on the artificial turf of the indoor stadium. A tug of war match was the central piece of the games, which was very exhausting to be a part of the tug of war team. After the rain cleared away, the barbecue and karaoke began, with each delegation performing a song from their country of origin or from the host nation. The British delegation sang the well-known DPRK number "We Follow Only You!". This song was composed as an expression of the love and loyalty of the Korean people for Marshal Kim Jong Un in December, 2013. With a mixture of singing, dancing and drinking (Soju does help), the barbecue did make for an memorable afternoon and broke the ice among the delegates and the Korean hosts.
To understand the acute situation on the Korean peninsula, a visit to The Sinchon Museum in South Hwanghae Province is required. The original museum had been reconditioned in 2014 and has many graphic reconstructions of those events. As I entered the grounds of the museum, I was confronted by the sheer horror of those occurrences more than sixty years ago. On one side of the steps leading to the museum's entrance, there is a mass grave containing the bodies of mothers and on the other slant, a collective grave for the children's bodies. Even before entering the museum building, I had to get to grips with the atrocious nature of US Imperialism.
Sinchon County, where is the US military committed the worst war crimes at the time of the Korean War (1950-1953). US forces occupied Sinchon County for 52 days (October 17th - December 7th, 1950). During their temporary occupation, the US Imperialists killed 35,380 Korean people in the county of Sinchon, a quarter of its population. Those massacred by the US aggressors included among their number, infants and the elderly. Unlike the 1968 My Lai incident in Vietnam, the slaughter of Korean civilians was of a calculated and systematic character by the order of Walker, the Commander of the US 8th Army. Viewing the exhibits in the Sinchon museum, bought home to me, the brutality of the US Imperialists' occupation of this county. The museum's exhibitions such as those on the 11,530 people killed at the Sinchon Rest Home by the American troops or the 200 civilians who were bayoneted to death on the Soktang Bridge, provided clear evidence of the industrial scale of this holocaust by the US Imperialists.
In the grounds of the museum, there is the Wonnan-ri Powder Magazine. While retreating from Sinchon in the face of the Korean Peoples Army counter-attack in December 1950, the US soldiers rounded up all the remaining women and children, and locked them up into two power huts. On 7th December, the imperialist butchers poured gasoline into the powder magazines and set them on fire. As a result, 400 mothers and 102 children were cruelly incinerated by the gasoline fire. Eye-witness testimony was imparted to the delegation by a survivor of the massacre of the innocents, Jong Kun Song. It was very moving to have heard Jong Kun Song recollect the evil deeds perpetrated by the US Imperialists and about his own narrow escape from death.
The UK KFA Chairman made a speech immediately after our visit to The Sinchon Museum. Dermot Hudson spoke out against the US war crimes carried out in Sinchon County, in front of a local residents' mass meeting. The sombre experience that I sensed at The Sinchon Museum, confirmed that the Korean people cannot live on the same land as the cruel hearted monster of US Imperialism. I could see the wisdom of the Songun political course taken by the Korean people and of the DPRK being a nuclear weapons status nation. I had a sense of shame when I recalled that British armed forces took part in the US war of aggression against the Korean people, all those years ago.
Pyongyang is a city which is full of magnificent monuments and museums. The delegates to the International Juche Idea Seminar were fortune enough to be shown around The Youth Movement Museum. The Youth Movement Museum is located in Kwangbok Street, Mangyongdae District of the DPRK capital city, and this gargantuan street played host to guests to the 13th Youth World Festival of Youth And Students in July, 1989. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Kim IL Sung Socialist Youth League, a Youth Movement Museum was inaugurated in January, 2016 by Marshal Kim Jong Un. Young people have been regarded as the strategic force during the course of the Korean Revolution. Walking around the Youth Movement Museum, I could see vividly the development of the Korean revolutionary youth movement, from the days of the Anti-Japanese armed struggle right up to the formation of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League on August 27th, 2016. The female museum guide even a sang a revolutionary song dating from the late 1920s, while showing us an exhibit on the creation of the Young Communist League of Korea in 1927 by Kim IL Sung. Our party were the first foreigners to be permitted to take photographs inside the museum. The most remarkable exhibit was a scale model of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station, which was completed in October 2015.
Another Pyongyang museum of note which I visited, was the one devoted to the history of the Metro's construction. The Revolutuonary Museum of The Metro was a treat to deholded, with its intricate models of trains and of the metro's construction. Appropriately enough, all the delegations were treated to a ride on The Pyongyang Metro. The Metro covers the Chung, Moranbong, Taesong, Sosong, Manyongdae, Pyongchon and Potongang districts of the city. Every station on the Pyongyang Metro is like a palace, with marble plliars and gaint wall paintings of revolutionary history. The Pyongyang Metro remains the world's most affordable means of transportation, at just one chon (10 pence in UK money) for every jounery. The building of the Pyongyang Metro was completed in a period between 1962 to 1987.
Science and technology have always been at the forefront of in the development of Korean Socialism. The intellectualization of the masses is part and parcel of the liberating ethos of the Juche Idea. Due to the indigenous nature of technology in the DPRK, the economy of Socialist Korea has become a shinning example of self-reliance, overcoming the harsh imperialist imposed sanctions. The Sci-Tech Complex was on my itinerary and stands out to the visitor as a monument to modernity. Located on the Ssuk Island on The Taedong River, the Sci-Tech Complex is designed in the shape of an atomic structure and in front of the complex, there is a tower in the form of a pen. Kim Jong Un oversaw the building of the complex and it was opened on New Year's Day, 2016. Looking around the complex, I saw hundreds of Korean people using the facilities on offer. It appeared that both specialists and laypeople were frequenting the complex. The complex has various halls like Fundamental Science & Technology Hall, Earthquake Simulation Hall, Virtual Lab & Children's Dream Hall, among others. There is also on-line access from the complex to scientific research sectors, educational institutions and workplaces throughout the DPRK. I tested out some interactive scientific games and enjoyed sitting inside the scale model of an DPRK manufactured MIG 29 Fighter aircraft. A visit to the Sci-Tech Complex reaffirmed my belief that the future of humanity is to be socialist one.
Towards the end of my DPRK tour, the delegation ventured south outside of Pyongyang, in the direction of Sariwon, South Hwanghae Province. The Migok Cooperative Farm was of the first places the group paid a visit to while in South Hwanghae Province. Travelling through the DPRK countryside, I saw no signs of poverty, as this story is put about by the bourgeois press. Instead I witnessed numerous amount of activities in the fields by Agricultural Work Teams. The impression I had, was that there was not much of a difference between living conditions in Pyongyang and in the rural areas of the DPRK. Cooperative farming was successfully introduced in August, 1958. Cooperation had been bought into action prior to the technical reorganisation of agriculture. President Kim IL Sung set the principle of voluntary involvement into agricultural cooperation. Many gains were achieved in large scale land rezoning and in the diversification of agriculture in recent years, making yields greater than ever before.
Been shown around the Migok Cooperative Farm, I noticed how industrialized it was, with huge grain and rice storehouses, and with a modern processing plant within the grounds of the farm. The Migok Cooperative Farm produces sixteen tons of grain per jongbo to the hectare on average. According to the Juche Farming Method, the principle of the right crop on the most suitable soil is applied. Everything concerning the farm's running is managed democratically by the cooperative workers themselves, by applying The Chongsan-ri method. All the income from the farm's earnings is divided up among its members.
All the houses of the cooperative farmers looked neat and tidy. The delegation was invited to see inside one of the farmer's homes. Judging by the appearance of this two storey house, it looked very comfortable. The house had a living area, two bedrooms and a kitchen. In the farmer's house, I noticed that there were the up-to-date gadgets and utensils, such as a television set, a washing machine, a rice cooker, an oven and even a personal computer. Stepping out of the house, I observed in the fields of the farm, a sea of red flags and revolutionary slogans. I even chanced upon a group of university students assisting with the work of the farm in the production of greater yields. Like with all social housing in the DPRK, the farmer's house I had visited, was free of charge, and had no rent and taxes to pay on the property.
Going to Sariwon City made for an fascinating visit to a typical DPRK urban area. Sariwon is the main city of South Hwanghae Province and has around 30,000 people. In the centre of Sariwon I came across some amazing reconstructions of ancient Korean pavillions and even a scale model of the Turtle Ship (the first iron clad seagoing vessel) floating on a lake, loacted in the city's Folk Street district. Sariwon came across to me as a very bustling place, with loads of locals carried building work on the streets. On the city's thoroughfares, there appeared to be a variety of cultural establishments and shops. I could not discern any dissimilar environments between Pyongyang and Sariwon, and indeed elsewhere in Peoples Korea. At the Sariwon Hotel, our party, the guides and the drivers settled down to a congenial lunch of cuisine from the South Hwanghae Province. Jokes were told by our guides over the dinning table about "Washington DC", which was slang for using the toilet in the DPRK. The Koreans can on occasions, have a very sharp sense of humour and wit. The kindness of the Korean people was shown, when the driver of one of our two cars, gave the head of the delegation a pair of socks. This happened after the driver noticed that Dermot had a small hole in his left handed sock, while he took shoes off when entering the farmer's house at Migok. Every time I have come to visit the DPRK, I am struck by how Korean people from different social strata mix so easily, the car drivers were who sitting at the table, were there as the equals to the accompanying guides and academics. Such a phenomenon would be inconceivable in the capitalist society, where social division and snobbery are the norm.
Another destination our delegation headed to, was The International Friendship Exhibition, in the Myonghang Mountains. I took deep pride when I saw the gifts that I had presented to the Great Persons of Mount Paektu-san on my previous visits to the DPRK. It was very appropriate to have made a respectful bow to the wax statue of Kim Jong Suk, the Mother of Korea, upon the year of the centenary of the Immortal Woman Communist Revolutionary Fighter (Born on December 24th, 1917). Women have played a vital role throughout the course of the Korean Revolution and of the building a Thriving Socialist Nation. This beautifully created life like figure of Kim Jong Suk, along with of those of the President and the Chairman, are on display in the International Friendship Exhibition.
During the duration of the April 2017 visit to the DPRK, I had the chance to sample many traditional Korean foods. The most distinctive and well-known one, being Kimchi. Kimchi has its own peculiar taste and aroma, and can be eaten at any time of the day. Kimchi is prepared from cabbage, radish and other vegetables mixed garlic, green onion, red pepper and other seasonings. Comrades Dermot and David were very adventurous by having Kimchi for their breakfast at The Koryo Hotel. Other Korean dishes that I had, were Green Bean Pancake, Taedong Mullet, Jongol (Korean Style Beef Stew), Pyongyang Cold Noodles and Ssuktyuk Rice Cakes. Koreans like to give every meal they have an extra bite, with a spoonful of Kochujang sauce. The DPRK has brewed a whole range of alcoholic brewages such as Soju, Kaesong Koryo Insam Liquor, Paektusan Blueberry Wine and Snake Spirit. Firm favourites among connoisseurs (including myself) remains Taedonggang and Kumgangsan Beer, served up their bright green bottles.
I observed that on the streets of Pyongyang, that ownership of mobile and smart phones had increased dramatically since my last DPRK visit. The English language seemed to be spoken by more and more Korean people as compared to my other times when I was in Peoples Korea. From professionals to manual workers and cleaners, were now speaking English very fluently. Strolling the boulevards of the DPRK capital city, I came across the sight of a large number of Pyongyang citizens studying books and journals, while they moved along the pavements to their destinations. This was evidence that self-improvement and learning is encouraged among every sector of the populace in the DPRK. In Pyongyang and in other places in the DPRK, I could not find the rich suburbs or the slum quarters or even come across the Lumpen element, as everyone lives equally well in the DPRK. Right in the middle of Pyongyang, in the Changjon Street, were the apartments of rank and file workers and intellectuals. To have ordinary working people living in the centre of a capital city would be inconceivable in London, Washington, Seoul and Paris. The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is truly a society for the many, and not for the few, in other words, one big socialist family.
A debt of gratitude is needed to The Korean Association of Social Scientists for making my visit to the DPRK possible. A highlight of the trip for me was being awarded the double portrait badge of the Two Great Generalissimos, by the KASS Vice-Secretary General Choe Kang. For me it was my deepest honour to wear this badge as a follower of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism. I was able to have met such distinguished DPRK academics as Kim Cho Ho, Mun Jong Suk and Kim Chang Gul. I want to thank Ms.Gil, the delegation's official guide for her patience and assistance. Bonds of friendship and solidarity with Zo In Min and the other Comrades at the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front of south Korea were further strengthened, while visiting their Pyongyang offices. Meeting several times with The Korean Committee For Cultural Relations With Foreign Countries, reaffirmed my determination to strive for promoting a better understanding of the DPRK among the British public. I also appreciated the companionship of Dermot Hudson and David Munoz during the April 2017 trip.
The journey to Pyongyang from Stoke On Trent revealed a nation and a people who were full of optimism about their future, and are ready to defend themselves outside aggression. The imperialists and their hired hacks have long predicted the collapse of North Korea, but the DPRK has defined these reactionary forecasts,and has gone from strength to strength. Today the most powerful element on the planet is the single hearted unity of the Korean people, united in the cause of Songun, Independence and Socialism. I am absolutely sure that the heroic Korean people will gain the final victory in the offensive to build the thriving socialist nation and achieve Korea's reunification, because they are led by the Dear Respected Marshal Kim Jong Un!