north korea dmz

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about North Korea.  There was the movie “The Interview” that sparked a little bit of international tension.  North Korea was then blamed for responding with a huge infiltration of Sony and responded with the usual mass destruction threats.  They recently gotta a firm talking to from China for a maniac from NK  that got into the country and killed four Chinese citizens.  ANDDDD Kim Jong Un’s sister just got married!!  Congrats Kim Yo Jong.

We talked a little about some Americans that have visited North Korea in the past and received a long stay in prison.  All of the recent talk about North Korea has inspired me to talk about my own personal visit to the border of Hermit Kingdom.

dmz north korea

dmz north korea

My visit to the DMZ was very educational.   I was on the South Korean side of course.  If you happen to be in Korean, I HIGHLY recommend it.  You are escorted through a military base to get there.  Once you are at the staging area you are given a military briefing on how ridiculously dangerous it is and why.  Then you have to read and sign a release form that states something like “the US Army is not responsible for your death or bodily harm while you at the actual DMZ”.  This is necessary since every now and then someone is shot.  They want you to know the danger is REAL.

My trip to the DMZ showed me how petty and completely irrational nations can be.  They actually had a “flagpole” war.  The south built a flag next to the boarder that the North saw, so they responded be building The Panmunjom flagpole, a 160 meter tower which is the fourth largest flag pole in the world as of 2015.

dmz north korea

dmz north korea

They built this flagpole in a town they built called Kijŏngdong.  Kijŏngdong can clear fit 200 plus families but is clearly empty and has been for many years.

Aside from all of the horrible deaths from boarder skirmishes that have happened over the decades, the most alarming thing that I saw and the DMZ was the disparity between North and South.  You don’t need binoculars to see that the North has very little infrastructure. From looking, the North does not even look like a developing country.  It is like a baron waste land with the decrepit, vacant town Kijŏngdong (and it huge flag) in the middle of nowhere while the South looks like New York or Tokyo.  If you look at the North and South at night you see that North has very little lighting in Pyongyang with the South is lit up like a galaxy.

courtesy http://matthewniederhauser.com courtesy
http://matthewniederhauser.com[/caption%5D

As of 2015, there are about 25 million people living in the DPRK.  So there are are 25 million sides of North Korea and it is not all bad.

Unfortunately, the politics there have made an unprecedented level of suffering.

visiting north korea

Dear Americans,

Why in the world are you Visiting North Korea?  Do you know that several other Americans between 1996 and 2014 have gone there with the same results: They are detained,  forced to read some bullshit propaganda and then released (sometimes) only after they are begged by a major US political figure.

Name Detained Released Reason for detention
Evan Hunziker 26 August 1996 27 November 1996 Charged with espionage
Euna Lee 18 March 2009 4 August 2009 Crossed into North Korea from China without a visa.
Laura Ling
Aijalon Gomes 25 January 2010 26 August 2010 Illegally entered North Korea
Kenneth Bae 3 November 2012 Currently detained Planned a religious coup d’état, along with other reasons.
Merrill Newman 26 October 2013 7 December 2013 War crimes during the Korean War.
Miller Matthew Todd 10 April 2014 Currently detained Wanted political asylum from North Korea.[1]
Jeffrey Edward Fowle 29 April 2014 Currently detained Acted “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”[1]

Here are a few fun facts about North Korea:

visiting north korea

visiting north korea

Political prison camps with 40% malnutrition.  One of the reasons that the citizens seems so happy about Kim Jung {x} is that political dissent can earn you and your entire family an indefinite stay in one of several luxurious concentration camps.  Fun for the WHOLE family (for generations).  (see Torture, Starvation in North Korean Political Prisons)

Reeducation Camps. It is not ANYTHING like anger management classes.  Its a place where people by the hundreds go to die for things like illegal border crossing, illegal trading, or being accused of disagreeing with Kim Jung {x}.

People are shot or imprisoned for attempting to LEAVE.  Movement in or out of North Korea is strictly controlled.  Not only can North Koreans NOT leave the country easily they are not allowed to move WITHIN the country easily.  Anyone who tries to immigrate to another country is considered a defector.

 

image: huffingtonpost.com

image: huffingtonpost.com

North Korea is a place that has death camps the whole family can enjoy.