North Korean citizens have been largely unmoved by state propaganda heralding the diplomatic achievements of national leader Kim Jong Un, according to sources in the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit state.
North Korea is looking forward to expanded trade and a chance of eased international sanctions in the wake of talks in April with the South Korean president and a possible meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in June, state media say.
Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, and North Korea’s Chosun Central Television are eagerly trumpeting Kim’s “great achievements,” a source in North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean Service.
“However, most North Korean residents don’t trust this propaganda,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Propaganda about North Korea becoming a great economic power because of Kim Jong Un’s brilliant strategic plan can now be heard everywhere in the media, at regional events, and in meetings,” the source said.
“But our citizens, who have been fooled by propaganda before, have some doubts about it.”
Even if a North Korea-U.S. summit follows last month’s successful talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, “very few people believe that this will open a road for us to become a great economic power,” RFA’s source said.
“People have been fooled for so long now that whatever Kim Jong Un promises, they refuse to believe it,” he said.
“We do not believe him. There is no one who trusts him. Not a single person!”
Also speaking to RFA, a source from Yanggang province said that the ruling party’s Central Committee has recently announced a coming “historic meeting” between the U.S. and North Korea, calling this a major decision they have made to secure a better future for the country.
“Yet people do not really care at all,” he said.
While promising results from the coming summit meeting, North Korean propaganda outlets still call on North Korea’s people to oppose “imperialism” and the United States itself, he said.
“People are getting confused by these conflicting messages, and most of them are finally just indifferent.”
“Even the party workers are becoming confused,” he said.
Reported by Jieun Kim for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Richard Finney.