North Koreans curious about South's presidential race, silent over Syria
April 12 (UPI) — North Koreans in Pyongyang who have access to information about the outside world are curious about the upcoming South Korean presidential elections but may be afraid of the United States’ next move after the air strike against Syrian military bases.
A South Korean journalist from newspaper Donga Ilbo who visited Pyongyang April 3-8 for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup qualifying tournament reported a select group of North Koreans who accompanied a group of South Korean reporters asked highly specific questions about South Korea’s presidential race.
The North Koreans wanted to know whether the centrist candidate Ahn Cheol-soo was “catching up” with the progressive frontrunner Moon Jae-in, according to the report.
The North Koreans affiliated with the “National Council for Reconciliation” also wanted to discuss the recovery of the sunken South Korean ferry Sewol, and whether former President Park Geun-hye went missing during the disaster because she was recovering from a Botox injection, the report stated.
The Sewol was recently dry-docked, following the arrest and imprisonment of Park in connection to a corruption scandal that culminated in her impeachment.
The North Koreans who were allowed to speak to the reporter from Seoul also described the impeachment as an “embarrassment” for the South, and said, “Since Donald Trump became president of the United States, you never know who will become president in South Korea.”
The reporter, who stayed at the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang, also wrote during his time in North Korea most North Koreans were unaware the country had test-launched a missile that ended in failure.
State-controlled KCTV instead showed “endless footage” from a documentary about North Korea founder Kim Il Sung in the hotel lobby, according to the report.
North Koreans however were apprised of the U.S. air strikes against Syria’s military bases last week, but the news did not come up as a topic of conversation, according to the South Korean reporter.
The U.S. strikes may have been interpreted as a message of warning in North Korea, the report stated.
North Korea eschewed explicit condemnations of the United States during the gathering of the Supreme People’s Assembly this week, but Kim Jong Un visited a special operations unit, according to KCNA Thursday, local time.