|Daily NK has an interesting interview of Mr Ryu Sang-min, the head of Chonnam National University student union and a strong candidate for the next chairperson of Hanchongnyon. These views - taking unconditionally side with the DPRK government - are nothing new, but it is nice to see them in such a condensed form. The hasty translation is mine. (Update: some expressions have been corrected for better English, following Robert's translation snippets at The Marmot's Hole.)|
You used the expression "nuclear-owning people" (haekpoyu minjok). What do you mean by that? (The interviewer refers to what Ryu said in a "New Year's Joint Struggle Proclamation.")
- North Korean nuclear [weapons] must be seen from the perspective of our nation (minjok). The possession of nuclear weapons in not aimed at the South. It's clear that nuclear weapons are not used against the same people. North's nuclear weapons are the consequence of the 62 years of USA's sanctions and attempts to overthrow their system and government. North Korea developed nuclear weapons for self-defense. It's because of USA that has attempted to crush the dignity and self-determination of North Korea. The nuclear weapons prevent war for our whole nation (uriminjok, "our nation", "our people", "our race"). North Korea's ability to prevent war keeps peace in the Korean peninsula and lets us live free from worry.
Your opinion of the North Korean Military First policy (sôn'gun chôngch'i) is very positive.
- Because of the Military First policy the peace in the Korean peninsula can be protected and the danger of war prevented. Because of North Korea's strong war deterrent, USA and other foreign powers (oese) can't mess with the Korean peninsula so easily. When in 2003 USA was going to attack Iraq it was said that it was because of weapons of mass destruction, but actually they were able to attack because there were no such weapons. If there was no military first [policy], it's possible that the Korean peninsula would face what happened in Iraq.
The role of military first is big in preventing USA's frantic plans of toppling North Korea['s government] and establishing a pro-American government.
Aren't you presenting purely the North Korean view?
- This is about preventing the dangers faced by the Korean peninsula, not about following the Northern system and politics unconditionally. Media is condemning us by claiming that we act on the orders of North Korea. We are concerned because the terminology [concerning military first policy] is used in a negative sense.
Why do you emphasize the struggle against Grand National Party?
- The presidential election takes place in 2007, and the fate of the nation depends on who gets elected. Bellicose statements such as "the problem of North Korean nuclear weapons must be solved even if there's a danger of war" prevent the unification and peace of the Korean peninsula. Therefore, we have declared struggle against Grand National Party [GNP] in the presidential election.
This year's election is not simply a contest of policies and pledges but a war (chônjaeng) between the forces of peaceful unification (p'yônghwat'ongil seryôk) and the fascist forces of the past (kwagô p'asyoseryôk). Since GNP has lost two presidential elections they'll fight hard to take the power. GNP's schemes uncompatible with the June 15 era must be stopped.
Do you see GNP aiming to return to the dictatorship of the past?
- GNP, regarding North Korea as enemy and the June 15 declaration as national discrace is an anti-masses(panminjung), anti-unification force.
What do you think about the serious breaches of human rights in North Korea?
- I can't understand the talk about North Korean human rights problems. USA is pointing out human rights problems in North Korea, but USA's breaches of human rights are more serious. How many people in the big land mass of USA are able to live and hold up human rights?
There are several North Korean human rights organizations in our country as well, but the violations of human rights in South Korea are also very severe. The Southern part is no different in regard to human rights. Human rights are a question of the system of the society. People in North Korea must feel it in order to have a problem, it's not something to be defined by outsiders.
Isn't the North Korean human rights situation too horrible to be compared with South Korea?
- Where's the proof? North Korean refugees say there are human rights problems, but they can't be believed. US human rights organizations' covert operations (kongjak) make North Korean refugees tell lies. USA gives all kinds of funds to human rights organizations and has them operate along the Chinese border and scheme "unwilling" escapes from North Korea. We must listen to the opinions of people living in North Korea and not the refugees. I went to the Kumgang Mountains and met North Koreans (Pukhan tongp'o) there. I didn't hear them say that there are human rights problems [in North Korea].
So do you mean that there are no human rights problems in North Korea?
- We must correct our perspective on human rights problems. People living in North Korea are proud of the Military First policy, and if they think that it's ok to have less to eat and wear in order to defend that policy, then the consequently arising problems can't be regarded as human rights problems.
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: DPRK ∙ minjok ∙ Koreanpolitics