The presidential race began in earnest as candidates from two major parties were decided to run in the 20th presidential election in March next year. In the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Candidate Jae-myung Lee confirmed early on to the finals, and recently, with the final election of Candidate Seok-yeol Yoon from the People’s Power, the largest opposition party, the opposition and opposition votes were completed.
North Koreans are also showing great interest in the South Korean presidential election. How do the residents, who directly or indirectly access South Korean political news and understand the related trends, view this presidential election? On the 5th, Daily NK contacted North Korean residents after the People’s Power presidential candidates were selected and asked about their opinions on the presidential election with two candidates from major political parties.
Among them, I first talked with a resident of Yanggang Province (male in his 30s), who smuggles using foreign mobile phones, which is illegal in North Korea, and a resident (in his 40s, female) who conducts a ‘running’ business in Kaesong, near the armistice. Both residents, belonging to the ordinary working class, had seen and heard the news of the Korean presidential election, and showed considerable interest.
Above all, the two residents hoped that a president would be elected who would create an environment or condition for them to eat and live in a better way in relation to the current economic and food shortages. In particular, residents of Ryanggang Province looked forward to providing free COVID-19 vaccine support, and residents of Kaesong looking forward to the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
In fact, Kaesong residents seemed to support candidate Lee Jae-myung based on a friendly and positive image of the Democratic Party, which has traditionally pursued an appeasement policy toward North Korea. They responded that it didn’t matter.
The following is a Q&A with residents of North Korea’s Ryanggang Province and Kaesong City.
-Are you constantly receiving news about the South Korean presidential election? Are you interested again?
A resident of Yanggang Province (A): I am hearing from a Chinese counterpart (trader). Interested.
Gaeseong City Resident (B): They tell me to fix the passage (channel), but sometimes when I turn it, I get a South Korean (South Korean) TV signal. I don’t see and hear it constantly, but I’m in contact with it and I’m interested.
-Why are you interested in the South Korean presidential election?
A: This is because inter-Korean relations (inter-Korean relations) affect smuggling trade. If inter-Korean relations are good, there is no problem, but if inter-Korean relations are not good, it is very noisy because you have to understand all the thoughts and trends of the Chinese counterparts.
B: I am proud that Kaesong is the most interested in the South Korean presidential election among the 13 provinces in the country. The reason is because they think that personality can only be opened without Park Geun-hyedang. Personality really has nothing to eat. I made a good amount of money when I was sightseeing in South Korea, and I ate a lot of rice when I was in the Kaesong Industrial District. You don’t know how much my relatives were envious of eating South Korean ramen and Choco Pie. I hope that day will come again as soon as possible, and I hope that I will not become a member of the Park Geun-hye Party who took an interest in the South Korean presidential election and closed the Kaesong Industrial Zone. In any case, a person who succeeds Moon Jae-in must become a person of character.
– In the current ruling party, the Democratic Party of Korea, former Gyeonggi governor Lee Jae-myung has been confirmed as a presidential candidate. What is your image of him, and what kind of person do you know him as?
A: I don’t know anything about Lee Jae-myung personally.
B: I know that Jae-myung Lee is the child of workers and farmers and has a good understanding of us (North Korea). Some people say, ‘It’s not normal to have jagged eyes. That’s why someone who couldn’t live in a world of weak and strong capitalism did not come out to become president after serving as the chief secretary of the provincial party (provincial governor).”
– In the 1st opposition party People’s Power to check the ruling party, former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol was elected as the presidential candidate. What kind of words or evaluations do you have about him?
A: I didn’t know who Seok-Yeol Yoon was, but I heard a bit about what kind of person he was. I heard that Yoon Seok-yeol came from Park Geun-hyedang, but was an executive appointed by Moon Jae-in. However, there is a saying in Korea that if you betray once, you will betray twice or three times. Since the person who captured Park Geun-hye is said to come from that party, I also wondered if the South Korean election was a 3-year-old kid’s game.
B: From the point of view of our commoners, Yun Seok-yeol is a landowner capitalist who is subject to liquidation, isn’t he a child of a prosperous family? Moreover, because we Koreans are from judges that the world hates, all South Koreans say that they will act like rats.
-Who will be elected president? Which of the two do you think has the advantage?
A: I have a strong memory of seeing Moon Jae-in giving a speech in a large crowd gathered at the May 1st Stadium in Pyongyang. The next day, I knew that unification was coming and I cried a lot, but I think it would be good for our country if a candidate from such a party came out. However, even if Moon Jae-in gave hope, the result was not even a single rice jackpot. So, personally, no matter who you are, there is no time limit to anyone who can support the people who have been eating Honambeol rice for a long time. Also, I want to become a person who can open borders by providing support for the corona virus vaccine, and a person who does not stir up strife in inter-Korean relations and prevent sibling rivalry (the president).
B: I think Lee Jae-myung is reasonable. There is one thing that we, Gaeseong people, wish for. The Kaesong Industrial Zone will be reopened. The time when I was able to live on rice was when I was working as a worker in the Kaesong Industrial District. In order for the dream-like days to come back, I think it has to be Lee Jae-myung.
-What are your hopes and expectations for the next South Korean president?
A: I want to say one more thing to what I said earlier, no matter who becomes president, I hope that there will be no horrendous incidents of arresting and sending people who have gone down to the neighborhood (South Korea). I’m here. People who go to South Korea must have gone. After Moon Jae-in went out to sea and sent the North Koreans back to Panmunjom, the waves were great. People trembled at the realization that even if they went secretly, they would be caught again. They didn’t get caught on the way, they all went and got caught. If caught, the three generations are destroyed and the seeds are dried. It’s our country’s fault too, but I really wish the new president of South Korea wouldn’t do this.
B: I want four things. First, I hope that even if the entire Korean people cannot be given rice, they will be provided with corn to eat so that children will not feel hungry and basic medicines to eat when they are sick. Second, I’m well aware of the fact that in South Korea, I’ve been getting all the vaccinations and things are getting worse (it’s getting better). I hope the North and South cooperate with each other in giving vaccinations. Third, I would like to open the Kaesong Industrial Zone, which will feed Kaesong citizens and raise their standard of living, just once. Isn’t that where they make cannons, bullets, and nukes? North and South Korea should agree well, but I think the basic role is the role of the new president of South Korea. Fourth, the security officials say that the Kaesong Industrial Complex is not open to the United States. The Kaesong Industrial Complex is an economic exchange between Koreans, so why is the US paying attention? Why can’t the president of a country stand up for himself? I want the new president to do more than words without paying attention to the US.
-Finally, what do you think about South Korea’s presidential election system?
A: I know that all other countries vote for the president like that. It is nice to be able to have a voice as a member of society, but it also seems unstable. It’s something I’ve never experienced before, so it’s really unfamiliar and lack of understanding.
B: I don’t know because I haven’t experienced it. Isn’t it completely different from the Korean elections, in which you have to unconditionally vote for someone who is photographed by the party? If there’s a president, aren’t we the chiefs? For the people to elect such a president by their own hands and by their own will, it would be unthinkable for a Korean person to dare to dare. Looking at the electoral system alone, South Korea seems to be a more equal country.
Source: DailyNK by www.dailynk.com.
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