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  • Writer's pictureKirk

A look at North Korea

It is very difficult to get too close to this communist country. It is one of only 5 communist countries left in the world along with neighboring China. I have visited 3 out of the 5 communist countries, but this is the one I will never visit.

Even getting within viewing distance of North Korea from South Korea is difficult. There are so many access restriction barriers as you approach the demilitarized zone, a simple glimpse across is difficult. On one of my many trips to China, I never considered approaching the border from the Chinese side. Maybe that's a future adventure! I still have a 10 year visa for China which has yet to expire.

Anyway, there are certain areas where you can see North Korea. One is in an area where civilian access is controlled and a limited number of civilians can farm their lands. It's also an area where a factory was built:

This factory seen in the distance was built by the South Koreans but located in North Korea. It is called Kaesong industrial Park.

Many companies from South Korea utilized cheap North Korean labor to assemble their parts. Their wages were paid directly to the North Korean government. When it was determined the government was using the money for weapons that could be used against South Korea (surprise!), the factory was shut down.

There is competition between the two sides. One took place as a "flag battle". Each side began to build bigger structures to hoist their flags. The North finally won at 160 meters compared to 100 meters for the South.

South Korea flag

Can you see the North Korean flag in the middle of the picture?

I wrote what was my whimsical effort to tell a fictional version of this here:

The area today really looks quite benign. Nothing of interest takes place from a distant view. People just living their lives as they do all over the world. It does serve as a reminder how governments get in the way of the happiness and well being of the people.

North Korea has gone so far as to fabricate towns on their side of the border. The town of. Kijong-Dong is one of them located in Peace Village. The windows and doors are painted and the buildings are fabricated as though they live in luxury across the border. But a closer examination shows not a single resident lives there.

This is one of many such "propaganda villages" the North Korean government has constructed. If only they put that money plus their military money into a real village for its people to live, the real lives of people would improve. But this is the world of the North Korean people.

I'll leave you with a couple videos so you can see across the border from South Korea to North Korea as I did:

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