London (GPA) – It’s time to clear up some common misconceptions about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The western media is currently wall to wall coverage on the increasingly tense situation on the Korean Peninsula these past several weeks. The one thing lacking in this coverage is the perspective of those who live in the DPRK and those who have actually visited the isolated nation.
In an effort to clear up some of these mistakes, half truths and complete lies, Geopolitics Alert conducted a brief interview with Mr. Dermot Hudson. Mr. Hudson is an Official Delegate of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA) who lives in the U.K. but also frequently travels to Pyongyang as a guest of the state.
Mr. Hudson is also the chairman of the Juche Idea Study Group of England and recently returned from one of his trips to the DPRK. Recently back in the U.K. following a tense few weeks in international relations, we decided this was the perfect time to ask about the situation in the DPRK.
Jim Carey – Geopolitics Alert: You’re a member of the Korean Friendship Association (KFA), would you mind explaining the objectives of the organization for our readers?
Dermot Hudson: Our main objective is to show the reality of the DPRK to the world. We are a pro-active DPRK solidarity organisation , we aim to maximise support and solidarity with the DPRK . We support Korean reunification. Lastly we aim to facilitate cultural exchange with the DPRK.
JC: I believe one of the KFA’s objectives is to educate the world on the DPRK’s founding principles of Juche. Could you explain a bit what exactly Juche is and how the average Korean applies it to daily life?
DH: The basic philosophical cornerstone of the Juche idea is that man(humans) are the masters and can decide everything. Humans are defined as having independence, creativity and consciousness but these are not inborn but are acquired socially.
Basically the people are the owners of the revolution and construction.
In terms of application it means adhering to Juche in ideology , independence in politics , self-sustenance in the economy and self-reliance in defence.. Juche is buttressed by the Songun(military first) idea . These days the DPRK is stressing self-development and self-reliance in order to counter the aggressive and criminal sanctions of the US and UNSC.
JC: You just returned from the DPRK, what did you do during your trip, did you attend Day of the Sun celebrations? What’s the current atmosphere like in Pyongyang?
DH: Yes I attended the celebrations of the Day of the Sun . There were many delegations from all sorts of countries attending the celebrations.
I watched the great military parade which was quite something . I also participated in seminars of Juche Idea followers.
Basically the atmosphere in Pyongyang and elsewhere was extremely buoyant and festive.
Despite talk of war in the Western media it was also remarkably calm . No hysteria.
JC: Are the people of the DPRK talking about the current threats coming from the Trump regime? If so, there any common threads running through what people think of the current situation the world is in?
DH: The people of the DPRK are unbowed by Trump’s threats and are not intimidated by them. In fact threats from the US are nothing new. The DPRK has lived for decades under the threats , sanctions and blockades of the US imperialists . If necessary everyone is ready to the fight the US imperialists.
We visited the Sinchon Museum which details US atrocities during the Korean war .Here we witnessed the strong anti-imperialist spirit of the people of the DPRK . Basically if a war is provoked the Korean people will fight to the last. They will liberate south Korea and reunify the country.
There was a joke in vogue in the DPRK about visiting Washington meaning someone was visiting the toilet.
JC: What would you say the main desire is in Pyongyang concerning the US? Is the main objective of the DPRK to be left alone, or is it to be treated with respect compliant international law to facilitate more engagement with the international community?
DH: In the short term yes the DPRK wants an end to the hostile policy of US imperialism , an end to the threats and sanctions and the withdrawal of US forces from the south of Korea. In the longer term the DPRK wants to develop relations with all countries that respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity on the basis of independence and equality.
JC: The government of the DPRK has warned that they would retaliate to any preemptive strikes by the US. Rightfully so since Trump is the one issuing the preliminary threats. Presumably this means Pyongyang is still operating under the ideas of deterrence and self defense, is this correct?
DH: Yes. The DPRK is a peace loving socialist state with no internal source of war such as a capitalist military industrial complex.
JC: In relation to the last question, obviously the DPRK is portrayed in western media as a hostile and erratic government. This narrative is constructed with the help of half truths or blatant lies originating from elites in South Korea and Japan. In order to dispel some of these myths, could you describe how the government in the DPRK supports its citizens and what’re some of the benefits from the state that are visible in everyday life?
DH: The DPRK is a most stable and harmonious country based on single hearted unity .The whole people are united around respected Marshal KIM JONG UN and the Workers’ Party of Korea.
The WPK adheres to the people-first idea and pursues people-orientated policies. Everyone is guaranteed the right to work . There is free medical care, free education and even free housing. Taxation was abolished in 1974.
JC: What are some of the misconceptions about the DPRK that you most commonly see when you’re in the western countries? What is the reality as far as these presumptions are concerned?
DH: I notice that there is a still a lot of talk in the Western media about ‘starvation,’ ‘hunger,’ and ‘malnutrition’. I saw absolutely no evidence for this on my last few visits ,everyone seemed well fed. There were no beggars. In the countryside we saw plenty of traffic and even strawberries on sale at the roadside.
Similarly there is also talk about ‘concentration camps’ ‘gulags’ etc but again these were nowhere to be seen. No one in the DPRK seemed to be afraid of the army or people’s security personnel.
Lastly some claim that there is an elite in the DPRK or even a class system. This is not true . We saw no big houses or private country estates . The ruling Workers’ Party accepts members from all walks of life. Waitresses and drivers can join the Workers Party. Unlike capitalist countries the DPRK Supreme Peoples Assembly has deputies who are workers.
JC: Our audience is pretty diverse as far as their geographic location. What would you feel is the most important thing for our western audience to keep in mind/remember/consider about the DPRK in the future? Additionally, applying that same question to our readers in oppressed nations that are targeted by the US, what would you tell them?
DH: The DPRK is a very independent country that speaks its mind. The Korean people strongly support the supreme leadership and the socialist system. They will not tolerate anyone trying to infringe on their system.
The DPRK is a very anti-imperialist state based on the Juche idea and it will fight imperialism to the end.
We’d like to sincerely thank Mr. Hudson for agreeing to do this interview and think voices like his provide crucial insight into the truth that Western dominated media is trying to smother. It’s important to ask for facts from those actually familiar with the countries in the crosshairs of imperialism.
We know our readers don’t trust mainstream on most topics so we’d like to point out the continuing importance of questioning all of their narratives. It’s important to seek out voices like Mr. Hudson’s and we hope to provide more interviews like this in the future.
Also published on Medium.