North Korean authorities heighten control over residents before US-NK summit
The North Korean authorities are cracking down on the spread of outside information and internal unrest in light of the upcoming US-North Korea summit on June 12.
“The provincial Ministry of State Security (MSS) offices and local police have been ordered to strengthen control over the population,” said a Ryanggang Province-based source on June 5. “They have been told to focus particularly on collecting information about the popular response to the upcoming summit.”
North Korea has recently been taking dramatic actions in its relations with South Korea, China and the US to jump start its own economic development. These actions include steps toward denuclearization through the shutdown of the Punggye-ri nuclear site, two inter-Korean summits, and a state visit to the US by Kim Yong Chol, one of the regime’s top officials.
North Korea is clearly making efforts to create an environment conducive to economic development. These efforts, however, may be difficult to comprehend by everyday North Koreans. The regime’s propaganda machine has long demonized the US as a “wolf in fox’s clothing” and has frequently referred to South Korea as a “puppet government.” The regime’s recent actions may seem at odds with such propaganda.
“The authorities have moved to block much of the information about the summit from getting to the North Korean population,” said the source, adding that “they’re really doing all they can.”
The source reported that the authorities are “taking a prudent approach because they are unsure whether the US-DPRK summit will end in success or failure,” and that “only when the summit ends and the regime can evaluate its position will the authorities be able to properly explain the regime’s official view to its population.” ......