Forced Construction of Kim Jong Il Road in Bitter Cold

Daily NK
Moon Sung Hwee

Tens of thousands of a Shock Brigade (state construction workers) of North Korea are forced to build roads under minus 20 degree Celsius weather to prepare for Kim Jong Il’s unforeseen visit to the area, an inside source told the Daily NK.

The informer said, on the 3rd of January, “Since mid December, thirty thousands of Shock Brigade for the Propaganda of the Party Ideology (shortly June 18 Shock Brigade) had been poured into building road in Samsoo, Yangkang Province.”

He added that the Shock Brigade was connecting road between Wangduk Station in Hyesan (exclusively for Kim Jong Il) and Samsoo Power Plant. Kim Jong-Il was rumored for planning on surprise visit to the power plant. The road would be 22 km in length.

There was actually a road built in 2003 between Wangduk and Samsoo Power Plant. However, the road was ordered to be renovated due to Kim Jong Il’s dissatisfactory remark on it in his March 2006 visit to the area.

During the 2003 road construction, the Hyesan city government mobilized tens of thousands of residents plus June 18 Shock Brigade to finish it on time. Nevertheless, as Kim Jong Il showed discontent, Yangkang Provincial party officials and June 18 Shock Brigade officers were criticized harshly.

The problem was that the road was through downtown Hyesan, and a section of it was to meandering, thus dangerous to protect “the Comrade General.”

“After that, June 18 Shock Brigade, who just finished constructing Hyesan-Dancheon road, were reinforced and put to refurbish the Kim Jong Il’s private road,” the informant added.

The road currently under construction is to connect Wangduk and Samsoo Power Plant while circumventing populated area of Hyesan. And, of course, since the road is built as a “Number 1 Road,” it is solely for Kim Jong Il’s use, not even for party officials let alone ordinary people.

According to the informant, condition of road construction is harsh. Workers of the Shock Brigade are forced to work in bitter cold. When asked about disgruntlement of the workers, the informant replied, “This sort of hardship happens every time the General visits a certain area. Who can argue with the General’s order?”


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