As North Korea builds concrete walls and high-voltage wires along the entire Sino-Korean border, military units and construction labor brigades have recently been ordered to complete their construction work. ‘by October 10, the founding day of the Party.
A source from Yanggang Province, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Daily NK on Monday that the Central Committee and Cabinet issued a joint order on June 26 to complete construction of the “bulletproof wall. And high voltage wires by October 10. fresh.”
According to the source, North Korean leaders provided three reasons why construction work must be completed by October 10.
The first is the degraded combat readiness of the so-called Storm Corps (11th Corps) due to its extended deployment on the Sino-North Korean border. The North Korean authorities said in the order that they must withdraw the Storm Corps from the border when the wall and cables are complete and prepare the unit so that it can join the army’s winter training.
As such, one of the reasons the authorities insist on completing the wall by October 10 is due to fears that the elite unit has not been able to play its “proper role”. while also suffering from a disciplinary delay due to its prolonged deployment along the border.
Second, North Korean leaders have said they want to improve the visibility of the border patrol. According to the source, the authorities stressed that they must ensure that the border patrol can independently carry out its “innate duty” to secure the country’s borders.
Third, the North Korean leadership is considering a radical redeployment of the border patrol. That is, authorities believe that a massive redeployment without compromising border security will require the completion of border walls and fences by October 10.
“A proposal for the redeployment of border patrol across the border has already been submitted and awaits ratification by the Central Military Commission,” the source said. “If illegal acts such as defections and smuggling increase dramatically as border patrol forces adjust to their new deployment locations, it could also cause problems in national emergency quarantine efforts. This is why the leaders believe that the wall must go up quickly.
“Construction units believe they need to speed up construction as the work will become more difficult during the monsoon season,” the source continued, adding: “They believe that installing electricity in high-voltage wires can arrive later, and that they have to get everything else in place first by October 10, including raising utility poles and building walls over two meters high.
The construction of the walls and fences would proceed slowly due to the shortage of materials. The central government provides 80% of the supplies while border provinces, cities and counties provide the remaining 20%. However, most work units are making little progress as they run out of supplies after only two or three days of construction.
Labor brigades sent by the Cabinet to parts of Yanggang Province to speed up construction remain in place, unable to complete their work. The brigades had initially sought to complete their construction tasks within a month.
The members of these work brigades suffer from various difficulties. According to the source, members of units in the interior – who are seeing the border for the first time – were mesmerized by the sight of Chinese cities across the river. They would have likened what they saw to “legendary cities” because Chinese cities have lights that shine at night. Some workers even get their hands on illegal videos smuggled from abroad.
CAUGHT IN FLAGRANTE DELICTO
In fact, a male member of a labor brigade in his mid-30s was arrested early last month in Kimjongsuk County (Sinpa County) for watching a music video by popular South Korean boy band BTS.
“It wouldn’t have happened if [the labor brigades] were working day and night, but since they only hang around three days out of five for lack of equipment, he ended up buying a memory card, ”the source said. “He was discovered by a colleague secretly watching the video. Eventually, he was handed over to the judicial authorities.
Later, in mid-June, the departmental branches of the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Social Security, along with local prosecutors, assembled military construction units and field work brigades from Sinpa Middle School for a public meeting of “ideological struggle” focused on the offense of man. Local residents also witnessed the event as it took place in a very open venue.
While criticizing the man’s actions, a judicial official joked that he had “come to build a bangtan [bulletproof] wall, but ended up watching bangtan enemy material ”, a play on the Korean name of BTS, Bangtan Sonyeondan, which means “Bulletproof Scouts”. By mistakenly making a direct reference to BTS, the official allegedly sparked laughter among locals familiar with the group.
Eventually, the offender was returned to his place of residence and handed over to local officials of the Department of Social Security, according to the source.