Domestic sources told RFA that North Korea had erected a high-voltage barrier around a key national landmark in a city near the Chinese border.
The immortal Kim Nhat Thanh tower in the northwestern border city of Sinuiju is one of such monuments built across the country following the death of the nation’s founder in 1994, the incumbent leader’s grandfather. Kim Jong Un. The towers are decorated with slogans proclaiming the eldest Kim, and sometimes the son and successor Kim Jong Il, as the “eternal president” of the country.
Authorities claim that Sinuiju is a hot spot for dissidents who want to destroy the monument just before the country celebrates “Sun’s Day” on April 15 of Kim Il Sung’s birth year. , one of the most important holidays in the country.
“The installation of the high-voltage fences started March 20 and was completed yesterday,” a resident in Sinuiju told South Korea’s RFA Radio on April 3.
“High voltage electricity is threaded through the hastily installed wire fence according to the order of the Central Government. [of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party]. No one can freely access the tower at this time, ”the source asked for anonymity due to security reasons.
The source said the builders installed a door in the fence opposite to the nearby Chongnyon train station so that people could enter to place flowers at the tower on April 15 and on other holidays.
“Authorities unexpectedly installed high-voltage wire fences and created an atmosphere of fear around this important milestone because anti-regime forces might appear in the Sinuiju area.”
“Since last year, dozens of officials have been executed, expelled from the party, dismissed for corruption charges or disobeying a quarantine order in North Pyongan province. Therefore, it is only natural that the management board is not assured ”, said the source.
Another source, a resident of the nearby Ryongchon district, told RFA April 4 that Kim Jong Un has focused on eliminating corruption in the country’s power institutions.
“He executed or dismissed key officials, including the headmaster of the Senior Party School Kim Nhat Thanh and members of the party,” said the second source, who requested anonymity to be free to say. .
“Most of the purged officials were from party and administrative agencies in North Pyongan province,” said the second source.
Corruption is a way of life for those in power in North Korea. Unable to survive on frivolous government salaries, officials are bribed to look the other way by people engaged in illegal activities such as smuggling or making illegal international phone calls. legal. People in higher positions often run illegal businesses themselves.
“Last year, a series of customs officers from the Sinuiju office were arrested and executed for corruption charges, but the purge actually hit the home of the high-ranking Party School head Kim Nhat Thanh, because he was a resident. this province, ”said the second source.
“Even after the Sinuiju customs officials were quickly replaced, government officials in Sinuiju fell into turmoil when the provincial party secretary and the chief of the security department suddenly disappeared one day. Authorities continue to purge senior officials, and they are saying they want to arrest potential dissidents in the North Pyongan region including Sinuiju, ”said the second source.
According to the second source, some officials and residents in the province were against the country’s leader due to the ongoing purges.
“The authorities are creating an atmosphere equivalent to a near-war situation by installing high-voltage fences around the Immortal Tower of Immortal Japan. They are trying to tell residents to prepare for contingency cases because they don’t know what will happen in Sinuiju ”.
“We know that sooner or later fences will be installed in areas of the city bordering China.”
A North Korean defector who was a senior official in Pyongyang told RFA that Sinuiju is a particularly dangerous area of the country that is closely watched by the government.
“Dissident forces have been deeply ingrained there since the Kim Nhat Thanh era [1948-1994]. Authorities are very careful about who they appoint as secretaries to the provincial and municipal government there, ”said the former official.
“Even if they investigate  The Ryongchon train explosion disaster caused Kim Jong Il to fail, the authorities assumed it was carried out by government officials in Sinuiju so they first investigated the officials and people involved. “.
At that time, leader Kim Jong Il passed through Ryongchon Station on his way back from China just hours before the disaster caused about 3,000 deaths and the cause was “electrical contact due to carelessness in China. process of driving wagons carrying ammonium-nitrate fertilizer, “according to state media.
Despite speculation that the disaster was a failed assassination, South Korean intelligence said they believed the event was just an accident in a country with poor industrial safety records and few sources. force to maintain infrastructure.
South Korean lawmaker Thae Yong Ho, a senior North Korean diplomat before his defection, told South Korean media in 2017 that Kim Jong Il ordered the execution of transportation officials, including including the country’s railway director after the 2004 disaster.
According to the former Pyongyang official, North Pyongan province has produced many organizations and celebrities that oppose the North Korean government or communism in general, including the late religious leader Moon Sung Myung, who ran. to South Korea during the Korean War and establishment. Unification Church.
Based in Seoul NK every day In late March, online media reported that North Korea had begun building an electric fence along the Sino-Korean border in Chagang province, with plans to cover the entire 880-mile border. According to that report, Kim Jong Un ordered the construction of a fence as a measure to prevent unauthorized crossers from bringing coronavirus into the country.
Hyemin Son’s Report to RFA’s Korea Service. Translation by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.