Report of My 18th Visit to Juche Korea by Dr Dermot Hudson
I visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from the 7th of October to the 15th of October leading a delegation of the Juche Idea Study Group of England , Juche Idea Study Group of Scotland and UK KFA .It was a great trip which reaffirmed my belief in the Juche idea . It was my 18th visit and the 2nd time for the rest of the delegation. We had a wonderful time visiting some old favourites but also locations and institutions that I have never seen before such as the Pakyon Falls and the Kim Jong Suk Textile Mill . During the visit we went to Mt Myohyang and Panmunjom . We visited the Juche Idea Tower , Mangyondae the birthplace of the great leader President KIM IL SUNG, the Kumususan Palace of the Sun the Fatherland Liberation War Museum , the Pyongyang Metro , Ryuwon Footwear Factory , Pyongyang Teachers Training College , Kim Jong Suk textile mill and the Korean Stamp Museum, the Monument to Party Foundation , the Party Foundation Museum and many other places.
Our delegation consisted of three of us , myself , Mitchell Wells of KFA Scotland and JISG Scotland and James Taylor UK KFA Communications Secretary . We set off on the evening of the 5th of October staying 1 night in Beijing and then onto Pyongyang . Our passage through Beijing was fairly smooth ,though there was some delay in the visa free channel .
We arrived in Pyongyang on the 7th of October , it was a lovely autumn afternoon in Pyongyang . We were met at Pyongyang airport by our guides for the visit section chief Jong of the Korean Association of Social Scientists and researcher Miss Kim Hyong Suk of KASS who had been my guide in April earlier this year . Our minibus sped towards Pyongyang through the golden fields. In the DPRK it is harvest time and the harvest appeared to be quite abundant .
We checked in at the magnificent Pyongyang Koryo Hotel.During our visit we received excellent hospitality and found everyone kind and helpful. Our guides comrade Jong and comrade Kim had drawn up an excellent programme for us and worked hard to ensure our visit was smooth.
We had a series of 3 lectures from the renowned Professor Kim Chang Gyong of the Korean Association of Social Scientists( who appears in the film “ The Propaganda Game” and was recently interviewed by AP) who gave two presentations about the Juche idea and a presentation about the April policy speech of dear respected Marshal KIM JONG UN “ On Socialist Construction and the Internal and External Policies of the Government of the Republic at the Present Stage”. Professor Kim also answered our questions in detail . He laughed at the idea of the DPRK joining the IMF and opening a McDonalds in Pyongyang and said it was a rumour (this story appeared in the media after the April 27th summit based on allegedly what an advisor to the south Korean chief executive said).When we arrived at the hotel we met another delegation staying in the hotel and one of them had said to us the DPRK ‘was changing , it looked like the Soviet during perestroika “ and that the streets had “hundreds of private markets” . This caused disturbance to some of our delegation who lost sleep as a result .We certainly did not see ‘hundreds of private markets”. I put the question to Miss Kim and she refuted it saying ‘No , this is wrong , very wrong and very untrue .Basically both through the experience of seeing the reality of the DPRK and through our discussions with KASS comrades we could see that such rumours were untrue . This had started around the time of April 27th inter Korean summit and DPRK-US summit . Such false stories were pushed strongly by the CIA Psyops website NKNews .
We visited both the Ryuwon Footwear factory (our 2nd time as we visited in September 2018) and for the first time the famous Kim Jong Suk Textile mill . At the Ryuwon Footwear Factory we were greeted by the Chief Engineer who acted as our guide . The factory was modernised a few years ago according to the instructions of respected Marshal KIM JONG UN who had visited the factory . The factory is located in the south west of Pyongyang and has modern and up to date buildings. Solar energy is in use here , the chief Engineer took us up to the top floor and pointed out the solar panels. The factory has 600 workers. It was spotlessly clean . The factory its own swimming pool,sports hall and restaurant for staff( I remember when I worked in the Valuation Office and I demanded a staff canteen the answer of the bosses was to refuse to provide one and say ‘you can go to the shop at lunch time and buy a sandwich’ !!!! – just how rotten can these people be ?) . Not only that but the factory has its own gardens to grow food so it is self-sufficient in food ! A remarkable achievement and a practical application of Juche and self-reliance. The factory produces 1 million pairs of shoes per year indicating a high level of productivity per worker. We saw many revolutionary posters in the factory which showed that ideological work is carried out. I asked the Chief Engineer what the wage differential is in the factory and he replied it is 2 to 1 , which is very low . In the capitalist world the difference between the rich and poor is sometimes inestimable . In the old Soviet Union the income differential was about 10 to 1 rising to about 30 to 1 . Thus the DPRK is a very egalitarian society . We were also told that workers at the factory can study so they can get promoted.
The other factory we visited was the Pyongyang Kim Jong Suk Textile Mill. This is situated very close to the banks of the River Taedong and is near to the centre of Pyongyang . In capitalist countries it would be considered unthinkable to have a factory near to the centre of the capital city. Moreover the guide to the factory pointed out that the flats for the workers of the factory were behind it so that the staff of the factory only to walk 2 or 3 minutes to the workplace. I remember with my old job having to spend nearly 1 hour (sometimes longer ) each way to get into work . The factory produces silk products and has 1,600 workers many of them are women , The factory was using the ‘re use , recycle ‘ policy by making products such as soap from waste. The factory is self-reliant as it uses DPRK made machinery I asked about working conditions and was told that workers get 2 hours of break per day ( compare this to 30 minute lunch breaks in the UK or people being made to work through their lunchbreak) . The guide also said that the state took special measures for the health of the workers. The factory had its own kindergarten and creche plus a sports hall, house of culture (including a cinema) , a restaurant and a sports court . We were shown a fishpond where people could just sit and relax quietly during their break . We also noticed workers planting trees and gardening in the factory compound . I got an overwhelming sense that the factory was a true workers paradise . We also were shown the sci-tech learning place of the factory where workers could learn about science and technology and enroll in online university courses. This was very significant because in the UK there is a big barrier between workers and intellectuals but in the DPRK the barriers between workers and intellectuals are being broken down all the time . Miss Kim explained to me that the policy of the DPRK is to intellectualise the whole of society , a truly worthy and lofty goal.Leaving the factory I felt that the ideas of the British socialist writer and artist William Morris had been realised in the factory.
Hostile propaganda claims that Pyongyang is a “city of the elite” but in fact Pyongyang has a number of factories and a lot of industrial workers live in Pyongyang as well shop assistants , waitresses, drivers , cleaners and also retired people. We sat in the garden outside the Munsu Water Park and saw many old people sitting down relaxing .We went up the famous Moran Hill which afforded us an excellent view of Pyongyang City . Walking around the Moran Hill we saw many Korean people strolling around in a carefree manner .
As it was the 74th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea which is the supreme general staff of the Korean revolution and the guiding force of socialist construction in People’s Korea we visited both the Party foundation monument and the Party Foundation Museum. At the Party Foundation Museum we learnt of the struggle of the great leader President KIM IL SUNG to found the Workers’ Party of Korea .We visited the Party Foundation Monument in East Pyongyang which is deeply symbolic of the single-hearted unity of the Korean people around the party . The Party foundation monument is in direct line with the Korean revolution museum and the statues of the great leaders comrades KIM IL SUNG and KIM JONG IL on the Mansu Hill . We learnt that under Japanese colonial rule , the Japanese imperialists had used the area nearby as an airstrip . It now forms a wide open space with green grass. Pyongyang is a very spacious city and there is no feeling of being cramped or boxed in there.
Also on Party Foundation day we paid our respects to the great leader comrade KIM IL SUNG and great leader comrade KIM JONG IL at their resting place in the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
Of course we did not stay in Pyongyang all the time but ventured outside the city . We first went to Mt Myohyang to see the International Friendship Exhibition where the gifts to the great leader President
KIM IL SUNG , eternal Chairman KIM JONG IL and dear respected Marshal KIM JONG UN are exhibited . The large number of gifts from all corners of the world and many different organisations reflects the great reverence of the world people for the great leaders of the Korean people ..We saw the cars presented by Marshal J V Stalin and Premier GM Malenkov to the great leader comrade
KIM IL SUNG. I reflected that had Malenkov succeeded Stalin then the USSR would still exist today , Thus the question of succession is a vital one and it has been solved correctly in the DPRK . We also saw the trains that were sent by JV Stalin and Chinese revolutionary leader Mao ZeDong. These days many Chinese tourists visit the DPRK no doubt to experience real socialism (after Mao passed away socialism in China was severely undermined by revisionist ‘ reform’ and ‘opening up’) .We also saw the gifts we had presented ourselves. For lunch we enjoyed a picnic at a beautiful scenic spot. In the afternoon we visited the Myohyangsan History Museum which basically it is the Pohyon Temple. Reactionaries say that the DPRK suppressed religion but this is not true because it has Buddhist temples.
We also visited Panmunjom .Here the guide was a KPA officer who remembered me from August 2017 , he also mentioned Michael Palin’s visit to the place.
Panmunjom is the place where the US imperialists acknowledged their defeat by the Korean People’s Army by signing the Korean Armistice Agreement on the 27th of July 1953. General Mark Clark wearily confessed that he was the first US commander to sign an armistice without a victory . It was the US side that actually proposed armistice negotiations as they were losing in Korea . Our delegation looked around the hall where the negotiations took place and the hall where the armistice was signed and then went onto see the demarcation line and Pavilion on the frontline . This is the place that symbolizes the tragedy of the division of Korea and the place where socialism and imperialism confront each other. There did not seem to be any change from August 2017 despite 3 inter-Korean summits being held and 2 DPRK-US summits as well . The US should withdraw from Korea at once !Earlier during our visit we had the pleasure of being hosted by the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front of south Korea (the successor to the Revolutionary Party for Reunification) , they stressed the importance of campaigning for the dissolution of the so-called UN Command in south Korea which is a figleaf for US imperialist colonial rule in south Korea.
We also went around the original historical site of the Koryo Songgyungwan University which was founded in 992 makiit one of the oldest universities in the world, if not the oldest one .The modern Songgyungwan University of Light Industry is situated nearby .Kaesong,which is about the size of Portsmouth, has a total of 10 universities.
We enjoyed an excellent picnic lunch with beer and insam liquor at the scenic Pakyon Falls .It was my first time to visit here .
During the visit we had meetings and discussions with the Korean Association of Social Scientists , the Korea Publications Exchange Association , the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and the Pyongyang Mission of the Anti-Imperialist National Democratic Front of south Korea .
Visiting the DPRK for the 18th time I saw that the DPRK is prospering under the banner of self-reliance thanks to the leadership of the dear respected Marshal KIM JONG UN .The prices in the hotel shop were the same as September 2018 and the price of a Pyongyang Metro ticket is stable at 5 won which is the same price as September 2012 . I became even more convinced of the correctness and validity of the Juche idea .
I was sorry to leave the DPRK , I would have liked to have stayed for a few more days if not weeks and months. Coming back to London I saw homeless sleeping on the floor just outside of Charing Cross underground station. In the DPRK we did not see a single person sleeping on the streets or in the Metro station. The contrast between the two systems is a stark and graphic one.
Our thanks to our guides comrade Jong and Miss Kim Hyong Suk , to the Korean Association of Social Scientists , the staff of the Koryo Hotel particularly the dining room staff, the two ladies at the bookshop and the cleaners ,also to our driver . We also thank the DPRK Embassy in London for their help in arranging the visit and also Air Koryo Beijing.
Dr Dermot Hudson
Chairman Juche Idea Study Group of England .
Official Delegate Korean Friendship Association UK
President Association for the Study of Songun Poltiics UK.