Majority of N Koreans against nuclear programme: US survey

Seoul [South Korea]: A majority of North Koreans are against their country’s nuclear weapon programme, saying that it is not a source of national pride and prosperity, according to a survey done by the US-based think tank.

The survey, which was conducted through individual conversations with 50 North Korean citizens last year, found that 43 of the respondents were highly negative on the nuclear development in North Korea, according to Beyond Parallel, a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Around seventy percent of the responders felt that the nuclear programme did not give the citizens a sense of national pride, while 72 percent thought it did not make North Korea a prosperous country, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing the research.

The respondents consist of 30 men and 20 women and also included ruling party officials, security officials, farmers and homemakers.

They ranged in the age from 24 to 64 and their educational background varied from middle school graduates to university degree holders.

The participants lived across North Korea, from Ryanggang Province on the northern border with China, to the capital Pyongyang and to Gangwon Province on the southern border with South Korea.

A mid-career soldier denounced the nuclear weapons, calling them as “the devil’s weapons” and warned that it “will lead to our extinction.”

A middle-aged woman called the nuclear programme “crazy” and accused the North Korean leaders of thinking only about themselves and not worrying about its citizens, who are struggling to make their ends meet.

The remaining seven participants supported the nuclear weapon programme, saying that it helped protect the country from “attacks” by other powerful countries such as the US and China.

In North Korea, it is extremely rare to speak out against leader Kim Jong-un and his family, for the fear of detention and torture.

Along with Kim, his father, Kim Jong-il and his grandfather, Kim il-sung, who were former leaders of the regime, have established a cult of personality around them.

The country, which had tested three intercontinental ballistic missiles last year, is currently under heavy economic sanctions imposed by the US and the United Nations. (ANI)