North Korea instructs children to collect scrap metal that can be used in the manufacture of weapons.
It comes as the regime ramps up its efforts to train the next generation to build the country’s ballistic missile arsenal, and expand science classes to help develop weapons technology.
Defectors told the Wall Street Journal that the push to involve children in the country’s technological and weapons developments is now starting in kindergarten, where babies learned about computers and robots as part of a broader push to prepare them for future weapons programs.
Leader Kim Jong-un’s focus on technology likely had the ulterior motive of convincing children that missiles will protect them and distract them from taboo concepts such as freedom or capitalism, Nam Bada, director of People for Successful Corean Reunification, a group that North -Helping Korean defectors told the newspaper.
Children have long been indoctrinated from their formative age to see the Kim family as gods and the United States and its allies as the enemy.
In a letter addressed to a meeting of the Korean Children’s Union, a political organization affiliated with the ruling Workers’ Party, last December, Kim urged them to nurture their “hatred” of America and help the military build weapons to to face his enemies.
“Something you comrades should not forget for a second is that even today the American bastards and their accomplices seek every opportunity to destroy your homes and steal your hopes,” Kim reportedly wrote in a translation by state media NK News. .
In remarks about military youth activities last year, the authoritarian leader said party loyalty must be forged in young students by forcing them through “trials” such as working on construction sites and taking part in military exercises.
Defectors have previously reported that children have been forced to collect scrap metal and materials and donate them to the military for weapons production.
Meanwhile, analysts have seen the now-regular appearance of Kim’s young daughter Ju-ae as a partial attempt to connect the country’s youth to the future of the state’s nuclear weapons program.
Ju-ae, believed to be about nine years old, was first revealed to the world wearing a puffy white jacket and red shoes as she and her father inspected an intercontinental ballistic missile during its test launch in November. Kim family with its nuclear weapons program.
The pursuit of science as a national goal is also promoted by cartoons about the North Korean state that depict the adventures of a raccoon, a bear and a cat in a state-of-the-art fantasy story involving high-speed trains and remote-controlled submarines, the WSJ reported. .
For Ju-ae’s peers, who manage to secure coveted places in schools serving Pyongyang’s elite, science and technology now seem to be the path to prestige.
For years, educational institutions in the capital have promoted excellence in the arts, music, mathematics and languages, indoctrinated their students into loyalty to the state and hostility to the perceived enemy who seeks to destroy it.
Reports suggest that the propaganda targeting young minds is deepening an already entrenched enmity.
During a 2018 visit to the Mangyongdae schoolchildren’s palace by The Telegraph, 12-year-old Ri Jin-hyang was already firm in her view of America. “The US is the country that invaded us,” she said.
Expand your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph for 1 month free, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US exclusive offer.