Pity the children of North Korea: Haunting images of the indoctrination ceremony show how communist ‘cult’ leaders threatening nuclear war are poisoning next generation
- Youngsters inducted into Korean Children’s Union, likened to Hitler Youth
- Forced to pledge allegiance to dictator Kim Jong Un and call him ‘father’
- Despot describes them as ‘future masters of a most powerful country’
- Ceremony held as North Korea presses ahead with ballistic missile launch
By ADEMOLA ADELUSI
They are barely seven years old, but these glum-looking children are already being drafted into a tyrannical regime hellbent on waging nuclear war with the world.
Standing in arrow-straight rows, their faces are hardly the picture of happiness as they are forced to pledge their allegiance to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and call him ‘father’.
Troubling images of them being inducted into an organisation likened to the Hitler Youth emerged as their despot leader pressed ahead with plans to launch a ballistic missile, potentially with nuclear capabilities.
First steps into tyranny: North Korean children stand waiting while officers tie red bandanas around their necks during a ceremony to induct them into the Korean Children’s Union
Rogue regime: Thousands gathered at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to watch the youngsters be sworn in
Thousands gathered at the Kim Il Sung Stadium in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang today to watch the youngsters be sworn into the Korean Children’s Union, a political organisation for children aged seven to 13, in which they pledge to build up strength to defend their nation.
Retired military officers helped them tie on red scarves to help complete the ritual.
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At a rally last year, members of the KCU wept and jostled to hold Kim Jong Un’s hand in what was likened to a welcome given to teen pop idol Justin Bieber than a political leader.
In a speech to mark the organisation’s 66th anniversary last June, Kim told the young delegates they were the future masters of ‘a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony’.
Indoctrinated: Retired North Korean military members tie red bandanas around the necks of the children to complete the ritual
Followers: Members of the Korean Children’s Union chat while spectators take their seats before the ceremony
The celebrations took place two days after North Korea’s military threatened to fire at South Korean media companies unless they apologised for criticisms of the festivities, including a report comparing them to Hitler Youth rallies.
They are taught to be loyal to the Kim dynasty, with education about the accomplishments of the Communist republic’s founder Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il.
At the age of 13, they move on to the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League.
As tensions on the Korean peninsula continued to escalate today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touched down in South Korea this morning just hours after a Pentagon agency has concluded that the secretive country could have a likely ability to launch a nuclear-armed missile at its enemies.
Hierarchy: The children stay in the union until the age of 13 when they move into the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League
Brainwashed: The children are taught to be loyal to the Kim dynasty, with education about the accomplishments of the Communist republic’s founder Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il
DEFECTOR RISKS DEATH FLEEING NORTH KOREA’S ‘VIRTUAL PRISON’
A North Korean woman has told how she was so desperate to escape the pariah state’s reign of terror she risked the execution of her entire family to smuggle them out of the country.
Lee Hyeonseo, right, said the communist regime forced people to live in a ‘virtual prison’ with no concept of human rights.
Anyone caught trying to defect is routinely sentenced to death as Kim Jong Un attempts to hide the reality of food shortages, labour camps and indoctrination from the outside world.
And because punishment is handed down for three generations, even the husband or wife, children and grandchildren of those who escape are imprisoned.
Miss Lee said she made the ‘the long and very difficult’ journey to South Korea after bribing her way out of the country.
She did not give details how she managed it, but she very likely didn’t have any money.
Speaking from a drop-in centre for North Koreans at a Seoul University, she told Sky News: ‘People in the north don’t know the truth about what is going on as they can’t hear or see anything about the wider world.
‘They don’t know about human rights or the suffering. They live in a virtual prison.’
The details were leased in Pentagon Defense Intelligence Agency documents from last month that were mistakenly marked as unclassified.
The papers detailed that they have ‘moderate confidence’ that Pyongyang is able to launch ballistic missiles armed with nuclear weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in London for the G8 Summit, touched down at the Seoul military airport in Seongnam Friday as part of a spearheaded effort to shift power toward Asia and away from Europe and the Middle East.
Mr Kerry’s trip was long-planned ahead of the crisis in North Korea, and the Secretary of State is scheduled to tour two other nations during his visit.
But he will likely seek to cool tensions following weeks of heightened rhetoric from Kim Jong Un.
Hours earlier, President Barack Obama demanded an end to the escalating war rhetoric from Pyongyang.
In his first public comments since North Korea warned of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula, Obama called it time for the isolated nation ‘to end the belligerent approach they have taken and to try to lower temperatures.’
North Korea has not specified plans to fire a missile or carry out another nuclear test, but has warned that it has weapons on standby and would be prepared to strike if provoked by the U.S. and South Korea, its Korean War foes.
The secret assessment by the Pentagon was brought to the public eye on Thursday at the House of Representatives’ Armed Services committee by a congressman as he questioned senior Pentagon officials over the true threat North Korea has.
The documents, which were confirmed to CNN, are an alarming development in the escalating situation in North Korea.
Just like Justin Bieber: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surrounded by weeping KCU children after getting reception more like a pop star on an official visit last year
Sabre-rattler: In a speech to mark the organisation’s 66th anniversary last June, Kim told the young delegates they were the future masters of ‘a most powerful country’
Rep Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, who questioned senior Pentagon officials Thursday, quoted the document, which read: ‘DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low.
The former classified document is titled: ‘Dynamic Threat Assessment 8099: North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program (March 2013).’
Dictator Kim Jong-un was warned last night of ‘further significant measures’ if he presses ahead with plans to test-fire missiles or nuclear weapons.
At a summit in London led by Foreign Secretary William Hague, the G8 group of nations agreed new sanctions would follow if North Korea continued to threaten its neighbours.
This is the first time the world’s most powerful and richest nations – including Russia – have united to warn of consequences for the young Communist leader of the world’s most isolated country.