The North Korean regime has ordered heightened security around statues and artworks of the ruling Kim dynasty to protect them from “hostile elements,” according to a media report.
The Daily NK, a website based in Seoul, said a source in Pyongyang said that orders were given to ramp up protection for “eternal life” towers, oil paintings, and murals throughout the reclusive nation and police were told to patrol at night.
“Agencies have constantly been saying ‘use lights to illuminate statues and paintings of the three generals of the Mount Paektu bloodline (the Kim family dynasty) and thoroughly care for them to ensure that hostile elements cannot damage them,” the source said, according to the Daily NK.
In the capital Pyongyang, the most important monuments are being lit up between 7 p.m and 5 a.m and guards are protecting the sites in shifts, the website reported, citing another source.
Before the order, guards were tasked with guarding the tributes day and night during special occasions, including the anniversaries of the birth and death of Kim Il Sung — the nation’s founding leader — and Kim Jong Il — the supreme leader from 1994 to 2011 and father of the incumbent Kim Jong Un. The increased surveillance also covers paintings of the Kims at schools.
The Daily NK said amid economic hardship caused by international sanctions over its nuclear program, the regime of Kim Jong Un appeared to be trying to bolster feelings of unity and distract locals in order to prevent social unrest.
President Trump and Kim Jong Un have waged a bitter war of words in recent months amid tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.
Since July, North Korea has conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, launched missiles over Japan and test-launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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