In The 1950s, North Korea Built An Entire City By The Border To Perpetrate A Lie
According to North Korea, the town of Kijong-dong is a lovely little village of 200 residents, who enjoy their busy lives in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the North Korean side.
There’s only one problem with this tale. Nobody lives in Kijong-dong unless one counts the workers who sweep the streets to keep the place shiny.
It’s a fake village, intended to mask the truth about North Korea to prospective South Korean defectors. Since there’s only been two of them since the split, it doesn’t seem to be working.
Still, North Korea keeps up this farce. It definitely makes the top ten list of weird things North Korea does to perpetrate falsities.
The Biggest Fallacy
To be fair, the South Koreans erected a super-tall flagpole in the 80s, intended to push a few buttons. It was over 300-feet tall, located in the southern DMZ city of Daeseong-dong, which by the way is an actual city.
The North Koreans immediately noticed the puny size of all their flagpoles and fashioned a plan to respond. They built a flagpole 525-feet high, which would aa radio tower if there weren’t a massive 600-pound North Korean banner flying at its apex.
For decades, until 2010, that flagpole was the largest in the world. To support the ruse, the North Koreans built a city around the pole, a city of peace: Kijong-dong.
That’s what Kijong-dong means in Korean. It sounds so nice, doesn’t it? One imagines a place called peace village is the kind of place he could spend his days smoking joints and staring out the window.
That wouldn’t be possible, though, not because weed is illegal. North Korea allows, even encourages weed smoking, probably to cover the pain of their sad existences.
The problem with this scenario is none of the buildings have glass in the windows. No need, since the North Koreans assumed nobody could see that closely anyway.
Of course, since we can see the mountain ranges of Mars, missing windows across the DMZ are easy to spot. What helps is the fake lights that go on automatically, revealing that nothing reflects from the window holes.
But Wait There’s More…
The North Koreans didn’t just build a fake, windowless city in the DMZ. They bolted loudspeakers to the buildings of Peace Village.
Their message of peace was to let the tired, poor, and huddled masses of South Korea know they could drop everything and find relief in the North. Failing that goal, the Northies changed the message to anti-Western speeches mixed with marching music and operas.
In fairness to the North, the South responded with messages from loudspeakers of their own. The two stopped blasting each other for a few years, from 2004 to 2016, until the North started testing nukes.
To this day you could stand in the DMZ and listen to the debate heard by no-one.
The sad part about the Peace Village is that the leadership of North Korea knows what an inviting village home could look like. They even light up that fake place, while most of rural North Koreans go without lights.
It begs a rhetorical question: If they know how to fake it, why can’t they just do it for real?