North Korea miners’ deaths evidence of short life expectancy

A North Korean waits for a small pontoon to cross a tributary on the banks of the Yalu River near Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. North Korea's life expectancy is 70 years, according to the CIA. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 20 (UPI) — Life is short in North Korea – and those who give up their lives for the state are praised in Pyongyang’s media.

The collapse of a mine in the relatively isolated country has led to six casualties, but the incident is being hailed as heroism and sacrifice in North Korea’s Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

According to the report, on Jan. 9 seven miners were trapped inside a mine as the roof of the structure collapsed.

One worker was rescued, but others died in the country’s southwest.

The Rodong Sinmun carried condolences for the deceased but also linked the deaths to national glory.

“They had an avid aspiration to invite the supreme leader to their mine someday. They are powerfully marching on the path toward an eternal life in the era of ‘Mallima’,” the article read.

According to Yonhap, Mallima is a mythical horse that runs at the fastest speeds and serves as a symbol for the rapid pace at which the state orders work be completed in time for national celebrations glorifying the ruling Kim family.

The policy has produced scores of deaths at a time when North Korea may still be struggling with relatively high mortality rates, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA recently published its latest estimates for North Korea’s life expectancy in its World Factbook, and the country’s average life expectancy of 70.4 years ranks it at 157th place, one of the lowest, Voice of America reported.

North Korea’s life expectancy is below the United States’ average, at 79.8 years, and also below rival South Korea’s at 82.4 years.

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