Jan. 26 (UPI) — South Korea denounced a slogan North Korea has been promoting to mobilize ordinary North Koreans to volunteer their labor for state construction projects.
Seoul’s unification ministry said Thursday the North Korean slogan “Spirit of Kangwon Province” is being put forward to the public in order to “squeeze” the most out of North Korean manpower, South Korean news service News 1 reported on Thursday.
The state emphasis on “Kangwon spirit” is “similar to a trend” in the relatively isolated country, a ministry spokesman explained.
“It is a new slogan similar to ‘Chollima spirit,’ and “Mallima spirit,'” the spokesman said.
In North Korea, the slogan is defined as a call to self-reliance, identical to the meaning inherent in “Chollima spirit,” according to the ministry.
The slogan reflects the intention of the state to “overwork the people,” the South Korean spokesman added.
Kim Jong Un first used the phrase during a visit to a military-run power plant in Wonsan, a city in Kangwon Province.
North Korea state media has used the slogan continuously since the Dec. 13 visit, according to News 1.
While the phrase was issued because of the power plant visit, in order to pressure other regions to raise their productivity, the slogan is being widely circulated, the South Korean spokesman said.
On Monday a North Korean newspaper touted the courage of construction workers, toiling away without safety gear as an example of “indomitable mental power” at a Kangwon power plant.
The newspaper described the work as “dangerous” and said the workers narrowly escaped an area that was increasingly becoming submerged in more water.
The deployment of inexperienced construction workers or engineers tasked with fast-paced renovation projects has led to several accidents, according to North Korean defectors, and North Korea admitted as much when it stated on Monday the power plant is the site where many “suffered the loss of life.”