Here’s What The People Of Pyongyang Think About North Korea’s Missile Tests


North Korea celebrated its recent provocative missile test in the capital city of Pyongyang Wednesday.

North Korea shot an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan Tuesday, alarming the island nation and its allies. Heads of state and senior officials from the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have been in close contact over the past couple of days, the United Nations has condemned North Korea “outrageous” launch, and the U.S. and its allies have dropped bombs along the Korean border in a clear message to the North.

While the rest of the world sees a problem, the North Korean people living in Pyongyang are looking at the situation quite differently.

Capital residents gathered in front of large screens in city squares to watch Ri Chun Hee, the North’s most famous broadcaster, announce the launch, revealing images and video of North Korea’s Hwasong-12 IRBM soaring into the sky, according to CNN’s Will Ripley, reporting from Pyongyang.


The people reportedly cheered and clapped, celebrating their country’s step forward in the long march to a viable nuclear deterrent against the U.S. and its allies, which the North perceives as the aggressors.

“As long as as we have our very capable Korean People’s Army and the leadership of Marshall Kim Jong Un, we don’t have any enemy we cannot conquer,” 14-year-old Kim Su Jong, a student at Kang Ban Sok Revolutionary School, told reporters.

“I feel very proud of this brilliant achievement,” said railway worker Tak Yong Sok. “I’m seeing the launch and feel that our military is improving. I feel very proud to be Korean.”

The North Korean people appear to believe that their actions are in self-defense. “We love peace,” one North Korean citizen told CNN. “If another war happens, Koreans and Americans [both] will suffer.”

“But, we will never beg for peace,” the man added.

North Koreans are raised to see the U.S. as their enemy from the time they are toddlers, and they fully prepare for war to break out in their lifetimes.

“From kindergarten classrooms to the halls of power, this is how North Korea views itself: as a scrappy little country that has been bullied by the United States for far too long and is willing to fight back,” Jean H. Lee, a respected global fellow at the Wilson Center who previously served as a reporter in Pyongyang, recently wrote in The New York Times.

The North Koreans believe that the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is essential to protect their country. “The DPRK will continue to strengthen its defensive capability with nuclear force, as long as U.S. … does not stop military drills on the doorstep of the DPRK,” North Korean ambassador to the U.N. Han Tae Song explained Tuesday. “U.S. pressure and provocative acts only justify the DPRK’s measure to strengthen its self-defense capabilities.”

When North Korea first tested the Hwasong-12 IRBM in May, the rocket scientists behind its development received a hero’s welcome when they returned to the capital.

“Streets of the capital city of Pyongyang were full of [a] festive atmosphere to greet the scientists of national defense,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported at that time. “Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, and school youth and children, were waiting for the merited persons along the streets.”

“Every street in the capital fluttered with a celebration atmosphere to greet the warriors of the national defense and science,” the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, wrote.

In the aftermath of the test in May, which revealed that the North’s capabilities may be more advanced than previously thought, North Korea released propaganda photos of Kim Jong Un laughing with and hugging rocket scientists.

Pyongyang has warned that the shocking shot over Japan was merely a “prelude” to possible strikes on or around Guam, which the North believes is a forward base for an invasion. Since Tuesday’s test, the North Koreans have repeatedly stated that they intend to launch more missiles into the Pacific Ocean.

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