tv Doc Film Deutsche Welle March 29, 2019 6:15am-7:01am CET
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this is a country where the war never end. every morning at exactly six am loudspeakers across north korea sound a morning wake up call featuring the same melody every day. a melody familiar from a revolutionary opera. it tells the story of a young nurse at the front who has dedicated her life to the party and is searching for the beloved general who summons her to show him the way.
this is a country at war against the border that divides it. all . to. come up is that all of them i was always at the top of my class the teachers all rated me highly. even at school there was a hierarchy among the pupils at the top you're always at the class representatives and the political representatives. and i always held both positions around but there is a coffee they put together that never will. it that's how i learned to give orders and how to lead people.
at the border between the two koreas divided by a cold war time stand still with no peace agreement ever signed the war has been suspended since hostility ceased in one nine hundred fifty three in the course of the next six decades the north secretly developed a weapon that the world's major powers believed only they had the secret to the nuclear bomb. how is a country considered one of the poorest on the planet and which is also shunned by most other nations able to afford such weaponry. only those who were part of the system are privy to the secret. it took me years to track them down those who we were able to ask had a tragic tale to tell of men and women who were tasked with earning money for their country whatever the price the money of the dictators men.
seoul just fifty kilometers away from the border to north korea in the space of just twenty years the south korean capital became the fourth richest city on the planet after tokyo new york and los angeles. this is where the ordeal ends for many of the refugees from north korea. this young high ranking official from the north traveled thousands of kilometers on a trek across china all the way to seoul he's been living here with a new identity for two years today he calls himself michael kim he's twenty eight years old and works part time as a museum attendant. i mean they were. this is an exhibition organized by the sole authorities there it shows a model apartment in north korea. to illustrate what life looks like for the residents of pyongyang there with the team is of high when this it is it was having
actually lived there myself i've been asked to explain in further detail. that you are. both on a. ride on what i began my career in the state security agency the cia of north korea. i worked in the financial department where i came to attention due to my expertise i was transferred to office thirty nine. years and that was unusual. is that you know want to listen. i was only twenty five when i joined i was the youngest member of staff there said it was how this new course is mosen bolden killed the when it offers thirty nine manages and directs all the economic activities of thousands of firms in factories or to know will only pay so we
hire him and the office was set up to earn money for the regime outside the country . i thought i was over there on to kind of a clue because half of north korea's gross domestic product comes from office thirty nine sort of on the. coast course you don't know we saw where. michael fled from one day to the next without warning his family he knew too much to be able to keep on believing in the regime he decided to meet us three weeks ago he insisted on showing his face while being interviewed in the hope of becoming too well known to be secretly assassinated. reports from men who have been involved in office thirty nine the guardians of north korea's many financial secrets are extremely rare there have been precious few defectors fleeing the country means putting yourself in danger as well as family members left behind.
limb ill on the other hand was right at the bottom of the hierarchy upon who was sent halfway around the world to work on a construction site in the desert of kuwait in which at the end up with zero there was agreement for me it wasn't about whether i wanted to do it time was running out i wanted to leave quickly so that we could get something to eat as our leader kim il sung died in july nine hundred ninety four and starting a year later in may nine hundred ninety five the state was no longer able to provide the normal food ration people started to panic. this was the first time they had produced the russians good i had a two year old daughter over there in order to leave you had to be married and have children if you don't have any children they won't let you out i thought a family of four or five can live for at least six months on my salary of over one hundred twenty dollars a month if i sent it young young with her with
a new crew. and after two months we asked why we weren't getting paid hundreds when they said they had not been instructed by the party to pay our salary for the party in north korea was kim jong il our commander in chief. that answer silenced us either they were hundreds of workers had to keep their mouths shut. we kept on working at night to using our flashlights. we can fight off sleep and just carry on . i kept working like that for five months and all that time i didn't get paid. i felt cheated and. sending workers abroad was an idea first introduced in one nine hundred seventy four a gigantic network of clandestine companies and financial constructs gradually evolved all of them with one sole goal earning money for office thirty nine. this man was
likewise born in the north in pyongyang in early two thousand he was sent to singapore he earned tens of millions of dollars for north korea as a representative of pyongyang's north east asia bank in two thousand and three he was suspected of having passed on information about the regime's finances he fled to south korea today the former banker works for his new country's intelligence agencies he supports them in their struggle against the regime he wants war eternal allegiance to our main goal is to make for in cash and this foreign cash business is secret. complete the secret office number three ny and continued creating that the system is setup like it's all north korean institutions where these foreign cash is generated there is to report it to
can to the top and then should bring that should pay that in cash to family now to joan and the fortunes of europe so she get their all this and then spend it or according to his priorities so two economies one is two family economy and the other one is the national economy run by the cabinet and run by their so called you know central planning so to family i called it you know roy your court economy or your court economy they possess all the best profitable businesses best hotels this department stores in all of those services in the rest trunks they are making money for in cash and then it goes to continue now into. soul separate economy.
the money that you make will never good central economy not. central bank. finance ministry and trade bank they can never. what pope their nose into our business is that they can never they can not ask a tipping can gather or and then read a look at the so let's say a billion years dollar a year to get that cash in cash and then use that now nuclear missile program if you know consumes a lot of money it's from those pocket their different will careers you know at most one hundred fifty thousand maybe fifty thousand in russia and a little more in china and others is scattered around the world so true than
fifty thought and they make a lot of money there's only. so seventy percentage of eighty percent issue of the celery cup. and sent to the state in the party so if they make all of them a hundred dollars then the amount is how much civil man knowing it. put him in on. a pair were smug fifteen million fifteen million a month they don't make only one hundred years bucks a year or month then they make more maybe several hundred at least so the lower money is going to control. the volume of their cash income conjunct once funds increased dramatically in the past in the past twenty years in the past twenty years or so you can buy more and he
can. do continue this in a nuclear missile program in the colony younger than the mother does or not of the way home you know who got especially in places where we have a special agreement in places like eastern europe southeast asia africa. we have workers everywhere. and poland the ukraine the pakistan mongolia the big distant. one. while traditional your dwellings dot the modern city scape the noise from the pneumatic hammers is on the press and every day the concrete expanses continue to spread a little more in the mongolian capital. for a period of over seventy years the country had a communist regime the city's grand monuments honoring the eastern bloc are
a legacy of that era but after the collapse of the soviet union mongolia switched to the western capitalist camp people left rural regions in droves for the city's tar is an urgent need of new housing but lacks sufficient manpower to build it the government has therefore been hiring workers from china vietnam and north korea for reinforcement the work is assigned the same way in each construction site. the mongolian workers are used for exteriors jobs while the better qualified north koreans for example take care of the interior. the workers from pyongyang are under observation day and night we want to approach them discreetly and first just send our interpreter. hello hello to them all the north koreans working today sure. do they sleep here yes. and they never go out just to go shopping that's all. and the eat and sleep here yes
inside. north korea goes to extreme lengths to prevent its workers from coming into contact with the outside world and discovering a reality that is other than the one depicted in the daily propaganda they're only allowed to go out in groups so that they can keep an eye on each other. but in the narrow market aisles of all on battah we spot a north korean worker who appears to be on his own. can we talk while we look at the shoes. yes so. when did you come here to mongolia. three years ago. that's a long time yes and when are you going back home soon in a month. and have you and what's money no i have not earned
a lot of mongolian money and why not paid i didn't get much not much you know i've been working but i never got any money. they must be bad people there's a lot of bad people around really. do you have family north korea how many childrens are there. i have one child. my wife was pregnant when i left. i've never seen much else. so three years old three years boy or girl i got a letter saying i was a boy i'm desperate to go and see my son. the workers usually have three year contracts and are not allowed to go home during that time only very few use their stay abroad to defect due to their family still living in north korea they are all too aware that they would never see them again. is mongolia covering up the presence of these workers within its borders neither of
the government nor the companies employing them were prepared to talk to us but allegedly there are twelve hundred north koreans in the country they are there legally at the invitation of the mongolian government. the companies transfer the salaries directly to the north korean embassy and. from where the money is then confiscated by the regime in pyongyang a fraction of the somme a few dozen euro's a month at most is paid to the workers who use it to support their families in north korea. the construction workers are not the only money makers for the regime it also dispatches loggers to the forests of siberia peasants to farms young young even exports doctors the regime's most lucrative source of income acupuncturists and chiropractors are sent abroad to open practices there what they earn however goes to the regime back home and there are
three of them. would let you into north korean waters. when we think we see you here knows very little i guess no story oh oh. oh yes then mr quest we once in a way is our in the world the do here for how long you been here and what. you think the doctors enough allowed to talk without permission from the embassy. in. north korea reportedly generates four hundred fifty million euros a year from remittances earned by its citizen secretly working abroad. no records are kept of these secret funds and accounts documentation could potentially
be used as evidence receipts bank transfers and internal notes are systematically destroyed on the orders of the kim family. this enables the regime to deny their existence in front of the international community. but above all to the starving population back home they are not to get wind of the millions the kim family earns at their expense. i was a worker too. i didn't get anything for six or eight months. i worked myself to the bone. so i reckoned why not help myself this man spent many years in siberia prior to his defection he worked his way up to management level feeling remorse he wanted to break his years of silence in the hope that his testimony could help other former foreign workers who are still prisoners of the
system or. where we move on to the robot and the people positioned above the workers siphon off huge sums of money from those salaries for themselves sort of let's say our bosses land a contract for ten million. tell us that it's seven million and we tell our foreman that it's even lower maybe five million. so even then we're still able to transfer our mandatory share to the regime another trick is to negotiate fifty men for a job then we arrange to use only twenty and we send the rest elsewhere that means we can put aside a pile of money for ourselves. in a good month how much did you earn around twenty thousand dollars you were in one month yes. steve do you know how much office thirty nine earns per year and how much of that goes into developing missiles i mean it will be the ones who.
made it nobody knows that. that's the most strictly guarded secret of all. nobody in office thirty nine can say neither the amount for the office workers nor the costs for their workers or any other figure. if they were taught watered all plans to acquire nuclear weapons were first conceived by the regime back in one thousand nine hundred fifty three during the korean war after the us threatened to deploy its nuclear arsenal against the country since coming to power in twenty eleven kim jong un has launched eighty five missiles and conducted for nuclear tests twice as many as his father and grandfather combined the test missiles were fired over the sea of japan or in the direction of the pacific with the capability to send nuclear warheads as far as california john young now insists that washington would never dare to attack north korea again on nov twenty ninth two
thousand and seventeen north korea surprised the world with the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile kim jong un told his people that the country was now a nuclear power and boasted that it could deliver a strike anywhere in the u.s. at the same time a group of eight men of different nationalities convened at the new york headquarters of the united nations where a race against time began they comprised experts on rocket technology finance aviation and shipping experts some were from the civilian sector others from intelligence agencies their work is top secret their goal to dry up the secret money sources of the kim family for their own safety no photos exist of this expert committee only hugh griffiths the group's head since twenty fourteen was willing to talk on camera these rockets that years ballistic missile relate to technology that has been recovered by south korean navy ships close enough.
when the wreckage has splashed down and they've recovered it and then they've invited the panel to inspect this this temporary and once we've inspected the deputy we note down the serial numbers we take photographs and then in many cases we're able to trace back the logistics and procurement chain. so that's the rocket and then we have what's left of that. says one of the the burstow susi killer is a cluster of them around about. you want to obscure this. well our investigation show the percentage all the components used in their rockets and missiles. have been sourced a broad these goods will be exported in the first instance to other countries in
asia to business and such as singapore. hong kong. so that to a large multinational company based in say europe for selling the goods everything appears to be an old those no north korean trace on the only official paperwork in addition to research work the committee wields its own weapon the economy they devised sanctions that became progressively more severe in order to isolate north korea. we waited five months for official permission to fly to north korea the north korean diplomats didn't want us to film in winter fearing that the power outages might leave a bad impression finally in late march twenty eight hundred with temperatures rising again it happened we were granted permission to travel by train to north korea via china and the border town of don. we find
a country where time appears to have stood still a country that has been largely cut off from the outside world since one thousand nine hundred fifty three. every inch of arable land is farmed. everything serves to feed the nation. for seven hours the fields rolled by to this day still farmed using only hand tools and manual labor. most of north korea's nuclear power plants are located in this region. takes us close to three year ania mines a number of underground facilities and also the new nuclear research center which went operational in one thousand nine hundred sixty five with the help of the
soviet union it is the heart of the country's nuclear program. our escorts await us in the capital pyongyang. we're now entering a world reserved for the privileged section of the population. these streets and boulevards serve three million residents ten percent of the population the most loyal supporters of the regime a special permit is required to enter the city our two guides accompany us from dawn until late at night they've been tasked with showing us that plan young despite all the sanctions imposed by the united nations is no longer some economically crippled city with a poverty stricken population all thanks to the new national heroes the scientists . this architect spent eight years studying in france after leaving the
a call last year now for architecture in paris he returned to north korea in two thousand and ten today he's one of the best architects in the capital designing skyscrapers for the new elite. inside the costly. this building was constructed in less than a year in just under eight months and that again an economically challenging time for koreans like the gulf people but they still managed to complete it all we want to show that we can living continue to develop and can afford everything we need. and promoting scientific advancement plays an extremely important role in our own development duplicable the whole of development all the residents here have occupations in science and technology. including teaching staff and everything else at the south xians so if they close and they don't send you all the stuff.
you. know. how low. can i keep my shoes on yes. hello. how old is he eight months. look at the pictures. they speak volumes there is our esteemed leader personally giving people decorations. for koreans he's the most glorious occasions . i was really happy when we moved in here i could only cry and think about his love the marshall devotes a lot of time to the scientists and they reward him with their industriousness my husband has been a scientist for thirty years. her husband
teaches fluid mechanics at the technical university of kim trike the apartment they were assigned has two hundred square meters of floorspace the regime also provides the furniture. not everyone in junge young lives in modern high rises like this one but this family is far from an exception every year since kim jong un came to power he has built and inaugurated a new residential district that has involved fifty new residential blocks sprouting up within the space of a few months they're intended for the scientists and their families who have rendered extraordinary services for the regime one of these high rises is home to an architect's office serving kim jong. un's excellent work. out. what the kinds of things the points are for the full course there's always more work to be done there are always more projects we never enough architects this is in itself a huge building site everyone is tied up in at least two or three projects and is
working nonstop. but it's still not really enough for us if we do all nighters. given the international situation and all the sanctions doesn't that hamper construction no no no not at all i don't see how that would have an impact on that. i saw a lot of construction sites in europe where work was immediately suspended after a crisis. but here we carry on working despite the growing number of projects in the pipeline we're not afraid of anything we keep on making progress regardless. ah hum hum was was in the how is north korea able to finance this construction boom has it been able to shrug off the sanctions out on the streets the
standardized socialist dress code has been lent a little more color in the last three years the mood seems almost relaxed and yet the regime still governs its people with an iron fist. even the slightest critical gesture or word of disapproval will soon find some one in one of the country's many camps for political prisoners since kim jong un has been in power however there have been signs of a reorientation the orders now are to ensure that the economy evolves at the same pace as the nuclear program. the one who cut all this to size. but be careful. down there you have to cut it straight look this is not straight. to the bank we built this entire set of ourselves and thanks to these korean built
machines we've been able to automate a number of jobs you know and also reduce our power consumption. as a result we've almost doubled our production capacity everything here is a joint product of the experts from the academy of science and the researchers at kim il sung university. and. where does the material for the shoes come from. through them we're unable to import materials due to the strategy of our enemies so we produce everything ourselves. that involves checking which components we have available so that we can make our own shoes ok small town is most of. the key factors for this economic revival innovation and adaptation the goal is to perseverance and prove to the world that the country doesn't need anyone else. we have solar panels. we have them installed on practically all foundry roofs.
they generate up to four hundred kilowatts of electricity. our factories need a capacity of only three hundred kilowatts. that means the electricity generated from the solar panels is easily enough to keep our factory running despite the sanctions and the isolation. you can. the shoe factory is one of a number of model factories that kim jong un has had built for each sector of industry they all include a digital control center with a direct connection to pyongyang's universities and research centers more model factories are to be set up across the country. the regime dictates which roles everyone is assigned the country's economy and
society are centrally planned right down to the fate of each individual. young north koreans know as soon as they're in elementary school how their lives will pan out depending on their abilities their family background and the needs of the party the state selects their career many end up in the military. the country has a standing army of one million soldiers in north korea men are subject to a minimum compulsory military service totaling ten years those who manage to be admitted to kim il sung university the country's most prestigious college are usually exempt this is where the next generation of engineers economists bankers and businessmen are educated the future personnel of office thirty nine. this facility was founded by a commander in chief with the noble idea of training men and women for leadership
positions in the korea of tomorrow our d.l. leader kim jong il sent us a letter in december two thousand and nine saying keep your feet on the ground and look at the world combine a noble spirit with the wealth of knowledge and become the supporting structure for my late father's revolution that the whole world looks up to the korea of kim il sung. is north korea's economic upswing and economic miracle a final fake conflict to keep the people in the dark about the new wave of sanctions threatening to bring the country to its knees the official figures cannot be verified unable to talk to citizens directly we can't say what they think and feel all we can take away are our general observations. traveling across the country the impression you get is that a brighter future awaits following the famine of the one nine hundred ninety s. which claimed the lives of between six hundred thousand and one million people the streets have no cars but some dashes of new color life is hard but seemingly not as
hard as it used to be. kim jong un spent part of his childhood under a false identity in switzerland did he bring the dream of modernization and opening up with him from europe. the young dictator possesses a nuclear bomb that protects him home and abroad and. also consolidates his poem but where as his father and grandfather built statues and palaces he builds railways bowling alleys swimming pools museums of natural history and leisure parks facilities no longer just serving the elite cultural advances in science and industry opium for a people who are for now still in all of new developments the aim to reinforce the dictatorship now in its third generation. in a sign of the times on this evening the colors of north korea shine in splendor for the first time after dark is north korea getting outside help russia and above all
china vote in favor of u.n. sanctions while at the same time continuing to trade with north korea an overthrow of kim jong un's regime is not something they want to see. the country's secret coffers and assets keep growing even in places where you'd least expect it such as berlin in the heart of europe. in two thousand and sixteen the german authorities began trying to close down this youth hostel located on the grounds of the north korean embassy since two thousand and eight the rent totaling more than thirty eight thousand euros a month has gone directly to the kim family. germany has terminated the lease but the owners of the hostel have steadfastly refused to vacate the premises. do you know whether office thirty nine makes money in france or germany or italy and france or
germany sure. it will. bring in a little new that will there are no workers in those countries because of the stringent laws pointed to it but one thing they do have is money and wealth fund it . but what about. north korea buys and sells real estate parental or speculative profit. you know. if they were to do direct business in those countries and openly show that our company is a north korean company we do mediately be subject to attacks on it. we rent out apartments. nobody knows who the owner is really we just collect the rents. do you know the names of these firms. as i don't know if i were to tell you that they'd end up on the sanctions list right away. they did it just yes north korea is
an awful dictatorship but the people who serve the regime faithfully like me or my friends or even the bosses are just doing our job that someone didn't know. and joining us is pretty evil perhaps what they do is in itself banned but there is still a code of honor between us. then you got and why. do they earn money in the us. not that i know of. i remember but we do do everything we can to relieve them of money. we have technology hacking that includes blackmailing software that north korea hacks into the us infrastructure industry or digital companies. we can't analyze or make much use
of the data as such we just hack our way in. and then demand money in return for guaranteeing that we will keep the data to ourselves. it's basically north korea taking digital data as a hostage. you know stopping these you know code the real trade with china coal and iron ore and other stuff you know this is the real ascension so he took the only siller that's. there we cannot stop everything how can this top or north koreans you know. how many shadow companies in operatives are there how far does their network truly extend and what kind of danger do they pose. of final reports the security council we've documented north korean weapons prohibited military training
programs in dozens of african and middle eastern member states in mozambique the contracts one of the contracts we saw was worth more than six million dollars intense and near the contract was worth a similar amount in euro's a little more i think maybe twelve million. so it's all about the money part of the problem with ballistic missiles is that. the technology wasn't supplied to all the countries that want to this technology so the north koreans stepped in and this is very alarming that in terms of proliferation there was this. new killer. now the new kill a facility in syria that was set up with north korea and the systems on this is
this is the kind of activity that i know concerns a lot of people. and the north koreans also have a syringe stockpile of chemical weapons as well. it's been twenty years since lim ill fled the kuwaiti desert where he'd been working on construction sites in the meantime he's become a father again here in seoul he has two sons they know they also have a big sister somewhere on the other side of the border. you know the irony about it would be the more i wonder what it is that made me who i am pretty that if it were a normal regime i would never have run away. and this mismanaged system and the forced me to make that terrible decision. but once a month in seoul refugees from the north meet up in
a christian center in order to remember their families and their people back home almost like the orphans of the man who was once their leader they turn to their god to rediscover a purpose in their lives. while in the north those taking orders from the dictators continue to work in the shadows at home and abroad to guarantee the survival of the regime. quadriga international talk show for journalists to discuss the topic of the week glued to not seen the biled quest for old editors no copyright infringement the board drive a nail in the free expression of the lap. dancer topping up by treating.
quadriga ninety minutes on d w. post says heat in ruins morrow a. symbol of a long conflict in the philippines. between the muslims and the christian population. last night as fighters occupied the city center seventeen president to tears his response was told. by the tourists will never again book called. the reconquest turned into tragedy. this is not the kind of freedom that we want. how did know how would you become a gateway to islam is terror i think the sorry got under my skin as the result of an exclusive report from
a destroyed city. philippines in the subsurface starts april eleventh one t.w. . cut. cut. cut. this is d.w. news coming to you live from berlin new zealand stands in silence as the names of those killed in a mass shooting or read aloud. i mean. living until i meet. my. representatives of companies around the world are there too to remember the fifty people gunned down during friday prayers