Korean young people are lauded as performers of miracles and feats and heroes of the times as they build structures of lasting value representing the times everywhere in the DPRK.
The construction project for the northern railways which was undertaken solely by young people in the 1980s was of great significance in developing rich natural resources in the northern areas of the country, relieving the strains on transport and improving the people’s livelihood. It was an uphill task to cut 76 tunnels stretching for over 26 000 metres and build 116 railway bridges with a total length of 6 300 metres and 42 railway stations in the section extending for more than 252 kilometres in the remote region surrounded by mountains more than 1 000 metres above sea level. The weather conditions of the alpine region made the construction more difficult as summer is short and winter is long and cold, with the mercury falling to 30 degrees below zero on average and to 40 at maximum.
But such impediments could not retard the advance of the youth. They conducted foundation work in mud and even went into icy water to ensure the progress of building operations. They carried out ahead of schedule such labour-consuming jobs as the removal of more than 10 million cubic metres of earth and breaking of millions of cubic metres of bedrock, thereby opening to traffic the railways on August 25, 1988, five years after groundbreaking.
The Monument to the Northern Railways standing in the plaza in front of Hyesan Youth Railway Station in Ryanggang Province is a testimony to the exploits performed by young builders.
Youth Hero Motorway
In the latter half of the 1990s the DPRK was compelled to make an Arduous March due to the moves of the allied imperialist forces to isolate and stifle the country plus natural disasters that hit it for consecutive years. At the time of serious food and power shortages, the Workers’ Party of Korea assigned the work of building a road extending for over 40 kilometres between Pyongyang and Nampho to young people in a show of its utmost trust in them.
The workload was challenging as it involved the construction of 24 bridges, over 6 480-metre-long retaining walls, more than 80-kilometre-long operation and feeder roads, 30-metre-wide greens on both sides of the road and over 60 new villages with flats for some 3 600 families.
The word “sack-carrying tactic” was coined at the construction site as the use of vehicles was limited due to the worst-ever fuel shortage. They worked so hard that their hands got chapped, but they continued to run with sacks filled with earth and stones on their backs, shouting “We can keep the red flag fluttering when we run” and “Let’s go, my sack. I shouldn’t be late on my way to General Kim Jong Il”. They completed the road in less than two years after the start of the project. It was named Youth Hero Motorway to convey their fighting spirit to posterity.
Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station
The project was a huge task to be carried out by overcoming the most unfavourable natural and geographical conditions in the DPRK’s history of hydropower plant construction.
The building of concrete dams was very complicated as they would go across the ravine more than 1 000 metres above sea level and the weather was harsh, but the Korean youth defied all difficulties.
They built dams and dug waterway tunnels breaking rocks and moving mountains with sledgehammers and crow bars in the face of biting northern cold. When means of transport were frozen in intense cold, they transported building materials with large and small sledges, and even went into icy water to bolster up the railway bridges with their bodies in order to hasten the day of completion.
In the decade-odd-long war to ameliorate nature they performed miraculous achievements day after day to live up to the great expectation of the WPK that put forward young people as the masters of the times. They built the dam of power station No. 1 within some 120 days by carrying out the workload equal to what they did in the previous ten years, and completed power station Nos. 2 and 3 far ahead of schedule.
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un who inspected the power station nearing completion in September 2015 saw to it that it was named “Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station”, describing all the Korean young people as heroes. He visited the completed power station in October that year and called their achievements as “a legendary tale of heroic youth”.
Today, the monumental structures associated with the exploits of young people stand imposingly across the country, powerfully demonstrating the might of the WPK’s politics of attaching importance to youth.