Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kim Jong-Il's Secret Escape Route

Muammar Gaddafi, who lost his stronghold in Tripoli recently, is speculated to have escaped via underground tunnels beneath his palace. The fact that Gaddafi stayed in his palace despite the losing war against the rebels is probably that his confidence in escaping. Underground escape routes are the last resort for long-term dictators when his regime fails.

So, what does North Korea, an isolationist nation trying to push through a 3-generation dictatorship, have in case of emergency for the dear leader?
North Korean Space Mountain?

Hwang Jang-yup, former Secretary of the Labor Party and a defector, once talked about an underground escape tunnel exclusively for Kim Jong-Il, that is 300m(about a thousand feet) deep.

Hwang said, "I once went down to the secret underground tunnel connected beneath the Pyongyang subway tunnels, decades ago. We went down 150m more from the subway tunnels." To give you an idea, Pyongyang subway lines are built 100~150m beneath the surface in case of a nuclear attack. (look at the picture above)

A defector that worked close to Kim Jong-Il also added, "You can go anywhere in Pyongyang by taking these underground tunnels. To make escaping easier in case of air raid, they built entrances to this tunnel network in every major infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and hotels. But virtually nobody knows about this."

Tunnels go far beyond Pyongyang as well. According to Secretary Hwang, "I went to Jamosan via the tunnels, which is about 40 kilometers(~25 miles) away from Pyongyang. There were clean water springs and vegetation growing underground." This network of underground tunnels is known to be connected all the way to Kim Jong-Il's vacation villa in Myohyang.

To save you with the trouble of looking up names of the locations, here's the jist : If North Korea gets invaded while he is in any of his vacation villas, which is spread all over the place around Pyongyang, he can simply take the tunnel to the military command center nearby. From there, he can issue his war commands. When things turn out for the worst, Kim Jong-Il can easily escape to Nampo, a harbor city, to escape via ocean to another nation.

Considering that North Korea is a nation almost entirely built upon a military foundation in virtually all aspects of society. There are tunnels for military use, for air raids, for nuclear attacks. One cannot even imagine how many tunnels there are and how extensive they are all across the country. What we know about them from North Korean defectors' testimonies must be only the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

As always, the source of this article is Joo Sung-ha's Nambuk Story Blog.

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