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Making way for North Korea’s “emergency vehicles”

Fire trucks and ambulances rushing to the site of the caller are always racing against the clock.

In South Korea, a television program has been changing awareness about making way for fire trucks and ambulances on the road. An online campaign, “Make Way,” has been spreading as citizens raise awareness about allowing emergency vehicles to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

Recently, a video clip of an ambulance transporting a pregnant woman, with drivers making way by changing lanes, made its way into popular search rankings with the title, “The Miracle of Moses.”

And North Korea has its own distinct version of a “Make Way” campaign.

“The private cars of elite cadres are North Korea’s emergency vehicles”

Choi Yeonhwa, an exile from North Korea, says, “In South Korea, drivers move aside for emergency vehicles passing through. In North Korea, the ordinary folk must do that for the cars of officials.”

Members of the elite can flaunt their own special license plate. Previously, these contained the number 2.16, denoting Kim Jong-il’s birthday. More recently, the number changed to 7.27, which is the date of the Armistice Agreement of the Korean War. In North Korea, July 27 is advertised as a “day of victory” rather than as a day of armistice.

Choi continues, “When a 2.16 car is around, people must move out of the way so the vehicle can speed past. Anyone who dares to obstruct the path of that car would be challenging the Party.”

There is much available space on North Korea’s roads for speed-driving, due to a lack of traffic. Nevertheless, ordinary people must still take care not to infringe on that privileged right of cadres.

“In Pyongyang, officials have their own lanes”

2.16 vehicles do not generally undergo inspection procedures, regardless of the region or institution they are entering or exiting. Within Pyongyang itself, …read more

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