At dawn on May 23, 2001 Kim Jong Il arrived at the Sinhung Area Revolutionary Battle Site in South Hamgyong Province after a night-long drive.
He gave field guidance at the revolutionary battle sites in Mts Paegyok, Ongnyon and Kodae, crossing the rugged Pujonryong Mountains.
The following happened when he visited the Ongnyonsan Secret Camp. He looked round the slogan-bearing trees on the opposite side of the mysterious Tol River. As he was crossing a wooden bridge over the river, he asked an official of the province how far it was from the secret camp to the township of Pujon County.
The official answered approximately 14 km.
The General asked again if the docents commuted to the secret camp on a daily basis.
The official replied that the girls were living together in a house nearby.
“So do they have to live here?” said Kim Jong Il with a troubled look.
The girl guiding him said, “Don’t worry, General. We have lived here all the year round, looking forward to seeing you.”
Kim Jong Il regarded her thoughtfully and said to himself, “If these girls live in the mountain as they do now, I am afraid that it will be difficult for them to get married.”
He asked his guide how often she would go home in a year.
The girl answered once a month.
“If you go home once a month, you will hardly find time for dating,” said the General.
After a pause, he resumed, “You need to descend the mountain and mingle with boys to choose your boyfriend. But as you ought to live on at this battle site, you will see no other boys than those who are touring it.”
All smiled genially at this joke.
That day he underlined the need to give prominence to the docents who were living and working in out-of-the-way mountains to defend the Party’s revolutionary traditions and pay closer concern to their marriage and other relevant matters.
The news spread quickly, boys vying for the girls and the parents taking pains to protect their daughters.
Once worried about their marriage, the parents were now raising the “price” of their daughters who were under the warm care of Kim Jong Il.