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isten in English

Life near North Korea

Published: 11.08.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 2:46
Accent: British
BBC Global News Podcast (11.08.2017)

A report of the life of South Koreans living close to the North Korean border.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • aggression [n] - hostile or violent behavior
  • casualties [n] - people killed or injured in a war
  • propaganda [n] - (false) information to support a political idea
  • blast [v] - play (music) loudly
  • a minor nuisance [n] - a small problem
  • shells [n] - bullets from a large gun or cannon
  • a conventional war [n] - a non-nuclear war
  • devastating [adj] - very damaging
  • a drill [n] - a practice
  • a shelter [n] - a protective building to hide in an emergency
  • land mines [n] - a type of bomb placed just below the ground
  • carry on [phv] - continue (with life)

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Where is the village located?
    in North Korea
    on the border of North Korea
    100 km from North Korea

  2. What is the sound in the background?
    propaganda from North Korea
    music from the village
    noise from the village market

  3. Where are the North Korean guns?
    a few miles from the border
    right on the border
    in Pyeongyang

  4. How many shells could the North Korean guns fire in one hour?
    5 000 000
    500 000
    50 000

  5. Who is the Lee Hakgi (the man being interviewed)?
    a doctor from South Korean
    a soldier from North Korea
    the mayor of the village

  6. What should people in the village do in an emergency?
    Go to a shelter.
    Fire their guns at North Korea.
    Move to Seoul.

  7. Why is the village a dangerous place to live?
    It is so close to North Korea.
    There are many mines near the village.
    North Korea often fires guns at the village.

  8. What are the women doing?
    Planting beans.
    Eating beans.
    Drying beans.

  9. Why does the woman want to stay in the village?
    It is her home.
    She is too old to move.
    She feels safe.

triangle Script

So what is it like to live in the shadow of potential aggression from North Korea? In South Korea of course, people have lived with this threat for decades. And they know that in the event of war, they'll take the first casualties. So how do they cope with that knowledge and how far does it shape everyday life? The BBC's Justin Webb took a trip to the border.

We’ve come to a village. It doesn't look much to write home about actually - just concrete buildings and the fields all around us. But it is at the edge of the most dangerous unstable border in the world. It is a pretty strange place. This is the border between North and South Korea. When the dogs stop barking, you can hear in the distance the voice of North Korea. That sound is propaganda. It is coming out of giant speakers and it's being blasted at these people all day, although I have to say it's a pretty minor nuisance compared with a threat that war would bring. It's estimated that the North Korean guns, that we can't see from here but their base just a few miles across the border, could fire five hundred thousand shells in the first hour of a conventional war. So even a conventional war would be just devastating for everyone who lives here.

So there’s a village center right by. In case of an emergency or in case of a drill, we would make an announcement through the radio speakers asking the people to gather at the shelter.

We’re talking to the mayor, Lee Hagki. It doesn't feel like a normal life.

We don't necessarily live here because we want to live here or because we like living here. It’s just that this is our home, and that's why we're here. Actually, it very dangerous to live here because of all the land mines that are near the farmlands. And people have to go there to work. And we don't know where all the mines are and there are a lot of them.

We've come outside the shelter now and village life is carrying on very much as normal. There are a couple of women sitting here sorting through beans on the ground.

They are drying the beans so they can make soybean paste later.

Does she ever think of leaving because of the threat?

I'm just going to keep living here.


Because it's her hometown is what she said.

The End of the 747
Doctor Sued in China