North Korea: A sneak peek through the keyhole


Schoolchildren pay their respects at Pyongyang's <a href='' target='_blank'>Kumsusan Palace of the Sun</a>, where Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state in glass coffins.

Pyongyang, North Korea (CNN) -- On North Korea's national airline the sound system blares patriotic music at passengers from the moment they get on the plane until the moment they step off the aircraft. The volume is so loud that earphones fail to drown out the socialist anthems. Even in the tiny bathroom, there is no escape. Next to the sink, a speaker continues to blast occupants with paeans to the people's paradise.

The inescapable soundtrack aboard the Air Koryo plane is a fitting metaphor for my recent five-day trip to Pyongyang. It was a tightly-restricted, carefully stage-managed tour rich with propaganda and political theater and little else: It offered virtually no insight into what life is like for ordinary citizens who live in this rigid dictatorship.

For a foreign journalist it was like trying to peer through a keyhole -- and being left to guess at the hidden world on the other side of the door.

"A family day out at the <a href='' target='_blank'>Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia festival</a>," says Schwarz. "Those big red blooms are kimjongilias."

The North Korean regime invited more than a dozen television crews from around the world to see its lavish celebration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought an end to the fighting for the Korean War.

In a characteristic burst of revisionist history, Pyongyang refers to this as its "grand victory against US imperialists in the Fatherland Liberation War."

This was the image the North Korean leadership wanted to present to the outside world: endless parades of goose-stepping soldiers and military hardware, accompanied by huge demonstrations of popular support for Kim Jong Un, the twenty-something leader who inherited the dynastic throne when his father died in 2011.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un honors country's war veterans

The relatively inexperienced grandson has a striking -- some say deliberate -- resemblance to his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the long-dead founder of communist North Korea.

"They're trying to connect Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Un," said Han Park, a professor of International Relations at the University of Georgia. Park spoke to CNN after the grandson inaugurated an enormous new Korean War museum, dominated by giant portraits and statues of a youthful Kim Il Sung.

The celebrations, presided over by<a href='' target='_blank'> North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un,</a> came several months after North Korea threatened to scrap the agreement and resume hostilities against the United States and South Korea. The heightened tensions came after the United Nations slapped tougher sanctions on the country after its latest nuclear test.

The sight of the corpulent Kim Jong Un touring the gilded new museum contrasted sharply with appalling statistics recently released by the United Nations. Last month, the U.N.'s World Food Program called for donated foreign food aid to be distributed to 2.4 million North Korean women and children for "the prevention and cure of moderate acute malnutrition among children (6 months -- 4 years old) and their mothers." Those 2.4 million people amount to roughly 10% of the Korean population. Up to a million North Koreans are believed to have died in a famine when this country's state-controlled economy all but collapsed in the 1990s.

The visit to Pyongyang marked the most strictly controlled foreign assignment of my journalistic career. North Korea was more restrictive than previous reporting trips to Iran and even Moammar Gadhafi's Libya at a time when his regime was trying -- and ultimately failing -- to survive a NATO bombing campaign.

We were not allowed to leave the confines of the Yanggakdo International Hotel unless we were riding a government bus. During my five days in North Korea, the authorities did not even allow me to see what the country's currency looks like.

Cosmetic change, but no real reform, in North Korea

Two unfailingly polite government minders -- one junior, one senior -- were assigned to remain at the side of our three-man television crew at all times. Aside from arrival and departure from the airport, I estimate our buses remained within a roughly five square-mile perimeter in the center of Pyongyang for five days.


제 목 North Korea: A sneak peek through the keyhole 조회수 4491
위닝폰 만족도 추천 1위 전화영어 화상영어
이전글 Tourists evacuated as oil blackens Thai beach
다음글 Wholesome, beautiful and tough as nails: Meet Miss

    수강평가 포인트 440 Point dahy**님
    워밍업 10개 답변 600 Point doda**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 510 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    수강평가 포인트 450 Point dahy**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 400 Point doda**님
    끝말잇기 80 Point doda**님
    회원가입 축하 3,000 Point nayo**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 380 Point dahy**님
    수강평가 포인트 230 Point dahy**님
    수강평가 포인트 460 Point dahy**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 530 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    끝말잇기 20 Point dahy**님
    수강평가 포인트 410 Point dahy**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 540 Point dahy**님
    워밍업 10개 답변 180 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    워밍업 10개 답변 290 Point doda**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point doda**님
    수강평가 포인트 310 Point doda**님
    끝말잇기 100 Point doda**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 550 Point doda**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point doda**님
    수강평가 포인트 370 Point dahy**님
    수강평가 포인트 450 Point dahy**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point dahy**님
    회원가입 축하 3,000 Point pucc**님
    모바일 로그인 1,000 Point pucc**님
    영작하기 10개 완료 580 Point frim**님
    회원가입 축하 3,000 Point owlb**님
    단어맞추기 정답 100 Point doda**님
    모바일 로그인 1,000 Point owlb**님
    신규 결제 포인트 2,130 Point owlb**님
    신규 결제 포인트 2,565 Point chun**님
    신규 결제 포인트 2,565 Point dahy**님