On Thu, 5 Oct 2017 09:38:23 -0400
RS Wood <email@example.com> wrote:
I was given a visa to North Korea, along with three other New York Times journalists. The U.S. State Department promptly gave us an exemption from the travel ban to North Korea and issued special passports good for a single trip here.
Far more than when I previously visited, North Korea is galvanizing its people to expect a nuclear war with the United States. High school students march in the streets in military uniform every day to denounce America. Posters and billboards along the public roads show missiles destroying the U.S. Capitol and shredding the American flag. In fact, images of missiles are everywhere — in a kindergarten playground, at a dolphin show, on state television. This military mobilization is accompanied by the ubiquitous assumption that North Korea could not only survive a nuclear conflict, but also win it.
Meanwhile, outside the capital, North Koreans are dirt poor at best,
factories lie idle, and the general scene is medieval. Nice work, ya
Jones did not find the gleaming high rises and paved boulevards of the
capital when he arrived in Hamhung, North Korea’s second largest city,
which used to be an industrial hub. Instead, his photos show people
bundled up in winter coats pushing bicycles over rutted dirt roads
between buildings with the paint peeling off. Others show women pulling
carts of cabbages.
People push a cart carrying cabbage in Hamhung on Nov. 22. (Ed
Along the coast, where simple wooden boats line the beach, there is not
a whisper of smoke to be seen from the factories.
This is a very different picture from the most recent KCNA report from
When the Moranbong Band, an all-female musical group, performed in
Hamhung in October, the state news agency said that they performed
songs for the local audience that “impressively show the delight and
optimism of the Korean people who are glorifying their dignity as
independent people enjoying a worthwhile life under the care of the
[communist Workers’] Party.”
As he moved up the coast, Jones saw men carrying huge bundles of straw
on their backs or walking alongside carts pulled by cattle.
A man guilds a cart along a track near Riwon on Nov. 22. (Ed
In Kimchaek, once known for its port and its ironworks, Jones’s photos
show the smokestacks again idle, and not a single vehicle is seen on
the roads. In one apartment building, the windows are covered with
plastic and the tiles are loose on the roof.
In other photos, children, teenagers at the oldest, pull carts along
Children pull a cart loaded with wood along a road near Kiliju on Nov.
19. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)
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As Jones approaches Chongjin in the north, North Korea’s third largest
city, he finds the occasional car or truck. But mostly the photos show
people pushing bikes or cycling down dirt roads or past propaganda
billboards, including one celebrating Kim Jong Suk, the current
Propaganda posters on the outskirts of the city of Chongjin on Nov. 19.
(Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)
After seeing schoolchildren walking alongside a frozen stream, Jones
then finds women standing in a flowing stream, washing cabbages in the
Children walk on a frozen river near Raksan on Nov. 21. (Ed
People wash cabbages in a river near Raksan on Nov. 21. (Ed
Jones/AFP/Getty Images)When he makes it to Rajin-Sonbong, or “Rason” as
it is known, Jones finds some uncompleted high-rises, a crane still in
place, and more cars and trucks. Still, it is a long way from the
bustling special economic zone that the Kim regime has envisaged.