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tv   A Postcard from Pyongyang  Deutsche Welle  July 13, 2020 8:15pm-9:01pm CEST

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will teams that be a nice name i think it is it kind of is obviously a washington you know that's that's what i was going for i chris huntington from the false thanks for that crystal. and you're watching news from. more headlines at the top of the album off in the meantime there's always a website you can follow us on twitter and on instagram i'll handle is a myself the team that's watching has been great having your company i'll see you next time. mark and on demand. contrast language courses. video and or you know. any time anywhere. w. media center.
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in 2012 the world's press was full of reports about north korea dictator kim jong il had died in december 27th and now everyone was wondering what north korea would be like under the leadership of his son 28 year old kim jong un. and old asian proverb says seeing with your own eyes is better than hearing a 1000 reports so in early 2013 my friend philip and i decided to visit north korea the 1st challenge lay in actually booking the trip. we normally plan our trips
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abroad ourselves but individual tourism doesn't exist in north korea even booking the entry and departure arrangements are dealt with by a state agency. before entering the country we had to sign a paper declaring that our visit had no journalistic purpose. we had to get permission if we wanted to take photos and film and sound recordings were forbidden . all the following material was shot on a camera with a built in video function. i hid the blinking red recording light with black sticky tape. we were only vaguely aware of the hot water we might end up in but we still wanted to smuggle as much footage as possible back to germany. but then we still hadn't really worked out what to do with it. there are several ways to get to north korea we decided on a 25 hour train journey from beijing to pyongyang.
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when we arrived in pyongyang we were met at the station by 2 guides they were to be something like our guards for the next 7 days. yung yang has 3000000 inhabitants and only 2 hotels for foreign visitors we were booked into the choreo hotel. it looked like we were to be given a private guided tour of the nation's achievements we would be driven from door to door and not allowed to go out without our guard.
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units once it's do you have your client tickets flights back to germany yes you're 80 kids. get sick here's from pyongyang to beijing. ok and here from beijing to munich. you look at it you will not need hospitals within north korea it's not good is it when you have a north korean guy and you don't need a possible so you can go anywhere but you are not allowed to leave the hotel without your guides and. i said that. i can show you all the places of interest. and that is what we will do. if you do this you know there was a lot of excitement in the hotel lobby it was the 27th of july 2013 victory day. many international guests had come here especially for this event it marks the end
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of the korean war which lasted from 1950 to 1953. the fighting was brought to a close by the signing of an armistice agreement. but north and south korea are technically still at war. according to south korean media reports this was the 1st time that victory day had been celebrated with a military parade since 1903 with thousands of soldiers marching past and driving by in tanks. gasoline.
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vehicles with loudspeakers had been driving through the city all week. even days later the continuous racket took some getting used to north korea's armed forces were.
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that. night we were always alone in the bus because we had booked in individual trips because that means we had the whole tour bus to ourselves apart from our omnipresent minders anything to. north korea get support from the world hunger relief organization have you heard that there is a true. shoal of nearly all developing countries getting help. but i don't really know a lot of them he doesn't play such a bleak role looking at the fleet because i don't know where world hunger aid actually operates from. i don't know where the whole people live off.
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at least a few months he didn't mean you don't see them now no. we soon realized that conversations of this kind were barely possible whenever we started a discussion with one of our guides the other one would often jump in and stop it. and we got the feeling they weren't only keeping tabs on us but also on each other of course we couldn't ask that at least not if we wanted to leave the country in one piece with our footage. once we got back home we asked dr who to get proc a professor of east asian economy and society at the university of vienna about it if anyone can explain how north korea works it's him this is north korea as it was mentioned you might also know that one hour in north korea people who deal with foreigners are rarely able to do so alone but always at least in pairs and the whole point of this is mutual surveillance they both also have to write reports
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about their encounters with the reports of then compared and checked to see if there are any inconsistency so that you can never be sure whether you as a north korean who has had contact with a foreigner have gone unobserved that is also a very effective system of self-censorship since. north and south korea are separated by the so-called d.m.z. the demilitarized zone on the way there we hardly met any cars coming toward us which wasn't surprising because nobody can cross the border in either direction anyway. do you do those use the demilitarized zone is a 2 kilometer wide strip on either side of an imaginary demarcation line in other words a 4 kilometer wide strip of stretching about 250 kilometers across the korean peninsula from one coast to the other it was created to guarantee the ceasefire in the korean
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war and is now still the defacto border between the 2 koreas yes it's done given as the school year to use. at one point you can walk or drive through the d.m.z. and get directly to the demarcation line zones you know there are the sky blue barracks where cease fire negotiations took place in 1951 to 53 and way talks between both sides is still taking place today the border runs right through the middle of these barracks so you have a kind of neutral area so to speak. where officials can talk to each other without officially having to enter each other's country no. but we still didn't really understand how reunification was supposed to work. what did the citizens of this rigidly socialist state with its on the present leadership cold imagine a unified korea would look like. would it be
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a capitalist country. tonight. when south and north reunite we wanted to be one nation and one government with 2 systems that we want our own sovereignty and a peaceful reunification bringing together the entire nation i do not see einstein was just 2 systems socialism and capitalism 2 governments just. thinks of conference and you think you could work this kind of indians with just him is the most insane you he could work in fact it has to. i think it can work because nobody will be oppressed science and i can everyone can own their own property just in the south korea can remain capitalist and we can still be socialist but both united. and you think it will work it will be best for a 1st ever could you imagine relinquishing socialism in the interest of reunification
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of the burdens as it is could you imagine that. just as if you didn't have any will foster. you know about what i do but it just hypothetically as a movement to force just an idea for us to do. this man's acts. and their good. system defined it you would reunite but you would have to give up socialism in order to be reunited all students and just about the 1st would you do that which was to me. on suicide. do you believe south korea would ever adopt socialism to become one nation again it's just that. you don't manage to have a month. our question went unanswered nobody had overheard our conversation and our watchdog had only expressed loyalty to the regime nevertheless a new guide turned up in the evening. we could only assume that the old one had
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decided to avoid us. that was a bit on because in fact we got on well with our guides we even found out about their private lives. i said being on the road with tourists for up to 2 weeks at a time must have been exhausting and inquired how they coped with it. one guy had said his marriage had collapsed so the job actually suited him. another told me about his 4 year old daughter we missed and who like my niece like disney films basically the same discussions we had at home. but at least we could get a personal glimpse into north koreans every day lives. the u.s. air force dropped an estimated 450000 tons of bombs and more than 30000 tons of neighbor home on north korea during the war some 90 percent of pyongyang was
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destroyed you can see the scale of the devastation and today's cityscape. we berliners may be familiar with socialist architecture from east germany but pyongyang looks like a combination of the 1970 s. and some futuristic science fiction vision. at 1st glance we couldn't make out any sort of social infrastructure at all and would have been lost without our guides which wasn't the sort of thing we normally experienced. once we were back in berlin we talked to philip morris who is an architect and also the editor of the architectural and cultural guide to pyongyang. young is an instance he fought in korea before the korean war young yang was a homogeneous old sitting in the creek is the in this man who he is but after the war they changed the entire city beyond all recognition and vanity completely
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sweeping away the old structures would. be an ownership rights one a problem because the state on everything anyway i mean is the best kind of a plan of the moment this was great for the city planners who could finally plan things the way they want to create utopias smile and so that's what happened here these narrow winding alley that's replaced by wide main roads and modern with the story buildings of the. architecture and ideology are inextricably entwined in north korea beyond yang's new urban design took its orientation from the tate on the river and laid down myriad axes connecting the most important monuments by line of sight. the most important visual access links the so-called grand monument of monsoon hill with the one commemorating the foundation of the north korean communist party. summary street is the city's main artery. it connects the victory arch with monsoon
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hill. and the symbolic center of pyongyang kim il sung square. from there you can look across the river to do che tower and the eastern part of the city. symbols of the kim dynasty as personality cold are everywhere. time and again we came across portraits. wax figures or statues of the 3 generations of supreme leaders. i mean have you ever bowed down to
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a statue wearing a parka. in this respect our visit to the 20 meter tall grand monument on months to hill was an absolute highlight. all visits follow a strict procedure the deep valleys obligatory so we saved ourselves the trouble of questioning this out loud and did everything we were told to do i after all it was strictly forbidden to film without the knowledge of the guides. so we didn't want to attract any unnecessary scrutiny. ok don't point. to. just. greg olay the flowers there please and come back to us then we will bounce together i i i i. i. in addition to kowtow ing you also have to buy
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a bunch of plastic flowers each time you visit frequently fake pink or red orchids later we noticed the flowers were collected up and brought back to the stand to be sold again. i. know. i. next stop kim il sung's square which covers an area of 75000 square meters and is used as a parade ground it's an incredible amount of open space in the middle of the city. numerous small white dots and numbers have been painted on the ground so that everyone knows what to do during a parade. if you look across the river you can see the tower the monument to north korea's
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official cult of self-reliance. 170 meters tall it commemorates the great achievements of the country's 1st supreme leader kim il sung who's down to the jew che ideology in the fifty's now it has grown into a quasi religion and the deceased cams are worshipped like deities. as you can imagine the jew che ideology is at the very heart of the north korean system it also gives its name to the calendar used here which is calculated from the year of kim il sung's birth. the school to believe. and myself your religion i am myself here in myself so still if you don't know any words and i will you see i'm actually crist but you're not the best chris probably go maybe for you that's the most boring us to
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leave the court christian communities what's least let me close here scott it's what you know country with beliefs to idea yeah ok so you know kind of the church ids it's not a religion the only it is the religion it means then their beliefs have you read some of them. maybe many of them many and ensuring the university wisdom it's ok as in subjects as well substance ok ok so what does it say you. are socially east east the one that. is the one that initiate the g.g. idea how socialism is our social mission it's our owns tyson she lives and it is men centered solutions and it is just the young man is the owner of everything and them as that is what decides everything gets into the. yeah we have a similar history as your country and all countries from the floats really from rights because of several what cæsar is the north koreans will create what are the
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issues for the whole thing i do know is sort of politics i'm not interested in politics invoking the economy with the idea it either is for a different message in the what's in self grace catalyst yes they only think about money but you know countries we kept the solution is we only think of our men here our leaders our party but didn't care please please please what we didn't care of you only seem to have money so i do spirit different and economies are so difficult just different they maybe have it developed its i mean economy and it's also korea and livingston that is much. higher than honest but. you think so it's high has that being so if you know for instance how do you know how do you know i think we've learned it in class at times we've heard we've learned it's the most curious rather what's for and what's not to be looked at but afterward maybe 10
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years later it need to be looked at my watch and you know what t.v. news in some foreigners say that's the sunscreens trip to the teach what's economy pick up a different take your entire story from a few things here and this made it clear that whatever english lesson your great managers are close enough time. off to our next appointment which was one of the most exciting of our whole trip. there was a huge crowd here and there was a lot of excitement in the air. 2 soldiers led some guy away obviously against his will. but there was no time to find out more because all wrong
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was starting. our read wrong i have never seen such an impressive artistic performance. more than 100000 people took part in this display of dance and gymnastics. thousands of children in the terraces held up colored cards creating a sort of mosaic effect. then they all flipped them at the same time and formed a new pattern.
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the army run festival takes place in the ring grotto 1st of may stadium which is said to hold $100114.00 people and is the biggest in the world. ari wrong was one of the most incredible events we had ever seen we asked our guides how north korea managed to get everyone to join in and. to answer our
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question they took us to the so-called among young day children's palace the next day. among young day children's palace is run by the youth core of north korea and offers members of the young pioneer movement the chance to take part in a wide range of extracurricular activities some 4000 children attend its classes schools like this play a crucial role in north korean education. we
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were taken to various classrooms or groups of children were already waiting for us . music sports dance arts and crafts the children some of them still quite young amaze us with their skills. thing. the thing. with the. with. the.
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if you. don't. want. them. to come to. you. to do for you for. the only. thing i wondered if i would have ever been able to do that at that age and how much effort it took to achieve that level of perfection. but at least i now understand a bit more about why a child would want to be part of a huge human mosaic for several hours. i
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. i. i i i. it didn't take us long to realize how hard it was to get any real idea of this country of staged sue purgatives. we asked a lot of questions but could rarely choose the topics. that's probably why we left north korea feeling we knew even less than we had when we arrived. of course our experiences only scratched the surface of what life in north korea is really like. nevertheless i felt i was edging a little closer to an answer. i can now sense a little of what it must be like to live in
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a totalitarian state where you can't express your opinions openly and have to play along out of fear of punishment in fact i was really relieved when i got on the plane back to beijing filming in secret had been a huge strain but now it was lifted. i was left with so many deep impressions that would remain with me for a long time to come. it was an exciting trip but i didn't think i would be going back to north korea any time soon. that is until i found out you could also run a marathon. after i had recently been part of a team that had run through the desert from los. vegas. is my passion so why
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not a marathon in pyongyang it's the only way to get around the city without a chaperone. but this year. between north korea and the us threatened to prevent us from going back there at all. as we prepared to leave both countries were engaged in an aggressive war of words. so just in case we registered on the german foreign offices crisis preparedness website. when we arrive we meet our watchdogs for the next 2 weeks. yeah yeah yeah dad thinks the celebration of the korean war really really not that. a lot seem to have changed since our visit in 2013 new residential areas had been
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built and pyongyang was no longer completely blacked out. at least not on the days before and after the marathon that's a new skyscraper there right wow it's huge the one with the lights in the back. very beautiful and. during our 1st night at the hotel i started to feel sick probably something i'd eaten in the past 24 hours. still we managed to visit the pyongyang subway it's the deepest underground railway network in the world. riding the subway in pyongyang is a highlight for every berliner at the end of the ninety's early and sold several
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subway trains to north korea and they're still in service today. i. i. i i. on the escalator i notice a very pleasant contrast to our stations at home the lack of advertising. nothing was screaming out at us to buy things instead of advertising posters the walls were faced with a lab really designed mosaics although their color from 0 tepes were steeped in official propaganda.
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apart from the portraits of kim il sung and his son kim jong il the carriages were still in their original condition the windows still even had the scratches left by the removal of graffiti back in berlin the underground system was started in the late sixties and now has around 30 stations during our visit i started to feel even worse and had an accident on the escalator i headed straight back to the hotel. oh that haven't been done fortunately this morning i had a massive stomach problem after breakfast to see the limit that's unleashed on quick one when we went to the subway and that is down the escalator and i couldn't hold it any more and this gastro intestinal bug whatever it is has really hit me. the only problem is i'm supposed to run the marathon tomorrow i'll wait until tomorrow morning but it can't go on like this you know let's see what the night
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brings and. it was april 12th 2017. the day of the 4th marathon in pyongyang where foreigners could take part this year was special before the participants had to run for 10 kilometer laps around the stadium now for the 1st time the course took us 21 kilometers around the city and back again. but because of the bug my stomach was empty and i was really to hydrated. and you know. when we entered the stadium for the 1st time we saw a crowd of some 40000 had turned out to cheer us on. this
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is by just yesterday i was still standing in the bathroom and couldn't hold anything in at all but today after 3 bananas and some toast i am going to try to run a series of let's see how far i get in divides coming. we
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left the stadium and ran past the victory arch. people were at the roadside cheering the runners on. i can only guess who was ordered to be here and who was here voluntarily. all that mattered to me right now is that they were here to give us. some support. kilometer 700 and i'm still doing ok. i've now got 16 kilometers behind me and i'm surprised i could take part at all. at about.
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12 kilometers to go i'm already dead beat. by the 30 kilometer point the water supplies had run out as the 10 kilometer and half marathon courses followed the same route it was the last bottle of water i got for the rest of the race. by the time i got to the finish line i felt like i was drying out from the inside but there was no water there either.
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because. i usually rest after a marathon and try to do something good for my body and i especially needed to do that now but as in 2013 my 2017 trip was also crammed full of information and sightseeing stops so instead of going back to our hotel we grabbed our bags and set off on a 4 hour drive across the country. 'd our destination muzhik young north korea's only ski resort. it's located in the east of the country. this modern hotel is part of the resort.
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in the evening we went to a nearby restaurant for a korean barbecue. after a few bottles of rice wine and a really nice dinner we asked our guides and the restaurant staff to sing karaoke for us. they performed our iran. the. is. our iran is the name of a folk song about a young woman who sings to her lover in the hope that he will return to her as soon as possible. because it's actually a very normal story and of course it expresses the suffering of separation in this
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case between 2 people. in the protrusions i mention this concept but if you then apply it to the situation of the 2 koreas nowadays are iran creates a common ground based on a shared national identity a few years ago it was the end of the minds of a kind of you know it's a stand of causes this commands notes of that is. very wrong is a very important symbol for both north and south korea. at the 2018 winter olympics in pyung chang it was the common anthem for the athletes from both koreas. one of the biggest south korean t.v. stations is called our ear on t.v. and north korea has the ari wrong gymnastics festival that we visited in 2013. both are named after this old folk song. i was.
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at the kong box supermarket we got a glimpse into the lives of a small segment of the north korean population it's one of only 3 supermarkets selling foreign products mainly from thailand or china and you can only pay with the north korean currency the won that was different because otherwise we always had to pay in euro zor dollars from. the. leaf heat was. besides the supermarkets some other things in north korea seem to have changed too although we could only judge this by appearances in 2013 for example many houses and pyongyang were gray and infested with mold whereas in 2017 they had been
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painted in peach and turquoise hues. the. the people were also wearing brighter colors and a wider range of styles and we also saw more international sports brands in the street was. the larger portions of food also gave us the impression that things had changed since 2013 we even saw u.s. products on sale. not everything we saw in north korea was bad although of course there was plenty to worry about. but some things were really beautiful and some were just too good to be true. you could still feel the tension and sense that people weren't saying what was on their minds but sometimes it also felt strangely intimate.
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was it because we were together all the time or because i had like my guides regardless of the regime or their world view. i'm glad i've seen north korea for myself at least as far as the constant surveillance allowed. all the impressions experiences and encounters we brought home were the very reason we had to go there in the 1st place. these assault rifle is should not be a museum. in german arms manufacturing company cars sold them illegally to mexico. bosses always seem to find ways to get around the german government's own funds.
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lifo let's what's. the industry leaders in the talk shows. in 30 minutes on d w. o. i'm not laughing at the germans well i guess sometimes i am but i said nothing with the tell me that i don't think deep into the german culture of. nudity. thank you for those grammar the relief because it's all about who. i might show join me i need to get down to the. bar the friends at. the floor are they even enemies i never worked for jeff. donald trump and you're proving our 2 part documentary n.y.c. is just a good relationship between russia and the us and between their presidents how does their rivalry and their dangerous mutual admiration affect the rest of the world's
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. bosom bullies been putin starts august 3rd on d w. this is g w from berlin tonight into a reminder that going on vacation is no vacation from social distancing on the spanish party island of majorca hundreds oregon packing the bars and beaches ignoring guidelines germany's helps minister warning of reckless rebel it could trigger a 2nd wave of the us also coming up tonight.


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