Reporter Takes Rare North Korea Road Trip07:48
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The Associated Press's bureau chief in North Korea has taken a road trip outside of the capital Pyongyang, to a mountain that North Korea hopes tourists will visit.

Eric Talmadge's stories appear as North Korea today declared a 21-day quarantine on foreigners in the country. He spoke to Here & Now's Robin Young about the road trip.

Interview Highlights

In this June 20, 2014 photo, young North Korean schoolchildren help to fix pot holes in a rural road in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. (David Guttenfelder/AP)
In this June 20, 2014 photo, young North Korean schoolchildren help to fix pot holes in a rural road in North Korea's North Hamgyong province. (David Guttenfelder/AP)

On the landscape outside of Pyongyang

“When you leave the city, it’s almost immediate — the change. You go into a very rural setting very quickly. The road situations are much more bumpy. Of course when you get farther into the inland you’re more on dirt roads or partially paved roads. Pyongyang, and I think this is surprising to many people, Pyongyang is actually a fairly impressive city, particularly, by developing world standards.”

On propaganda in the North Korean countryside

“One of the things that struck me, that’s really singular about the North Korean countryside is when you’re driving through the country, you’re constantly seeing signs with slogans from the party. One of the most popular is ‘single-minded unity,’ which is kind of the motto of the North Korean government and then things like, ‘We’re a great space-faring nation,’ ‘long live the military first policy,’ and then a lot of signs hailing workers who have achieved their quotas.”

Guest

This segment aired on October 30, 2014.

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