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tv   AM Wake Up Call  CNN  December 19, 2011 2:00am-3:00am PST

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north korea is a nation in mourning and much of the world is wondering right now what happens next. you're watching continuing coverage of the death of kim jong-il. the state run news agency says the 69-year-old died of a heart attack this weekend since coming to power in 1994 kim increased his country's nuclear might and
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isolation. his repressive rule also saw massive famines that killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. in a sign of the tensions over his dealt, south korea has put its military forces on emergency alert and convened an emergency cabinet meeting, and pyongyang is urging an increase in its own military capability. kim jong-il apparently died on saturday, but his death was not reported until monday morning on state-run tv. take a look at how north koreans the man known as their dear leader died. the news anchor visibly emotional saying he died of physical and mental over work. take a look at how north koreans reacted to that report. [ sobbing ]
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>> we have video giving us a rare glimpse inside the reclusive nation. you can see the outpouring of emotion over kim jong-il's death. the state-run news agency says some people were even writhing in pain. whatever you might think of kim jong-il, there was no denying he was an unusual head of state. john voss reports. >> reporter: with the buf font hair, oversized sunglasses and trademark jumpsuit, he looked every bit the nutty tyrant. >> the appearance made it a little more difficult to treat him seriously at least at first. >> reporter: he was the dictator with the reputation for indulge in fine wine and prostitutes. he held total power, developed nuclear weapons an forced the u.s. to negotiate. >> that is not necessarily the work of a womanizing
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booze-swilling individual drunk during the day. >> reporter: inside north korea it was all about kim, portrayed by his propaganda machine as a political, military, technological, artistic and cinematic genius, a renaissance man who has flown fighter jets and shot 11 holes in one at his first try at golf. his public appearances were breathlessly reported on state media. he was haled as the central brain and the morning star. he was a crazed ruler who loved to make people dance, a million of them all at once and all in step. he presided over a nation more cult than country. you chase away fierce storms and gave us faith they sing. his official biography says he was born in a log cabin in a sacred korean mountain under
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rainbows and stars. some say it was probably in siberia in a soviet camp where his father was training to fight. he loved movies. james bond was apparently among his favorites. he reportedly was unhappy with north korea's portrayal in "die another day." no word on what he thought about teen america. in the late 1970s it's believed he personally ordered the kidnapping of a south korean actress and her director husband. and for eight years until they escaped forced them to make propaganda films. kim did apologize for north korea's kidnapping of 13 japanese and allegedly approved the bombing of a korean airlines flight which killed more than 100 people. the apparent motive was to disrupt the 1988 olympic games in seoul. they were dubbed the soprano state for its role in organized crime including the production
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and distribution of heroin and methamphetamines. >> his legacy will be that he made some bad choicetion for his country. >> reporter: he was a man who every day seemed he had a bad hair day, who starved his people, threatened south korea with the fourth largest arsenal in the world. the certainty of his brutality is gone. in its place, the terrifying uncertainty of what comes next. john voss, cnn, beijing. beijing is paying its respects to kim jong-il as pyongyang's closest ally. the flag at the north korean embassy in the chinese capitol was lowered to half staff. china's state-run shin juan news agency reports beijing expresses deep kol condolences over the north korean leader. attention is shifting to the next leader kim jong un, state media referring to him as the
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great successor. we want to take a closer look at the heir apparent, the youngest son of kim jong-il believed to be 27 or 28 years old. he is the son of the elder kim's late third wife. now, because of his age and lack of experience, he's said to be a political novice. in 2009 he reportedly took a low-level post at the national defense commission and that's north korea's highest ruling agency led by his father. last year he was promoted to four star general, seen as a stepping stone to taking over from his father. he shares a physical resemblance to his father. like his father he may also have diabetes. it's believed as a boy he secretly attended boarding school in switzerland and then kim ill su military academy named for his grandfather. he reportedly is a big fan of basketball and michael jordan. our coverage on the death of north korean leader kim jong-il
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continues. stay with us here on cnn. e rock♪ [ both ] ♪ rocket man ♪ burning out his fuse up here alone ♪ burning out his fuse up here alone? ahh. [ male announcer ] crystal clear fender premium audio. one of many premium features available on the all-new volkswagen passat. the 2012 motor trend car of the year. ♪ and i think it's gonna be a long, long time ♪
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welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the death of kim jong-il. reaction has been pouring in from around the world. south korea's defense ministry raised its national alert to the second of three levels. and president myung-bak asked that they remain calm. japan also called an emergency national security meeting upon learning of kim's death. a statement has since been issued offering condolences. japan's chief government spokesman says we wish the sudden news would not affect north korea negatively. china has also offered its deep condolen condolences. north korea and china are close
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allies. wire reports are now quoting the russian president sending his condolences on kim jong il's death. from the other side of the world, a u.s. official says north korea fatss extraordinary change and uncertainty and an insecure north korea could well be even more dangerous. earlier the white house press secretary issued a statement saying the president has been notified and we are in close touch with our allies in south korea and japan. we remain committed to stability on the korean peninsula and to the freedom and security of our allies. from britain, u.k. foreign secretary william hague says kim's death could be a turning point for north korea and urged the new leadership to recognize that engagement with the international community offers the best prospect of improving lives of the north korean people. china is north korea's closest ally and kim jong il's death is big news there. we'll get stan grant in beijing
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now. we've heard they've offered their condolences. are they saying anything else? >> reporter: just one statement. they took some questions at the min tri of foreign affairs briefing today, monita. those questions been taken to be answered at a later date. the statement says yes, they offered their condolence, praising kichl jong il as a great leader of socialism, calling on the north korean people to see this as an opportunity for unity and repeating a line, that china is committed to stability on the korean peninsula. that is going to be crucial. this relationship between the united states and china really comes under the microscope now. will they just take up cold war positions? will you see the united states firmly in south korea's core ner and china in north korea's? will they be able to work through this? that puts china very much in the frame. china, of course, brought together the parties for the
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six-party talks. russia, japan, north korea, south korea, the united states and china, all having various competing and contending relationshi relationships. china was able to bring those people to the table to try to advance their whole debate about china, that north korea's nuclear program. now china is going to have to use all its influence to ensure stability with the leadership transition. kim jong un is not unknown to china, brought by his factr in the past to get the tick of approval from the leadership. with kim jong il being in poor health, the situation north korea was anticipating. but also china anticipating, running various contingencies just for this event. the real question here is the potential for misunderstanding. we know when there's a heightened situation of alert, that the wrong thing said at the wrong time, the wrong action can lead very quickly toesque lags
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and all parties are concerned to ensure that that doesn't happen with so much uncertainty and potential in stability. monita? >> stan, what kind of opportunity does this present for beijing? >> reporter: it's a crucial opportunity for beijing. china's stated ambition is to become the pre pontd rant power in asia. we've seen china extending its reach, its relationship throughout the region, trade relationships in particular throughout the region. it wants to do that peacefully. china does not want to see itself dragged into a conflict that could interrupt its own growth and forestall those ambitions. at the same time, though, the united states has been very clear in recent months with the end of activity in iraq, the drawdown of troops in afghanistan, it's going to recommit to this region. barack obama on a recent trip through the region was talking about the u.s. commitment, even going as far as to organize for
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more u.s. troops to be placed on the ground in australia. some have interpreted that as an attempt to try to contain china's rise. right now all of that is in the mix. just how much influence does china have? how closely can the u.s. and china work together? how mature is the chinese leadership? how much influence and pressure it can bring to bear on north korea? you're right, this presents a real opportunity for china, an opportunity to show its leadership, but also the great potential for things to go awry as well. they're going to be well aware of that, monita? >> you mentioned that kim jong un, the heir apparent had visited china. what does beijing really know about this young man? do they hold him in much esteem? do they believe he's credible? do they even believe he has what it takes to lead this country into the next generation? >> reporter: we haven't heard
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anything, of course, publicly. of course, with his trips to beijing, the fact he was brought here by his father and met with the leadership here would give some indication of beijing's i'm pro mad da. at the same time we don't know much about him. that's the problem. how old is he? some say 27, 28, 29 reports of him having attended school in switzerland, a private school there, being exposed to the west, an interest in basketball, western movies, that he speaks several languages. this is still a very young man. a man that many are questioning now whether he even has the authority to be able to impose himself on north korea. let's not forget, these are the same questions posed about his father when kim jong il succeeded kim il sung. kim il sung is president for eternity. the questions were asked whether he would have the authority, those same questions being asked about kim jong un now.
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kim jong il had a long apprenticeship, 20 years by his father's son. his son only a matter of a few years. he's inheriting a country that is poor, that we know is cut off from the rest of the world where there's a hard line old leadership, military leadership in place, and how he's able to impose himself on that is going to be the real test as well as what sort of country he wants to lead, monita. >> stan, talk to us a little bit about the relationship between pyongyang and beijing and how they became these close allies? was it a case of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? or was there some sense of genuine i guess commonality between them? >> reporter: an ideological unity certainly, if you go back six decades. that was at the core of this relationship. also, it was forged on the battlefield during the korean war. china sent tens of thousands of so-called volunteers, members of the military in plainclothes across the border to fight with
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north korea. that help north korea stave off the u.n. forces, the united states and south korea and others. it was crucial, a relationship that was crucially forged in the heat of battle. in the years since then, particularly after the collapse of other communist regimes around the world, notably russia, that really affected north korea. north korea had a sizable economic relationship with russia. during the 1990s it it saw north korea's xhe subtract nearly 50%. it was heavily in debt. at that point north korea was heavily invested in its military. there was that terrible famine that some say claimed millions of lives. china is the key economic benefactor as well. china has a big stake in this, monita. >> former cnn chief international correspondent christian amanpour tlavld to korea in 2008. she shares her memories with us.
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>> reporter: we were there with a team in 2008. it was around the time when there were negotiations going on between north korea and the united states. they came to fruition in june of 2008 when, you're right, we saw the nuclear tower, the water cooling tower at the plant blown up. but it was a moment of hope then which rapidly came to an end in the summer of 2008 because apparently at about that time most people suspect that kim jong il suffered a stroke. as his health deteriorated, negotiations fell apart, and basically there have been none since then except for there are reports that over the last several months the north koreans and the united states have been talking. there were reports of potentially a food deal could be announced, a nutrition deal between united states and north korea this week potentially. there were reports, not
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completely confirmed, but that there might be some deal, some movement on a nuclear deal with north korea again agreeing to suspend their enrichment activities. again, this has not yet been announced. but that was something that certainly united states negotiators who met several times with north korean negotiators over the past several months both in geneva and beijing had hoped to be able to bring to fruition. >> christian, everyone is now looking to the heir apparent, kim junk il, a man who we know very little about. we think he's in his late 20s. he likes basketball. we heard he is a quiet, polite man. is this the young man with very little experience, the man who can essentially create the cult of personality as his father and his grandfather did? >> reporter: well, it's probably unlikely that he will be able to do that. even kim jong il wasn't able to
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maintain the cult of personality that his own father did. certainly when he nominated his young son to take over, people were very concerned. he's yoing, hasn't got that much experience that we know of. and he's going to be taking over, we presume, a nuclear nation. we will have to wait and see. the issue here the whether it will promote more hard line policies from some of the old guard, whether they will sort of circle the wagons around this young man, and whether it will put a stop to some of these negotiations that were going on with the united states or whether they will be able to go through nonetheless. >> christian amanpour speaking with john vause. cnn's coverage of the keth of kim jong il continues after the break. we'll take a look at the effect on business and the stock markets in the region.
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north koreans there reacting the the news that the man known as their dear leader is dead. stayed media say kim jong il died on saturday of a heart attacks. his death wasn't announced until just a few hours ago. after kim jong il's death, south korea says peace and stability on the korean peninsula is more important than anything else. a funeral for the long-time north korean leader reportedly is planned for december 28th following a week of mourning. revered at home, kim jong il taunted south korea and the west with his country's nuclear weapons program. his regime also witnessed mass famines that killed many of his own people. cnn's pauline choiu has been looking into the state of the north korean economy. she joins us from hong kong. to talk about the state of the economy, there really isn't much of one. >> there isn't much of one, monita, because their economy is very, very fragile. the her mitt kingdom is very isolated and lags behind other
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countries. its 2009 gdp was estimated to be $28 billion. in comparison, south korea's gdp is more than 30 times that size. north korea relies heavily on food aid from china since it can't afford to feed most of its population. north korea depends on china for most of its trade. the korean trade investment agency based in seoul says china accounted for 83% of north korea's $4.2 billion worth of international commerce in the year 2010. now, while north korea isolates itself, the regime has partnered with south korea in a complex called kaesong which is on north korean territory north of the dmz. this complex combines south korean investment and technology with cheap north korean labor. 123 south korean companies work out of the complex. they mainly manufacture things like clothes, electronics and
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utensils. 707 south koreans work at the kason complex. they did leave work early today after the news came out. south korea says the north has assured that the facility will remain open and operating normally tomorrow. as for everyday life in north korea, i was very curious about this. i spoke with the director of "daily nk" that covers north korea. he said the monthly wage of a family in north korea is between $3.00 to $20 per month, and there's also something called the informal market where mostly women sell products like appliances, clothes, electronics from china, south korea and japan. it's these women who bring in most of the money to an average household because 80% of workers in government-run factories and facilities actually don't even get paid. it's very clear it's a difficult life in north korea and very
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much an economy that has a long way to go. >> we also talked about the isolation. you mentioned there, pauline, of north korea. interestingly enough, westerners have been doing business there. tell us about their experiences. >> yeah. that's very interesting. it's mostly europeans and chinese business people who are doing business there, not americans because of u.s. sanctions there. last year i spoke with a german entrepreneur who set up an i.t. outsourcing company in pyongyang about three years ago. i asked him why did you decide to go to pyongyang. he said because labor is cheap there. labor in north korea is cheaper than labor in china. he also said it was fairly easy to find north korean workers skilled in high tech because many worked in chinese factories and many spoke english, so it was easy to train them he said. he said that he believed there were about 100 westerners in pyongyang that do business there. for example, there's a british
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company that makes dvd players there and also a french company that makes cement. so it's a pretty interesting look at what's going on behind the scenes in pyongyang and some of the western businesses there trying to actually help the economy there. monita? >> pauline, thank you. pauline choiu in hong kong. we'll be right back. stay with us. if you're not satisfied with 50% more cash, send it back! i'll be right here, waiting for it. who wouldn't want more cash? [ insects chirping ] i'll take it. i'll make it rain up in here. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? sorry i'll clean this up. shouldn't have made it rain.
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main story, the death of north korean leader kim jong il. state media reported his death at noon local time today, two days after they say he suffered a heart attack and passed away. the news prompted an outpouring of grief in north korea which began with the announcement of his death on state tv.
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>> the question many are asking now swhats in store for a nation known as the her mitt kingdom. joining us is john delori from the graduate school of international studies in seoul. thank you for being with us. we understood orr many have been reporting that the regime's ability to survive this amount of time has been its ability to control any information from outside of north korea into the country. with now the death of kim jong il, do you believe that that ability still stands? >> well, i would actually argue that it's a little overstated how isolated north korea is. some people say from an american perspective that we're more isolated from them than they are from us. there's been reports of a lot of information coming over the
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china border including dvds and cell phones. north korea has its own cell phone service and there are chinese cell phones on the border. to some extent i think the her mitt kingdom is a 19th century term that's a little outdated. that said, of course, north korea is not integrated into east asia and sort of stands apart. that's going to be the main inheritance that the new leadership has to deal with. >> let's talk about the new leadership. what do you know about kim jong un, the heir apparent now? we understand he's in his late 20s. but he isn't one that is known to have much political experien experience. >> that's true. he's very young, in his mid, late 20s and we knew almost nothing about him until a few years ago when, of course, kim jong il suffered a stroke in the summer of 2008.
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since then we've been seeing quite a bit of kim jong un, appearing publicly with his father all across the country, being groomed. i was in north korea in september last year. just days before i left was the public coronation f you want, of kim jong un. we have very little personal information about him, fragment offense having studied in switzerland as a young boy and little pieces like that. over the last few years he's clearly been unveiled as the appointed successor. so far we're seeing that plan being implemented in the media wake of kim jong il's death. >> in the time of transition, there are those saying the real power brokers will be his uncle and aunt. they would be kim jong il's sister and brother-in-law. that said, how much power do they have overall and how much of an influence will they have in terms of what happens next
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for the country? >> well, they were promoted along with kim jong un last year in the major promotions. uncle, in particularly, jang song thaek has been prom meant in economic decisions in north korea for a long time. they're senior political figures, they're experienced. they were promoted right alongside kim jong un. that was a signal of the unity within the kim family that they're doing this together. so far the -- of course, this is the image they want to project. so far the image we're getting is of no sign of fragmentation in the north korean elite. there's consensus behind this succession program. kim jong un, he's the lead face at this point of the new leadership. but obviously he has to work through consensus and through a coalition of figures like his uncle and aunt and many other figures in the civilian and
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military ruling elite. >> much has been said about the domestic propaganda within north korea, a lot of what people are saying, what has been brainwashed amongst the north korean people. you were there. do you think the north koreans actually buy what they've been sold? >> well, i should emphasize i've made a few trips over the last few years, still it's limited interaction you have on these visits and it's mostly with north korean officials. my sample size is small. but, you know, the main impact that most people receive of actually visiting the country is you start to break down the politics and ideology and realize these are normal people. they're individuals you can get to know with individual characteristics. they have a whole range of opinions. now, they're not going to openly criticize their system. that's true. but if north koreans visit the united states, they may not hear that either, and i travel
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frequently to china. you don't hear often that kind of criticism, certainly not with chinese officials. so in a certain sense, i think they're more normal thaniel we expect given how little exposure the rest of the world has to life in north korea and actual north koreans. >> would you classify this as being a turning point for north are korea? >> absolutely. in its over 60-year history as a country, this is only the second time its had a transition of political power at the top level. and there were major changes in 1994 after the death of kim il sung. i think most are waiting to see what it's going to involve. this leadership is under a test right fou as they take their first steps in running the country. this doesn't happen often in north korea. it's a very sensitive period of time. >> let's take a look back.
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what do you believe was one of the biggest misconceptions of kim jong il? >> well, i think, you know, if you look at the immediate period after kim ill song's death when kim jong il came into power, he was seen as a real lightweight, as a kinds of playboy, cognac drinking figure. he turned out to be a serious political figure. it's been a very bad time for his country economically. but if you go back and you look at the accounts by western diplomats or so-called sort of enlightened chinese diplomats, if you read what they say about kim jong il, there's almost a universal description of a vfr
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well-informed, rationale political leader. the buffoon stereotype of kim jong il really distracted people from the fact that he was a leader with some measure of flexibility and realism who could have actually been dealt with much more than he was, particularly in the last few years. >> all right, john delory from the university graduate school of international studies in seoul. thank you very much. one of kim jong il's lasting legacy will be the country's nuclear development. in 1994 the year kim came to power, north korea agreed to freeze and dismantle its nuclear weapons program. four years later, the u.s. and north korea held the first round of high-level talks about pyongyang's suspected construction of an underground nuclear facility. negotiations with north korea became a back-and-forth of broken promises with pyongyang pledging to stop its weapons program in exchange for aid only to later renege. in january 2003, north korea
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withdrew from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. that april, pyongyang declared it had nuclear bep upons. three years later north korea claimed it successfully tested a nuclear weapon. but in 2007 pyongyang agreed to disable its nuclear weapons facilities. the next year north korea destroyed a wrauter cooling tower at the facility where it extracted plutonium for weapons. progress broke down after that. in may 2009 north korea conducted its second nuclear test. you're watching cnn. we'll be right back. oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. look at these big pieces of potato. ♪ what's that? big piece of potato. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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as north koreans mourn the death of the man known as the dear leader, there has been reaction coming in from around the world over the death of kim jong il. france is saying it hopes north korea will find freedom after kim jong il's death.
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germany says his death is a chance for change in north korea. south korea has put its military on alert. relations between the rival nations hit a low point last year. seoul accused pyongyang of shelling a south korean island. wolf blitzer traveled to north korea during that tense time. >> reporter: we had north korean officials with us all the time, and i mean all the time. >> thank you, wolf. >> thanks. >> reporter: they spoke english well and were vf intelligent, polite, even nice. i never felt threatened. let's not forget this is a communist totalitarian regime. they were restricted where we can go. we constantly pressed for more access and they sometimes relented. we saw a lot of the north korean capital. we did manage to get into the countryside to see a huge apple and fruit tree orchard where thousands of farmers work what the orchard director said were some 2.2 million trees.
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that number seemed exaggerated, but whatever it was, it was impressive. we left pyongyang probably about half an hour ago and drove to the countryside. we're here overlooking all of these fruit trees. it's row afro afro after row. it's snowy out there and you can't see any fruit. eventually, i guess once the time is right you'll see a lot of apples and other fruit growing right behind me. we're overlooking the ridge looking overall this area. acre of acre after acre. >> once you get outside pyongyang, you see very few cars on the roads. there were no lights in the tunnels on the roads outside the north korean capital. people are walking along the sides of the roads. some are riding bikes. it's eerie being in the only car on the road. this is a very poor country. even as we feared there could be a war, we were take tone a silk thread factory where 2,000 women
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worked diligently. they also took us sightseeing. we saw their arc detree umph, supposedly bigger than the one in paris. we went to another source of north korean pride. >> we're on top of the world's tallest stone tower overlooking pyongyang. it's majestic to see what's going on. you see the river. you see the bitter cold, freezing snow. but the buildings are really impressive, to see what's going only here in the north korean capital. and they built this tower to really highlight what they've accomplished over the years. it's very impressive, i must say, to be on top and someone who lives in washington, d.c., they make the point of pointing out this is taller than the washington monument. and they constantly point out it's the tallest in the world. huge pictures of the late great leader kim ill song and his son
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were all over the place. i didn't see picture of the next expected leader, jim jong un. i saw lots of book slamming the united states including "the u.s. imperialists started the korean war." later when it looked like they would retaliate from the military exercise, i thought of all the young people i had seen in north korea. they seemed so vulnerable. and i worried about their fate if there were a war. i'm not embarrassed to say i got emotional worrying about them and their counterparts in south korea. ♪ it's a serene, quiet morning here along the banks of the river in the heart of pyongyang. kids are playing, couples are walking by. families are having a good time. it's sort of misleading. it's anything but quiet on the korean peninsula, a very tense moment. inside that building, richardson is meeting with north korean military officers. this may be the most important
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meeting he's had since arriving here in the north korean capital. we're watching it every step of the way. the stakes are enormous. outsiders have been predicting its demise for 60 years, but i didn't get the impression this country was on the verge of crumbling. by the way, 2012 will be a huge year for north korea, the 100th anniversary of the birth of kim ill sung. since they invited me back, i might go back then, maybe sooner, though i hope it won't be to cover a war. wolf blitzer, cnn, pyongyang, north korea. >> some analysts say those celebrations for 2012 may be canceled as the nation mourns the death of kim jong il. our coverage continues after a short break. we'll hear more about kim's reign from a man who visited north korea many times. we'll be right back. ♪ motor home ♪ i'm the rocket man! [ both ] ♪ rocket man
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north korea is mourning the death of the man they know as the dear leader. the 69-year-old kim passed away suddenly on saturday. a north korean blood caster was clearly upset when she made this announcement earlier today. [ speaking foreign language ] [ sobbing ] -- of overwork after dedicating his life to the people. some of those people now openly weeping in the streets.
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♪ >> we want to show you a live look at north korean broadcaster kcna, it's been airing trib butsz to the late kim jong il. sometimes his portrait is shown for minutes at a time. we want to give you a look back at some of the relationships between north korea and its closest neighbor, nearest neighbor which is south korea. the korean peninsula has been a hot bed of tension and conflict. the korean war started in 1950 when the north attacked the south. u.n. troops help defend the south while chinese troops backed the north. the south korean capital seoul changed hands three times in three years and almost 3 million people lost their lives. but the two nations remain technically at war. they have agreed a truce but not a treaty. and the demilitarized zone remains one of the most hvly guarded in the world. we want insight of what the death means for pyongyang.
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cnn senior field producer tim schwartz joins us from hong kong. describe to us your experience of having been there and what i guess is your strongest memories. >> reporter: north korea is a very different country from anything that nonnorth koreans are used to. you could compare it to china in the 1960s or '70s, russia in the 50s, but even more than that. it's a country that is completely regimented, completely controlled. the authority goes straight to the top to one man at the top. that one man was for the last -- since 1994 kim jong il who has just passed on. so people have a huge amount of their national faith and their national belief invested in this one person. >> there's also a sense -- i understand not much information can come out of this. it's very difficult to actually talk to north koreans when you're there to get a true sense of what they think. one of the ideas we understand
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is a lot of information is closely guarded, outside information is closely monitored. but that said, what do north koreans believe of the outside world or even, i should say, of their brothers in south korea. >> reporter: well, one of the aims of the north korean state is to protect its citizens from the influences of the outside world. so they try and restrict any information going to them. they want to keep a monopoly of all the information coming into north korea. that used to work to a large extent in the past. in resented years it's just impossible. it's not that north koreans have easy access to outside information. but no a days it's very common for north koreans to be able to buy smuggled dvds from south korea where they can see the standard of living and how much better off and prosperous it is for them. many north koreans escaped across the border, engaged in trade in xhin nah and then come
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back. for them china is a paradise compared to their own country. it's no longer possible to continue the fiction among north koreans that north korea is pair digs on earth, especially since people have experience of the hardships and famine. north koreans no longer believe that they're living in the most wonderful, well-off, perfect society in the world. it's a long way from having that knowledge to actually doing anything about it. >> i'm also curious to know, tim, what it was like to -- i guess your experiences as a journalist in north korea. talk to us a little bit about the roadblocks they put in front of you, if any at all, or any restrictions that you had. >> well, of course, there are huge restrictions on being a journalist in north korea. there are huge restrictions on being a foreigner in north korea, on just being an ordinary citizen in north korea. the level of control is that tight. for a journalist, we had to be accompanied wherever we go, whenever we leave our hotel in
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terms of a tv crew by at least two north korean officials who keep an eye on us, will stop us from filming where they don't want us to film, will not stop the car when we ask them if they don't want us to stop the car in a certain place. not only them, but there are also people watching the minders. there's various levels of control here, monita. >> tim, thank you very much, tim schwarz in hong kong. kim jong il's is generating a lot of reaction on social media. some people are saying, sweden's foreign minister says the death of the dictator is also a period of uncertainty for a dictatorship. p.j. crowley, the former u.s. assistant secretary of state saying if north korea were a normal country, the death of kim jong il might open the door to a pyongyang spring, but it is not a rm nol country.
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notable "new york times" columnist nick kristoff who was banned from life from north korea says kim jong il is one of the world's most peculiar and least known leaders. now he's dead and his successor is uncertain. imagine... -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com one scooter or power chair that could improve your
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