tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 15, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
between the lines because everything they're saying is everything their government has been telling them. everything they hear has been vetted and approved by their authoritarian government. to be able to travel all the way up to the border near china the first time cnn has ever been there really unprecedented and the pictures are truly extraordinary. >> i look forward to that. thanks very much. will's special report secret state inside north korea starts now. this is the north korea you know. this is the north korea you've never seen. stories you've never heard. >> is that a legend or did that actually happen? >> translator: our general is really a person who heaven sent to us. >> places you've never been. people with a common enemy. who do you want to fight.
>> translator: to fight this one enemy, americans. >> what if i told you i'm an american? do you want to shoot me too? unprecedented access. hidden from the world until now. come with me to the secret state, inside north korea. north korea, a nation holding its nuclear sword over the u.s. and its allies, threatening to strike at any time, a society in a constant state of readiness for war. life on the inside is a mystery to most of the world. i've reported from north korea more than a dozen times over the last few years. each time we open the door a little more and see this country
and its people in unexpected ways. just like this. yep, even in north korea kids love video games. these 14 and 15-year-olds, these are not just games. this is practice for real life. most of these boys and a lot of the girls will spend their first years of adulthood serving in the korean peoples army just like their parents and grandparents before nem. >> what do you like about this game in. >> translator: killing the enemy. >> who is the enemy? >> translator: americans. >> this hatred of is americans stems from the korean war. north korea contradicts western historians saying that america started the war that killed millions of civilians and divided the korean peninsula.
>> who do you want to fight? >> translator: to fight the sworn enemy, americans. >> what do they teach you about americans in school? >> translator: they forcibly invaded us, slaughtered our people, buried them, buried them alive and killed them. >> so they teach you that the americans are the enemy and you need to shoot them to fight them? >> translator: yes. >> here is where things get awkward. what if i told you i'm an american? do you want to shoot me too. >> translator: yes. there are good people. we'll see if you're a good person or a bad person. >> i'm a good american. don't shoot me. >> translator: um, no, i won't shoot. >> this is the pair docks of north korea, smiling young people, friendly, polite, even as they tell me how much they hate the united states. from their earliest years these children are told america could
attack at any time, told they must prepare for the next war. in north korea government minders watch our every move and restrict what we can film, even if this is what we want to see, high school students horsing around at the beach. i can't help but wonder what do they actually know about america? >> translator: no. i just wear it to play sports. >> have you ever heard of portland. >> translator: haven't heard of it. >> have you ever seen any american movies or haertd any american music. >> translator: no. >> ever heard of facebook or twitter or instagram? >> translator: no, not at all. >> these teens have been told americans act and look scary. >> what would you expect from an american? what would you expect an american to be like? >> translator: big nose with a hairry chest. >> big nose and hairy chest, had you?
well, i don't have a hairy chest you tell me do i have a big nose? >> with a nose like that, the sort of. >> have you fiez ever met an american before. >> they become visibly uncomfortable when they learn i'm an american. i'm the first one they've ever met. >> i won't interrupt your game any longer. thank you very much. it was nice to meet you guys. next, our government minders want us to see this place, the song dough juan international children's camp in juan san, considered the best in north korea. entire school classes compete for a chance to spend two weeks at camp. many of these kids have never seen anything like it. but this is something they know well. the first thing you see when you walk into this camp, the statue. everything here, just like everywhere else in north korea, centers around the leaders. these children have been taught a fierce loyalty to their nation's leaders, all members of the kim family.
photos and statues are everywhere, songs of praise are staples. ♪ >> even at this birthday party, students sing about the leaders. >> translator: he gives us more love than even our parents can give. >> why do you consider your leader kim jong-un like your father? >> translator: he's affectionate and more caring than my own parents. he gives us more love than even our parents could give. >> he just turned 14 says his own parents can't afford to give him a meal like this. many of north korea's 5 million children come from towns and villages where the basics, electricity, clean water, nutritious food, are not always available. trrnls i declare, i will become a true member of the children's union who studies better in order to repay the love of
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our government minders are taking us from north korea's capital, pyongyang to the coastal does he of won san, our 125-mile journey on this bumpy road takes almost five hours. we've been driving for a couple of hours through the countryy side and we've just gotten stopped at a checkpoint, already several minutes now our minders are speaking with the police officer, not sure what's happening, but he doesn't seem to want to let us pass. >> travel here is restricted and getting stopped can be nerve-racking, but we're finally allowed to pass. it turns out the concern this time is only about our big van stunnering the road work ahead. driving on, we see men and women laboring in dark tunnels.
much of the north korean countryside is undeveloped with very little infrastructure, but that also means the landscape is relatively untouched. and i must say, the scenery is striking. majestic mountains, thick forests. and this seaside city. we made it here to won san, a mid sized industrial city, the fifth largest in north korea on the east coast. popular for tourists, known for great seafood, fishing and something else. won san is one of north korea's main missile launch sites, and they've been launching missiles at an unprecedented pace.
north korea even has intercontinental ballistic missile, potentially nuclear capable and within striking range of the u.s. for the first time ever. in the 1980s north korea's founder, kim ill son launched the country's first missile. but since kim jong-un came to power no 2011 he's advanced the nuclear programs faster than anyone predicted. why do they keep doing this? >> translator: for one, propaganda. each launch helps north korea's leaders protect power. but also missiles are like an insurance policy for the regime, protecting north korea from the u.s. and its allies. >> so i have to tell you, your city is very well known around the world because of all the missiles that keep being launched from here. have you ever heard the missiles? >> translator: of course.
wham. we see it going up. >> he has lived here in juan son his whole life. >> as a north korean, when you see these missiles in the sky, what message does that send to you? >> translator: it gives me great pride. >> so did this massive military drill along the beach, personally supervised by kim jong-un. many north koreans don't even understand why the u.s. and the world feel threatened. >> translator: why is the trump administration constantly imposing sanctions and stuff when we are doing these missile launches and all for our own defense capability. we're defending ourselves. >> is there any criticism, anything you'd like to see your leader or your government do differently? >> translator: nothing at all. i'm so satisfied. >> keep in mind, during all my
trips i've never heard anyone criticize the authoritarian government. north korea has zero tolerance for decent of any kind. what happens to people who break the rules? the united nations says hidden in the hills the country has a network of prison camps where torture and executions are common. north korean officials deny the allegations. they do say criminals are punished appropriately. >> aside from missiles, one of won san's proudest achievements is a hydroelectric plan. we're told lights in the city stay on for 24 hours a day, a rater in north korea. in fact, when we stopped for dinner at a tea house miles away from won san, the lights go out within minutes. nobody seems phased by it. we dine on wild fez ant by
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we traveled to parts of north korea that few foreigners have ever seen. the cold war never ended. the quiet countryside surround lg this area is riddled with landmines. no film is allowed on the roads here. now our government minders are letting us do a little souvenir shopping. i've never seen a gift shop like this. these postcards are some of the most popular items. this one reads we will crush the u.s. attempts for a nuclear war. this one to the u.s. hard line, we will counter with the ultrahard line. and you can buy them right here. if you think the postcards are intense, wait until you see the posters. you don't need to read korean to know what this means here. the u.s. capitol there, symbolism says it all. yep, that's the capitol. and that's a giant fist crushing
the u.s. did you see the american being anie late by his own missile? i'm sensing a theme here. what makes all of this even more surreal is where we are. the korean demilitarized zone or dmz, a place unlike any other in the world. to understand the dmz, we need to go back to the end of world war ii. the soviets and americans divided cory just like they did germany. and the korean war set the two super powers against each other with koreans caught in the middle h. 3 million of them died. technically the war never ended. an armistice left north and south cory facing each other down along the 38th parallel, the dmz. my tour guide -- when you actually live here, does it feel
tense? do you feel like you're on the brink of a war? >> translator: i think it's not an exaggeration to say we are living at the brink of war given that we are constantly receiving threats of war. >> south korean and american soldiers staring down north korean soldiers and vice versa. they call this the demilitarized zone, but it's the exact opposite. both sides have masses of soldiers up and down this heavily fortified border pointing weapons at each other. it's considered one of the most dangerous flash points in the world. >> and it's getting worse. a lot has change since i came here back in 2015. more nuclear tests, dozens of missile launches. does it feel more tense now? >> translator: yes. we can say the state of affairs is more tense, but it's rather the united states' continued hostile policy towards north korea reaching its peak. >> if you got the order right
now, what would the military do? trrnls as soon as we receive the order from our supreme commander, we will liberate south korea and we will turn the u.s. mainland into a sea of fire. >> maybe it's time to change the subject. the lieutenant colonel and i are both the same age, 36. but our lives couldn't be more different. still, we must have some common ground. what's your party kind of music? >> translator: my favorite song is our eternal revolutionary song, the song praising our general, kim jong-un. >> i really like classic rock. have you ever heard any classic rock? >> translator: i think i've heard of it before, but um, i'm not sure. >> what's your favorite sport? >> translator: i like basketball. >> you like basketball? oh, i'm terrible at basketball. >> okay. so we don't have much in common,
but i think he's warming up to me. we say good-bye as friends. >> it's good to see you and i'm glad we're meeting like this and not on the battlefield. next stop, kaye song, the north korean city closest to the dmz. >> what's it like to be so close to south korea but you're not able to go? >> translator: it hurts. and you've been asking about south korea a lot. it's a place i want to go. >> we are so close to seoul, south korea, thriving economy, modern skyline. do you ever ask yourself why you don't have that here? >> translator: we have pyongyang. it's been built with our own power, our own technology, our own independent economy. how can seoul compete with that? >> i can't help but wonder what would his life be like if his family ended up just a few miles south after the korean war, driving back to pyongyang, i have no idea we're about to
experience one of the strangest days i've ever had in north korea. it begins like every other morning in pyongyang. this music is the city's alarm clock, played every day beginning at 5:00 a.m. to commemorate the sacrifices of north korea's leaders. we head to the pyongyang international airport for the arrival of a vip, dennis rod man has been invited back for another round of so-called basketball diplomacy. >> are you bringing a message from president trump to north korea's supreme leader kim jong-un? >> just come to see some friends and have a good time. >> distracted by the rod man circus, we have no idea a secret hand over is happening at the pyongyang airport. american college student otto warmbier is quietly put on a
u.s. government plane, a final sad chapter in a story that began a year and a half ago. warm beer came here on a private sightseeing tour after a night out on the town to celebrate new year's eve, the university of virginia student was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner from the wall of his hotel. for that he got a 15-year sentence. soon after, mist earousel, he ended up with a brain injury. >> in north korea otto warmbier has been released. let's go straight to our will ripley. >> this was one of the hardest reports i've ever had to give. i'd spoken just weeks earlier with warm booer's parents. at the time they had no idea about their son's condition. >> this reunion is not the happy reunion that his family had been hoemg for as recently as a week ago because that is when they learned according to a family statement that otto warmbier has
been in a coma since march of 2016. in june of 2017 he returned to his hometown near cincinnati, ohio in a vehicle taifb state. oh toe warm beer died six days later. he was 22. as i'm writing this, at least three other americans remain in north korean custody. the state department has since banned most u.s. citizens there traveling here. the stakes have never been higher. eal on hotwire if you book on tuesdays. and wednesdays. through mondays. don't forget birthdays, doomsdays, michael farradays, yesterdays. karl's birthdays.
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we are heading 40 miles south of pyongyang to a province where people definitely are not used to seeing foreigners. hello. even getting permission to come here is complicated. there is a lot of discussions that are happening, making sure that we're going to the right place, speaking to the right people. but we're not headed for a sensitive military site or secret prison camp. what we want to see is a farm.
farming is a sensitive subject in north korea. the nation still struggles to feed its own people. limited farmland and a significant drought could put millions at risk. the united nations' world food program estimates 70% of the population, nearly 18 million north koreans don't have a sufficiently diverse diet. they survive on basic staples, rice, pour ridge, per meant cabbage called kim chee, beef, chicken and pork are often too expensive. this handful of farmers seems to be putting on a demonstration for our benefit. after they finish, i try to ask them some questions. most of the group is camera shy. but this woman has plenty to say. >> translator: the thing i am fonld of is for us farmers is the land, just taking care of
the land. >> how long have you been doing this? >> translator: it's been about ten years since i came here. >> what's the farthest that you've ever traveled from home? >> translator: not that far. >> if you could go, if you could leave north korea and go to any other place in the world, where would you like to visit? >> translator: i want to visit the u.s. >> her answer surprises me. no north korean has ever told me they want to visit the united states. >> translator: i want to see what on earth the u.s. looks like to be harassing korean people so much. it's so hard for us right now because of it. i really curse the americans and want to destroy their land. >> now i understand her answer.
it's very nice to meet you. i wish you the best. so now we're being taken to a family's home. this is a family that has been selected for us. like most families in this farming coop, they grow their own crops in the front yard. offering to share some of their food with us, they tell me this is a typical lunch. it's got a kick to it. it's strong. duck eggs, bean paste and rice wrapped in lettuce with garlic and spices. simple, healthy, delicious. a lot of people in the outside world think that people in north korea still are starving. how is the food supply now? i ask about a time most north koreans didn't have enough to eat. the north korean familiar inof the late 1990s.
hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of north koreans died of starvation. >> translator: we ate tree bark after going up to the mountain for food and wondered just how long we'll have to do this, but it's not a problem now compared to that. this is all homegrown. after farming for a year, we get rice and money to live off of, which is great. this house, i got it for free. >> he gives me a tour. like every north korean living room, there are portraits of the late leaders. >> translator: this is a photo of our family and the general when he came to visit. >> you have a dvd player here. what kind of dvds do you like to watch? >> translator: cooking and lifestyle, new songs, movies.
i watch a lot of them. >> have you ever seen any western movies? >> translator: no, we don't watch them. we wouldn't even if we could. >> he does watch state tv, and he listens to propaganda broadcasts on the radio. but his favorite ritual, like many of his generation, reading the newspaper. >> how important is the state media to getting information about what's happening? >> translator: it's very important. it gets broadcast right away to everyone through television and newspapers on that day. the reaction is amazing. >> so what do you know about president trump? what have you heard about him? >> translator: my opinion from reading the newspaper, i think president trump is an impulsive person. i think he's impulsive and not calm, and so he's losing the
trust of the american people. >> trust, something so few americans have in politicians and the media, but what about here in north korea? here the message is tightly controlled. the leader is almost always the lead story, and there's only one source of information, the government. so you believe everything you read in the paper? >> translator: yes, we believe it. 100%. >> ask anyone, and they'll give you the same answer. no fake news in north korea. my dell small business advisor
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people. what you don't see, countless hours of mandatory practice before work, after school, on sundays, in the rain and the cold. north korea knows how to put on one hell of a show. this is a much more modest version. bright and early each morning these women are out waving flags to motivate fellow citizens to work harder, discipline, dedication, revolutionary fervor. it's all expected if you're one of around 3 million north
koreans allowed to live in pyongyang. we get a rare view from above flying over the city in a soviet era helicopter. pyongyang has a surprisingly colorful, modern skyline. sure, it's full of grandos monuments idolizing the late supreme leaders, the ruling workers party of coria, the ideology of self reliance. but recent years have seen a slew of new construction projects, futuristic buildings, skyscrapers, all pet projects of their supreme leader, kim jong-un. he ordered north korean soldiers to build this entire street of residential high rises in one year. top party officials give all the credit to their leader for his tireless work. it's here we find north korea's
version of the apple store. >> translator: the brand named for the iconic korean folk song. the store manager says out of three north korean cell phone brands, this is by far the top seller. >> what are the main differences between the three brands? why pick this beside the other two. >> translator: it's well-known to our people. it is known as a designer label. >> i notice the price over there. $350 for a phone is a lot of money for anyone anywhere. how do people afford these phones? >>translator: it just means our peoples' living standard went up that much. >> we never do get a clearance as to how people can actually afford all this. north korea's average income is around $4 a day. here people are buying smartphones, tablets, high fie speakers, hd tv's. this customer says she loves
listening to music and playing games on her new phone, including one that looks an awful lot like angry birds. >> do you like sharing photos with your friends? >> translator: yeah. >> what -- do you like taking selfies? >> translator: yeah. >> that's good. i like yours better. north koreans can send text messages, read the news, check the latest scores. one thing most cannot do, connect to the internet. they can only access a state-controlled intra net, completely monitored and sense yord. >> do you have anything like google here in north korea? >> translator: yes, we do. we have our own data search system. our version of google. it's a search engine. >> the search results only government sanctioned content. what about social media? do you have anything here like facebook or instagram or twitter but the north korean version?
>> translator: yes. we have it. it's currently only being used on computers, but we're still working on developing it in our own way for cell phones. >> next we visit a north korean department store where filming is usually strictly forbidden. we see people buying groceries, mostly north korean products like beer, also plenty of brands you might recognize, usually chinese imports. china continues to trade heavily with north korea, despite international sanctions. you can find designer fashion, high-end appliances and on the top floor, there's a huge food court. we see people piling their plates with all kinds of korean food. yes, i did try the fish head. i also tried the american style fast food, complete with pretty familiar packaging. doesn't get more american than french fries and milk shakes. even the color scheme.
it's actually good. after lunch, more shopping. all the art in north korea is state sanctioned, which means a lot of landscapes and plenty of siberian tyingers, considered an unofficial national symbol. pyongyang has a growing consumer class and for them living standards are improving under kim jong-un. the north korean economy grew by almost 4% in 2016, according to south korean central bank estimates. which means people have more ways to enjoy their rare time off, like this group of factory workers, having a picnic and singing karaoke. they're happy to share their meal with us and seem even
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cnn has been reporting for north korea for more than 25 years. the aircraft we're boarding today has been flying for 50. this an 24 is part of an aging fleet of soviet planes operated by north korea's only airline air koryo still flying with sanctions with regular and international flights to russia and china. our flight takes us 400 miles north of pyongyang to a place cnn has never been allowed before. as a western journalist even setting foot here is extraordinary. the county along the chinese
border is a mountainous region. north korea's nuclear test site is in the very next province. we're not here for nuclear tests we're here for mount pecktu the highest point in the peninsula and also an active volcano. state propaganda glorifies the kim family for their mount peck tu blood line prizing racial puritiy, the blood line is considered noble lineage tied to the ancestoral rulers, ancient legendary kings of the koreanpeninsula. their tombs are national landmarks visited by droves of north korea citizens.
but the ultimate journey is to the mount itself. still hours away on bumpy dirt roads. we've never been this far inside rural north korea. >> can we take pictures? >> no. >> no? . no. we catch only fleeting glances of the groups marching by. quick peeks at the living conditions in these deep rural areas. we're allowed to stop just for a few minutes in a tiny farming village.
the children on their way home from school are amused. it's quite possible they've never seen anyone who looks like me. >> we're looking at them but they're looking at us as well. every time i try to take a picture with those girls, they run away. >> we eventually make it to this sleepy town. the town's center piece yet another monument to the late president kim-el sun this building he led a surprise attack against the japanese. >> this is a typical north korean village. china is five miles over that hill. this is a simple life. you don't see shiny buildings or new construction, you see people living a slow, simple life.
♪ >> down another windy road another siekt north koreans consider a cabin where they claim is the birthplace of general kim jong-un, outside historians say he was born in russia but here our guide tells the story of his supposedly mystical birth. >> translator: so it was really cold and the weather was not normal. but somehow the day the general was born the strong wind stopped all of a sudden the sun began shining through. everything was bright and a quiet calm took over. the flowers bloomed and in the sky was a particularly bright star. >> is that a legend or did that actually happen? >> translator: yes it actually happened. it's not a legend. our general is really a person who heaven sent to us. so he changed the weather too. it's a true story. >> people from the outside hear
these stories and they wonder how any of this could possibly be true. >> translator: it's hard to explain in one word. but our general is so great we can't say it's only a legend. nature actually transformed itself to announce the birth of our general to the whole world blessing it. that's how it happened. >> i realize for north koreas this is their faith just like the bible, koran or torea when they come here they are making a pilgrimage. >> why is this place so special and meaning for you. >> translator: it's the soul of
now i understand why north koreans are visibly emotional when they come here. mt. paektu symbolizes their achievements. >> nice to meet. >> after more than a dozen trips to north korea i can't help but believe at heart we share the same hopes, the same struggles, for food, and shelter, for safety and security. to learn. and to live. sbla. >> what i wonder, is it all at the risk. on september 3rd, north korea tested its most powerful nuclear weapon ever. >> north korea will be met with fire and fury. >> american officials responded with words of war.
>> he is begging for war. >> and shows of force. now the world waits, and watches uncertain of our common future. this is cnn breaking news. >> here's breaking news, protests in st. louis after an officer is found not guilty in the shooting death of a black man. you're looking at live pictures this is cnn tonight i'm don lemon thanks for joining us. protesters taking to the streets of st. louis even burning american flags hours after a former police officer was found not guilty of first degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of a 24-year-old black man anthony lamar smith who was shot and killed after a police chase over a suspe