tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN September 16, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
some of the tv footage repeatedly. protests on the streets of st. louis. we're watching this live. but right now we are leaving you with that. up next, it's "secret state: inside north korea." i'll be back tomorrow. we hope you join us then. good night. >> announcer: the following is a cnn special report. 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 really happen? >> translator: our general is a person that has been sent to us. >> reporter: places you've never been. people with a common enemy. who do you want to fight? >> translator: to fight the
sworn enemy. >> what if i told you i'm an american? do you want to shoot me two? unpress denncedented access, hi 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 offer t -- 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. yup, even in north korea kids love video games. for 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 people's army, just like their parents and grandparents before them. >> what do you like about this game? >> translator: killing the enemy. >> who is the enemy? >> reporter: americans. >> reporter: this hatred of americans stems from the korean war. north korea trcontradicts weste historia historians.
>> who do you want to fight? >> to fight the sworn enemy, americans. >> what do they teach you about americans in school? >> translator: they forcibly insaturdayi invaded us, buried them alive and killed them. >> they teach you americans are the enemy and you need to shoot them and fight them? >> yes. >> what if i'm told you i'm an american, do you want to shoot me, too? >> yes. there are good people. we'll see if you're a good person or a bad person. >> i'm a good american so don't shoot me. >> u >> translator: um, no, i won't shoot. >> this is the paradox of north korea, smiling, polite, even as they tell me they hate the united states. from their earliest years, these
children 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. >> are you an nba fan? >>. >> translator: no, i just wear it to play sports. >> have you ever heard any american movies or heard american music? >> translator: no. >> ever heard of facebook or twitter or instagram? >> translator: no, not at all. >> what would you expect an american to be like? >> translator: big nose and harry chest. >> big nose and harry chest.
i don't have a hairy chest, do i have a big nose? >> translator: with a nose like that, it is big sort of. >> they become visibly upset when they realize i'm an american. i won't interrupt your game anymore. it was nice to meet you guys. >> reporter: this is a camp, 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 everything 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 paints crent give. >> why do you consider your leader like your father? >> translator: he's affectionate and more caring than my own parents. he gives us more love than either our parents can give. >> this boy, who 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. >> translator: i declare i will become a true member of the children's union who studies better in order to repay the love of respected leader kim
jong un. >> these young people are the future of north korea, an entire generation brought up to worship their supreme leader, no skepticism, no dissent, no questions, only loyalty for life. ♪ ♪ with my moderate to severe crohn's disease,... ...i was always searching for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i had it covered. then i realized managing was all i was doing.
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our government minders are taking us from north korea's capital, pyongyang to a costal city on this bumpy road that takes almost five hours. we've been driving through a couple of hours through the countryside and we've just gotten stopped at a check point, already several minutes now our minders are speaking with the police officer, not sure what's happening. he doesn't want to see to let us pass. >> travel here can be restricted and it can be nerve-racking. turns out the only concern this time is about our big van disturbing the 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 juan san, popular for tourists, known for great seafood, fishing and something else. wan 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 fo founder, president kim il-sung launched the first missile but since kim jong un came into power, he's advanced the program faster than predicted. why do they keep doing this? for one, propaganda. each launch helps north korea's leaders project power but also it's like an insurance policy for the regime, protecting it from the and its allies. >> have you ever heard the miss snils. >> of course. we see it going up.
>> this man has lived here his whole life. >> as a north korean, when you see these missiles in the sky, what message does that send to you? >> 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 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 dissent 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 juan san's proudest achievements is a new hydroelectric power plant. we're told the lights in the city stay on for 4 hours a day, a rarity in north korea. in fact, when we stopped for dinner at a tea house miles away from wan-san, the light go out within minutes. nobody seems phased by. we dine on wild pheasant by
flashlight. north korea may have mastered launching missiles but generating electricity is an ongoing struggle. >> that's good. odell. can you repeat everything you just said? my livestream won't load. (blows whistle). technical foul. wrong sport. wrong network. see you need unlimited on verizon it's america's largest most reliable 4g lte network. it won't let you down in places like this. even in the strike zone. (laughs). it's the red zone. pretty sure it is the strike zone. here use mine. alright. see you on the court champ. heads up! when it really, really matters you need the best network and the best unlimited. plans now start at $40 per line for four lines. maybelline's fit me foundation. fits skin tone and texture. blurs pores. controls shine. our most diverse shades ever. maybelline's fit me matte and poreless. make it happen. ♪ maybelline new york
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we've traveled to parts of north korea that few foreigns are -- foreigners have ever seen. in here the war never ended. the quiet countryside is middled with land mines. no filming is allowed here. now our got minders are letting us do a little souvenir shopping. i've never seen a gift shop like this. these post cards are some of the more popular items. this reads "to the u.s. hardline, we will counter it with the ultra hardline." can you buy them right here. if you think the postcards are inten intense, wait until you read the posters. >> you don't need to read korean, the u.s. capital there. symbolish says it all. >> that's the capital and that's
a giant fist crushing the u.s. 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,y need to go back the end of world war ii, the soviets and americans divided korea, just like they did germany. and the korean war set the two super powers against each other with koreans caught in the middle. 3 million of them died. technically the war never ended. and arm a cyst agreement left them facing each other across the parallel, the dmz. 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. >> reporter: and it's getting worse. >> a lot has changed 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 against north korea reaching its peak. >> if you got the order right now, what would the military do?
>> translator: as soon as we receive the order from our supreme commander, we would liberate north korea and change to a sea of fire. >> reporter: maybe it's time to change the conversation. what's your favorite kind of music? >>. >> translator: my favorite is our revolutionary song, the song praises 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 i'm not sure. >> what's your favorite sport? >> translator: i like basketball. >> you like basketball? 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. >> thank you very much. it's good to see you. i'm glad we're meeting like this and not on the battlefield. next stop, kay 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 hirurts. you've been asking about south korea a lot and i'm not able to go. >> reporter: we so close, modern economy, thriving skyline, do you ever ask why you don't have that here? >> we have pyongyang, it's been built with our own power, or own independent technology. how can seoul compete with that? >> i can't help but wonder what would his life be like if his family ended up a few miles south after the korean war, driving back to pyongyang, i
have no idea we're been to experience one of the strangest days i've ever had in north korea. it begins like every other morning in pong yank. this music is the city's alarm clock played every day beginning at 5 a.m. to commemorate the sacrifices of north korea's leaders. we head to the pyongyang international airport for the arrival of a v.i.p., dennis rodman has been invited back for another round of so-called basketball diplomacy. dennis, are you bringing a message from president trump to north korea's supreme leader kim jong un? >> i'm just here to see friend s and have good time. >> distracted by rodman, we have no idea a secret is happening.
warmbier 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 for the wall of his hotel. for that he got a 15-year sentence. soon after, mysteriously 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 our hardest reports i've had to give. i'd spoken just weeks earlier with warmbier's parents. at the time they had no idea about his condition. >> reporter: but this reunion is not the happy reunion because that's is when realized that
otto warmbier has been in a coma since march of 2017. >> he retuned rned to his homet of high ohio in a vegetative st. he died six days later. he was 22. the state department has sense banned most u.s. citizens from traveling here. the stakes have never been higher. out of every one of them. only proprietary tempur material precisely conforms to your body. you get up to twice as much pressure relieving power, so you won't toss and turn. and tempur-pedic is the best at minimizing motion transfer from your partner. you'll sleep deeply... and wake up, feeling powerful. savings end soon! through september 17th, save up to $500 on select adjustable sets. find your exclusive retailer at tempurpedic.com
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we're heading 40 miles south of pyongyang to a place where people are definitely not used to seeing foreigners. >> even getting permission to come here is complicated. >> there's 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 aing is drought could put millions at risk. the united nations world food progr program estimates 18 million koreans don't have a civil diverse diet. they survive on basic staples, rice, basic porridge called kim chi. this handful of farmers seems to be putting on a demonstration for our benefit. after they finish, tried to asked them some questions. most of the group is camera shy but this woman has plenty to say. >> translator: the thing i am fond of is for us farmers it's 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'd 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 co-op, 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. ooh, it's got a kick to it. it's strong. duck eggs, bean paste and rice wrapped in lettuce with 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 famine of the late 1990s, hundreds of
thousands, possibly millions of north koreans died of starvation. >> we ate tree bark after going up to the mountain for food and wondered just how long we'll have do this but it's not a problem now compared to that. this is all home grown. 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 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.
>> you have 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? it gets broadcast to erch, through television and newspaper on that day. the reaction is amazing. >> so what do you know about president trump? what have you heard about him? >> 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 poile 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. ♪
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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 f
fervor. it's all expected if you're one of 3 million north koreans allowed to live in pyongyang. pyongyang has a surprisingly colorful, modern skyline. sure, it's full of grandiose monuments idol uizing the late supreme leaders, 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. the brand, named for the iconic korean folk song, the store manager said out of three north korean cell phone brands, this is by far the top seller. >> what are the main differences between the top brands? >> this brand is well known to our young people. it is known to our young people. >> i noticed 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 people's living standard went up that much. >> we never do get a clear answer 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-fi speakers, hgtvs. this customer says she's 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? >> yeah. >> do you like taking selfies? >> yeah. >> that's good. i like yours better. north koreans can seasnd text messages, read the scores. one they they cannot do is connect to the nt net. they can only connect to an intra net, completely monitored. >> do you have anything like google? >> 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 grocery, mostly north korean products like beer and also brand you might recognize, usually chinese imports. china continues to trade eheaviy will north korea. 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 milkshakes. even the color scheme.
it's actually good. after lunch, more shopping. all the art in north korea is state sanctioned, which manse a lot of landscapes and plenty of siberian tigers, 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 happier to let loose. we expect north koreans to work hard. this we don't expect. ♪ ♪ kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin trusted advice for life. kevin, how's your mom? life well planned. see what a raymond james financial advisor can do for you. [fbi agent] you're a brave man, your testimony will save lives. mr. stevens? this is your new name. this is your new house. and a perfectly inconspicuous suv. you must become invisible. [hero] i'll take my chances.
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cnn has been reporting from 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 air corio, north korea's only airline. still flying despite sanctions with regular international flights to china and russia. our flight takes us 400 miles north of pyongyang to a place cnn has never been alowed before. as a western journalist, even setting foot here is extraordinary.
somjong county 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 the highest point on the korean peninsula, also an active volcano. state propaganda glorified the kim family for their mt. peck tew blood line. the blood line is considered a noble heroic lineage, tied to the ancestral rulers, ancient, legendary kings of the korean peninsula. their tombs are national landmarks. visited by droves of north korean citizens.
but the ultimate journey is to the mountain itself. still hours away on bumpy dirt roads. we've never been this far inside rural north korea. >> can we take pictures? 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 and they're looking at us as well. every time i try to take a picture of those girls, they run away. we eventually make it to this sleepy town. the center piece, yet another monument to the late kill il-sun. we're led to a vacant building where he led a surprise attack. china is five miles that way up over that hill and this is a simple life out here. you don't see shiny buildings, you don't see a whole lot of new construction. you see people living a slow, simple life. down another windy road another
site north koreans consider sacred, a cabin near the mountain north korea claims is the birth place of kim jung il. outside historians say he was born in russia. but here the story of his "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 started shining through. everything was bright and a quiet calm took over. the flowers bloomed and in the sky was a particularly -- did that actually happen? >> yes, it actually happened. it's not a legend. our general is really a person who hasn't sent to us. so he changed the weather too. >> people from the outside hear
these stories and they wonder how any of this could possibly be true. >> 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 koreans this is their faith, just like the bible, quran or torrau. when they come here they're making a pilgrimage. ♪ why is this place so special and meaningful for you? >> it's the soul of north korea's revolution.
koreans are visibly emotional when they come here. it symbolizes their achievement s. after more than a dozen trips to north korea i can't help had but believe at heart we share it same hopes, the same struggles for food and shelter, for safety and security. to learn and to live. but i wonder is it all at 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.