American Morning

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October 9th, 2010
09:01 PM ET

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Alina Cho – My North Korea Visa

Editor's note: American Morning's Alina Cho will be reporting live from Pyongyang, North Korea on CNN Sunday night, Monday morning at 6:00AM ET on "American Morning" and CNN International.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/09/alina.cropped.jpg caption="A glimpse of part of Alina Cho's North Korean visa. She will report live from Pyongyang for CNN on Sunday and Monday." width=292 height=320]

It is Saturday morning Beijing time, and we have just left the North Korean embassy with visas in hand.  This is our ticket to North Korea, and it was not easy to get! Now, we head to the airport where we will board a plane to the capital, Pyongyang.  This is my second trip to North Korea and I couldn't be more excited. 

Remember, this is one of the most isolated societies in the world, part of the so-called "axis of evil."  A communist nation with one of the largest armies in the world. A place where the average North Korean has no access to the internet, no cell phone and where all TV and radio is tuned in – always – to government channels.  It is simply surreal. 

We are going at an important time in North Korea's history. The longtime dictator, Kim Jong Il, has effectively named his third son, Kim Jong Un, the heir apparent. But will the communist dynasty continue under the son's rule? 

The media has been invited to cover what's being billed as the largest military parade in this country's history. Will we get a glimpse of Kim Jong IL and his son? One can only hope. 

I will be reporting LIVE from inside North Korea starting Sunday night and Monday morning on "American Morning"  and CNN International.  Stay tuned, much more to come.


Filed under: American Morning • North Korea
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. James Olcott

    Hi Alina:

    Great coverage - your excitement carries over the reports!

    What is the response from North Korean officials when you ask for an interview with Kim Jong-On? After all, he is now an important international personality and the world wants to know what he is thinking.

    How bad is the excuse that he is not available? (Funny, we have at least one politician here in the USA that does not do interviews either).

    Oh well.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Brad

    I understand that the Media wants to keep access open so they can report on these areas. however I was a bit surprised at the complete soft peddaling on this story. Glossing over one of the largest hunger crisis' in the world right now by saying that many people in North Korea live in poverty was surprising. Poverty int he U.S. means having food and a roof over your head. Alina didn't mention the dead in North Korea that were trying to eat grass and dirt because they were starving, and the estimates of hundreds of thousands starving to death.

    Additionally, saying that they just "Happened" upon a celebration about the Leader and the Succession is a bit disingenuous considering all their movements are coordinated by the North Korean Govt. So they didn't just "Happen" upon anything.

    October 12, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  3. David Pan

    Alina – I just saw your report from Pyongyang on the amusement park, fast food, cell phones, etc. What I thought incredible was that you seemed to report all those things in a straightforward style with no hint of skepticism of what was presented to you. As as longtime observer of North Korea, I have to take what you reported with a huge grain of salt. I hope you could follow up and provide any additional details about the government minders who accompanied you, and whether you detected any hint of the whole thing being stage managed to present a distorted view of the DPRK to the western press. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

    David Pan

    October 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Average American

    North Korea is the text book example of mass brain washing. Nothing more. A pointless and irrelevant country that isn't worth the air time.

    October 11, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  5. Bernie Goetz

    1. When Korean unification eventually happens it will go relatively smoothly, like that of Western and Eastern Germany. Korea does not have the deep internal divisions of Iraq.
    2. China should welcome Korean unification. It will mean the departure of US troops.
    3. I think the US and South Korea should cut back on the military sea exercises. They accomplish little and annoy China.
    4. I do not like the North Korean government, but I think the sea border between North and South Korea is simply unfair to North Korea. If a positive gesture showing good intentions is to be made to North Korea (and China), giving North Korea a fair sea border would be one of the best things to do. South and North Korea should attempt to avoid provocative sea clashes.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm |