Cheers to two newsmen from The Sun, London, who used ingenuity in posing as businessmen to get a truer inside look at North Korea without being shadowed or escorted as journalists, notes Grumpy Editor.
The second part of the story --- by writer Alex Peake with photos by Simon Jones --- runs today in the British newspaper.
The pair entered from China, crossing the border into what they called “the crumbling town of Sinuiju” where Peake noted “many of the people here are starving.” Also, he added, “Nobody was smiling and most people were walking alone in a zombie-like state, staring at the floor.”
From there, a 200-mile, six-hour journey on a chugging 1940s-era train took them to Pyongyang.
In the capital city, their hotel room featured a TV set and “airtime on one channel filled with pro-regime propaganda including hours of footage of new leader Kim Jong-un watching military displays.”
They toured the town, saw statues, rode on the Pyongyang Metro, sampled a Big Mac-lookalike which Peake declared, “God only knows what the meat is, there was no way it was beef.”
Peake noted less than one percent of North Koreans own a car “so traffic jams are non-existent” and that most of Pyongyang “is plunged into darkness at 11 p.m.”
The Sun writer also observed blue vans with megaphones patroled streets in cities and countryside blaring the message: Work harder.