Reporter's Notebook: Spending time with North Koreans

Country dividing between haves, have-nots


It’s not often you get to go out and hang with North Koreans. But that happened today. Sure it was in Pyongyang, which is considered to be an artificial showcase for the regime. But at least we saw, talked and interacted with real people. And it was enlightening.   

It might have been the presence of our government “representative,” but they all were quite friendly even when they found out we were from an American network.

It’s been two and half years since my last visit and I do notice changes. Mobile phones exist now, even if they don’t connect with the outside world.    

There are more cars and some taxis.

Fashion looks a bit more up-to-date.

That’s because, according to analysts, the government has made a decision to support the lifestyles of those living in the capital, often at the expense of those in the countryside.

This reportedly could be causing “us versus them” tensions between those in Pyongyang and those living outside.  

In fact this weekend the government made SOME reference to improving the lot of the people.  

But new leader Kim Jung-un’s main message was backing for the military and the nuclear arsenal of as many as ten atomic bombs.

In our closely-monitored interviews with people, support for those policies was echoed.

“Kim Jung-un is THE leader for the country,” one man said.

Another told us “With Kim Jung-un we will have a brighter future.”

Probably the best moment was down by the river with a bunch of folks having a bar-b-que picnic. They were singing and dancing and shared with us food and some strong Soju.  

And very deserving of leadership who looks after THEIR interests.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent. Follow him on Twitter@GregPalkot.