Published January 13, 2015
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," August 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now for part two of your rare trip to secretive communist nation of North Korea. Very few people have ever been allowed inside this secluded country, but one of them is Reverend Franklin Graham.
Reverend Graham runs an organization called "Samaritans Purse," a group that makes giant humanitarian contributions around the world. One of the countries they provide assistance to is North Korea.
We traveled with Reverend Graham to check on the status of some of their aid projects. We visited two mobile dental clinics during our trip.
VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend, where are we?
REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, "SAMARITANS PURSE": We are in Pyongyang, and we're standing in a mobile dental clinic that Samaritans Purse provided to North Korea.
This is the second one. The first one was provided by my father, and it's a much older unit that's next door. It has been used quite a bit over the years. And so as that one was wearing out, they asked that we send another one.
So this is really state of the art. This is a very good unit. Before we actually shipped in here, we actually tested it. We had some dentists at home actually use it to make sure that all the equipment worked properly.
VAN SUSTEREN: I hear you talk about the relationship between the United States and North Korea, and we spoke last night at dinner about it.
The United States, the president has made a comment, an adjective he has used against North Korea, which, I am sure the North Koreans, if they know about it, they are not particularly happy about it.
GRAHAM: What was the comment?
VAN SUSTEREN: That they were evil. I guess I was sort of beating around the Bush to be polite, because we are guests here. But has that created any problems in your work?
GRAHAM: Sure. That was an unfortunate statement, and I think he got bad advice on that, no question.
If we are going to move the process forward, we have got to have a relationship of trust. There has to be a relationship built on mutual respect to each other. And it takes time to build those steps, and he is now doing that. And I appreciate that very much. I think he is getting better advice on Korea, and he is listening to the people around him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Has that comment resonated here, to the extent that you know?
GRAHAM: Listen, it infuriated this government, no question. That hurt, it would for anybody. They want to be respected, and that comment was not the best one to make.
VAN SUSTEREN: Samaritans Purse engaged in any sort of exchange in having dentists or doctors go to the United States. Are you facilitating that?
GRAHAM: We have brought doctors to the United States to Johns Hopkins. This was arranged by Dr, Cheetem(ph) several years ago to look at several surgical procedures. We have brought dentists. We have had other doctors come here to Pyongyang.
I would like to do more. I would like to set up, and I would hope that this would be maybe like an official program with the blessing of the United States government, as well as the DPRK, where we could bring teams of doctors here to work alongside their doctors, and then to bring doctors to the United States and have an exchange where they can see one of our hospitals and have a chance to observe and watch the doctors and go on rounds with them
And then for our doctors to come here and do the same.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who is the highest-ranking government official you have spoken to North Korea about?
GRAHAM: In our government or this government?
VAN SUSTEREN: In our government.
GRAHAM: I have spoken to the White House, and I do not think it would be proper to give the names, because they are still there. But I talked to about as high as you can go.
VAN SUSTEREN: The president?
GRAHAM: Of course, I have talked a lot to Senator Frist over the years about this.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me now ask the big question--President Bush, who you have apparently spoken to about this-- What is your impression about President Bush and the North Korea relationship?
GRAHAM: He is committed to the peace process, no question. There is a road map that has been agreed upon at the six-party talks, and I think he is very committed to that process, and he wants that road map that has been jointly agreed to, he wants that road map to be observed and carried out. And I think he is willing to do all that he can.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, yes, that is--
GRAHAM: Even in parts of this city, you cannot take this vehicle because it is too low. And at that time there were some restrictions in our own government that would not allow us to put it on a truck chassis.
This is high off of the ground. Now, we put these boxes on the bottom said they can carry equipment. But those boxes can be removed if they have to, but see how much higher the back of the truck is, so when you go over a railroad track or something, it does not bottom out on the back of the truck.
VAN SUSTEREN: Has anyone from North Korea, any government official ever asked you about the United States government?
GRAHAM: Asked me about the-
VAN SUSTEREN: You go back and forth to the relations between the two countries, but are they curious? Do they sort of pick your brain and ask you?
GRAHAM: No. They have their representatives there in New York, and they have some people who, I think, understand our country fairly well.
I want to be very careful, Greta. I am not a diplomat. I do not speak for the United States government. I am a private citizen. I am an evangelist. I am a minister, and I have to be very careful that I do not interfere with what Ambassador Hill and others are working on. But I am an American citizen, and so, in that respect, I am an ambassador for my country no matter what country I go to. I want to be a good representative.
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