October 14, 2010 10:35
A CNN broadcast on Tuesday showed unusual scenes from Pyongyang including a busy amusement park and a fast-food restaurant. Correspondent Alina Cho, who was among a group of foreign journalists allowed into the North Korean capital to cover the celebrations for the 65th anniversary of the regime's Workers Party, told viewers, "Your eyes are not deceiving you," as she showed images from a neon-lit amusement park in Pyongyang filled with visitors. "This is communist North Korea," she added.
CNN also showed a food court in the amusement park that sold western fair, including hamburgers. When asked by Cho, one family who were enjoying fast food said through a translator that "words cannot explain the excitement after working so hard, General Kim Jong-il has given us this park to relax. We really love it."
Cho said she noticed some changes since the last time she visited Pyongyang two years ago, and one of them is that more ordinary North Koreans speak English. To prove it, there was footage of some young North Koreans at the amusement park answering her in English.
Other changes are the addition of traffic lights and people talking on cell phones. One young North Korean woman said she got hers in April last year and everyone in her family has one. CNN added that international calls are forbidden.
Despite the visible changes, CNN said many North Koreans still live in poverty, and there are no advertising hoardings on the streets, only propaganda. North Koreans not only see the messages, but they hear them through propaganda songs blaring across Pyongyang. For now, "North Korea remains sealed and time almost stands still," the broadcaster concluded.
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