December 6th, 2014
06:10 PM ET

The view from inside North Korea

Fareed speaks with Suki Kim, who spent months in North Korea as a teacher at a private university in Pyongyang, and is the author of Without You, There Is No Us, about her time there. Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The sense one gets from the outside looking at North Korea is, honestly, it's the weirdest country in the world. It is the most strange social experiment. And the puzzle is, how does it survive? How is that people just docilely accept this incredibly authoritarian regime that's not just authoritarian, but totalitarian, really kind of tries to shape how you think, feel, breathe? What's your answer to that?

Well, I think it's a combination of many things. It's sort of this perfect storm. You have, first of all, this cult, serious personality cult. It's religious, really. Absolute belief in the great leader, this generation – three generations of these men who, these hugely narcissistic men basically wiped everything out of their culture except themselves.

So every North Korean wears the badge of the great leader. Their only holidays are the great leader holidays. Books, every article, every television, every song, I mean you name it, there's not a single thing. Every building has a great leader slogan. So I think when you have that kind of a personality cult, that's an incredibly powerful thing to be doing it for three generations.

You also have a very brutal military dictatorship that's been in place for a long time, and also to wipe out every communication method. There's no Internet. The phone calls are tapped or, you know, it's a small country. You can't travel within the country without a permission.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. rupert


    December 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
  2. NSA

    In N. Korea, the phones are...well. You know. Tapped. Lol

    December 9, 2014 at 1:46 am |
  3. Average Voter

    That's just not right how the axis of evil N. Korean government stores as data communications made by private citizens. The World Court should look into it.

    December 9, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
  4. Observer

    Average voter, im gonna take a wild guess thats it really you philip. Am i right? And trying in your not so subtle way of consistently calling the citizens of the US stupid AGAIN! Your metholodgy stinks and proves but one thing, you sir, are a BLOGTARD!

    December 10, 2014 at 2:44 am |
    • Freedumb

      National US Adult Literacy Survey proves Americans are in fact stupid now. Get a clue.

      December 10, 2014 at 11:48 am |
  5. Observer


    December 10, 2014 at 2:58 am |
  6. Eddie Fonseca

    For many Americans who remember the Korean American war of June 1950 to July 1953, where brave American GI soldiers risked their lives to fight a war, where many Americans lost their lives and were taken prisoner as well. The hit television show called MASH which described about the average soldier's story during the Korean American war, this was the darkest day in American history and many Americans and Koreans would like to forget this tragic war. For many Koreans who immigrated to America, they still remember their homeland and can never forget it, things have now changed in present day Korea for somewhat the best for tourists traveling to Korea and Koreans as well. North Korea has always maintained a strong military army and somewhat became modern, but they have long road to go to become like their counterpart South Korea which welcomes all foreign tourists traveling to Korea. Many Koreans who try to put a positive spin on their nation like the Korean music pop star's Rain and PSY who make Korea accessible to the Western nations. Being an American who has traveled to Korea it's a nation which is a spilt between Asian and American traditions, if you ever listen to their music its like listening to American techno the only difference their songs are in Korean, and their cars like KIA are a copy of the American Ford cars. North Korea and Korea in general is a nation which strives to keep it's rich history alive but try's to be more accessible to America and the rest of the world, without a more positive public relation approach such as commercials that make North and South Korea more appealing for Western travelers will North and South Korea be seen as a nation which is still stuck in the past or a nation that want's to fit in today's global society for years to come.

    December 18, 2014 at 12:53 am |
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