N. Korea tries mass spectacles to catch visitors' attention
August 13, 1999
From Hong Kong Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy
PYONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of people filled a stadium in North Korea's capital on Friday, calling for reunification of the Korea Peninsula.
A crowd of more than 100,000 danced, chanted slogans and sang songs for national unification, reported the North's international news outlet, the Korean Central News Agency.
Participants also watched a second soccer match between North Korean and South Korean workers. The two teams played to a 4-4 draw.
South Korea called Friday's rally an orchestrated spectacle by the reclusive Stalinist government to spread propaganda against South Korea and the United States.
For those few international observers and journalists who have been allowed to visit North Korea, the rally was typical fare.
CNN Hong Kong Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy, in his latest visit to the Communist North, said he and other CNN representatives had been treated to a full schedule off mass rallies and sports events, interspersed with unsolicited meetings with people who could reinforce Pyongyang's current political theme.
For example: A group of women who say they were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers in World War II, echoing a demand for Japanese war reparations.
Or a gathering of international leftists, supporting Pyongyang's call for South Korea to tear down a wall along the Korean demilitarized zone.
"So much of what a visitor does see here is so choreographed that many things remain unclear," Chinoy said. "Even on this, my eleventh visit, understanding North Korea remains a daunting challenge."
Chinoy said his CNN crew had been allowed to talk with North Korean officials about headline issues, including North Korea's continuing famine, or the North's missile program.
But the officials have been much more interested in showcasing their mass extravaganzas, Chinoy said, such as the reunification rally and soccer match -- elaborate theatrics that send a signal that North Korea remains a power to be reckoned with.
North Korea demonstrates openness to wary neighbors
Korean Central News Agency
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.