This is not really a warning but rather something to be aware off.
Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of North Korea will be aware that the United States of America is public enemy number one, the very devil incarnate. Hardly a waking hour of our trip to the DPKR passed without us being reminded of this, whether it was via newspapers, mosaics, museum exhibits or our guides.
Those who didn’t realise prior to arrival, quickly learned that everything amiss, no matter how small or large, in North Korea is the direct responsibility of the United States. Knowing this prior to my trip the headline of the front page of the Pyongyang Times provided to us on the flight in from Beijing did not cause any surprise. It read “ US will be held accountable for any catastrophe on the Korean peninsula” (see attached picture). What followed was really irrelevant – it could have been anything.
The United States is berated and denigrated at every opportunity and there is no holding back in this regard. Guides will stand there and feel no sense of uneasiness or need for any restraint as they speak of the evils of Uncle Sam. The fact that typically one third of tourists standing listening to them are US citizens matters not one iota.
My reader may be wondering why they let US citizens into North Korea at all or indeed why US citizens would want to go to North Korea.
From a North Korean perspective there is no animosity whatsoever to individual US visitors (though there are a few restrictions) and as individuals on a tour Americans are treated equally to citizens of other counties. While it does seem odd, given their unending denigration of the US, guides get on very well with Americans tourists.
Individual Americans should have no fear whatsoever in visiting North Korea – conditional, of course, on them being able to put up the ongoing attack on the US and its Government. At the extreme, in the event that a few hostages were required for whatever reason I have no doubt American passport holders would be high on the list of desirable detainees but this is a situation not only applicable to North Korea.
While Americans and indeed many others will neither believe nor accept a lot of what is said by the guides you must respect their right to have a view. If you cannot accept this, be you American or not, do not go to North Korea. While the guides are open to some discussion you should not try to “save” them or convert them to your views – likewise they are not out to convert you.
About one third of my group was North American and each one thoroughly enjoyed their visit to North Korea and, no, not one of them was a die hard communist harboring a dislike for the US.
I mentioned above that there are some restrictions on US citizens – the most significant of these currently in operation is that US citizens are not permitted to take the train from Pyongyang into China. However, once an American is accepted onto a specific tour their tour is identical to any other person on that tour.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries providing general and background information on The Rambling Wombat’s trip to, and travelling in, North Korea which I recommend you read in a particular order. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Get to know your Kims. If necessary, go to my North Korea introduction entry – And now for something completely different – to start this loop at the beginning.