People check newly constructed residential complex after its opening ceremony in Ryomyong street in Pyongyang, North Korea April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Reuters: Woken up before 5 a.m. to see North Korea's leader, five hours later
It's unusual being a foreign correspondent in North Korea, as a team from Reuters, among scores of journalists visiting the reclusive state, found out on Thursday.
Invited to Pyongyang for this week's celebrations of the 105th birth anniversary of founder president Kim Il Sung, the journalists were herded together for hours, not allowed water and not given access to phones - to attend a street opening by North Korea's current leader, his grandson Kim Jong Un.
The preparations began on Wednesday night when North Korean government minders rushed into the media center at our hotel just after 10 p.m., told us to stop working and pack up our laptops because "you won't be coming back here tonight."
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WNU Editor: In the above Reuters post .... when I read this it brought back a memory of one of my experiences in China when I was there in the mid 1980s ....
.... Gathered in the lobby, we were told there would be a "big and important" event on Thursday. With tensions high because of the possibility that Pyongyang may conduct a nuclear or long-range missile test in defiance of U.S. warnings of retaliation, the words were striking.
Our minders refused to give details. Just bring your passports and cameras, nothing else. No phones, no laptops, no water.
"No water?" we ask.
One of our government minders, Ri Hyon Mu, shifted awkwardly.
"I am being very direct now. Please urinate and excrete before the event as there will be no water closets."
No more details were given, except to be ready for a 6 a.m. start.
Yup .... I had that experience, but it was not a minder who told me .... it was my host .... the province's premier.
Talk about losing face. :)