Diane Sawyer Answers Your Questions on N. Korea

Throughout Diane Sawyer's time in North Korea last week, hundreds of viewers e-mailed the "Good Morning America" anchor with questions.

Even Sawyer's fellow "GMA" anchors were eager to find out about her trip.

Today, Robin Roberts asked, "What was their reaction to you?"

Sawyer: The little kids were truly startled, I think. The adults were surprised, but a couple of things would happen. They would say almost uniformly, "America is our enemy. Why would America want to hurt us."

At the same time, individually, personally, they smiled. They were gracious. They would thank you for talking to them at the end. We went into their homes. Whatever they had to eat, they could put it out and give it to you.

That same thing that happens around the world. When you're face to face, actually talking, you're just human beings in a room together. Everyone recognizes that.

And yes, I did look into the refrigerator. I think that was an American thing to do!

Chris Cuomo asked what about the experience got to her the most.

Sawyer: Again, this is a hidden world -- a world that has not been penetrated by many journalists. We're at a crucial time when we have to try to understand the way they see the world. … Whatever move we make, it has to be made with some wisdom.

Yes, they see the world through Kim Jong Il and through their leadership, and they're educated to that from the very beginning.

At the same time, we have to ask ourselves if there's a way to relate in human terms. That's what it boils down to.

Sawyer also answered questions from viewers.

Sharon Marr from Fort Worth, Texas, asked: "What are the grocery stores like in North Korea and do people go to the store for most things or grow their own?"

Sawyer: A lot of people grow their own food. It is a 95 percent controlled economy. Again this is a socialist state -- it's a collective, and they grow their own food. It's very difficult for a lot of people out in the country. They were worried about the drought, whether that will increase malnutrition.

I met some women in a market -- there is a market in Pyongyang. They had biked five miles, with a pig on their bikes, and they had biked in to sell that pig. They were going to divide all the proceeds among themselves, which wouldn't be very much in our terms. But they were so desperate to be there and make that money.

Bonnie Minkus from Albuquerque, N.M., asked about a fashion magazine Sawyer had brought into North Korea.

She wrote, "Other reporters in North Korea weren't allowed to bring in American magazines. Did they know you brought the magazine and did someone examine it first?"

Sawyer: Nope, I just carried the magazine in. Didn't think about it. Didn't ask.

I was so struck by the number of, not just the women in the beauty parlor, but also the kids. They see the magazine, they look for a second, and then, it's like holding it out here and holding it back to you.

Again, the sense of what is American and what they should and should not be curious about is very critical there. And even though they sang from "The Sound of Music," they didn't know it's an American film.

I think they said "Toy Story." But they don't know it's an American film. So it's a very complex situation in terms of what they see and don't see and how they react and should react.

Leigh Maier from Laredo, Texas, asked, "Do North Koreans have access to the Internet? Is it filtered in some way or is it uncensored?"

Sawyer: The kids in the school -- and I cannot say enough how astonishing they are in terms of their English and how smart they are. To be able to distinguish between British English and American English -- they can move back and forth as you commanded them to do it.

They have computers at home, but they do not have Internet. We are told that Kim Jong Il, who is the leader of the country, has Internet and asked for Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's e-mail before she left.

Lois Thomas from Jobstown, N.J., asked whether it's true that the average annual income is only $700 a year.

Sawyer: We don't know. That's what they say. We did all the research we could, but it's very difficult to know. Inside the city, it is so different from the way it is outside in the country.

I will say that it does seem. … Certainly, there's more food than there has been before. People were extremely -- they were dressed well. I don't know what you say about their access to clothes and fashion, and I'm not sure they care, but everyone was meticulously dressed. You never saw anyone who was the least bit overweight.

But [they were] so clean. Getting up early in the morning with brushes to make sure everything is the way it should be -- fascinating.

Sawyer said her team was still traveling throughout the country, and in the coming months, the team would feature a full hour of programming on everything they saw in North Korea.