North Koreans Offer Opinions on America

There are large gaps in what is known about North Korea, its leader, and its people, since outsiders' access to the country is limited.

On a rare visit to the country, an ABC News team traveled outside the capital city of Pyongyang to survey North Koreans' impressions of America.

The first stop: the USS Pueblo -- the American ship North Korea caught spying off its coast in 1968 -- which is now a museum. One American crewman was killed during the assault, and 82 men were captured and imprisoned for 11 months under horrible conditions.

Kim Mee Kyong, the museum's officer, said the ship is an example of American crimes and another reason why North Koreans don't like Americans.

KIM MEE KYONG : They invaded our territory, and they supplied information so all Koreans were angry.

BOB WOODRUFF: Do you have any good feelings for Americans?

KIM : (Laughs)

It is the kind of image of the United States that goes completely unchallenged in North Korea. There are no American products in the markets and no American programs on television. Since almost no U.S. citizens ever visit North Korea, most North Koreans have never even met an American.

Instead, all North Koreans hear a steady drumbeat of anti-American propaganda. When the ABC News team traveled two hours north of the capital today, accompanied by government minders, we found widespread anti-U.S. feeling.

An 11-year-old girl, found working on a collective farm, offered her opinion of America through a translator.

WOODRUFF: Do you know about America? Have you heard about America?

GIRL: They killed Korean people.

WOODRUFF: When did they kill Koreans?

GIRL: (Looks down)

Kim Tae Song, an 18-year-old found fishing today, told ABC News he plans to join the army to protect his country.

WOODRUFF: What do you think about Americans?

KIM TAE SONG: I curse them as the sworn enemy of the Korean people.

WOODRUFF: Have you met an American before?

KIM: No.

WOODRUFF: I'm an American.

KIM: (Looks down)

Further up the road in the mountains, ABC News visited a Buddhist temple, which North Korean officials claim was bombed by American planes in the Korean War.

But Zang Yong, the temple's guide, said she has given tours to a few Americans, and although she dislikes the U.S. government, the people are OK.

"When I bring Americans here and talk about the damage from the war, they feel very hurt," Yong said. "Some Americans have feelings just like us."

The final stop today was at the children's palace in Pyongyang, where 5,000 North Koreans get after-school training in music, art and sports. They gave a final performance for foreign dignitaries today -- a stunning reminder of how well children can learn what the state decides to teach them.

ABC News' Bob Woodruff filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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