'We Are a Dangerous Country'

Diane Sawyer spoke briefly with Ambassador Li Gun, deputy director general of the North Korean Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

This is a transcript of the interview.

Diane Sawyer: So, Mr. Ambassador, we keep hearing rumors of a second test.

Ambassador Li Gun: Mm hm.

Sawyer: Second nuclear test, do you know will there be one?

Li: Even if there is a, a, a nuclear test, that is natural, so we don't have to care much about this issue. I think the test itself, uh, will be natural.

Sawyer: And should not be a surprise to the United States?

Li: That's right, yes. We have facing many nuclear arsenals surrounding us, in South Korea and in nearby, Japan. And they have had new exercises.

Sawyer: Do you see this as a dangerous situation?

Li: We already demonstrated our -- we already announced that we have a nuclear -- nuke last year. But we just simply demonstrated peacefully that we have these nuclear weapons.

On the street, away from the halls of diplomacy, Sawyer spoke with North Koreans about their daily lives and their view of America.

You cannot imagine until you arrive in North Korea what it is like to see the rest of the world from their vantage point.

Everywhere you turn, you see giant posters of the great leader, Kim Il Sung, and his son, the dear leader, Kim Jong Il. And when their faces aren't on the posters, there are flowers placed in their honor.

Walk through the streets, and everyone is wearing a pin on their lapel. And on the television, there's a flower again, with pretty music playing and phrases like, "Today the world is constantly envious of the North Korean people."

There is just a dim grasp of South Korea's success -- that the tiny nation now has the twelfth largest economy in the world.

And North Koreans have little knowledge about the vast riches of the United States, so we wondered what we would find when we were out this morning.

With our translator, a constant companion here in North Korea, we walked up to strangers by the Potong River in Pyongyang, and asked, "Do you know America?"

We got blank, confused looks.

"Do you know American movie stars?"


"What about Western TV?"


'You're Afraid of Us'

And when we said we were from the United States, some people were startled.

We talked to a young university student, who is studying the Chinese language. She said that she knew the United States and that it was a serious enemy of her country, creating hardship and food shortages.

I ask her why she thought the United States was an enemy.

She said because the United States had killed so many people in the Korean War.

Next I asked, what about now?

"Why would the United States want to hurt Korea? The United States is a very big country," I said.

She answered, "Because you're afraid of us, of North Korea."

We saw workers, students, mothers with children. All the children seemed afraid of the blonde Westerner, even the little boys armed with swords.

And then there was the woman who told us she makes clothes. She was wearing, as everyone does, a pin of the great leader, Kim Il Sung.

She passionately denounced the United States, grabbing my hand for emphasis.

"We are a dangerous country," she said.

"Is there anything good about America?" I asked.

The woman answered, "No. Nothing at all."

Then I asked, "Do you know that America -- it's a very rich country [with] lots of food, lots of medicine?"

"We don't care about your money," she replied. "We love our country."

Bowling and an Invitation

We saw school kids marching by on their way to class in lock step, and singing a song that compared Kim Jong Il to the sun that shines down on their day.

We noticed even at the book shop, at the hotel that caters to foreigners.

Nearly all of the books are by Kim Il Sung, or his son, Kim Jong Il, who has written about every part of life, including how you should be a journalist, how you should direct movies, and his political philosophy called "juche" -- self reliance.

Our hosts are eager to take us to a special exhibit -- a flower exhibit to see the begonia named for Kim Jong Il and the orchid for Kim Il Sung, noting that both of them are listed in the American botanical survey.

The exhibit grounds are a place for weddings. We see couple after couple come in.

We ask one couple what they want for the future. They tell us to live with love under the excellent leadership of Kim Il Sung.

Next, we stop by a bowling alley. There are only about four in this city of 3 million people.

I tell them I'm American and ask, "What do you know about America?"

Bad, bad, they say. But then, they invite me to bowl.

At the bowling lane, there is a young girl who says she has no interest in U.S. music or movies, but politely bows to say goodbye with a shy smile.

Back at the park, an old man tells us that the nuclear test for North Korea is absolutely useful and that it's about time that Korea put pressure on the United States, just as the United States puts pressure on the rest of the world.

Then afterward, he invites us into his home, which we're going to show you on Thursday.