A Glimpse Into North Korea

ByABC News
June 7, 2005, 6:17 PM

PYONGYANG, North Korea, June 7, 2005 — -- ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff traveled to North Korea to report on efforts to restart negotiations with the West. Getting into the country -- even from Beijing, its closest ally -- remains difficult, with only two flights a week.

Here are some details of what he saw:

Approaching Pyongyang -- the North Korean capital -- from the air, the landscape is very hilly and green. There are collective farms and people working in the fields, but even at mid-afternoon, the highways are nearly empty, with hardly any cars on the road.

At the airport, visitors are greeted by a large picture of Kim Il Sung, the country's longtime leader who was given the title "Eternal President" after his death in 1994. There are pictures and statues of him all over North Korea, as well as images of his son, Kim Jong Il, the current leader.

There are few people right now in Pyongyang because 3 million to 4 million city dwellers from across the country have been sent out to the countryside to work with farmers to help plant the rice crop.

North Korea is in the midst of a major food crisis, and North Koreans are desperate for a bumper crop this year.

Traffic lights are curiously absent on the streets, however. The intersections are controlled instead by police and government officials. They have not had stoplights in several years because of fuel and electricity shortages.