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Propaganda Film Shows How North Korea Might Like Trump’s Visit to Go

March 9, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

The movie poster for the propaganda film 'The Country I Saw' in Kaesong, North Korea, 2012. (Credit: Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis/Getty Images)

Donald Trump shocked the world on March 8, 2018 by announcing that he would visit North Korea to meet with its dictator Kim Jong-un, making him the first president to visit the “hermit kingdom.” It’s a move that many, including members of the State Department, couldn’t have predicted.

But the North Korean population has already seen a version of this: in a five-part propaganda series with this exact same triumphant ending.

“North Korea has been seeking a summit with an American president for more than twenty years … Kim Jong Il invited Bill Clinton,” tweeted Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, after Trump’s announcement. He believes the aim of the meeting is to elevate North Korea on the world stage, rather than to discuss disarmament, as Trump hopes.

“This is literally how the North Korean film The Country I Saw ends,” Lewis wrote. “An American President visits Pyongyang, compelled by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs to treat a Kim as an equal.”

The movie poster for the propaganda film ‘The Country I Saw’ in Kaesong, North Korea, 2012. (Credit: Eric Lafforgue/Art In All Of Us/Corbis/Getty Images)

The Country I Saw is a five-part propaganda film series that aired its first episode in 1988 and the rest around 2012. The first film focused on a Japanese journalist who travels to North Korea to investigate whether it was really as bad as everyone said. Unsurprisingly, he discovers that everything in the country is great. He meets an artist who rose out of poverty, a bunch of people donating blood, and a group of siblings whom Kim Jong-il supposedly became a father to after they were orphaned by World War II. The journalist leaves North Korea with a positive impression of the country, and writes about his experiences in an article.

Like the first part, the other films in the series focus on outsiders who become overwhelmed by the evidence of North Korea’s success and might. The major foreign players are the U.S. and Japan, two countries that constantly underestimate North Korea only to be awed by its capabilities. In the film, two North Korean nuclear tests force the U.S. to re-enter talks with the …read more


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