Representative of Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS)
Q2: Did you see or meet with ordinary North Korean people in the street of its capital of Pyongyang? How did they look? What were their reactions to you?
A2: It is not easy to speak to ordinary North Korean people in the street. First of all, you are not supposed to walk around on your own. You will always be accompanied by your official hosts. And secondly Koreans are not accustomed to engage in conversations with strange foreigners anyway.
Even in South Korea this is not the habit.Nevertheless, the streets of Pyongyang are filled with people, generally quite well dressed. We were also surprised about the large amount of vehicles in the streets. Compared to other parts of the country it is said that the capital is better endowed. The rural areas might look different but we had no chance to see much about the countryside during this particular visit.
A3: The economy is suffering ever since the collapse of the East Block and this state of affairs is aggravated by the present sanctions regime. We did not see any factories but were told that industrial production is down, partly due to lack of steel production and financial as well as material shortcomings.It is virtually impossible to make an informed judgment about the prevailing food supply situation due to the lack of data and inconsistent information from different sources.
Q4: When did you visit North Korea in detail? Were you scared or worried about your visit to North Korea? What was the purpose?
A4: The visit took place from April 5 to April 9, 2011. It was our first time ever to visit the northern part of the Korean peninsula. Thus, this stay was an exploratory one in order to find out what concrete projects the Konrad Adenauer Foundation might or might not carry out in North Korea or how north Korean participants could be integrated into programmes in Germany or in the Region. In previous years the Foundations had given scholarships to North Korean newspaper journalists and radio reporters as well as cameramen in Germany.
A5: The nature of the visit was a fact finding mission to assess possibilities of cooperation with various north Korean agencies. Konrad Adenauer Foundation had previously also invited senior lecturers from Kim Il Sung University to attend a regional conference on legal issues.As an outcome of that visit, two students from that university received a scholarship to study law at Humbold University in Berlin. They are now back in Pyongyang and we had a very interesting meeting with them and their professor as well.
Q6: What kind of people did you meet?
Q7: Were you treated well? Who treated you there? Where did you stay? Did you like the North Korean food there? What kind of food did you have there?
A7: We were treated extremely well, polite and courteous in line with the traditional Korean hospitality. We were booked into the Koryo Hotel in downtown Pyongyang. - a hotel with all customary amenities. We even had BBC, NHK and Chineses programs in our room. Food was good - not as opulent and abundant perhaps as in South Korea, but local beer and soju was excellent and cheap.
A8: It was in fact our first visit to North Korea. It coincided with the tenth anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Germany and the DPRK.
Q9: What are KAS relations with North Korea or its role there? What has KAS been doing there since when?
A9: KAS relations to North Korea has been very limited so far. The other German political foundations have been engaging with contacts and activities much longer including carrying out EU funded projects in the field of forestry and fisheries development projects.
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