Blitzer's dispatch: Lighter moments during tense times in North Korea
December 18th, 2010
10:08 PM ET

Blitzer's dispatch: Lighter moments during tense times in North Korea

Even in the midst of incredible tension on the Korean peninsula, there have been a few lighter moments as I continue covering New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s extraordinary visit here.

He’s trying to calm down the tensions and has been meeting with senior North Korean diplomats, generals and nuclear officials, including Kim Gye Gwan, the North Korean who invited Richardson here on this mission.

At the start of their meeting, Governor Richardson introduced me to Kim Gye Gwan, and, through a translator, Kim joked that he was very familiar with my work, and that he understood that I was “as powerful as President Obama.” I started to laugh, as did everyone else in the room. He then said, “I understand only you and Obama have your own Situation Rooms” to which all of us laughed again.

I was impressed that he was following CNN and I mentioned that I’d been watching CNN International at this hotel where we’re staying in Pyongyang. I thanked the nuclear negotiator for allowing CNN to come into Korea for Governor Richardson’s visit, and hoped they would let us come back.

This time, he responded in English, saying, “Why not?”

Despite the joking and some of the sight-seeing tours they’ve taken us on, I have to say it’s a very worrisome time in the North Korean peninsula. A lot of people here seem to be somewhat encouraged that the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet for an emergency session Sunday morning East Coast time. Maybe that will calm things down. Bill Richardson tells me that it might give North Korea and South Korea some sort of cover to ratchet down the very bellicose rhetoric.

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soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Nattydread

    I would like to make a comment about Fred Bartkowski's remark on Saddam.For every action,there is an equal and opposite reaction.If you live by the gun,you will surely die by the gun.The people of Irak suffered so much under the rule of such a terrible dictator and his bogus generals.I do not support the death penalty,but i am also not sorry for a group of tyrants who deny a whole population their simple right to live and enjoy their fundamental Human Rights and freedom.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. John Fitzpatrick

    I'm hoping talks will help. They will certainly help more than 'Live-Fire War games' in the long-disputed sea-border. Fundamentally, this problem is one for the 2 Korean brothers, North and South, to resolve. It is their one country split by the UN along time ago to meet the needs of the USSR and the USA. That kind of arbitrary hatchet job has left the one Korea very wounded for so long; each side with great malice for the other yet each wishing for the one Korean Family to abide. Koreans, North & South, are known well for their fiery and spirited nature and so any peace will be likely to include this equally shared attribute of the two brothers. It is really no one else's business what kind of peace comes from these two 'engaging'. It wouldn't be hard for any outcome to be a lot better than the present hate-reality imposed long ago by foreigners.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. nomanland

    hmm I seen them eating in the hotel.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Barnwell

    I live in Seoul. North Korea needs to have its wings clipped.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fred Bartkowski

    If you are advocating human rights and freedom I'm with you.
    Can never be certain with media lens but does not appear to be the case that is what is happening now.
    The needs of the many outway the needs of the one or the few.
    And a fine example of this truism is our own burgeoning, exulted and happy middle class.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. John Fitzpatrick

    To have any validity both North and South must work out the details without force being applied to either from foreign manipulative powers. I'm thinking they will surely fight each other because this is what war-like brothers usually do. this is probably what has to happen. this doesn't mean everyone else has to be involved. Whilst it's kind of good that the UN is getting involved, we should remember that it was the UN who created the division within the one Korea to suit the two powers, the USSR and USA...and the idea has worked abominably every day since. Still, there is some hope. As we can recall there was an equally bizarre and schizophrenic nation divided into North and South Vietnam some time back. Unification has worked out very well there.

    The other alternative for the North I think would be for it to integrate into the greater China system with specific portfolios within the Chinese politburo held by NK present representatives. This would be far better than the current situation. Either would be far better than the current situation. Korea remains about the only place on earth that a real international war could commence: the strategic position, the untapped wealth of the north, the population densities etc. No one is really interested in peace between Palestinians and Israelis because on the whole no one likes either very much, and there's no real resources there, and, comparatively, not many people. Korea is very different and remarkably more significant and explosively 'tectonic' to life on earth.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Fred Bartkowski

    In other words we could have saved the war expense and just killed him.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Bartkowski

    Let the two halves reintegrate with least amount of suffering.
    And give away to China is bad idea.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Bartkowski

    Look we do it with drone strikes in Pakistan.
    How hard could it be to fly a couple over North Korea?
    One moment it would be a crappy dictatorship the next one big happy country.
    We shall call it Droneplomicy.

    December 19, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fred Bartkowski

    Way less messy and more cost effective than mushroom cloud war.

    December 19, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. Geraud

    We just need peace. If North Korea really has ambitions to be great, then what we SHOULD be doing is trying to convince them that they can do it without war. But it's difficult to negotiate anything when you're the U.S.

    December 19, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Bartkowski

    That is why sending progressive state Gov. and goofy tv dork just might work.

    December 19, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. in the military

    For everyone that is saying that we need to "remove the tumor called DPRK", your an ass, straight up. Easier said than done, this is not another Iraq of Afganistan. This is a war with a capable country, and your dumb to think otherwise. The DPRK has an enlisted military of 2.7 million. I am not sure how you think we can just go and win a was against 2.7 million soldiers that have been taught repeatedly their ENTIRE lives the despise America, love their beloved leader. So unless you can do it yourself, how about you think of all the service members that are out here not able to go home for Christmas because of the situation over here, and all those that could loose their lives in the event of another Korean conflict.

    December 19, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
    • eric g

      how many people just want to see another war on cnn?

      December 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric g


      December 20, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. Quenton

    No matter how miniscule their position of powers are, every slight negotiation helps, even say if N. Korea are lying with the friendly gestures. The last thing anyone or anything needs is war, specifically in this day and age where War will inevitably turn Nuclear if sparked. The Warmongers on this page are rather frightening, to know that such human beings don't realize the consequence of pushing War where a country and their allies have Nuclear armaments.

    December 19, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fred Bartkowski

    No one held a gun to my head when I joined and served.
    Just get real. No one wants war. We are full up of war.

    December 19, 2010 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
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