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.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Supposedly this is an unofficial visit by Richardson and CNN top dog just happened to tag along. Richardson is telling
    N. Korea we love them and will send money soon, Wolf will report on the food they ate at the reception.
    There you have it, all is well and we need this type of news all the time.
    Now I return to my Sunday football where the results are believable..

    December 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nattydread

    Why are so many people against one man?Please give Wolf a chance.He is just doing his job and is part of the team.

    December 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kanit

    I find CNN's support of this story to be clearly self-promoting. First of all, Gov Richardson is not on an official mission. Sure, he likely enjoys the blessing of the current administration and carries with him some proposals. But I still fail how to see anything Richardson or Wolfe are involved in as "tense". NK has been on a war-time footing for over 50 years. In addition, It is likely that neither party on either side of the table has any real decision-making power.

    This is not a news story.

    December 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Maybe a book is coming out from both men. They are all writing books now days for things we already now.

      December 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oldeye

    Richardson seems to be playing into the NK ploy of cat and mouse tactics.
    Or is that the old rope-a-dope tactic to keep Obama and Lee disoriented?
    What is hell is Richardson going to offer them? I mean what can he possibly
    offer them that will make sense? Jeez! I totally stumped.

    December 19, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ray

    I go to Pyongyang annually and all the hotels I stay in have BBC International. Even Wonsan had BBC International. I think they would have changed for Wolf's visit or added it. I will see this coming year if they have CNN International but I doubt it.

    December 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HarshReality

    The South is not "provoking" anybody. They have every right to practice for conflict, same as the US, China, France, Germany, etc. Blaming the South is like blaming the victim of a rape for being raped. If we require the South to not practice it's military due to threats from the North, then their threats worked, and the North will continue to goad the South like a petulant child goads it's parents. It's the same as giving in to terrorisim in my book.

    Would we allow Football team A to require Football team B not to practice or the players from A will beat up on some players from B???? No? Then why would we give in to this larger form of terrorisim??

    December 19, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mr. Palistine

    did you say... No one likes israel? Surely you jest...endless tea party funding and all the rest. But you know it is interesting just how polarized and powerful all such people seem to need to display these days just like cornfield midwest. No sense of future.. Jus mayan calender meyhem served up on a christian end time plate...the perfect for deep bigotry have resurfaced in the bland heartlands.. More funding? Why not continue to rob america of all hope just to make a powerful image.

    December 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dru

    Who's the idiot who commented on the jeans?! That's what's nice about America.... you have the freedom to choose your own fashion.

    December 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    Well, we know that CNN gained access to Saddam's Iraq by making a deal with Saddam to limit coverage unfavorable to the regime. After reading this story (and others published by CNN on the subject of North Korea) I have absolutely no doubt that CNN has once gain sold its soul in exchange for access.

    December 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Steele

      Totally agree. You are exactly right.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. robhere

    I wonder if "The Jersey Sore" will be filming in North Korea next year?.... Kim Guy Guan to The Situation, "I hear you're as powerful as Obama and Wolf Blitzer!" (laughter), "You all have a Situation room" (more laughter)

    December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    I believe Lars is correct. Americans tend to be disrespectful to other cultures. I wish the war starts in Korea and we sink ourselves again in a lost cause. Viva freedom for other nations.

    December 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Steele

      Typical CNN viewer. If you hate America, "Joe", then get out and don't let the door hit you. By the way, you'll find that in any non-Arab, non-West European country in the world, including China, when you ask people on the street, you'll find that most people love America, and see us for what we are: the Last Best Hope on Earth.

      December 20, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Monyenye Elijah.R..Minneapolis

    Leave Wolf alone.He is in the situation room,ie NK.
    Some folks seem to mind more about clothing and political affiliation rather than the perilous position in that part of the world.
    We should be preaching peace not myopic interests.come on guys.

    December 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim Steele

    Wolf, this isn't about North and South Korea toning down their rhetoric. It's about North Korea murdering people when South Korea exercised its lawful right to conduct military drills. Just like they murdered 46 men earlier in the year when they sank that boat. You are trying to establish equivalency between the two, and it's just not true. I hope you are not compromising your independence just so you can report from North Korea. The DPRK is a murderous police state. It's immoral Wolf. You know that.

    December 20, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Nattydread

    I agree with you guy.Wolf has also so much better clothings to wear,but in order to make things much easier in the DPRK,he chose to adopt the clothing style of KIM J. ILL,the 'grea't North Korean leader.

    December 20, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. todd

    I dont think you folks get the gravity of the situation here, in a matter of a few hours all hell is about to break loose! And nukes will be the weapon of choice! The U.S. HAS WEAK LEADERSHIP, and the north knows this. God be with all our soldiers and Marines.

    December 20, 2010 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • HarshReality

      Hear, hear!!

      December 20, 2010 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
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