The Australian Federal Government owned ABC is clearly a tool of Western propaganda to demonise the DPRK. The ABC picks some highlights from what he has said...
""the imagery that you get from this almost concerted effort to demonise the place...it that it must be like one massive prison camp, nothing could be further from the truth."
Yep except from virtually no one being allowed to leave the country, and the comprehensive internal passport system, with military checkpoints at the entrance of most towns (he didn't notice this?). Except for the actual gulags. Except for the compulsory adoration of the four person personality cult. Except for the secret police, the red guards, the compulsory weekly self-criticism and neighbourly criticism sessions. Except for the complete absence of private property regarding home ownership. Except for the complete prohibition on any publishing that isn't by the state. Except for the death penalty for listening to broadcasts from the outside world.
"preconceptions that the people are starving are actually not true. He says the group found people were eating well and local crops were healthy."
Western propaganda then. He saw it all, got to visit any villages he asked. That campaign a few years ago "let's eat two meals a day" was misreported. What he saw was a fair reflection of what was real.
Farming is self-sufficient, labour intensive but very productive.
Throughout the famines in the Ukraine in the 1930s and China in the 1960s, visitors were shown productive farms and statistics indicated growing production. Sure north Korea has no famine now, but to swallow the "very productive" claim is naive.
The problem is that the country's sanctions mean there are no reserves - a facet Gareth Morgan says could lead to famine.
Oh so it would be fine as a totalitarian centrally planned economy then? China shouldn't have decollectivised farming, that was obviously foolish. It's all the fault of the foreigners. Convenient, and swallowing the party line once more. Of course why are there sanctions? Those nuclear weapons it promised to dismantle in exchange for help in developing a nuclear power generation facility, which it then developed anyway? The constant exporting of missile technology to Iran, Syria and other rogue states that threaten Western allies?
because of the sanctions they are isolated.
Yes, not at all a country that isolates itself is it? Such an open engagement allowed between its people and the world.
Mr Morgan says that Koreans dress well noting that ladies wear gumboots with heels on them.
Noticing the important things.
He says interaction between the group and ordinary North Koreans proved quite difficult.
Finally, a hint of acknowledgement of the core problem.
Unlike in South Korea where people are free to chat he says that people in North Korea are all organised in work parties but say they did manage to meet a few North Koreans when they were at a beach resort.
The workers' paradise ensures even those of the lowest standing get to go on beach holidays right? Oh, maybe it's just more members of the elite?
The group were escorted throughout North Korea by a huge motorcade including a car with loudspeakers telling everyone what they were doing.
Yes the country is full of loudspeakers. Did Jo understand what was being said? Was it telling people what to do as well? We may never know.