Nightly News   |  July 26, 2013

Touring the bubble of North Korea

Government minders in North Korea tried to control what the press videotaped, directing them to the opening of a national cemetery dedicated to what they’re calling the martyrs of the Korean War. NBC’s Ann Curry reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> halfway around the world it's saturday morning on the korean peninsula . they are marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the korean war . in south korea , modern and prosperous in the years since the war, american veterans of the war paid their respects at the national cemetery in seoul. north korea remains an outlaw state, a nuclear nation , poor and isolated. we don't often get a look inside unless the regime has something it wants to show the wider world. that is the case on this anniversary. nbc's anne curry reports tonight from pyongyang.

>> reporter: the first thing the government wanted us to see -- its korean war veterans, considered heroes here. many now in their 80s, lined up once again and joined by tens of thousands of others.

>> all these people are coming to mark the opening of the national cemeteries whom they call the martyrs of the korean war . this is north korea 's version of arlington cemetery . government minders keep us on the move trying to control what we can see, herding the world's press onto buses, often stopping us from videotaping and warning us that anti-american sentiment is especially high because of this anniversary. we weren't allowed to see life outside pyongyang where there were reports of deep poverty and widespread hunger. these images were shot by nbc news last year. instead we were shown a flower show to see a begonia and orchid grown to honor past leaders who are venerated here. amid the flowers, mock-ups of military hardware. we were able to glimpse signs of change in the capitol. gleaming new apartment towers likely for the elite. a few more cars on mostly empty streets. most people still get around on foot or by bicycle. there were a few unscripted moments. a widow grooeieving at the cemetery for her dead husband. proud parents showing off their newborn. they told us they hope he will join the military some day. and bashful schoolgirls breaking into giggles talking to a foreigner. tonight we were back in the bubble, rushed with patriotic pageant where the crowd went into a frenzy when kim jong eun appeared. no one does propaganda like north korea . at tomorrow's parade we are expecting to see north korea 's newest military hardware. if kim jong -un makes a speech it is possible he could say which direction he is leading this nuclear-capable nation. brian?