NORTH KOREA: Ping Pong in Pyongyang

A rare glimpse inside a forbidden city

Much as it first breached the Bamboo Curtain of Mao Tse-tung's China in 1971, Ping Pong served the cause of diplomacy last week and opened a crack in the very closed door of another Communist Asian country: North Korea. To the cheers of waving schoolchildren lining scrubbed and decorated streets, 900 table-tennis players from 70 countries—including the U.S., but not South Korea and Israel—arrived in Pyongyang for a 13-day world championship. TIME Tokyo Bureau Chief Edwin Reingold was among the few Western journalists in North Korea....

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