Inside the Hermit Kingdom

We are on a bus rolling south from Pyongyang toward Kaesong near the DMZ, searching for signs of economic life in North Korea. Pyongyang, the capital, was like a ghost townits spotless streets scrubbed clean of the messy bustle that defines most Asian capitals. The highway to the country's second-biggest city is nearly deserted. But our government handlers have promised to show us the Kaesong industrial park, where North Koreans are churning out watches, shoes and kitchenware in newly built South Korean-owned factories. After a two-hour drive, the bus stops on a bridge in the middle of nowhere. No industrial park...

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