Former Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell is the only British minister to have visited North Korea.
Speaking to Daybreak he said North Korea was the "strangest place" he had ever been to.
He added: "There is probably a degree of brainwashing, the like of which I have never seen anywhere else in the world before."
Through her tears, a North Korean woman told me how she had to escape: risk death while running across the border or die of starvation.
Memories of the Korean war are never far away in South Korea, where residents have grown used to living with the constant threat of war.
North Korea said it will withdraw workers from the Kaesong factory park run jointly with South Korea and suspend all operations there.