'We are the masters of the world': A rare glimpse inside North Korea

Credit: Lucy Watson

Today, the world's media descended on Pyongyang. No longer were we one press bus, but three, meaning our travels and movements were even more restricted.

Our day began at the birthplace of Kim Il Sung, the first President of DPRK. We were shown his humble beginnings - a hut on the outskirts of Pyongyang, and told of his love of noodles.

This is a sacred place for North Koreans, yet the surrounding villages seem disconnected from such a prized site. The bus depot was deserted. I was told, if no visitors from the city come to the tourist attraction then the buses don't either.

Next on our voyage of stage-managed discovery we headed for the subway, passing a funfair devoid of fun, with not a person in sight.

So, to the bowels of Pyongyang we went. It was an opportunity to witness what is normal, but all to a bizarre soundtrack of patriotic music.

During our travels we passed a funfair apparently devoid of fun. Credit: ITV News

We saw the daily commute and realised that North Koreans were equally curious about us as we are about them.

Their subway is 100 metres underground and 1.5 million people use it everyday. Images of their leaders adorn the walls.

Pyongyang's metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world and it's a source of great pride, but one of the considerations when building it so far beneath the surface was this country's security.

Passengers listen to patriotic music played over the metro speakers. Credit: ITV News

People who spoke to us believe it was the foresight of their former leaders to built it like this for their protection.

"Mr Kim saw that it was important to build it so far beneath the ground because it is vital for our safety."

Another man, a farm worker told us: "It could easily be used in wartime if there are strikes on us because it is deep and very secure. 10 or 15 years ago the Americans could have attacked us but now they're scared of our strength. We're not afraid of them, and we have the strongest leader you can imagine. While we have him we are not vulnerable."

Pyongyang's war museum stands to reinforce the country's forceful national image. Credit: ITV News

And Kim Sol Bong, a student explained: "If our country goes this way then the other countries will go that way too, and follow us. We are masters of the world."

Our next stop was the city's monstrous war museum. It serves to reinforce the importance of this country's military. They are the state's protection, and its labour force. Here, propaganda is never far away.

The fearsome faces of huge sculptures reflect a regime's refusal to relent, as North Korea continues to threaten the US and South Korea with nuclear force.

The Workers' Party will celebrate 70 years in power on Saturday. Credit: ITV News

As fishermen plied their trade on the riverside nearby officials showed us the museum's prized catch. A US warship captured in 1968. Seven North Koreans stormed the vessel with 17 Marines onboard taken captive.

Tomorrow, the Workers' Party will celebrate its 70 year reign with a military parade of power. Yet another show of force by a leadership that refuses to let their nuclear ambition fade. They believe their future is too vulnerable without it.

A US warship captured in 1968 sits on display in the country's war museum. Credit: ITV News

It will no doubt be a powerful spectacle to delight and reassure a domestic population. Whilst the DPRK is a walled and mysterious place, tomorrow it will be wide open - wide open to the watchful gaze of the world's media because this is what we're allowed here for and this is what they want us to see.