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Florida Gulf Coast President recalls trip to North Korea

Posted at 12:00 AM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 00:00:59-04

Florida Gulf Coast University President Mike Martin was part of a peace mission to North Korea in 2005.

Martin was accompanied by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, then a special envoy to President George W. Bush.

"The airport was dark, until we came in, it was at night," Martin said of Pyongyang, the communist country's capital city.

He also noticed something else about the city, there were no traffic lights.

"Every intersection controlled by an individual managing the intersection, which tells you, surplus labor, they had a lot of extra labor."

He says the country seemed to be stuck in the early 1900's, farmers lacked the right equipment to harvest crops.

"They were doing almost everything by hand, there was almost no mechanization that you could see, as they were harvesting rice."

And Martin says the whole time he was in North Korea, he knew his entire delegation was being watched, especially after he was locked out of his hotel room.

"So we're just standing in the hallway, and all of a sudden the door opens and a little Korean guy comes out.  Clearly in their checking to see what I had in my room."

Martin says peace never materialized after that trip.  Now he urges President Trump to proceed with caution during his upcoming summit in Singapore with North Korea Leader Kim Jung Un.

"So I think anyone going blithely into this, thinking this going to be a buddy, buddy thing and that Donald Trump is going to replace Dennis Rodman as Kim Jun Un's best friend is deluding themselves."

Martin says whether or not the summit is successful, he worries Kim Jung-Un will use it as a publicity stunt to show the world how powerful his nation is.