Roy Calley’s book, Look With Your Eyes and Tell The World, published this week, lifts the lid on life in the so-called hermit state. And he sees little prospect of genuine engagement with the outside world while the Kim dynasty remains in power – and equally little chance of regime change anytime soon. In the wake of a series of missile tests in 2017, Mr Trump and Kim exchanged a series of insults, with the US President calling Kim “little rocket man” and Kim responding by branding the billionaire a “deranged maniac” – but the pair have since met of three separate occasions, with the subject of “denuclearisation” on the agenda.
In my opinion, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of the Supreme Leader giving up these weapons
However, Mr Calley told Express.co.uk: “My feeling is that Donald Trump is wasting his time, but he probably knows that anyway.
“Kim Jong-un has no intention of giving up nuclear weapons and that can be seen by the numerous news stories in the media celebrating the latest rocket fired into the sky, plus the numerous buildings, museums and events that celebrate the ‘strength’ the country has.
“In my opinion, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of the Supreme Leader giving up these weapons.”
The meetings between Mr Trump and Kim – in Singapore, Hanoi and in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea – made headlines around the world – but Mr Calley said they had barely registered in the country itself, where access to information is strictly controlled and the internet is not accessible.
Kim Jong-un will never give up North Korea’s nuclear missiles, says Roy Calley
Two enormous bronze statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in PyongYang
He explained: “The people are not surprisingly ill-informed of the situation.
“They are still told by the government that the USA is ‘Imperialist America’, who are their bitter enemies.
“On my second visit, my guides relied on me every morning to tell them what was happening via CNN or Al Jazeera (BBC was still banned at that point).
“Any other conversation with other guides was met with a smile and a shrug.
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The massive arch at the entrance to PyongYang
“It was something which they did not feel comfortable with at all.”
With respect to Kim himself, who succeeded his father Kim Jong-il in 2011, the elder Kim himself having himself succeeded Kim il-Sung in 1994, Mr Calley said: “The country is run as a dynasty, so there is no chance whatsoever of anyone from outside of the Kim family taking power.
“There will definitely be a successor in mind, but this will not be made public until Kim Jong-un dies, and bearing in mind his young age, it’s unlikely that’s going to happen anytime soon.
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A lady soldier is stood in front of the Liberation War Museum
One of North Korea’s famous traffic ladies
“There will be no other future leader that does not come from the Kim dynasty.”
Mr Calley’s book details his experiences of life as a tourist in North Korea, including visits to national monuments and other places of interest, and contrasts the relative comfort of PyongYang and the harsher conditions found in the surrounding countryside.
While Mr Calley said he has enjoyed his time in the country, he admitted was disturbed by many aspects of North Korean society – for example, never seeing a single person with a disability during his trips.
He said: “North Korea is a unique country in that it hides what they don’t want you to see.
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in the DMZ
“The total absence of anyone with a disability is a sad indictment of the way the country behaves, but it’s entirely possible that there are facilities where they are being looked after.
“It would be almost impossible for a tourist to gain any information on such a thing.
“Guides will have been strictly told not to discuss such things, so all I can do is speculate.”
As for the North Korea’s shocking human rights record, Mr Calley’s book estimates roughly 100,000 people are in political prisoner camps – not that he ever discussed this with guides during his trips.
The 105-storey tall Ryugyong Hotel in PyongYang, which is yet to be completed
He added: “On a day to day basis the citizens of the country (notably in Pyongyang) are seemingly content.
“There doesn’t appear to be any unhappiness and if there was, it could never be shown publicly for fear of severe punishment.
“The people are almost certainly aware of the camps, but as they are something that has always been there, they don’t give it much thought unless they find themselves in trouble.
“Getting into trouble in North Korea is actually quite difficult as their lives are strictly regimented, and minor crimes such as stealing etc, receive the same type of punishment as they do in the UK.”
A timeline showing the history of North Korea’s missile launches
Mr Calley also admitted to qualms about having put pen to paper to describe his experiences of life in North Korea – and the consequent price he will pay for it.
He said: “I think it’s highly unlikely that my book will make it as far as North Korea, as there isn’t the infrastructure for it to get there.
“It will be read by the ambassadors of the Embassy here in the UK, and that will mean I will almost certainly not receive a future visa.
“That saddens me and makes my decision to write the book even more unclear in my mind.
Look With Your Eyes and Tell the World is published by Amberley
“I wrote it because of the numerous false stories that seemed to be invented by certain media outlets here, but in return it means I will probably never see, or hear from, the many friends I made there.
“At this moment I feel I’ve betrayed them to a certain extent.”
Look With Your Eyes and Tell the World, priced £20, is published by Amberley Books