TIME

HIGH-STAKES SUMMITS

Historic sit-downs could reshape the world far beyond the 38th parallel
A decorated fence next to a suspected minefield inside the DMZ on March 21; a nearby sign warns not to enter, or a person could “get killed instantly”

GROWING UP IN HYESAN, NORTH KOREA, a small industrial city near the border with China, Hyeonseo Lee heard plenty about Americans. But never without a modifier. “It was always ‘American bastards’ or ‘American aggressors,’” she says.

When Lee was 13, her school made the obligatory pilgrimage to the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities. There, Lee and her classmates were told of the 35,000 civilians North Korea says were massacred by U.S. troops at the start of the Korean War in 1950. She was shown where 100 North Korean mothers were separated from their newborns as they cried out for milk. And she was brought to the room where the heartless Americans supposedly fed the babies gasoline instead, before flinging in a match.

“I didn’t think Americans were human beings,” says Lee, who fled North Korea in 1997 and wrote The Girl With Seven Names about her experience. “I thought they were animals that we had to kill off. That was the brainwashing from age 4.”

Hatred of the U.S. is a founding principle of the North Korean regime. The revolutionary guerrilla Kim Il Sung seized power in 1948 and built the state ideology around the nebulous concept of juche, which is loosely defined as ultranationalist self-reliance. His descendants have maintained their control in part by instilling the belief that other nations are plotting North

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