A former Sky News correspondent has recounted her time covering the most secretive countries on earth.
Katie Stallard-Blanchette worked as Sky’s Asia correspondent for three years and faced major obstacles in trying to report the real China.
During her time in Beijing she also travelled to North Korea and ended her stint in the region just as US President Donald Trump announced plans to meet its leader Kim Jong Un.
In Sky News’ ‘Behind The Headline’ podcast she talks about her experience covering heavily censored nations.
Listen to the full podcast below
She said: “I don’t think China cares about human rights because there is no price to pay on the world stage. When they look around they are confident about how things are going.”
Katie said China wants to move into a hi-tech economy but faces enormous challenges in the future.
On North Korea she said getting into the country is difficult and news organisations have to apply to the embassy in London.
Once in, journalists are escorted everywhere they go. Katie said: “When you arrive you are met by one of two handlers.
“All the time you are there you are under extreme control. They are with you all the time. You stay in a hotel on an island.
“They keep two handlers who are not only watching you but each other to make sure nobody gets too pally.”
Katie says she is optimistic about the talks between Mr Trump and Mr Kim that take place in Singapore on Tuesday.
She said: “I am optimistic. The situation last year was getting very serious. I think it’s now entering a new phase. However I don’t think Kim will give up his nuclear weapons.
“I think the talks are happening now because Kim feels he has got what he wants. He has crude nuclear weapons and a deterrent.”
She described her time in Asia as fascinating but says you never really see the real country.
“It’s fascinating but what we see is what they show us.”