Gallery Gate

As the world watches to see what North Korea's next move will be in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship with the United States, residents of its capital aren't hunkering down in bunkers and preparing for the worst. Instead, they are out on the streets en masse getting ready for the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung -- the biggest holiday of the year. The festivities leading up to Kim's birthday come amid fears that North Korea may be planning to test launch a new missile in retaliation for what it claims are provocative war games by U.S. and South Korean troops just across the Korean border. Even at such a seemingly innocuous setting as a flower show in Kim's honor, North Korea's warning that it is prepared to strike back if pushed too far is on prominent display. This year's exhibition of "Kimilsungia" flowers - which North Koreans claim their scientists have bred into the most beautiful orchids in the world - is built around mockups of red-tipped missiles, slogans hailing the military and reminders of the threats that North Koreans feel are all around them.

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view Despite Tensions, North Korea Readies For Festivities as presented by: Sacramento Bee


While threats of a missile launch have renewed tensions with North Korea, photojournalist David Guttenfelder has returned to continue documenting life there. As the world watches to see what North Koreaís next move will be in a high-stakes game of brinksmanship with the United States, residents of its capital arenít hunkering down in bunkers and preparing for the worst. Instead, they are out on the streets en masse for the birthday of national founder Kim Il Sung ó the biggest holiday of the year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a stark warning to North Korea on Friday not to test-fire a mid-range missile, while rejecting a new U.S. intelligence report suggesting significant progress in the communist regimeís nuclear weapons program. North Korean children hold up red scarves to be tied around their necks during an induction ceremony into the Korean Children's Union, the first political organization for North Koreans. North Korean soldiers stand together along a street in Pyongyang. North Koreans dance together beneath a mosaic painting of the late leader Kim Il Sung during a mass folk dancing gathering in Pyongyang Thursday, April 11, 2013, to mark the anniversary of the first of many titles of power given to leader Kim Jong Un after the death of his father Kim Jong Il.

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view Photos: David Guttenfelder in North Korea as presented by: Denver Post


Summer typhoons have compounded North Koreaís hunger crisis, as shown in photos taken on a government-monitored tour and released this week. Infants suffering from malnutrition rested in a hospital in Haeju Oct. 1. A boy stood in a blighted corn field Sept. 29 at the Soksa-Ri collective farm in the South Hwanghae Province of North Korea. Corn and cobs were the meal a North Korean woman prepared Sept. 30 in her tent in South Hwanghae Province; she lost her house in the summerís flooding.

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view Withering in North Korea as presented by: Wall Street Journal


North Korea has long been enigmatic - especially to the West. An elaborate cult of personality created around the ruling Kim family permeates both the cultural and political lives of the nation. The world's most militarized nation, it has been developing nuclear weapons and a space program. In 2002, President George Bush labeled North Korea part of an "axis of evil," primarily due to its aggressive military posture but also because of its abysmal human rights record. North Korea has long maintained close relations with the People's Republic of China and Russia. In an attempt to ameliorate the loss of investments due to international sanctions over its weapons program, North Korean officials have initiated a tourism push, focused on Chinese visitors. Still, every travel group or individual visitor is constantly accompanied by one or two "guides" who normally speak the mother language of the tourist. While some tourism has increased over the last few years, Western visitors remain scarce. The last several photos in this post are by Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder, who offers rare glimpses of life in the shuttered country. Rolling out the red carpet for tourists is not commonly associated with the reclusive North Korean government, but that is what workers did for the departure ceremony of Mangyongbyong cruise ship in Rason City on Aug. 30. About 130 passengers departed the rundown port of Rajin, near the China-Russia border, for the scenic Mount Kumgang resort near South Korea. North Korea's state tourism bureau has teamed up with a Chinese travel company to run the country's first ever cruise. A member of a marching band has her photo taken with a woman and young boy at an event to mark the birthday of Kim Il Sung at a park in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim is considered the founder of the nation. The regime of his son, Kim Jong Il, has marked 2012, the centenary of Kim Il Sung's birth, a banner year and has been trying to bolster its economy to support festivities. North Koreans pay their respects at a monument to Kim Il Sung at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea.

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view A glimpse of North Korea as presented by: Boston Big Picture


North Korea is in the midst of a series of large-scale events designed to both commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers' Party, and to introduce heir apparent Kim Jong Un to the North Korean people and the world. Current leader Kim Jong Il is now 69 years old and ailing, and has now positioned his twenty-something son, Kim Jong Un, as his successor through recent military and party promotions, and through media coverage of him by his father's side. Many western reporters were invited to these performances, though their freedom to cover events was still limited by minders. Collected here are images from the recent highly-orchestrated events in Pyongyang, and the "young general" Kim Jong Un. North Korean soldiers attend the Arirang mass games to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. Leader Kim Jong Il brought dancers at the Arirang mass games to tears Saturday by making a rare appearance at the festival on the second day of celebrations in the North Korean capital. North Korea leader Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is photographed as he attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. Kim Jong Un's recent public prominence and promotion have signaled him as the heir apparent to his ailing father's ruling position in North Korea. A costumed dancer performs in the Arirang mass games in Pyongyang.

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view A North Korean Anniversary and Debut as presented by: Boston Big Picture



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