FAQ Follow On:Twitter Google+ Facebook Tumblr subscribe by RSS or Email

North Korea Prepares for a Milestone Year

|

The government of North Korea recently invited dozens of foreign journalists into its secretive country to cover the 100th birthday celebration for founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. Among pageants and openings, the event drawing the most attention is the scheduled launch of a three-stage Unha-3 rocket carrying a weather satellite. The launch is already drawing criticism from Western governments: If successful, it could demonstrate North Korea's capacity to produce an intercontinental missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Despite their official invitation, foreign photographers are still restricted -- escorted wherever they go and unable to photograph more than they can see within selected facilities or from the windows of buses and trains. As further images emerge from the celebrations of Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday, I will follow up with a second post. [37 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose:
A North Korean student learns to drive a tractor on a computerized driving simulator at the Samjiyon School children's Palace in Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. The facility was built for children to take part in after school programs in the arts, sciences, sports, computer and vocational training. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
A North Korean student learns to drive a tractor on a computerized driving simulator at the Samjiyon School children's Palace in Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. The facility was built for children to take part in after school programs in the arts, sciences, sports, computer and vocational training. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
A North Korean soldier working as a guide walks through a forest that is said to be a former camp site where the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung overnighted while leading a battle against the Japanese at the foot of Mount Paektu, North Korea. Photo taken on April 4, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
The 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, the highest building under construction in North Korea, at dawn in downtown Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
An official of Daedonggang Fruit Farm, with 300 acres of apple trees, poses while wearing a lapel badge featuring North Korea's founder Kim Il sung, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, on April 10, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A North Korean man clears snow from a path next to a monument at the site of the Samjiyon Grand Monument in Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
Women carry wooden snow shovels as they make their way along a snowy road at the foot of Mt. Paektu near Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
Lunch is prepared for visitors on a train heading to the launching site of the Unha-3 rocket, in between fields northwest of Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
Houses, seen from the window of a train, along the railway line between Pyongyang and the North Pyongan Province on North Korea's west coast, on April 8, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Korean farmers, working in a field, seen through the window of a train, about 50 km (35 mi) south of the border town of Sinuiju, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
A North Korean soldier stands at a checkpoint seen from a train heading to North Pyongan Province, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
Villagers push their bicycles on a road between fields northwest of Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A North Korean worker, seen from the window of a train as he works on power lines along the railway between Pyongyang and the North Pyongan Province, on April 8, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
A tractor, viewed from the window of a train on a track northwest of Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Koreans walk along a street in a village seen from a train heading to North Pyongan Province, along North Korea's west coast, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A conductor displays flag signals to a passing train outside a station featuring a portrait of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung northwest of Pyongyang, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
The Kwangmyongsong-3 application satellite, to be launched by the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, is displayed during a guided media tour by North Korean authorities on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A North Korean soldier tries to keep order as journalists gather around the satellite that North Korean officials say will be launched with the country's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
A scientist introduces the Kwangmyongsong-3 application satellite as media crowd to cover at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, during a guided media tour on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
The Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket, sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, on April 8, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
An Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket at North Korea's Tongchang-ri space center, on April 8, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Korean officials and foreign journalists leave the launch pad after a visit to see the rocket at Tongchang-ri space center, on April 8, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Koreans dance during a rehearsal for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of their founding leader Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Korean participants in a national taekwondo festival are judged at the Taekwondo Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 7, 2012. The sporting festival is part of ongoing celebrations being held across the country to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) #
Women work in the Kim Jong-suk Pyongyang Silk Mill in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. The factory is named after the wife of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A woman works in the Kim Jong-suk Pyongyang Silk Mill in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
Thousands of residents applaud in a square during the inauguration of a mosaic portrait of Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
Thousands of residents bow, paying tribute in a square during the inauguration of a mosaic portrait of of late leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
Thousands of residents celebrate in a square during the inauguration of a mosaic portrait of Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, on April 9, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
A North Korean traffic coordinator stands on duty in Pyongyang, on April 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
The sun is reflected from the top of the 105-floor Ryugyong Hotel, which remains under construction, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 1, 2012. The hotel is the largest structure in North Korea, and has been under construction (with numerous lengthy delays) since 1987. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A military-themed movie is broadcast on a large TV screen near the train station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 10, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A pet fish swims in a tank on a table inside a Chinese restaurant at a hotel in Pyongyang, on April 5, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korean men, who work for a hotel cooking potatoes in a locally traditional way for guests, sit next to a fire near Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
The hoof of a deer used as a door handle hangs on the door of the small cabin that is said to have been the home of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and the birthplace of his son and late leader Kim Jong Il at what was a secret military camp during the fight against the Japanese at the foot of Mount Paektu, North Korea, on April 2, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A guide shows the way in front of a portrait of late North Korea leader Kim Jong Il in the lobby of a factory making fruit juice, near the Daedonggang Fruit Farm, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, on April 10, 2012. (Reuters/Bobby Yip) #
The Huichon Power Station in Huichon City, some 250 km (155 mi) north of the capital, Pyongyang, during an opening ceremony for the facility on April 5, 2012. The Huichon Power Station, under construction for more than three years, was a favored project of late leader Kim Jong Il, who visited the project five times before his death in December. The opening was the first big ceremony in a month of celebrations timed for the April centenary of the birth of late President Kim Il Sung. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) #
North Koreans commute to work in Pyongyang on April 8, 2012. North Korea is counting down to the 100th anniversary of its founder's birth on April 15 with top-level meetings and a controversial rocket launch scheduled in coming days to bolster his grandson's credentials. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images) #

Related links and information

Previous gallery | Next gallery | View All Back to top

Recent Entries

Join the Discussion

blog comments powered by Disqus

On Newsstands Now

Subscribe and SAVE 65%
10 issues JUST $2.45/COPY

The Atlantic Monthly

The real roots of midlife crisis, the curious case of Jesus's wife, when schools are too strict, the coming fall of Facebook, the new science of hit songs, and more