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A Look Inside North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un assumed his position just over a year ago, following his father's death in late 2011. Under his direction, North Korea has taken some aggressive steps, including launching a rocket despite international condemnation and cracking down even harder on those attempting to flee the country. At the same time, Kim has given a few public indications that the country's "military-first" economy needs to change. And just yesterday, during a New Year's address, he said that "removing confrontation" between North and South Korea was an important step toward reunification. The two nations are still officially at war, having never signed a peace treaty following the end of the Korean War 60 years ago. As South Korea's new president-elect prepares to take office, Kim continues to send mixed messages to the world, declaring 2013 a year of "radical turnabout." The photos of North Korea gathered here were taken recently either by official photographers, or by western photographers under government supervision, their subjects and movement restricted. [38 photos]

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This picture taken on December 15, 2012 shows North Korean girls dancing during a performance at a nursery school in the North Korean border town of Siniuju, across from China's northeastern city of Dandong. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on December 15, 2012 shows North Korean girls dancing during a performance at a nursery school in the North Korean border town of Siniuju, across from China's northeastern city of Dandong. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)
A portrait of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung glows under a spotlight as dusk descends upon Pyongyang, North Korea, on December 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Koreans take pictures with their mobile phones as they watch fireworks to bring in the new year in Pyongyang, on January 1, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo) #
North Koreans play with a balloon as they wait outside Pyongyang stadium for the countdown to the new year on Monday, December 31, 2012. North Koreans celebrated the arrival of the new year, marked as "Juche 102" on North Korean calendars. "Juche" means "self reliance," the North Korean ideology of independence promoted by North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and modern-day North Korean calendars start with the year of his birth in 1912. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon) #
A North Korean boy runs on a hilltop in the countryside in North Korea's North Phyongan Province, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
A North Korean teacher walks down a flight of stairs at a nursery school in the northeastern North Korean border town of Sinuiju, on December 15, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Korean soldiers stand guard in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, on April 8, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un smokes a cigarette at the General Satellite Control and Command Center after the launch of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket carrying the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite at West Sea Satellite Launch Site in Cholsan county, on December 12, 2012, in this picture released by the North's KCNA news agency in Pyongyang December 13, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA) #
North Korean scientists work as a screen shows the Unha-3 rocket being launched from a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang December 12, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA) #
This picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 12, 2012 shows North Korean rocket Unha-3, carrying the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, lifting off from the launching pad in Cholsan county. North Korea's leader has ordered more satellite launches, state media said on December 14, 2012, two days after Pyongyang's long-range rocket launch triggered global outrage and UN condemnation. (KNS/AFP/Getty Images) #
North Korean farmer O Yong Ae sits at her home during an interview at the Migok Cooperative farm in Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province, North Korea, on September 23, 2012. Farmers would be able to keep a bigger share of their crops under proposed changes aiming to boost production by North Korea's collective farms, which have chronically struggled to provide enough food for the country's 24 million people. Current rules require them to turn everything over to the state beyond what farmers can keep to feed their families. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #
North Korean children carry hay on a road near Mount Kuwol in South Hwanghae province, on November 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
A North Korean man looks out from a broken window of a bus in Pyongyang, on September 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #
North Koreans flip colored cards to form giant portraits during an Arirang mass games performance in Pyongyang, on September 9, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Koreans performers flip colored cards to form a giant picture of a handgun during an Arirang mass games performance in Pyongyang, on August 8, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
North Korean waitresses prepare to serve beer at the Mansugyo Soft Drink restaurant in Pyongyang, on December 20, 2012. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the reconstruction of the restaurant that stood for decades along the Taedong river. The restaurant specializes in seven flavors of beer, cocktails, coffee and snack food. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Korean military members chat as they line up at a stadium in Pyongyang during a mass meeting called by the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling party, on April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
South Korean Army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Cheorwon, north of Seoul, South Korea, on December 20, 2012. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for the development of more powerful rockets after last week's successful launch of a satellite into space. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Lee Hae-Yong) #
A truck, retrofitted to run on a barrel of burning wood, stops on a road in Hamhung, North Korea, on August 11, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #
The 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, which remains under construction, stands over residential buildings in Pyongyang, on November 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his wife Ri Sol-Ju attend the opening ceremony of the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground on Rungna Islet along the Taedong River in Pyongyang in this July 25, 2012 photograph. The Rungna People's Pleasure Ground has attractions such as a dolphinarium, a wading pool, a fun fair and a mini golf course, according to KCNA. (Reuters/KCNA) #
North Korean workers arrange model tanks with the North Korean People's Army flags in a parade formation in front of a replica of the Grand People's Study House at the Pyongyang Folk Park, on November 18, 2012. The park, which spans Korean history from prehistoric to modern times, opened in September, 2012 after three years of construction by the North Korean soldiers. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un prepares to take a ride with other high-level officials during the opening ceremony of the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground along the Taedong River in Pyongyang, on July 25, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA) #
A North Korean amusement park vendor waits for customers in the northeastern North Korean border town of Sinuiju, on December 15, 2012. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images) #
A North Korean fisherman pilots a boat with cormorants perched onboard, in the Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, facing the Chinese border city of Dandong, on October 23, 2012. (Reuters/Aly Song) #
A North Korean traffic coordinator stands on a roadside near portraits of the late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il during a foggy morning on in Pyongyang, on December 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Korean students study in front of portraits of the country's late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and his son Kim Jong Il at the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang, on September 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #
Kim Jong-un visits the Thrice Three-Revolution Red Flag Kamnamu (persimmon tree) Company under the Korean People's Army Unit 4302 in this undated picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang, on August 24, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA) #
North Korean defectors bow to respect for their ancestors in North Korea to celebrate the Chuseok, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day, in front of the barbed wire fence at the Imjingak Pavilion, near the demilitarized zone of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, on September 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
North Korean war veterans arrive to attend celebrations of "War Victory Day," which falls on July 27, of the 1950-53 Korean War in Pyongyang, on July 26, 2012. (Reuters/KCNA) #
North Korean children push a bus in a street in Pyongyang, on September 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu) #
North Korean women rehearse martial arts movements and dance routines on a street of Pyongyang, on November 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Koreans stand near murals depicting heroic soldiers on the road from Pyongyang to Sariwon town in North Hwanghae province, on November 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
Slogans honoring the leadership are displayed during a mass rally organized to celebrate the success of a rocket launch that sent a satellite into space on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, on December 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
North Korean women work at the cashier table of a bookstore in Pyongyang, on December 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #
Workers repair a ship on Yalu River in the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on December 16, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Chen) #
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year address in Pyongyang in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, on January 1, 2013. (Reuters/KCNA) #
A woman stands along the bank of the Taedong River at the end of the day in Pyongyang, on September 13, 2012. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) #

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