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North Korea

Glimpses into the hermit kingdom of North Korea

As chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, David Guttenfelder has had unprecedented access to communist North Korea. Here's a rare look at daily life in the secretive country.

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North Korean soldiers and civilians pose for souvenir photos in front of a fountain as they tour the grounds of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum where the embalmed bodies of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are housed, in Pyongyang on April 25, 2013. North Koreans at the mausoleum were marking the 81st anniversary of the founding of its military, which began as an anti-Japanese militia and now has an estimated 1.2-million troops.

As chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, David Guttenfelder has had unprecedented access to communist North Korea. Here's a rare look at daily life in the secretive country.

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North Korean soldiers and civilians stand on a foot bridge to look at goldfish in a moat as they tour the grounds of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on April 25, 2013.

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North Korean children perform music at Mangyongdae Children's Palace in Pyongyang on April 18, 2013.

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A North Korean soldier guarding the entrance to Pyongyang's Kumsusan mausoleum looks back through the doors of the main gate on April 15, 2013. The mausoleum houses the embalmed bodies of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

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Runners rest inside Kim Il Sung Stadium in Pyongyang on April 14, 2013. North Korea hosted the 26th Mangyongdae Prize Marathon as part of celebrations surrounding the birthday of late leader Kim Il Sung on April 15.

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An apartment block stands among the buildings in central Pyongyang at dusk on April 10, 2013.

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A North Korean teacher holds open a children's pop-up book, which depicts a U.S. soldier killing a Korean woman with a hatchet, in a library room at Kaeson Kindergarten in central Pyongyang on March 9, 2013. For North Koreans, anti-American indoctrination starts as early as kindergarten.

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A Mercedes car passes through a strip of sunlight on a street in central Pyongyang on March 8, 2013.

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A North Korean woman sings karaoke at the Hyangsan Hotel at the foot of Mount Myohyang on Feb. 23, 2013.

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North Koreans walk past brightly-lit apartment buildings on the new Changjon Street in Pyongyang on Feb. 21, 2013.

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A North Korean nurse looks out of a window at a neighborhood health clinic in Pyongyang on Feb. 21, 2013.

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Photos show examples of hair styles inside a hair salon in Pyongyang on Feb. 20, 2013.

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A North Korean nurse comforts a baby at a nursery inside Pyongyang Maternity Hospital on Feb. 20, 2013.

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A North Korean woman, with a fake Kalashnikov rifle used in a theatrical performance, waits for a ride in front of the Pyongyang Grand Theater on Feb. 17, 2013.

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A North Korean portrait photographer poses North Korean soldiers under a mosaic of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang on Feb. 17, 2013. The soldiers were attending an exhibition of Kimjongilia flowers, named after Kim Jong Il.

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A singer performs in Pyongyang on Feb. 17, 2013, in front of a backdrop that reads "Let's strike the imperialists mercilessly with the same success we had carrying out the 3rd nuclear test."

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North Korean schoolboys play with a photographer's professional camera in front of statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Feb. 16, 2013. Starting Jan. 18, foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea and access the Internet through a local provider on data capable 3G connection on mobile phones. This picture, taken on an iPhone, was posted to Instagram the same day.

Click to see David Guttenfelder's Instagram feed of pictures from North Korea.

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North Korean traffic police officers gather in front of bronze statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to pay their respects in Pyongyang on Feb. 16, 2013. North Koreans turned out to commemorate what would have been the 71st birthday of Kim Jong Il who died on Dec. 17, 2011.

Video: Elaborate farewell for Kim Jong Il

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Swimmers perform at a synchronized swimming exhibition in Pyongyang on Feb. 15, 2013.

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An off-duty traffic policeman laces up ice skates as his colleague looks on at an ice skating rink in Pyongyang on Jan. 11, 2013.

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Men shovel snow from the roof of a building in Pyongyang on Jan. 10, 2013.

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North Koreans work at computer terminals inside the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang on Jan. 9, 2013.

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A woman walks down stairs at a restaurant meant primarily for tourists in Kaesong on Sept. 11, 2012.

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A man holds a woman's bag and parasol as they play miniature golf at a new amusement park in Pyongyang on Sept. 8, 2012.

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North Koreans watch a dolphin show at a new amusement park in Pyongyang on Sept. 8, 2012.

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A dolphin leaps from a tank during a show in Pyongyang on Sept. 8, 2012.

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North Koreans try to rebuild the banks of a riverbed washed out by flooding near their cornfields in Songchon County on Aug. 13, 2012.

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A displaced North Korean man, left homeless by flooding, walks among temporary tents and damaged homes in his destroyed neighborhood in Ungok on Aug. 13, 2012.

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Image: Hamhung, North Korea.

A truck, retro-fitted to run on a barrel of burning wood, stops on a road in Hamhung on Aug. 11, 2012.

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A couple dances at Majon beach near Hamhung on Aug. 11, 2012.

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The sun sets over Pyongyang as seen from a downtown hotel room on Aug. 11, 2012.

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A family picnics in the grass at a hilltop park overlooking Pyongyang on April 18, 2012.

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North Koreans enjoy a picnic on a hilltop park overlooking Pyongyang on April 18, 2012, a national holiday celebrating the birthday period of the late leader Kim Il Sung.

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A North Korean choir sings during a concert in Pyongyang on April 16, 2012, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

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North Koreans look on with delight as they watch a fireworks display along the Taedong River in Pyongyang to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 2012.

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North Koreans walk down a street after a military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, 2012.

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North Koreans rest under portraits of Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il after a military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung on April 15, 2012.

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Technicians work at computer terminals at the General Launch Command Center of North Korea's space agency on the outskirts of Pyongyang on April 11, 2012. Officials at the command center showed reporters a live feed of the launch pad where engineers were pumping fuel into a rocket set to carry a satellite into space.

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Ryu Kum Chol, deputy director of space exploration in the Department of Space Technology of North Korea, speaks to the international media in Pyongyang on April 10, 2012. North Korean space officials said that all assembly and preparations for a planned satellite launch had been completed, while denying it was a cover for a missile test.

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Men drink and sing inside a pagoda at a hilltop park overlooking Pyongyang on April 18, 2012.

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Commuters ride on a trolley car in central Pyongyang on April 17, 2012.

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Members of North Korea's military talk 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.

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Pedestrians walk along a street past apartment blocks in central Pyongyang on April 10, 2012.

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A boy runs on a hilltop in the countryside in North Korea's North Phyongan province on April 8, 2012.

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A man stands on a rural road in North Korea's North Phyongan province on April 8, 2012.

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A soldiers stands guard in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri on April 8, 2012. The Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite was launched on April 13 but failed to reach orbit.

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A North Korean woman holding artificial flowers stands on the side of a road in Pyongyang on April 7, 2012, after returning from a rehearsal for a parade to honor North Korean leaders.

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A female North Korean soldier, working as a guide, stands before a map on April 4, 2012, to explain the layout of what is said to be a campsite where the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung overnighted while leading a battle against the Japanese at the foot of Mt. Paektu.

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North Korean women carrying wooden snow shovels walk along a road at the foot of Mt. Paektu near Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012.

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North Korean students practice playing the accordion at the Schoolchildrens' Palace in Samjiyon on April 3, 2012. The facility provides after-school programs in the arts, sciences and sports, and computer and vocational training.

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A student learns to drive a tractor on a computerized driving simulator at the Schoolchildren's Palace in Samjiyon, North Korea, on April 3, 2012. The facility provides after-school programs in the arts, sciences and sports, and computer and vocational training.

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Image: Kim Jong Un

New North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from left, applauds as he leaves the stands at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang after reviewing a parade of thousands of soldiers and commemorating the 70th birthday of the late Kim Jong Il on Feb. 16, 2012.

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A North Korean soldier smiles from the back of an army vehicle at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang before a parade of thousands of soldiers commemorating the 70th birthday of the country's late leader Kim Jong Il on Feb. 16, 2012.

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Audience members applaud as a large screen shows a portrait of Kim Jong Il during a concert in Pyongyang commemorating the late North Korean leader on what would have been his 70th birthday on Feb. 16, 2012.

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A North Korean stands at attention as others cheer during the unveiling of a new bronze statue depicting the late leader Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung at Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang on Feb. 14, 2012.

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A woman stands next to tank filled with goldfish in an office at the Korean Central News Agency building in Pyongyang on Jan. 16, 2012.

PhotoBlog: Associated Press photographer talks about looking for the familiar in isolated North Korea.

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