In 2008, during the rule of Kim Jong-il, the Associated Press managed the impossible – they opened their offices in North Korea. AP works under strict control, but is able to take photos in many places of the country, not seen by usual tourist. In June 2014 Associated Press and journalist David Guttenfelder received permission for the long journey across North Korea. They drove 2150 miles from Pyongyang, North Korean capital city, to the sacred Mount Paektu.
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From Pyongyang to Wonsan
Fog and exhaust fumes spill out of the long Hamgwan Tunnel near Hamhung in North Korea’s South Hamgyong province.
Portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are illuminated on a building side as the sun rises over Pyongyang.
A woman walks along an open road southeast of Pyongyang in North Hwanghae province.
North Korean men share a picnic lunch and North Korean-brewed and bottled Taedonggang beer along the road in North Hwanghae province.
A man works on his car as others sit next to the sea in Wonsan.
North Korean school children walk on the beach in the city of Wonsan in Kangwon province.
A row of bicycles are parked next to the sea in Wonsan.
The remains of lunch sit on a restaurant table in the city of Wonsan.
From Wonsan to Samjiyon
A North Korean man pushes his bicycle to a village in North Hamgyong province.
Young North Korean school children help to fix pot holes in a rural road in North Hamgyong province.
A monument of a fist holding a bayonetted Kalashnikov rifle stands on a roadside in South Hamgyong province.
An apartment block stands behind hotel room curtains on the main street in Hamhung.
A man stands in front of a row of homes in the town of Kimchaek, in North Hamgyong province.
An exclamation point punctuates a long propaganda slogan in a field in North Hamgyong province.
A wood-burning truck seen on the road linking the cities of Chongjin and Hamhung, along the eastern coast.
A denuded hillside outside the village of Kumya in South Hamgyong province.
Clouds float over the peak of Mt. Paektu in Ryanggang province.
A North Korean man holds a hand drawn map of the areas around Mt. Paektu as he and colleagues drive in Samjiyon in Ryanggang province.
A North Korean man takes shelter in the rain next to long propaganda billboards in the town of Samjiyon in Ryanggang province.
Statues of animals playing musical instruments stand along the roadside south of Samsu in Ryanggang province.
A man walks with a pink umbrella along the roadside south of Samsu in Ryanggang province.
A deer’s hoof, used as a door handle, hangs from the front door of the home where North Koreans say the late leader Kim Jong Il was born around Mt. Paektu in Ryanggang province.
A man sits by a fire he built to roast potatoes and chicken in the town of Samjiyon in Ryanggang province.
A North Korean national television station camera crew records the scenery from the peak of Mt. Paektu.
Mt. Paektu guide Jo Jong Suk walks on the peak.
Source: AP Photo