International media has been all about North Korean rocket launch next week. 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. But I am more interested in covering how do the regular folks of North Korea live. Despite their official invitation, foreign photographers are still restricted — escorted wherever they go and unable to photograph more than what 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.

 

 

A woman works in the Kim Jong-suk Pyongyang Silk Mill 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)

A North Korean traffic coordinator stands on duty in Pyongyang, on April 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

 

 

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)

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)

 

 

A quarter of North Korea’s 24 million population are in urgent need of international food assistance, according to the World Food Program.

 

 

North Korean students perform in front of Kim's statue at Changdok School in Pyongyang during a meeting of school youth and children themed "The dear Generalissimo Kim Il Sung is our eternal sun", one of festivities timed for the 100th birth anniversary of Kim Il-Sung, founder of North Korea (Reuters/KCNA)

 

 

Thousands of North Koreans held up fuchsia wreaths and waved them to mark the unveiling of a new mural depicting Kim Jong-Il, the 'Dear Leader' was passed away last year, in a ceremony in Pyongyang on April 9, 2012.

 

 

Iron smelters at the Chollima Steel Complex in Nampo City

 

 

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)

 

 

Seeing the new leader above a huge portraits of the country's founder Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, drew raucous cheers of "Hurrah!" and some tears from North Koreans attending the parade in the heart of Pyongyang.

 

 

North Korean students hold flip cards to create the picture likeness of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung during the Arirang Grand Mass gymnastics and Artistic performance at the May day stadium in Pyongyang, (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

 

 

North Korean acrobats do cartwheels in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

 

 

Women work in the Kim Jong-suk Pyongyang Silk Mill in Pyongyang.

 

 

Thousands of North Koreans held up fuchsia wreaths and waved them to mark the unveiling of a new mural depicting Kim Jong-Il, the 'Dear Leader' was passed away last year, in a ceremony in Pyongyang on April 9, 2012.

 

 

 

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