Amidst heightened political tensions, city life in the hermit kingdom goes on.
As President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un trade personal barbs and threats of annihilation (and Trump prepares to visit the Korean peninsula in November), South Koreans are famously greeting the potential of war with a shrug. The same seems to be the case across the 38th parallel in North Korea.
In September, NK News, an independent media organization with staff in Seoul and Washington, D.C., sent a photographer into the country to see how heightened tension is impacting daily life in Pyongyang and smaller cities. While the world wonders if Kim will fulfill a threat to test a nuclear bomb over the Pacific Ocean and President Trump undermines his own Secretary of State’s diplomatic efforts, life in North Korea appears to be going on as before—which is to say slowly, amidst crumbling infrastructure and urban development that barely hints at the 21st century. The photos, shared exclusively with CityLab, also reveal fresh anti-American propaganda and closed gas stations, likely caused by fuel shortages and tightening international sanctions.
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