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Scenes from Pyongyang: CNN inside North Korea

Updated 2:30 AM ET, Fri September 22, 2017
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18 Inside North Korea gallery update 091118 Inside North Korea gallery update 0911
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North Korean high school students play on a beach at Wonsan, on September 11, 2017. Will Ripley/CNN
Bartender at the Rainbow floating restaurant in Pyongyang on September 10. Will Ripley/CNN
Sunday afternoon row boats on the Taedong River, Pyongyang, beside Juche Tower. Taken on September 10. Will Ripley/CNN
Participation in mass celebrations is mandatory for those privileged citizens allowed to live in the capital, Pyongyang. Taken on September 9. Will Ripley/CNN
Pyongyang residents walk past a poster marking the 69th DPRK Foundation Day on September 9. It reads "Let the entire world look up to the great Kim Il Sung nation and Kim Jong Il Korea." Will Ripley/CNN
This statue in Samjiyon depicts North Korea's founding President Kim Il Sung when he was a guerrilla fighter against the Japanese. Taken on September 6. Will Ripley/CNN
The lobby of the CNN team's hotel in Samjiyon on September 5. Will Ripley/CNN
A bus driver who drives a Japanese vehicle over some of the bumpiest roads in North Korea. Taken on September 5. Justin Robertson/CNN
Propaganda banners line the streets of Samjiyon on September 4. Will Ripley/CNN
Public transportation in rural North Korea, near the Chinese border, taken on September 4. Will Ripley/CNN
A young North Korean musician in the border town of Kaesong, taken on September 4. Music is a huge part of life in North Korea. Justin Robertson/CNN
North Korean tour guide at Mt Paektu outside the alleged birth place of Kim Jong Il, on September 3. Kim is widely considered to have been born in Russia. Justin Robertson/CNN
Housing units deep in rural North Korea, near the border with China, taken on September 3. Will Ripley/CNN
A boy living in the mountainous northeastern border region on September 3, not far from North Korea's sixth nuclear test. Will Ripley/CNN
The view from the top of Mt Paektu on September 3, a sacred site to North Koreans close to the border with China. First time CNN has ever been allowed here. Will Ripley/CNN
The Mausoleum of Tangun is said to hold the remains of the ancient King Tangun -- widely considered a mythical figure.

North Korea built the pyramid in 1994 and has not allowed outside experts to verify the remains inside.
Will Ripley/CNN
Sunset from inside Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on August 31. Will Ripley/CNN
The crowd applauds as North Korean TV airs footage of their latest missile launch outside Pyongyang Station on August 30, 2017. Will Ripley/CNN
The parents in North Korea of an inadvertent defector react to a video message, shared by CNN's Will Ripley, from their daughter, who lives in South Korea and cannot return home. The family hasn't been together in years. Will Ripley/CNN
May Day celebrations are held on May 1 in Pyongyang. Justin Robinson/CNN
A North Korean boy sits in his family's living room on April 30 in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
North Koreans in Pyongyang celebrate the country's 85th annual Army Day on April 25. The holiday celebrates the founding of its army. Justin Robertson/CNN
A North Korea veteran stands against the backdrop of the USS Pueblo, a US Navy ship that North Korea captured in 1968. CNN's Will Ripley‪ asked this veteran about his thoughts on the USS Carl Vinson, an American aircraft carrier conducting joint drills with two Japanese destroyers in the western Pacific Ocean. The veteran told Ripley, "We can sink that aircraft carrier." Justin Robertson/CNN
Ripley noted that in Pyongyang, children are often seen dressed in bright, colorful clothing, contrasting with the more conservative and darker outfits worn by many adults. Will Ripley/CNN
North Korean soldiers march on April 15, as the nation marks the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung, who is also the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un. Tim Schwarz/CNN
North Koreans celebrate the birthday of Kim Il Sung. He would have been 105. Tim Schwarz/CNN
Tanks roll through Kim Il Sung Square on April 15. Tim Schwarz/CNN
North Korean air force jets fly over the Pyongyang celebration. Tim Schwarz/CNN
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears at a ceremony to formally open a housing development in Pyongyang on April 13. The project was rushed to completion in under a year, North Korean officials say. Tim Schwarz/CNN
North Koreans gather to witness the opening of the Ryomyong Street housing development. Tim Schwarz/CNN
Foreign journalists are filmed by North Korean media during the Ryomyong Street event. Tim Schwarz/CNN
Soldiers leave the opening ceremony of the Ryomyong Street development. Tim Schwarz/CNN
North Koreans observe a statue of their founder, Kim Il Sung, at the Museum of the Korean Revolution on April 10. CNN's Will Ripley said it was the first time CNN cameras had been allowed into the Pyongyang museum. Will Ripley/CNN
North Koreans pose on April 9, for a photo at Mangyongdae, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung. Will Ripley/CNN
Boys in Pyongyang pose for a photo at a secondary school for orphans on February 19. Will Ripley/CNN
A tiger is seen at a zoo in Pyongyang on February 19. CNN's Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson were the only Western broadcasters reporting from North Korea after it conducted a ballistic missile test on February 12. See their dispatches. Will Ripley/ CNN
CNN's Will Ripley posted this photo of the Pyongyang skyline on February 17. "Note the 105-story pyramid skyscraper, the Ryugyong Hotel. Work began in 1987. Still unfinished," Ripley said in his Instagram post. will ripley/CNN
North Korean soldiers ride on February 17, in a black Mercedes-Benz on the streets of Pyongyang. Wiill Ripley/CNN
A 70-story apartment building undergoes construction on February 17. Will Ripley/CNN
The floating Rainbow Restaurant is seen in Pyongyang on February 17. Will Ripley
North Korean soldiers watch fireworks on February 16, in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
People use smartphones on on February 16, to take photos of an ice sculpture in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
A soldier stands guard in North Korea on February 16. While military service for women has long been voluntary, it reportedly was made mandatory recently in a bid to bolster the armed forces. Ellana Lee/CNN
A boy visits the Kimjongilia flower show on February 16. The red flowers are named after the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Will Ripley/CNN
University students dance in front of the Pyongyang indoor stadium on February 16. Will Ripley/CNN
Book titles are listed in English at a bookshop for tourists in the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang. Tim Schwarz/CNN
Ice flows down the Taedong River in Pyongyang on February 16. Will Ripley/CNN
Soldiers pay respects to former North Korean leaders on February 15. The site is considered one of the most sacred in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Vendors sell flowers February 15 to mourners paying their respects to deceased leaders of North Korea. Will Ripley/CNN
The view over the frozen Taedong River shows residential areas of Pyongyang on February 15. Justin Robertson/CNN
The symbol of North Korea's sole political party, the Korean Workers' Party, can be seen atop a government building in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Taxis are becoming more prevalent on the streets of Pyongyang. Most commuters still ride buses. Will Ripley/CNN
Tour guides told CNN's crew that "in 1948, Kim Il Sung, his wife and his then 7-year-old son, Kim Jong Il, test fired North Korea's first domestically manufactured submachine gun," Tim Schwartz said on Instagram. The guides said that all three shot bullseyes at 50 meters. Tim Schwartz/CNN
The Man Gyong Dae School Children's Palace, shown in May 2016, is an after-school activity complex in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Young singers practice their performance at a "children's palace" in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Children play volleyball at an after-school center in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
An Olympic-sized swimming pool is a focal point of a "children's palace" after-school center in Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Pyongyang prepares in 2016 for the Workers' Party of Korea congress, the first such meeting since 1980. The event aimed to consolidate Kim Jong Un's power in the regime. Charlie Miller/CNN
A train can be seen from the window of the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang. Charlie Miller/CNN
CNN visits the North Korean Science and Technology Center in Pyongyang in January 2016. Will Ripley/CNN
Visitors to North Korea's Science and Technology Center use the tightly regulated North Korean intranet. Will Ripley/CNN
A guide shows visitors a display in the North Korean Science and Technology Center. Will Ripley/CNN
Exhibits at the North Korean Science and Technology Center include this fighter jet. Will Ripley/CNN
During a carefully choreographed show of strength to mark the 70th anniversary of the ruling Korean Workers' Party in October 2015, a soldier marches across Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. Will Ripley/CNN
Young members of North Korea's military ride artillery through Pyongyang. Will Ripley/Instagram
North Korean soldiers march below statues of North Korea's founding president Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il. Will Ripley/CNN
Weapons are paraded through Pyongyang as a clear signal to the rest of the world that North Korea has military might. Will Ripley/CNN
A large mural of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung stands outside the Jang Chon cooperative farm, a 30-minute drive outside the capital Pyongyang. CNN visited the farm in September 2015. Will Ripley/CNN
Farm manager Kim Myong Jon is something of a celebrity in North Korea. During the past 40 years, she's met with all three North Korean leaders. Will Ripley/CNN
The farm where Kim Myong Jon works is home to one of North Korea's first greenhouses. It was first visited by Kim Il Sung more than three decades ago, and more recently by his grandson, current leader Kim Jong Un. Will Ripley/CNN
Chili peppers lie in the sun at the Jang Chon farm. Peppers are used for making kimchi, the fermented cabbage dish that is a staple of the North Korean diet. Will Ripley/CNN
CNN's Will Ripley speaks with scientists from North Korea's space agency, the National Aeronautical Development Association (NADA). In September 2015, CNN was given exclusive access to the newly opened satellite control center. Will Ripley/CNN
The futuristic space center is in a residential area not far from the center of Pyongyang. Will Ripley/CNN
Two officials walk in the grounds of the space facility. NADA officials told CNN that they had prepared multiple satellites and were in the "final stages of perfecting all operations." Will Ripley/CNN
Hula hoop diplomacy at a North Korean dolphinarium. CNN video journalist Brad Olson was called on stage to show how it's done."I managed to get three going, much to the delight of the crowd," he said. Brad Olson/CNN
In May 2015, CNN was given rare access to a faculty apartment in an upscale area of Pyongyang, near Kim Il Sung University. The lounge was neat, if a little dated. will ripley/cnn
This is the master bedroom of the three-bedroom apartment. A university professor lives in the home with his adult children. It's 200 square meters (about 2,150 square feet). That's large for an apartment in Pyongyang. will ripley/cnn
A flat-screen television sits prominently in the lounge. will ripley/cnn
Books are neatly lined up above a desk in the study. There's a lamp for reading and a large padded chair. will ripley/cnn
Every home in North Korea displays portraits of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Housing is assigned by the government and is free. Those who want to move have to sign up to exchange places with other citizens. will ripley/cnn
The kitchen features a double sink and brushed metal counter tops. will ripley/cnn
The kitchen is fitted with a Haier two-burner gas hob. Haier, based in Qingdao, China, is one of the world's biggest home appliance companies. will ripley/cnn
First-graders in a Pyongyang classroom are orderly yet energetic, often standing and giving spirited answers to their teacher's questions. will ripley/cnn
North Korean students watch riding lessons at a new equestrian center designed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. The facility was formerly used for military training. will ripley/cnn
Outdoor exercise accompanied by upbeat music is a daily routine for these North Korean middle school students. Classes are critiqued on their coordination. will ripley/cnn
Young children in a newly constructed Pyongyang orphanage practice a musical performance. Will Ripley/CNN
The orphanage features a pool area for the children, who live and study in the complex. Will Ripley/CNN
Young boys practice a drum routine that they will perform during International Children's Day. Will Ripley/CNN
Toy rocket launchers sit ready for children to play with. Will Ripley/CNN
Junior Lt. Col. Nam Dong Ho speaks to CNN correspondent Will Ripley. In May 2015, Ripley and his team were granted rare access to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in North Korea. An estimated three-quarters of North Korea's standing army of more than a million is based near the heavily fortified border. CNN/Will Ripley
Soldiers stand guard on the North Korean side of the DMZ. Will Ripley/CNN
North Korea displays the armistice agreement that brought the brutal fighting of the Korean War to an end in 1953. Will Ripley/CNN
Junior Lt. Col. Nam Dong Ho is part of North Korea's standing army of more than a million. Will Ripley/CNN
Pyongyang women wear their Sunday best -- and carry ornate umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. Will Ripley/CNN
Twin statues honor the late leaders of North Korea, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Visitors to Pyongyang are routinely taken to pay their respects and lay flowers at the monument. Will Ripley/CNN
Kim Jong Un personally inspected the plans for this new water park and had his top officials test the water slides for safety. Will Ripley/CNN
Visitors to a Pyongyang water park play table tennis. Will Ripley/CNN
The Pyongyang Gold Lane, a bowling alley in the North Korean capital, is popular among young people. Will Ripley/CNN
Pyongyang Airport is the first stop on tours of North Korea. Air Koryo is the national airline. It operates direct flights from Beijing and Shenyang in China, and Vladivostok in Russia. Air Koryo has an aging fleet, although it has purchased some newer aircraft in recent years. Will Ripley/CNN
The inflight magazine features multiple pages on Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Will Ripley/CNN
The inflight meal consists of a burger and a glass of North Korean beer. Will Ripley/CNN