Inside North Korea: can the North pull itself out of the past to reunify with the South?

One of the most startling first observations for foreign visitors to North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, is the complete absence of commercial advertising, which only amplifies the hermit kingdom’s isolation from the contemporary, outside world. 

The lack of cars on the wide, empty boulevards, the aging Eastern European trams, and the crowds of cyclists on old bike models add to the sense of stepping into the past. While local smartphones are gaining popularity, few pedestrians are glued to their screens as they walk. 

Yet the repressive state’s efforts to shield its population from foreign influences has not quelled North Koreans’ curiosity about what lies beyond their borders, or their longing…

To continue reading this article

Start a 30-day free trial for unlimited access to Premium articles

  • Unlimited access to Premium articles 
  • Subscriber-only events and experiences
  • Cancel any time

Free for 30 days

then only £2 per week

Try Premium

Save 25% with an annual subscription

Just £75 per year


Save now

Register for free and access one Premium article per week


Only subscribers have unlimited access to Premium articles.Register for free to continue reading this article
RegisterOr unlock all Premium articles.
Free for 30 days, then just £1 per week
Start trial
Save 40% when you pay annually.
View all subscription options  |
Already have an account? Login


Print subscriber? Click here