North Korea is one of the most isolated and secretive countries on Earth.

The totalitarian state has roughly 25 million people and they have minimal interaction with the outside world. Likewise, the outside world often has little idea what is going on in the country.

Not only is foreign media forbidden, but interaction with tourists is also strictly controlled and the internet is inaccessible to almost everyone.

But in a rare occurrence, these images show what life is like inside the country — led by the Kim dynasty since 1948.

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The hermit kingdom

According to the Huffington Post, Korea was first nicknamed the Hermit Kingdom in the 19th century by Western powers who were shunned by Korea as they advanced into Asia for trade and conquest.

It was also deeply rooted in self-isolation long before the peninsula was divided into two countries in 1948.

The isolation from the outside world dates back into the time when the Choson dynasty ruled from the 14th to early 20th century. Its people had no contact with foreigners and foreign travel was banned. After a series of invasions, the Choson rulers limited interaction with even neighbouring China and Japan.

Since its formation, the country has been led by a three-generation lineage of North Korean leadership — the Kim dynasty. Its first leader was Kim Il-sung followed by Kim Jong-il and grandson and current leader, Kim Jong-un.

Children gesture and shout at the instruction of a teacher at Gyongsang Kindergarten. Photo / Getty Images
Children gesture and shout at the instruction of a teacher at Gyongsang Kindergarten. Photo / Getty Images
Pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang over beds in accommodation quarters at the Kim Jong Suk silk factory. Photo / Getty Images
Pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang over beds in accommodation quarters at the Kim Jong Suk silk factory. Photo / Getty Images
A member of staff next to a board displaying approved hairstyles at a women's salon in the Munsu Water Park complex. Photo / Getty Images
A member of staff next to a board displaying approved hairstyles at a women's salon in the Munsu Water Park complex. Photo / Getty Images
A man gives his wife a massage on the beach on August 22, 2018 in Wonsan, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
A man gives his wife a massage on the beach on August 22, 2018 in Wonsan, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
Stunning photos show what life is like inside North Korea, one of the most isolated and secretive nations on Earth. Photo / Getty Images
Stunning photos show what life is like inside North Korea, one of the most isolated and secretive nations on Earth. Photo / Getty Images
Children play on swings at a nursery for workers at Chonsam Cooperative Farm. Photo / Getty Images
Children play on swings at a nursery for workers at Chonsam Cooperative Farm. Photo / Getty Images
The 330 metre tall Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang's tallest building, is seen across the the Pyongyang skyline. Photo / Getty Images
The 330 metre tall Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang's tallest building, is seen across the the Pyongyang skyline. Photo / Getty Images
Pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang on the wall of a train carriage on the Pyongyang metro. Photo / Getty Images
Pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang on the wall of a train carriage on the Pyongyang metro. Photo / Getty Images

Although major hostilities of the Korean War ceased with the signing of the Armistice in 1953, the two Koreas have remained technically at war ever since, and the demilitarised zone along the border continues to be the most fortified border in the world.

Despite ongoing international negotiations aimed at easing tensions on the peninsula, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remains the most isolated and secretive nation on the planet.

Workers at the Kim Jong Suk silk factory leave their babies in a nursery while they work. Photo / Getty Images
Workers at the Kim Jong Suk silk factory leave their babies in a nursery while they work. Photo / Getty Images
Employees' children take part in a music and dance lesson at a kindergarten in the Kim Jong Suk silk factory. Photo / Getty Images
Employees' children take part in a music and dance lesson at a kindergarten in the Kim Jong Suk silk factory. Photo / Getty Images
People walk beneath huge pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il displayed from the Parade Reviewing Stand in Kim Il-sung Square. Photo / Getty Images
People walk beneath huge pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il displayed from the Parade Reviewing Stand in Kim Il-sung Square. Photo / Getty Images

Collapse of North Korea is looming

Earlier this year, Jamie Metzl, author of Genesis Code, who served in the US National Security Council and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicted North Korea will be gone in a decade.

"As a member of the US National Security Council staff in the later 1990s, I worked with colleagues on plans for responding to the potential collapse of the North Korean government," he said.

"As a self-induced famine ravaged the country, we considered what we might do when the regime finally succumbed to the inevitable consequence of its own insanity."

However, he said, almost 20 years later, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is still there and those predicting its imminent collapse have continually been proven wrong.

"But today, the North Korean madness may well be nearing its endgame. I predict it will be gone within a decade."

He said the continued survival of North Korea's government is based on its ability to harness absolute terror against its population, its possession of nuclear weapons, and its access to economic resources.

"Although North Korea requires all three of these to survive, contradictions between what it takes to secure each will make the regime's demise all but inevitable over time."

Young ballerinas practice during a lesson at Mansyongdae School Childrens' Palace. Photo / Getty Images
Young ballerinas practice during a lesson at Mansyongdae School Childrens' Palace. Photo / Getty Images
A teacher stands beneath a portrait of Kim Jong-il that hangs on the wall of a classroom at Gyongsang Kindergarten. Photo / Getty Images
A teacher stands beneath a portrait of Kim Jong-il that hangs on the wall of a classroom at Gyongsang Kindergarten. Photo / Getty Images
A workers monument is seen between apartment blocks from the viewing platform of the Juche Tower on August 24, 2018 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
A workers monument is seen between apartment blocks from the viewing platform of the Juche Tower on August 24, 2018 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
Rehearsals for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea are undertaken in Kim Il-sung Square. Photo / Getty Images
Rehearsals for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea are undertaken in Kim Il-sung Square. Photo / Getty Images
A man dives into the sea from a platform on August 22, 2018 in Wonsan, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
A man dives into the sea from a platform on August 22, 2018 in Wonsan, North Korea. Photo / Getty Images
North Koreans play on the dodgems at Kaeson Youth Park. Photo / Getty Images
North Koreans play on the dodgems at Kaeson Youth Park. Photo / Getty Images
North Koreans look on as a man plays an arm wrestling game in an amusement arcade at Kaeson Youth Park. Photo / Getty Images
North Koreans look on as a man plays an arm wrestling game in an amusement arcade at Kaeson Youth Park. Photo / Getty Images