A changing North Korea: Through northern eyes

Under the watchful gaze of the monuments of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, Pyongyang's citizens go about their daily lives. Adults work six days a week and it is compulsory for children to attend school until the age of 17.
Commuters riding the Pyongyang Metro, which can double as a nuclear bunker and is said to be the world's deepest underground subway system, last Sunday.
Commuters riding the Pyongyang Metro, which can double as a nuclear bunker and is said to be the world's deepest underground subway system, last Sunday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Student members of North Korea's Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League, the youth wing of the ruling party, in their signature red ties, in front of a monument that marks the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea, last Saturday.
Student members of North Korea's Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League, the youth wing of the ruling party, in their signature red ties, in front of a monument that marks the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea, last Saturday. ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
People waiting for public buses during morning rush-hour in Pyongyang.
People waiting for public buses during morning rush-hour in Pyongyang.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Cyclists disembark and push their bicycles across a bridge that spans the Taedong River during the morning peak hour, on Sept 25, 2018.
Cyclists disembark and push their bicycles across a bridge that spans the Taedong River during the morning peak hour, on Sept 25, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Passengers crowd on board a trolley bus during the morning peak hour in Pyongyang, on Sept 22, 2018.
Passengers crowd on board a trolley bus during the morning peak hour in Pyongyang, on Sept 22, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Two men cycle across a bridge that spans the Taedong River in Pyongyang, on Sept 23, 2018.
Two men cycle across a bridge that spans the Taedong River in Pyongyang, on Sept 23, 2018.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

In the first of a three-part report, ST correspondents Walter Sim and Lim Yan Liang visited Pyongyang to look at how North Korea is changing, through the eyes of North Koreans themselves.

PYONGYANG • Anti-American posters and banners are commonplace in housing estates in Pyongyang, with North Koreans being taught all their lives to resist what the state media calls the American imperialists.

But North Koreans whom The Sunday Times spoke to during a rare visit to the reclusive country this month, did not see any contradiction when their leader Kim Jong Un met United States President Donald Trump in Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'Through northern eyes'. Print Edition | Subscribe