North Korea puts on a show for the world

Fireworks explode over participants carrying torches during a torchlight procession during the celebration marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's foundation in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 10, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Some people, smartly dressed in Mao suits or in office wear, whizzed past us on their electric bicycles. From our mini-van, we could see others standing in line as they waited patiently for public trolleybuses on the streets of Pyongyang.

The buildings - point blocks and long, slab blocks - could have been taken right out of 1980s Singapore. The people were neither fat nor malnourished.

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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 'N. Korea puts on a show for the world'. Subscribe