Picture:
Picture:
Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

For many, including the most seasoned travellers, North Korea remains a country swathed in mystery and secrecy.

The groundbreaking Panorama documentary, first broadcast in 2013 featuring John Sweeney, and other similar shows have tried their best to expose exactly what life is like for people living in North Korea. But they often come up against a seemingly impenetrable wall of spin and coverup by the government's handlers and tour guides.

As tensions continue to escalate between the United States and North Korea, we look back at photographer Xiaolu Chu's visit to the country in 2015.

At the time, tensions had eased somewhat after North and South Korea came to an agreement following an exchange of artillery fire at the demilitarised border.

Chu travelled through the country by train, often taking pictures on his phone rather than his hi-end camera. The reason being that officials on the railways regularly check equipment and remove contraband or images appearing to show the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in a negative light.

Here are a few of the pictures he managed to bring back over the border, courtesy of Getty.

Students walk home after school on 24 August, 2015, North Korea.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu / Getty Image

Women rest in an alleyway.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A customs officer check passenger's digital camera before departure.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A Korean People's Army officer watches a train from a window.

Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Farmers working in the fields.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Kids on their way to school in the morning.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A general view of a store near Tumangang railway station

Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Students stage a protest against South Korea and the United States

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A conductor organises goods in a compartment on a train between Russia and North Korea on August 21, 2015 in Pyongyang

Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

Korean People's Army soldiers take a rest during a train journey.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A Customs officers talks to a passenger at Tumangang railway station on 19 August, 2015

Picture: Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

People buy train tickets in Tumangang Railway Station

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

A female soldier guards railway on August 24, 2015.

Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

An elderly man is spotted near a back garden.

Picture:Picture: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

HT Business Insider

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