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North Korea in Color 002
By Ulrik Pedersen
13 Jun 2014

Old jet fighters on an airstrip in northern North Korea. The military equipment in North Korea is outdated and it is unclear how well it works.

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North Korea in Color 003
By Ulrik Pedersen
13 Jun 2014

The landscape in Northern North Korea is varied, green and mountainous.

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North Korea in Color 004
By Ulrik Pedersen
13 Jun 2014

A framed family portrait in a local house in northern North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 005
By Ulrik Pedersen
12 Jun 2014

This truck runs on firewood and/or coal, due to a lack of gasoline which has to be imported. The government has limited access to dollars with which to import goods such as gasoline.

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North Korea in Color 006
By Ulrik Pedersen
12 Jun 2014

Chilbo, North Korea Flight attendants from Air Koryo, North Korea's national airline

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North Korea in Color 007
By Ulrik Pedersen
12 Jun 2014

A rural village among rice fields which is the stable food of North Korea. The government is trying to let farmers have 30% of their harvest.

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North Korea in Black and White 001
By Ulrik Pedersen
11 Jun 2014

many soldiers are visiting mount Pakteu due to it's history and importance for Koreans. North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 002
By Ulrik Pedersen
11 Jun 2014

Mount Pakteu, in the state's official history as the birthplace of Kim Jong-il, is located at the border between China and North Korea. North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 008
By Ulrik Pedersen
11 Jun 2014

Mount Pakteu with a clear view of the lake. Mount Pakteu is believed to be the birthplace of Korea, and has a holy place in the nation's history.

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North Korea in Color 009
By Ulrik Pedersen
11 Jun 2014

Soldiers taking pictures of each other at Mount Pakteu in northern North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 003
By Ulrik Pedersen
11 Jun 2014

with the importance of Mt. Pakteu in the history of Korea many soldiers are walking to the top on a daily basis. Mount Pakteu, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 004
By Ulrik Pedersen
10 Jun 2014

an ice skating ring has been built in Pyongyang for all to use. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 007
By Ulrik Pedersen
08 Jun 2014

with limited dollars to buy fuel any chance to get a ride is used outside Hamhung. Hamhung, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 008
By Ulrik Pedersen
08 Jun 2014

people gather to work in the rice fields during planting season. Hamhung, North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 015
By Ulrik Pedersen
07 Jun 2014

Propaganda posters the type of which can be seen across the country.

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North Korea in Black and White 009
By Ulrik Pedersen
07 Jun 2014

Woman in Wosan in front of pictures of the president and general. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 010
By Ulrik Pedersen
07 Jun 2014

tram passing by children in Pyongyang. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 016
By Ulrik Pedersen
06 Jun 2014

Residents relaxing in the Kaeson Youth Park . The amusement park was opened in 1984.

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North Korea in Color 017
By Ulrik Pedersen
06 Jun 2014

A couple's marriage photoshoot in rural Hamhung.

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North Korea in Color 018
By Ulrik Pedersen
05 Jun 2014

The Pyongyang skyline dominated by the impressive pyramid hotel. Building started in 1987 but is apparently finished now.

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North Korea in Black and White 015
By Ulrik Pedersen
05 Jun 2014

access tunnel to Pyongyang metro. The metro was opened in 1969. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 018
By Ulrik Pedersen
05 Jun 2014

family walking during harsh sunshine on the streets of Pyongyang . Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 019
By Ulrik Pedersen
05 Jun 2014

People walking among high rise buildings with slogans in the back. There are slogans across the country, both in cities and countryside. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 021
By Ulrik Pedersen
04 Jun 2014

cyclist and pedestrians along the Taedong River. With not enough fuel most people have to walk or take a bicycle. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 022
By Ulrik Pedersen
04 Jun 2014

The skyline of Pyongyang with the 105 floor Ryugyong Hotel in the middle . The hotel was started in 1987 and is apparently finished now. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 022
By Ulrik Pedersen
04 Jun 2014

A view of the Pyongyang skyline with a factory in the background.

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North Korea in Black and White 023
By Ulrik Pedersen
03 Jun 2014

One of the numerous bronze statues of Kim Il Sung, eternal president of North Korea. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Black and White 024
By Ulrik Pedersen
03 Jun 2014

View of Kaesong city. Kaesong city is where the industrial zone between the south and north are located. The zone brings hard needed dollars to the government. Kaesong, North Korea.

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North Korea in Color 023
By Ulrik Pedersen
03 Jun 2014

Soldiers on the Demilitarized Zone between the South and North Korea. The two countries are technically still at war.

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North Korea in Black and White 025
By Ulrik Pedersen
02 Jun 2014

A typical rural village in North Korea with single floor white buildings. Is in the rural area most poor people are living. They can't move to other districts without approval from authorities. Outside Pyongyang, North Korea.

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North Korea in Color
north korea
By Ulrik Pedersen
01 Jun 2014

June, 2014
North Korea

While the grim side of life in North Korea has had plenty of exposure, photographer Ullrik Pedersen captured the colorful side of North Korea, offering a new image of one of the world's most restrictive states.

Although the DPRK officially describes itself as a Juche Korean-style socialist state where elections are held, it is widely considered a dictatorship. The country has been described as totalitarian, Stalinist state with an elaborate cult of personality around the Kim family. Juche, an ideology of self-reliance initiated by the country's first President Kim Il-sung, is the official state ideology. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms, and most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are state funded or subsidized.

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North Korea in Black and White 026
By Ulrik Pedersen
01 Jun 2014

A bus filled with people in the capital of North Korea. There are long quees for busses across the capital. Pyongyang, North Korea.

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Food insecurity: Does South Korea hav...
Seoul, South Korea
By maltekol
12 Jul 2013

The World Health Organization warns that overpopulation and a lack of arable land contribute to global food insecurity. So scientists are developing new farming technology to offset potential food shortages. Researchers in South Korea are experimenting with vertical farms; gardens that instead of spreading out, go straight up.
Jason Strother and Malte Kollenberg report from Seoul.

Almost half of South Korea’s 50 millions citizens live here in the capital. And in a country with very limited agricultural land, feeding all of these people presents a challenge. Some observers say the nation faces increasing food insecurity.

Park Hwan-il is food security analyst at the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI (English)
"The food self sufficiency rate in Korea is just about 26 percent. Which means three quarters of the food we consume is from the foreign countries. That means the Korean people’s health and nutrition depends on outside factors that we cannot control”

Park says that climate conditions or other instability in the international market makes importing food unpredictable. It’s not only a problem for Korea, but for many other countries too. But some scientists say there is a solution.

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“My name is Dickson Despommier: I teach at Columbia Universities Medical School and school of public health. The world would be a much better place, if we had vertical farming.”

Despommier says tower-like hydroponic farms could someday stand alongside skyscrapers as a key food source for billions of city dwellers

Int. from online: Dickson Despommier, Columbia University (English)
“Here’s my vision of what a vertical farm might look like. My gold standard for this is the Apple Store in New York City on 5th Avenue. If you took that building and made it into a five-story building. Now in the building you have multiple floors of course, and inside each floor you have multiple layers of crops.”

Despommier says vertical farms could be a key solution for countries with a growing population or limited arable land. Like South Korea.

30-kilometers south of Seoul in Suwon, the government is trying to make Despommier’s vision a reality. The Rural Development Administration has built the prototype of a vertical farm.Inside this research facility a small team of scientists is working on turning this concept a marketable product.So far, their experiment is only 3-storeys high. But they hope that one day, the technology will expand and be capable of feeding the entire nation.

Agrarian scientist Choi Kyu-hong is still sorting out more basic challenges.

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“The plant factory requires a lot of energy, the light energy and the heating and cooling energy. So we provide the heating or cooling energy using geothermal systems. We adopted the solar cell system to provide light source energies, but we are still (only) provide 15 percent of the total energy”

Choi adds his team still faces many challenges:

Int: Choi Kyu-hong, RDA (English)
“We are still (in) the research state, its take some time to make a commercial plant factories. We are firstly trying to find out the optimum wavelength of light”

Choi says the problem is that different plants grow at different speeds, depending on the light’s color and wavelength.

But even though the government hasn’t perfected vertical farming technology yet, some in the private sector are already putting it to use. Inside this Lotte Mart, a supermarket franchise in Seoul, lettuce grows under the lights of this small vertical farm.

Store mangers say produce grown in this facility has extra benefits for customers.

Int: Kim Chang-jo, Lotte Mart
(Korean) “We are the first super market to install a vertical farm. We hope that it will draw attention to environmental concerns. The plants are affordable and no pesticides were used, so its healthier for our customers”

Kim says the vertical farm lettuce costs the same as lettuce grown the old fashioned way. But some analysts say that all the lights and heating systems required to operate a vertical farm is just too expensive to make it a viable solution for food insecurity.

Int: Park Hwan-il, SERI
(English) “Vertical farming costs too much. / Even though the productivity in vertical farming is very high, very good, but it does not have the merit in price or marketing advantage at all”

Back at the Suwon experimental vertical farm, scientists admit they still have a long way to go. The Rural Development Administration’s Lee Hye jin gives a rough time frame.

Int: Lee Hye-jin, RDA
(Korean) “It might take at least five more years of research to make progress on these obstacles. Then vertical farms might be ready for commercial use”

The South Korean scientists say that once all the problems are resolved, vertical farms won't just have to stop at three-stories. The sky is the limit.

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G20 Protests Seoul
Seoul, South Korea.
By Jeffrey Bright
11 Nov 2010

Riot police get crushed as demonstators march at The Korean People's G20 Response Action Rally and March G20 Protests. Seoul, South Korea. 11/11/2010