For many years, foreigners were not allowed to visit North Korea during the winter months, a season in which temperatures plummet well below freezing and both power and heating can be in short supply.
But while those restrictions changed at the end of 2013, it’s nevertheless still one of the quietest periods of the year. As a result, there are few photos that show what life is like during the coldest time of the year in North Korea.
Yet winter 2018 photos exclusively given to NK News give a sense for what life is like for locals in both the capital city Pyongyang, as well as surrounding the main rail and road arteries to the east, south, and north.
On the one hand, the wintery conditions provide some benefits for those seeking leisure activities in North Korea: ice-fishing on the Taedong River and ice-skating in Sariwon, for example.
On the other hand, pictures confirm that North Korean citizens – sometimes children – can find themselves mobilized in order to contribute to back-breaking public works initiatives, which can include manual earth moving and construction.
For others, life continues more or less the same.
In the capital, pictures show that those employed by the service sector – in restaurants, shops, and bars – can continue with their work away from the brutal cold. And despite growing sanctions, it appears much of life continues as before.
Eun-ah Seol contributed to this report