As North Korea continues its sabre-rattling about nuclear strikes, we still know very little about the country.
The North Korean government is notoriously secretive. Upon entering the country, visitors are instructed on what they can and cannot take pictures of. Customs agents inspect your mobile phone and other digital devices, including cameras, tablets, and storage cards, for banned content.
These restrictions prompted Getty photographer Xiaolu Chu to travel by train through the country in August 2015, documenting everyday life through his phone lens. He told Business Insider it was too risky to use a high-end camera because locals would report him to the police.
While some images were deleted during run-ins with the police, Chu shared some snapshots with us. Take a look at life inside North Korea.
Chu took the long way around during his visit to North Korea.
Most Chinese tourists enter by train through Sinuiju or by plane through Pyongyang. He instead travelled to Russia so he could access the northern port at Tumangang.
He saw scores of people living in abject poverty. Many begged for money.
"There are nearly no fat people in North Korea, everyone looks very thin," Chu said.
When he later returned to the train station, he noticed portraits of the country's former leaders and the words "long live" hanging overhead.
At night, these shrines were the only lit structures in the village. Other buildings sat in darkness.
A customs agent on board checked his tablet to make sure it wasn't GPS - enabled. The government also jams signals as a security measure.
Some scenes were quaint. Children took an afternoon dip in a river.
Korean People's Army soldiers rested on the tracks.
We asked Chu if he was scared of retribution for publishing the photos from his trip.
"No, absolutely not," he said.
• This is one of the best iPhone 8 concepts we've seen this year
• The 13 most safe, cheap, and hygienic countries in the world to visit as a tourist
• A woman who travels the world taking stock photos tells us how you can make £6,000 from a single image