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Tuesday April 10, 2012

A Rare Peek Inside North Korea

Ed Flanagan, NBC News

North Korea has invited international journalists into the reclusive country to witness the launch of what they say is a weather observation satellite using a three-stage rocket in mid-April. The satellite launch is timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. The United States and South Korea say the satellite launch is more likely a thinly disguised test of long-range missile technology.

NBC's chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, science expert James Oberg, producer Ed Flanagan and cameraman David Lom are in North Korea to report on the satellite launch. It provides a rare opportunity to get a glimpse inside the repressive regime as it transitions under its new leader, Kim Jong Un.

The media's movements will be closely monitored by North Korean officials. The Yanggakdo Hotel, which was selected to house all the foreign journalists during this week's celebrations in Pyongyang, is on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and is only accessible by two bridges.

See some of the photos from a massive ceremony in Pyongyang Monday in honor of the unveiling of a new mural of Kim Jong-il, the "Dear Leader," who died last year. There are also some glimpses of ordinary life in North Korea.

NBC News' Richard Engel will be participating in a LIVE Chat with readers from Pyongyang, North Korea at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday.

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