AP PHOTOS: Life in North Korea, as Trump-Kim summit looms

FILE - Children break into laughter as they try to hide from and catch one another while rollerblading at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea...
FILE - Apartment buildings peep out of the morning mist as the sun rises over Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - Commuters ride escalators at a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
FILE - Traffic policewomen chat next to a residential building while off duty in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Oct. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File...
FILE - School children walk past an apartment complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - A girl walks with her mother on a downtown street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Feb.18, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
FILE - Commuters wait for a trolley bus to arrive in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - Commuters ride an electric trolley in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, at the end of a work day on July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - School girls holding brooms bow to pay their respects toward a mural that depicts the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung delivering a speech,...
FILE - A woman waits in the rain outside a restaurant in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 25, 2015. The rainy season in North Korea usually lasts throu...
FILE - Students attend their first day of class at the Ryonhwa primary school in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, Fil...
FILE - Youths play with a ball during a break at Pyongyang International Football School in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 24, 2016. North Korea has ...
FILE - A boy takes a picture of his family at the Moranbong park in central Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sunday, May 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, Fil...
FILE - A waitress moves a dining chair at a restaurant terrace that overlooks a residential street at dusk in Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2017...
FILE - Women who work at the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang textile factory spend their free time in a sauna at their dormitory in Pyongyang, North Korea, on ...
FILE - Lights are switched on in occupied apartments as dusk descends in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 10, 2015. Most of the North Koreans in Pyongya...
FILE - Girls are silhouetted during a dance class at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 7, 2015. The Children's Palac...
FILE - A man sings karaoke while his daughter plays piano at a hotel bar in Mount Kumgang, North Korea, on Oct. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder,...
FILE - Portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il glow on the facade of a building at dawn in Pyongyang, North Kore...
FILE - A man reads while waiting for a train in a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 1, 2014. Foreign visitors are usually only allowe...
FILE - A man sits in the car of a cargo train traveling toward Pyongyang along the outskirts of Hamhung, North Korea, on July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong...
FILE - Two farmers walk between snow-covered fields on Dec. 3, 2015, in Kujang county in North Pyongan, North Korea, where the winter season has begun...
FILE - Women push their bicycles across a train track in the Chollima district of Nampo, a city and seaport located on the west coast of North Korea, ...
FILE - A young girl dressed in her swimming suit walks along a stream between fields in Hamju, North Korea, on July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, F...
FILE - A boy slips while playing on a frozen lake in Sinpyong county, North Hwanghae province, North Korea, on Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, F...
FILE - Construction workers walk on a bridge that takes them over the Pothong River in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Nov. 28, 2015. The Pothong River is ...
FILE - A man cycles past rice fields in Pyongyang, North Korea, in the early morning on Oct. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE - Children break into laughter as they try to hide from and catch one another while rollerblading at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea...

FILE - Apartment buildings peep out of the morning mist as the sun rises over Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE - Commuters ride escalators at a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

FILE - Traffic policewomen chat next to a residential building while off duty in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Oct. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File...

FILE - School children walk past an apartment complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE - A girl walks with her mother on a downtown street in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Feb.18, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

FILE - Commuters wait for a trolley bus to arrive in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE - Commuters ride an electric trolley in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea, at the end of a work day on July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

FILE - School girls holding brooms bow to pay their respects toward a mural that depicts the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung delivering a speech,...

FILE - A woman waits in the rain outside a restaurant in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 25, 2015. The rainy season in North Korea usually lasts throu...

FILE - Students attend their first day of class at the Ryonhwa primary school in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, Fil...

FILE - Youths play with a ball during a break at Pyongyang International Football School in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 24, 2016. North Korea has ...

FILE - A boy takes a picture of his family at the Moranbong park in central Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sunday, May 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, Fil...

FILE - A waitress moves a dining chair at a restaurant terrace that overlooks a residential street at dusk in Pyongyang, North Korea, on June 19, 2017...

FILE - Women who work at the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang textile factory spend their free time in a sauna at their dormitory in Pyongyang, North Korea, on ...

FILE - Lights are switched on in occupied apartments as dusk descends in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 10, 2015. Most of the North Koreans in Pyongya...

FILE - Girls are silhouetted during a dance class at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 7, 2015. The Children's Palac...

FILE - A man sings karaoke while his daughter plays piano at a hotel bar in Mount Kumgang, North Korea, on Oct. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder,...

FILE - Portraits of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il glow on the facade of a building at dawn in Pyongyang, North Kore...

FILE - A man reads while waiting for a train in a subway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 1, 2014. Foreign visitors are usually only allowe...

FILE - A man sits in the car of a cargo train traveling toward Pyongyang along the outskirts of Hamhung, North Korea, on July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong...

FILE - Two farmers walk between snow-covered fields on Dec. 3, 2015, in Kujang county in North Pyongan, North Korea, where the winter season has begun...

FILE - Women push their bicycles across a train track in the Chollima district of Nampo, a city and seaport located on the west coast of North Korea, ...

FILE - A young girl dressed in her swimming suit walks along a stream between fields in Hamju, North Korea, on July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, F...

FILE - A boy slips while playing on a frozen lake in Sinpyong county, North Hwanghae province, North Korea, on Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, F...

FILE - Construction workers walk on a bridge that takes them over the Pothong River in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Nov. 28, 2015. The Pothong River is ...

FILE - A man cycles past rice fields in Pyongyang, North Korea, in the early morning on Oct. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

North Korea has gone through a tremendous metamorphosis since leader Kim Jong Un assumed power after the death of his father late in 2011. What were once vacant lots or neighborhoods of traditional houses have been transformed into blocks of huge skyscrapers dedicated to the nation's nuclear scientists, or its rocket engineers, that tower over the capital of Pyongyang. Street stalls offer fresh fruits and vegetables, even pancakes or hamburgers. There are almost enough taxis to make the city's famed women traffic controllers obsolete.

The nation has, at the same time, continued to struggle to provide all of its people with such basic necessities as a balanced diet. Plagued by shortages of power and consumer goods, its economy was surpassed decades ago by its capitalist neighbors in South Korea. It remains one of the least free countries in the world, with severe restrictions on access to the Internet, to any form of international communication or travel and information that hasn't been approved by the state. And, under Kim Jong Un, it has become a nuclear power, with long range missiles capable of reaching the United States.

As Kim emerges from his six years of self-imposed isolation, holding summits with neighbors and, for the first time ever, U.S. President Donald Trump, a country that had for so long seemed somehow dormant is now beginning to rumble back onto the world stage.

What path will North Korea take? For now, perhaps only Kim Jong Un himself knows the answer.

DAILY LIFE

The headlines are all about nuclear weapons and ballistic missile launches. But on the ground in North Korea, scenes of daily life attest to the resilience of a people enduring what are often harsh conditions.