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Following World War II and the Korean War, the country of Korea was split in half. South Korea grew to be one of the world's most prosperous democracies. North Korea became a communist regime, evolving into one of the most isolated, repressive and impoverished countries on Earth.

Its 23 million people are ruled by Kim Jong Il (pictured above), the so-called "Dear Leader." His face is everywhere, his reach universal, his power unchallenged. A fearsome army of a million soldiers stands at his command.

A decade-long drought has killed as many as 3 million people. Refugees tell chilling tales of desperate men, women and children reduced to eating grass, tree bark, even human flesh. Attempts at escape are punishable by death, dissent is rare, and news of the outside world is nonexistent. Children are taught their "Dear Leader" is infallible and that their sworn and mortal enemy is the United States.

On October 9, 2006, the world received startling news. North Korea said they had successfully tested a nuclear weapon. It was a frightening development from a country President Bush declared part of "the axis of evil."
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FROM: Exclusive: Lisa Ling Takes a Rare Trip Inside North Korea
Published on October 11, 2006

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