North Korea hits the headlines almost every day. But it can really be hard sometimes to get an idea of what's really going on inside the country. But this year, several events gave us a window into the world of Pyongyang. I'm James Pearson for Reuters in Seoul where I cover North Korea.
It's been a year of surprises for people like me covering North Korea. The sudden murder of Kim Jong-Nam, Kim Jong-un's half-brother, in Malaysia, a country with which North Korea has had relatively friendly relations, showed us just to what lengths Kim Jong-un would go to to make sure that nobody opposes him back home in Pyongyang.
That was really interesting for people like me, covering a story where such little information about the inner courts of Kim Jong-un is available. On top of that, we had this really high profile defection, right in the JSA. That's the really tense area that stands between North and South Korea, where a young soldier dash right across the border to freedom in South Korea.
What was perhaps interesting about that was that controversially, his doctor revealed that his stomach had been full of parasites and worms. It showed us that even soldiers in a relatively elite unit, like the one that he is said to have come from, suffer from chronic malnutrition and access to the right kind of sanitary conditions that their comrades in South Korea might have access to.
en though this year had seen an unprecedented acceleration in Kim Jong-un's nuclear missile testing, it's clear that things aren't over yet. We may be heading towards an atmospheric nuclear test by North Korea, which is sure to provoke some kind of response from the United States. In that regard, it's clear that things are maybe only just beginning rather than coming to any kind of conclusion.