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These Photos Reveal The Stark Contrasts Between Life In North And South Korea

“They used to be one country, the two Koreas, but now they exist worlds apart."

01/06/2016 5:59 AM AEST | Updated 30/11/2016 3:28 AM AEDT
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Jose Velasco/ViewFind

Geographical neighbors but political enemies, North and South Korea have had a deeply strained relationship ever since their division into individual states more than seven decades ago at the end of World War II. Nearly five years after the separation, the North invaded the South, sparking the three-year Korean War.

The countries' binational hostility is perpetuated by both governments. Seoul's controversial National Security Law forbids citizens from supporting the North in any way, and South Koreans can even face jail time for sharing pro-North content online.

Pyongyang has called its southern counterpart's cross-border broadcasting of its cultural K-Pop music a push “toward the brink of war.” The communist nation reacted earlier this year by floating exploding, garbage-filled balloons into southern territory. Tensions have only been worsened by North Korea's continued efforts to strengthen its internationally condemned nuclear program.

Despite their shared history and border, North and South Korean lifestyles have little in common. While the dictator-led North has a struggling economy and is globally isolated with limited diplomatic ties beyond China and a struggling economy, the South holds claim to Asia's fourth-largest economy and a world-class reputation as a technological innovator.

Photographer Jose Velasco explored both countries, documenting the contrasting scenes to highlight the stark differences between the two parallel societies. 

"They used to be one country, the two Koreas, but now they exist worlds apart," Velasco wrote in his photo essay for ViewFind. "With this project I tried to capture postcards of the differences and similarities between the two countries."

Check out his side-by-side photographs below, featuring South Korea on the left and North Korea on the right.

  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
  • Jose Velasco/ViewFind
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