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Kim Jong Un and his (not very) merry note-takers inspect fishery, ski slope

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, providing field guidance to the Masik Pass Skiing Ground currently under construction by the Korean People's Army, in a photo released on May 27, 2013.

The youngest son of Kim Jong Il succeeded his late father in 2011, becoming the third member of his family to rule the unpredictable and reclusive communist state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likes to see things for himself. Like his father before him, he is not content to rely on dry reports delivered to his desk. The crucial thing is to see — and, perhaps more importantly, to be seen seeing.

In the 17 months since he assumed power, the young leader has demonstrated a seemingly boundless curiosity for the inner workings of his country's military: its soldiers and gadgets, its rucksacks and rations, its weaponry and strategic positions.

The pattern continues. In a series of photos released this week by the official KCNA news agency, Kim is surrounded by an eager band of uniformed note-takers. Above, they scribble as he provides "field guidance" to the Masik Pass Skiing Ground, a facility under construction by the army.

The instructions given by the young leader remain a mystery ("More snow!" perhaps?) but his appetite for new sights shows no sign of abating. The note-takers were back by Kim's side as he went on to inspect an army-run fishing station in photos released on Tuesday, below.

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

Kim Jong Un inspecting the August 25 Fishery Station under the Korean People's Army (KPA) Unit 313, in a photo released on May 28, 2013.

KCNA via Reuters

Kim Jong Un smiles as he gives field guidance to the August 25 Fishery Station.

KCNA - KNS via AFP - Getty Images

Kim Jong Un inspecting the August 25 Fishery Station.

KCNA via Reuters

Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the August 25 Fishery Station.

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As chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, David Guttenfelder has had unprecedented access to communist North Korea. Here's a rare look at daily life in the secretive country.