One of the prevalent stereotypes about North Korea is that it is the world's most isolated country. This view derives from North Korea's ruling ideology - juche - which calls for territorial isolation from external influences. For this reason, any territorial strategy like the introduction of special economic zones is generally regarded as an inevitable economic choice forced upon it. However, I argue that it is not that North Korea has no choice but to open its territory due to economic suffering but that North Korea's own territorial imperative, 'security first, economy next,' determines how it produces territory. To do so it deploys various territorial strategies such as de-bordering, re-bordering, and zoning. In this sense, North Korea's production of territory manifests Jean Gottmann's idea of territory first as shelter for security and next as a springboard for opportunity.