North Korea

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North Korea
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{{About|the Democratic People's Republic of Korea|the Republic of Korea|South Korea|other uses|Korea|and|Korean Peninsula}}{{Redirect|NoKo|other uses|Noko (disambiguation)}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{short description|Sovereign state in East Asia}}{{Use dmy dates|date=May 2017}}{{Use American English|date=April 2019}}{{coord|40|00|N|127|00|E|display=title}}

| image_flag = Flag of North Korea.svg| image_coat = Coat of Arms of North Korea.svg| symbol_type = Emblem"Aegukka"Pyongyang| largest_city = capital39N45type:city}}Korean language>KoreanMINAHAN>FIRST=JAMES B.URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=OZAAQBAJ&PG=PA147PUBLISHER=ABC-CLIOISBN=978-1-61069-018-8, 147, | languages_type = Official scriptChosŏn'gŭlALTONLAST2=CHIDLEYTITLE=BUILDING BRIDGES: IS THERE HOPE FOR NORTH KOREA?YEAR=2013LOCATION=OXFORDPAGE=89, Demographics of North Korea >Korean}}Unitary state One-party state>one-party republicBRITANNICA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2014>CHAPTER-URL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=LCCRAWAAQBAJ&PG=PA642PUBLISHER=ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC.ISBN=978-1-62513-171-3CHAPTER=KOREA, NORTH, }}Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea>Party Chairman and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission| leader_name1 = Kim Jong-unPresident of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly>President of Assembly Presidium| leader_name2 = Choe Ryong-haeState Affairs Commission of North Korea>First Vice Chairman of State Affairs Commission| leader_name3 = Choe Ryong-haeState Affairs Commission of North Korea>Vice Chairman of State Affairs Commission| leader_name4 = Pak Pong-juPremier of North Korea>Premier of Cabinet| leader_name5 = Kim Jae-ryongSupreme People's Assembly>Assembly Chairman| leader_name6 = Pak Thae-song| ethnic_groups = | ethnic_groups_year = | legislature = Supreme People's Assembly| sovereignty_type = FormationGojoseon>First Kingdom| established_date1 = c. 7th century BCThree Kingdoms of Korea>Three Kingdoms| established_date2 = 18 BCNorth-South States Period>North-South Kingdoms| established_date3 = 698| established_event4 = Goryeo dynasty| established_date4 = 918| established_event5 = Joseon dynasty| established_date5 = 1392| established_event6 = Korean empire| established_date6 = 12 October 1897Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910>Japan-Korea Treaty| established_date7 = 29 August 1910Korean Declaration of Independence>Declaration of Independence| established_date8 = 1 March 1919Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea>Provisional Government| established_date9 = 11 April 1919Victory over Japan Day>Liberation/Independence from Japan| established_date10 = 15 August 1945Provisional People's Committee for North Korea>Soviet administration of Korea north of the 38th parallel| established_date11 = 8 February 1946| established_event12 = Foundation of DPRK| established_date12 = 9 September 1948| established_event13 = Chinese withdrawal| established_date13 = October 1958Constitution of North Korea>Current constitution| established_date14 = 27 December 1972| established_event15 = Admitted to the United Nations| established_date15 = 17 September 1991| area_km2 = 120,540| area_sq_mi = 46,540| area_rank = 97th| area_footnote = | percent_water = 0.11Year}}Dem. People's Republic of Korea}}{{UN_Population|ref}}| population_estimate_rank = 52nd| population_census_year = 2008ARCHIVE-DATE=31 MARCH 2010 TITLE=DPR KOREA 2008 POPULATION CENSUS NATIONAL REPORT PUBLISHER=DPRK CENTRAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS LOCATION=PYONGYANG DF=, | population_density_km2 = 212| population_density_rank = 65th| GDP_PPP = $40 billion| GDP_PPP_year = 2014| GDP_PPP_rank = | GDP_PPP_per_capita = $1,800| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS STATISTICS DIVISION URL-STATUS=LIVE ARCHIVEDATE=5 FEBRUARY 2016, HTTP://WWW.NKECONWATCH.COM/CATEGORY/STATISTICS/GDP-STATISTICS/ >TITLE=NORTH KOREAN ECONOMY WATCH » GDP STATISTICS URL-STATUS=LIVE ARCHIVEDATE=8 JANUARY 2017, Hyundai Research Institute (South Korea)| GDP_nominal_year = 2015| GDP_nominal_rank = | GDP_nominal_per_capita = $1,000| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = | HDI = | HDI_year = North Korean won>Korean People's won (₩)| currency_code = KPWPyongyang TimeDECREE ON REDESIGNATING PYONGYANG TIMEWEBSITE=NAENARADATE=30 APRIL 2018, | utc_offset = +9| utc_offset_DST = | DST_note = | time_zone_DST = | antipodes = yy, 75%Juche calendar>AD–1911{{}}AD)}}}}| drives_on = rightTelephone numbers in North Korea>+850| iso3166code = | cctld = .kp| today = | leader_title7 = | leader_title8 = | leader_name7 = | leader_name8 = }}

|mr = Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk|rr = Joseon Minjujuui Inmin Gonghwaguk|color = khaki|context = north}}

North Korea (Korean: ; MR: Chosŏn or literally ; MR: Pukchosŏn), officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or DPR Korea; Korean: , Chosŏn MinjujuÅ­i Inmin Konghwaguk), is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang the capital and the largest city in the country. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in Chinese) and Tumen riversNEWS, Manchurian Trivia,weblink 27 August 2012, The New York Times, 21 February 2012, Frank Jacobs, blog by expert, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 September 2012, and to the south it is bordered by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. Nevertheless, North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islandsweblink {{webarchive|url= |date=29 May 2016 }}In 1910, Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south occupied by the United States. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948, separate governments were formed: the socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the capitalist Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, but no peace treaty was signed.NEWS,weblink U.S.: N. Korea Boosting Guerrilla War Capabilities, Associated Press, 23 June 2009, FOX News Network, LLC, 4 July 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 June 2009, dmy-all, North Korea officially describes itself as a "self-reliant" socialist state, and formally holds elections,BOOK, Amended and supplemented on 1 April, Juche 102 (2013), at the Seventh Session of the Twelfth Supreme People's Assembly., Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,weblink 2014, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Pyongyang, 978-9946-0-1099-1, 1, Preamble, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 June 2016, though they have been described by outside observers as sham elections.NEWS, Choe Sang-Hun, North Korea Uses Election To Reshape Parliament,weblink The New York Times, 9 March 2014, 18 March 2014, NEWS, Hotham, Oliver, 3 March 2014, The weird, weird world of North Korean elections,weblink NK News, 17 July 2015, Outside observers also generally view North Korea as a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship,{{#tag:ref|NEWS,weblink North Korea power struggle looms, 31 October 2007, Spencer, Richard, 28 August 2007, The Telegraph (online version of United Kingdom's national newspaper), A power struggle to succeed Kim Jong-il as leader of North Korea's Stalinist dictatorship may be looming after his eldest son was reported to have returned from semi-voluntary exile., London, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 November 2007, NEWS,weblink North Korea's nuclear 'deal' leaves Japan feeling nervous, 31 October 2007, Parry, Richard Lloyd, Richard Lloyd Parry, 5 September 2007, The Times (online version of United Kingdom's national newspaper of record), The US Government contradicted earlier North Korean claims that it had agreed to remove the Stalinist dictatorship’s designation as a terrorist state and to lift economic sanctions, as part of talks aimed at disarming Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons., London, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 July 2008, WEB,weblink The Korean crisis, 31 October 2007, Walsh, Lynn, 8 February 2003, CWI online: Socialism Today, February 2003 edition, journal of the Socialist Party, CWI England and Wales,, website of the committee for a worker’s international, Kim Jong-il's regime needs economic concessions to avoid collapse, and just as crucially needs an end to the strategic siege imposed by the U.S. since the end of the Korean war (1950–53). Pyongyang's nuclear brinkmanship, though potentially dangerous, is driven by fear rather than by militaristic ambition. The rotten Stalinist dictatorship faces the prospect of an implosion. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which deprived North Korea of vital economic support, the nation has consistently attempted to secure from the US a non-aggression pact, recognition of its sovereignty, and economic assistance. The US's equally consistent refusal to enter into direct negotiations with North Korea, effectively ruling out a peace treaty to formally close the 1950–53 Korean War, has encouraged the regime to resort to nuclear blackmail., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2007, NEWS,weblink North Korea Says It Is Using Plutonium to Make A-Bombs, 31 October 2007, Brooke, James, James Brooke (journalist), 2 October 2003, The New York Times, North Korea, run by a Stalinist dictatorship for almost six decades, is largely closed to foreign reporters and it is impossible to independently check today's claims., live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 December 2007, NEWS,weblink Leader Article: Let The Music Play On, 27 March 2008, Buruma, Ian, Ian Buruma, 13 March 2008, The Times of India, North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is one of the world's most oppressive, closed, and vicious dictatorships. It is perhaps the last living example of pure totalitarianism â€“ control of the state over every aspect of human life., live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2009, WEB,weblink Freedom in the World, 2006, Freedom House, 13 February 2007, Citizens of North Korea cannot change their government democratically. North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship and one of the most restrictive countries in the world., live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 July 2007, NEWS,weblink Economist Intelligence Unit democracy index 2006, 9 October 2007, 2007, Economist Intelligence Unit, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 March 2007, North Korea ranked in last place (167)NEWS,weblink A portrait of North Korea's new rich, 18 June 2009, 29 May 2008, The Economist, EVERY developing country worth its salt has a bustling middle class that is transforming the country and thrilling the markets. So does Stalinist North Korea., live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 August 2008, }} particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family,NEWS,weblink North Korea rewrites rules to legitimise Kim family succession, 16 October 2013, South China Morning Post, Audrey Yoo, 16 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 October 2013, holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members.WEB, The Parliamentary System of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments (ASGP) of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Constitutional and Parliamentary Information,weblink 1 October 2010, 5,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2012, Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution in 1972.(Wikisource:Constitution of North Korea (1972)){{sfn|Martin|2004|p=111|ps=: "Although it was in that 1955 speech that Kim Il-sung gave full voice to his arguments for juche, he had been talking along similar lines as early as 1948."}} The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded.{{Sfn|Country Profile|2007|pp=7–8}} From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 people, and the population continues to suffer malnutrition. North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy.H. Hodge (2003). "North Korea’s Military Strategy" {{webarchive|url= |date=24 February 2013 }}, Parameters, U.S. Army War College Quarterly. It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve and paramilitary personnel, or approximately {{Percentage|9495000|{{UN_Population|Dem. People's Republic of Korea}}}} of its population. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India;WEB,weblink Background Note: North Korea, 1 August 2007, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, April 2007, United States Department of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, consisting of {{Percentage|1210000|{{UN_Population|Dem. People's Republic of Korea}}|1}} of its population. It possesses nuclear weapons.NEWS,weblink Armed forces: Armied to the hilt, The Economist, 19 July 2011, 28 July 2011, live,weblink 28 July 2011, BOOK,weblink The Korean Military Balance, Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies, 21 July 2011, 978-0-89206-632-2, 28 July 2011, 156, The DPRK has Nuclear weapon design, implosion fission weapons., live,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2011, A 2014 UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea concluded that, "The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world".{{citation|title=Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Chapter VII. Conclusions and recommendations |work=United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights |date=17 February 2014 |url= |accessdate=1 November 2014 |page=346 |url-status=live |archiveurl= |archivedate=27 February 2014 }} The North Korean regime strongly denies most allegations, accusing international organizations of fabricating human rights abuses as part of a smear campaign with the covert intention of undermining the state, although they admit that there are human rights issues relating to living conditions which the regime is attempting to correct.In addition to being a member of the United Nations since 1991, the sovereign state is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, G77 and the ASEAN Regional Forum.NEWS, 17 September 1991, A Single Flag – North And South Korea Join U.N. And The World,weblink The Seattle Times, 3 September 2017,


{{See also|Names of Korea}}The name Korea derives from the name Goryeo (also spelled Koryŏ). The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo (Koguryŏ) which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time,BOOK,weblink The History of the World, Roberts, John Morris, Westad, Odd Arne, Oxford University Press, 2013, 978-0-19-993676-2, 443, 15 July 2016, BOOK,weblink Averting Global War: Regional Challenges, Overextension, and Options for American Strategy, Gardner, Hall, 27 November 2007, Palgrave Macmillan, 978-0-230-60873-3, 158–159, 15 July 2016, BOOK,weblink History of Humanity: From the seventh to the sixteenth century, Laet, Sigfried J. de, UNESCO, 1994, 978-92-3102813-7, 1133, 8 November 2016, BOOK,weblink East Asia: A New History, Walker, Hugh Dyson, 20 November 2012, AuthorHouse, 978-1-4772-6517-8, 6–7, 19 November 2016, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far EastBOOK,weblink Rediscovering Russia in Asia: Siberia and the Russian Far East: Siberia and the Russian Far East, Kotkin, Stephen, Wolff, David, 4 March 2015, Routledge, 978-1-317-46129-6, 15 July 2016, and parts of Inner Mongolia,BOOK,weblink Korea: The Impossible Country: The Impossible Country, Tudor, Daniel, 10 November 2012, Tuttle Publishing, 978-1-4629-1022-9, 15 July 2016, under Gwanggaeto the Great.BOOK,weblink A History of Korea: From "Land of the Morning Calm" to States in Conflict, Kim, Jinwung, 2012, Indiana University Press, 978-0-253-00078-1, Bloomington, 35, 15 July 2016, The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo,BOOK, Rossabi, Morris, China Among Equals: The Middle Kingdom and Its Neighbors, 10th–14th Centuries, University of California Press, 9780520045620, 323,weblink 8 November 2016, en, 1983-05-20, BOOK, Yi, Ki-baek, A New History of Korea, Harvard University Press, 9780674615762, 103,weblink 8 November 2016, en, 1984, BOOK, Kim, Djun Kil, The History of Korea, ABC-CLIO, 9780313038532, 57,weblink 8 November 2016, en, 2005-01-30, BOOK, Grayson, James H., Korea – A Religious History, Routledge, 9781136869259, 79,weblink 8 November 2016, en, 2013-11-05, and thus inherited its name, which was pronounced by visiting Persian merchants as "Korea".{{citation |last = Yunn |first = Seung-Yong |year = 1996 |title = Religious culture of Korea |chapter = Muslims earlier contact with Korea |publisher = Hollym International |page = 99}} The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel.WEB,weblink zh:Korea原名Corea? 美國改的名, United Daily News, 5 July 2008, 28 March 2014, zh, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, After the division of the country into North and South Korea, the two sides used different terms to refer to Korea: Chosun or Joseon (조선) in North Korea, and Hanguk (한국) in South Korea. In 1948, North Korea adopted Democratic People's Republic of Korea (, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk; {{Audio|Ko-조선민주주의인민공화국.oga|listen|help=no}}) as its new legal name. In the wider world, because the government controls the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, it is commonly called North Korea to distinguish it from South Korea, which is officially called the Republic of Korea in English. Both governments consider themselves to be the legitimate government of the whole of Korea.BOOK, The Making of Modern Korea, Buzo, Adrian, 2002, Routledge, London, 978-0-415-23749-9, 72, BOOK, Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, Cumings, Bruce, Bruce Cumings, 2005, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 978-0-393-32702-1, 505–06, For this reason, the people do not consider themselves as 'North Koreans' but as Koreans in the same divided country as their compatriots in the South and foreign visitors are discouraged from using the former term.NEWS,weblink" title="">weblink Why is North Korea called the DPRK?, Benjamin R, Young, NK News, 7 February 2014, 9 February 2014,


Japanese occupation (1910–1945)

After the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945.Japan tried to suppress Korean traditions and culture and ran the economy primarily for its own benefit. Korean resistance groups known as Dongnipgun (Liberation Army) operated along the Sino-Korean border, fighting guerrilla warfare against Japanese forces. Some of them took part in allied action in China and parts of South East Asia. One of the guerrilla leaders was the communist Kim Il-sung, who later became the first leader of North Korea.

Division of Korea (1945–1950)

File:Jeju Massacre.jpg|thumb|left|Suspected communist sympathizers awaiting execution in May 1948 after the Jeju UprisingJeju UprisingAt the end of World War II in 1945, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel, with the northern half of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern half by the United States. The drawing of the division was assigned to two American officers, diplomat Dean Rusk and Army officer Charles Bonesteel, who chose the 38th parallel because it divided the country approximately in half but would place the capital Seoul under U.S. control (no experts on Korea were consulted).BOOK, The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History, Carlin, Robert, Basic Books, 2014, 9780465031238, 5, Oberdorfer, Don, BOOK,weblink A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 9780742567177, 2010, 306, Seth, Michael J., 16 November 2015, live,weblink 1 January 2016, 2010-10-16, Nevertheless, the division was immediately accepted by the Soviet Union. The agreement was incorporated into the U.S.'s General Order No. 1 for the surrender of Japan.BOOK, Bipolar Orders: The Two Koreas since 1989, 2007, Zed Books, Hyung Gu Lynn, 18, Initial hopes for a unified, independent Korea had evaporated as the politics of the Cold War resulted in the establishment of two separate states with diametrically opposed political, economic, and social systems.Soviet general Terentii Shtykov recommended the establishment of the Soviet Civil Authority in October 1945, and supported Kim Il-sung as chairman of the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea, established in February 1946. During the provisional government, Shtykov's chief accomplishment was a sweeping land reform program that broke North Korea's stratified class system. Landlords and Japanese collaborators fled to the South, where there was no land reform and sporadic unrest. Shtykov nationalized key industries and led the Soviet delegation to talks on the future of Korea in Moscow and Seoul.NEWS, Lankov, Andrei, 25 January 2012, Terenti Shtykov: the other ruler of nascent N. Korea,weblink The Korea Times, 14 April 2015, live,weblink" title="">weblink 17 April 2015, WEB,weblink Terentii Shtykov, Timothy Dowling, ABC-CLIO, 26 April 2015, History and the Headlines, 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2015, BOOK, Lankov, Andrei, "North Korea in 1945–48: The Soviet Occupation and the Birth of the State,", From Stalin to Kim Il Sung—The Formation of North Korea, 1945–1960, 2–3, BOOK, Lankov, Andrei, 10 April 2013, The Real North Korea: Life and Politics in the Failed Stalinist Utopia, 7, Oxford University Press, BOOK, Armstrong, Charles, 15 April 2013, The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950, Cornell University Press. Kindle Locations 1363–1367, In September 1946, South Korean citizens rose up against the Allied Military Government. In April 1948, an uprising of the Jeju islanders was violently crushed. The South declared its statehood in May 1948 and two months later the ardent anti-communist Syngman RheeWEB, Administrative Population and Divisions Figures (#26), DPRK: The Land of the Morning Calm, Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use, April 2003,weblink 10 October 2006, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2006, became its ruler. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the North on 9 September 1948. Shtykov served as the first Soviet ambassador, while Kim Il-sung became premier.Soviet forces withdrew from the North in 1948, and most American forces withdrew from the South in 1949. Ambassador Shtykov suspected Rhee was planning to invade the North and was sympathetic to Kim's goal of Korean unification under socialism. The two successfully lobbied Joseph Stalin to support a quick war against the South, which culminated in the outbreak of the Korean War.

Korean War (1950–1953)

{{See also|Aftermath of the Korean War|Korean Demilitarized Zone|North Korea–South Korea relations}}File:NKmuseum.jpg|thumb|Museum of American War Atrocities. Alleged American war atrocities against the Korean people are the main theme of the museum.]]The military of North Korea invaded the South on 25 June 1950, and swiftly overran most of the country. A United Nations force, led by the United States, intervened to defend the South, and rapidly advanced into North Korea. As they neared the border with China, Chinese forces intervened on behalf of North Korea, shifting the balance of the war again. Fighting ended on 27 July 1953, with an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea. Approximately 3 million people died in the Korean War, with a higher proportional civilian death toll than World War II or the Vietnam War, making it perhaps the deadliest conflict of the Cold War-era.BOOK, Kim, Samuel S., The Evolving Asian System, International Relations of Asia, Rowman & Littlefield, 2014, 9781442226418, 45, With three of the four major Cold War fault lines—divided Germany, divided Korea, divided China, and divided Vietnam—East Asia acquired the dubious distinction of having engendered the largest number of armed conflicts resulting in higher fatalities between 1945 and 1994 than any other region or sub-region. Even in Asia, while Central and South Asia produced a regional total of 2.8 million in human fatalities, East Asia's regional total is 10.4 million including the Chinese Civil War (1 million), the Korean War (3 million), the Vietnam War (2 million), and the Pol Pot Cambodian genocide, genocide in Cambodia (1 to 2 million)., BOOK, Cumings, Bruce, Bruce Cumings, The Korean War: A History, Modern Library, 2011, 9780812978964, 35, Various encyclopedias state that the countries involved in the three-year conflict suffered a total of more than 4 million casualties, of which at least 2 million were civilians—a higher percentage than in World War II or Vietnam. A total of 36,940 Americans lost their lives in the Korean theater; of these, 33,665 were killed in action, while 3,275 died there of nonhostile causes. Some 92,134 Americans were wounded in action, and decades later, 8,176 were still reported as missing. South Korea sustained 1,312,836 casualties, including 415,004 dead. Casualties among other UN allies totaled 16,532, including 3,094 dead. Estimated North Korean casualties numbered 2 million, including about one million civilians and 520,000 soldiers. An estimated 900,000 Chinese soldiers lost their lives in combat., BOOK, McGuire, James, Wealth, Health, and Democracy in East Asia and Latin America, Cambridge University Press, 2010, 9781139486224, 203, In Korea, war in the early 1950s cost nearly 3 million lives, including nearly a million civilian dead in South Korea., BOOK, Painter, David S., David S. Painter, The Cold War: An International History, Routledge, 1999, 9780415153164, 30, Before it ended, the Korean War cost over 3 million people their lives, including over 50,000 US servicemen and women and a much higher number of Chinese and Korean lives. The war also set in motion a number of changes that led to the militarization and intensification of the Cold War., BOOK, Lewy, Guenter, Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam, Oxford University Press, 1980, 9780199874231, 450–453, For the Korean War the only hard statistic is that of American military deaths, which included 33,629 battle deaths and 20,617 who died of other causes. The North Korean and Chinese Communists never published statistics of their casualties. The number of South Korean military deaths has been given as in excess of 400,000; the South Korean Ministry of Defense puts the number of killed and missing at 281,257. Estimates of communist troops killed are about one-half million. The total number of Korean civilians who died in the fighting, which left almost every major city in North and South Korea in ruins, has been estimated at between 2 and 3 million. This adds up to almost 1 million military deaths and a possible 2.5 million civilians who were killed or died as a result of this extremely destructive conflict. The proportion of civilians killed in the major wars of this century (and not only in the major ones) has thus risen steadily. It reached about 42 percent in World War II and may have gone as high as 70 percent in the Korean War. ... we find that the ratio of civilian to military deaths [in Vietnam] is not substantially different from that of World War II and is well below that of the Korean War., In both per capita and absolute terms, North Korea was the country most devastated by the war, which resulted in the death of an estimated 12%-15% of the North Korean population ({{circa}} 10 million), "a figure close to or surpassing the proportion of Soviet citizens killed in World War II," according to Charles K. Armstrong.JOURNAL, Armstrong, Charles K.,weblink The Destruction and Reconstruction of North Korea, 1950-1960, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 8, 51, 1, 2010-12-20, 2019-09-13, The number of Korean dead, injured or missing by war's end approached three million, ten percent of the overall population. The majority of those killed were in the North, which had half of the population of the South; although the DPRK does not have official figures, possibly twelve to fifteen percent of the population was killed in the war, a figure close to or surpassing the proportion of Soviet citizens killed in World War II., As a result of the war, almost every substantial building in North Korea was destroyed.BOOK, Cumings, Bruce, Bruce Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun: A Modern History, WW Norton & Company, 1997, 978-0-393-31681-0, 297–298, BOOK, Jager, Sheila Miyoshi, Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Brothers at War – The Unending Conflict in Korea, 2013, Profile Books, London, 978-1-84668-067-0, 237–242, Some have referred to the conflict as a civil war, with other factors involved.BOOK, The Korean War, 1950–1953,weblinkweblink American Military History, Volume 2, 2005, 20 August 2007, United States Army Center of Military History, Richard W. Stewart, CMH Pub 30-22, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 May 2008, A heavily guarded demilitarized zone (DMZ) still divides the peninsula, and an anti-communist and anti-North Korea sentiment remains in South Korea. Since the war, the United States has maintained a strong military presence in the South which is depicted by the North Korean government as an imperialist occupation force.BOOK, Abt, Felix, A Capitalist in North Korea: My Seven Years in the Hermit Kingdom, Tuttle Publishing, 2014, 125–126, 9780804844390, It claims that the Korean War was caused by the United States and South Korea.BOOK, Lester H. Brune, The Korean War: Handbook of the Literature and Research,weblink 1996, Greenwood Publishing Group, 978-0-313-28969-9, 60,

Post-war developments

File:Korean People's Army soldier pointing to the DMZ.jpg|thumb|A Korean People's Army soldier pointing to the Korean Demilitarized ZoneKorean Demilitarized ZoneThe relative peace between the South and the North following the armistice was interrupted by border skirmishes, celebrity abductions, and assassination attempts. The North failed in several assassination attempts on South Korean leaders, such as in 1968, 1974 and the Rangoon bombing in 1983; tunnels were found under the DMZ and tensions flared over the axe murder incident at Panmunjom in 1976.Kirkbride, Wayne (1984). DMZ, a story of the Panmunjom axe murder. Hollym International Corp. For almost two decades after the war, the two states did not seek to negotiate with one another. In 1971, secret, high-level contacts began to be conducted culminating in the 1972 July 4th North–South Joint Statement that established principles of working toward peaceful reunification. The talks ultimately failed because in 1973, South Korea declared its preference that the two Koreas should seek separate memberships in international organizations.BOOK, Bandow, Doug, Carpenter, Ted Galen, The U.S.-South Korean Alliance: Time for a Change,weblink 1992, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 978-1-4128-4086-6, 99–100, live,weblink 13 September 2016, File:庆祝朝鲜“八一五”解放十周年大会.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|left|From left to right: Pak Chang-ok, Li Jishen, Kim Tu-bong, Zhu De, Kim Il-sung, Averky Aristov, Pak Chŏng Ae and Choe Yong-gon in 1955]]During the 1956 August Faction Incident, Kim Il-sung successfully resisted efforts by the Soviet Union and China to depose him in favor of Soviet Koreans or the pro-Chinese Yan'an faction.Chung, Chin O. Pyongyang Between Peking and Moscow: North Korea's Involvement in the Sino-Soviet Dispute, 1958–1975. University of Alabama, 1978, p. 45.JOURNAL, Kim, Young Kun, Zagoria, Donald S., North Korea and the Major Powers, Asian Survey, 15, 12, December 1975, 1017–1035, 2643582, 10.1525/as.1975.15.12.01p0132i, The last Chinese troops withdrew from the country in October 1958, which is the consensus as the latest date when North Korea became effectively independent. Some scholars believe that the 1956 August incident demonstrated independence.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=XV}} North Korea remained closely aligned with China and the Soviet Union, and the Sino-Soviet split allowed Kim to play the powers off each other.BOOK, Armstrong, Charles, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950–1992, Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, Cornell University Press, 99–100, Kim would not yield to Soviet and Chinese pressure even when combined, much less when the Soviets and Chinese were later in competition with one another., North Korea sought to become a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and emphasized the ideology of Juche to distinguish it from both the Soviet Union and China.Schaefer, Bernd. "North Korean 'Adventurism' and China's Long Shadow, 1966–1972". Washington, D.C .: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2004.Recovery from the war was quick—by 1957 industrial production reached 1949 levels. In 1959, relations with Japan had improved somewhat, and North Korea began allowing the repatriation of Japanese citizens in the country. The same year, North Korea revalued the North Korean won, which held greater value than its South Korean counterpart. Until the 1960s, economic growth was higher than in South Korea, and North Korean GDP per capita was equal to that of its southern neighbor as late as 1976.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=XXXII, 46}}By the 1980s the economy had begun to stagnate; it started its long decline in 1987 and almost completely collapsed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, when all Soviet aid was suddenly halted. The North began reestablishing trade relations with China shortly thereafter, but the Chinese could not afford to provide enough food aid to meet demand.{{citation needed|date=February 2018}}

Post Cold War

(File:Pjongjang Zentrum.jpg|thumb|Pyongyang in 1989)In 1992, as Kim Il-sung's health began deteriorating, Kim Jong-il slowly began taking over various state tasks. Kim Il-sung died of a heart attack in 1994, in the midst of a standoff with the United States over North Korean nuclear weapon development.{{citation needed|date=March 2018}} Kim Jong-il declared a three-year period of national mourning before officially announcing his position as the new leader.North Korea promised to halt its development of nuclear weapons under the Agreed Framework, negotiated with U.S. president Bill Clinton and signed in 1994. Building on Nordpolitik, South Korea began to engage with the North as part of its Sunshine Policy.Kwak, Tae-Hwan; Joo, Seung-Ho (2003). The Korean peace process and the four powers. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. {{ISBN|978-0-7546-3653-3}}.DeRouen, Karl; Heo, Uk (2005). Defense and Security: A Compendium of National Armed Forces and Security Policies.ABC-CLIO.Kim Jong-il instituted a policy called Songun, or "military first". There is much speculation about this policy being used as a strategy to strengthen the military while discouraging coup attempts.{{citation needed|date=February 2018}}Flooding in the mid-1990s exacerbated the economic crisis, severely damaging crops and infrastructure and led to widespread famine which the government proved incapable of curtailing. In 1996, the government accepted UN food aid.

21st century

{{see also|2017-18 North Korea crisis|2018-19 Korean peace process}}File:Mansudae-Monument-Bow-2014.jpg|upright=1.5|thumb|North Korean citizens paying respect to the statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il at the Mansudae Grand Monument ]]The international environment changed with the election of U.S. president George W. Bush in 2001. His administration rejected South Korea's Sunshine Policy and the Agreed Framework. The U.S. government treated North Korea as a rogue state, while North Korea redoubled its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons to avoid the fate of Iraq.BOOK, Jager, Sheila Miyoshi, Brothers at War – The Unending Conflict in Korea, 2013, Profile Books, London, 978-1-84668-067-0, 456, BOOK, Abt, Felix, A Capitalist in North Korea: My Seven Years in the Hermit Kingdom, Tuttle Publishing, 2014, 55, 109, 119, 9780804844390, BOOK, Oberdorfer, Don, Carlin, Robert, The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History, Basic Books, 2014, 357–359, 9780465031238, On 9 October 2006, North Korea announced it had conducted its first nuclear weapons test.NEWS,weblink 13 October 2006, U.S.: Test Points to N. Korea Nuke Blast, The Washington Post, Robert, Burns, Anne, Gearan, NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2007, North Korea Nuclear Test Confirmed by U.S. Intelligence Agency, 16 October 2006, Bloomberg L.P., 16 October 2006, U.S. President Barack Obama adopted a policy of "strategic patience", resisting making deals with North Korea.NEWS,weblink The Pyongyang Playbook, 6 November 2010, Lee, Sung-Yoon, Sung-Yoon Lee, 26 August 2010, Foreign Policy, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 September 2010, Tensions with South Korea and the United States increased in 2010 with the sinking of the South Korean warship CheonanNEWS,weblink BBC News, Anger at North Korea over sinking, 20 May 2010, 23 May 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 May 2010, and North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.NEWS,weblink S. Korea to toughen rules of engagement against N. Korean attack, 24 November 2010, Deok-hyun Kim, 24 November 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 December 2010, NEWS,weblink Lee Myung Bak Group Accused of Scuttling Dialogue and Humanitarian Work, 24 November 2010, Korean Central News Agency, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 November 2010, On 17 December 2011, Kim Jong-il died from a heart attack. His youngest son Kim Jong-un was announced as his successor.NEWS, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, 69, has died,weblink 19 December 2011, Associated Press, 19 December 2011, dead,weblink 20 December 2011, In the face of international condemnation, North Korea continued to develop its nuclear arsenal, possibly including a hydrogen bomb and a missile capable of reaching the United States.WEB,weblink North Korea's Military Capabilities, Eleanor, Albert, Council on Foreign Relations, 3 January 2018, Throughout 2017, following Donald Trump's assumption of the US presidency, tensions between the United States and North Korea increased, and there was heightened rhetoric between the two, with Trump threatening "fire and fury"WEB,weblink Trump warns North Korea of 'fire and fury', Bierman, Noah,, 2018-08-04, and North Korea threatening to test missiles that would land near Guam.NEWS,weblink N Korea promises Guam strike plan in days, 2017-08-10, BBC News, 2018-08-04, en-GB, In 2018, a détente developed.NEWS,weblink Delegation visit shows N. Korea can take "drastic" steps to improve relations: MOU, NK News, Dagyum, Ji, 12 February 2018, On 27 April, a 2018 inter-Korean summit took place between President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Kim on the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area. It was the first time since the Korean War that a North Korean leader had entered South Korean territory.NEWS,weblink Location of planned inter-Korean summit hints at changes in North Korea strategy, say experts, 8 March 2018, 24 March 2018, The Straits Times,weblink" title="">weblink 14 March 2018, live, dmy-all, On 12 June 2018, the first meeting between North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President, Donald Trump, occurred in Singapore. In September, at a summit with Moon in Pyongyang, Kim agreed to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons facilities if the United States took reciprocal action.NEWS,weblink North Korea agrees to dismantle nuclear complex if United States takes reciprocal action, South says, ABC, 19 September 2019, In February 2019 a summit in Hanoi between Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement. On 30 June 2019, Trump, Kim, and Moon briefly met at the Joint Security Area.Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un in DMZ; steps onto North Korean soil. USA Today. Published June 30, 2019.


(File:North Korea Topography.png|thumb|Topographic map of North Korea)North Korea occupies the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula, lying between latitudes 37° and 43°N, and longitudes 124° and 131°E. It covers an area of {{convert|120540|km2|sqmi|sp=us|0}}.JOURNAL,weblink Demographic Yearbook – Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density, United Nations Statistics Division, 2012, 29 November 2014, 5, North Korea shares land borders with China and Russia to the north, and borders South Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. To its west are the Yellow Sea and Korea Bay, and to its east lies Japan across the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea).File:0409 - Nordkorea 2015 - Kumgang Gebirge (22961925095).jpg|thumb|Mount KumgangMount KumgangFile:North Korean coast near Hamhung (14876597009).jpg|thumb|North Korean coast near HamhungHamhungEarly European visitors to Korea remarked that the country resembled "a sea in a heavy gale" because of the many successive mountain ranges that crisscross the peninsula.WEB,weblink Topography and Drainage, Library of Congress, 17 August 2009, 1 June 1993, Some 80 percent of North Korea is composed of mountains and uplands, separated by deep and narrow valleys. All of the Korean Peninsula's mountains with elevations of {{convert|2000|m|ft|sp=us}} or more are located in North Korea. The highest point in North Korea is Paektu Mountain, a volcanic mountain with an elevation of {{convert|2744|m|ft|sp=us}} above sea level. Paektu is very significant in Korean culture, in which it is considered a sacred place by the Korean people and is thus incorporated in the elaborate folklore around the Kim dynasty.JOURNAL
, Song
, Yong-deok
, The recognition of mountain Baekdu in the Koryo dynasty and early times of the Joseon dynasty
, History and Reality V.64
, 2007, Other prominent ranges are the Hamgyong Range in the extreme northeast and the Rangrim Mountains, which are located in the north-central part of North Korea. Mount Kumgang in the Taebaek Range, which extends into South Korea, is famous for its scenic beauty.
The coastal plains are wide in the west and discontinuous in the east. A great majority of the population lives in the plains and lowlands. According to a United Nations Environmental Programme report in 2003, forest covers over 70 percent of the country, mostly on steep slopes.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 24 July 2010, DPR Korea: State of the Environment, 2003, United Nations Environmental Programme, 12, dmy-all, The longest river is the Amnok (Yalu) River which flows for {{convert|790|km|mi|sp=us|0}}.WEB,weblink Korea Geography, 1 August 2007, Bill Caraway, 2007, The Korean History Project, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2007,


(File:Koppen-Geiger Map PRK present.svg|thumb|upright=0.9|North Korea map of Köppen climate classification)North Korea experiences a combination of continental climate and an oceanic climate,WEB,weblink North Korea Country Studies. Climate,, 23 June 2010, live,weblink 12 December 2012, but most of the country experiences a humid continental climate within the Köppen climate classification scheme. Winters bring clear weather interspersed with snow storms as a result of northern and northwestern winds that blow from Siberia. Summer tends to be by far the hottest, most humid, and rainiest time of year because of the southern and southeastern monsoon winds that carry moist air from the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 60 percent of all precipitation occurs from June to September. Spring and autumn are transitional seasons between summer and winter. The daily average high and low temperatures for Pyongyang are {{convert|−3|and|−13|°C|°F}} in January and {{convert|29|and|20|°C|°F}} in August.

Administrative divisions

{{See also|Provinces of Korea|Special cities of North Korea|List of cities in North Korea}}{| class="wikitable"!Map !! !! Name !! Chosŏn'gŭl !! Administrative seat{{North Korea Provincial level Labelled Map}}!colspan="5"| Capital city (chikhalsi)Pyongyang >| (Chung-guyok)!colspan="5"| Special city (teukbyeolsi)Rason>| (Rajin-guyok)!colspan="5"| Provinces (do)South Pyongan Province>South Pyongan 평안남도 PyongsongNorth Pyongan Province>North Pyongan 평안북도 SinuijuChagang Province>Chagang 자강도 KanggyeSouth Hwanghae Province>South Hwanghae 황해남도 HaejuNorth Hwanghae Province>North Hwanghae 황해북도 SariwonKangwon Province (North Korea)>Kangwon 강원도 WonsanSouth Hamgyong Province>South Hamgyong 함경남도 HamhungNorth Hamgyong Province>North Hamgyong 함경북도 ChongjinRyanggang Province>Ryanggang 량강도 Hyesan{{Largest cities of North Korea}}

Government and politics

File:Mansudae-Kongressalle.JPG|thumb|right|Mansudae Assembly HallMansudae Assembly HallNorth Korea functions as a highly centralized, one-party state. According to its 2016 constitution, it is a self-described revolutionary and socialist state "guided in its activities by the Juche idea and the Songun idea".BOOK, harv, Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,weblink 2016, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Amended and supplemented on 29 June, Juche 105 (2016), at the Fourth Session of the Thirtieth Supreme People's Assembly, Chapter I, Articles 1–3, 22 May 2018, In addition to the constitution, North Korea is governed by the Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System (also known as the "Ten Principles of the One-Ideology System") which establishes standards for governance and a guide for the behaviors of North Koreans.WEB,weblink Kim Jong Il's Ten Principles: Restricting the People, Namgung Min, Daily NK, 13 October 2008, 20 January 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 8 April 2014, dead, dmy-all, The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) has an estimated 3,000,000 members and dominates every aspect of North Korean politics. It has two satellite organizations, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=192}} which participate in the WPK-led Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland.Kim Jong-un of the Kim dynasty is the current Supreme Leader or Suryeong of North Korea.WEB, DPRK has quietly amended its Constitution, Petrov, Leonid, Leonid Petrov's KOREA VISION, 12 October 2009, 21 July 2015,weblink live,weblink 16 October 2015, He heads all major governing structures: he is Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, and Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army.WEB,weblink North Korea profile: Leaders, BBC, 26 March 2014, 18 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2014, WEB,weblink North Korea: Kim Jong-un hailed 'supreme commander', BBC, 24 December 2011, 18 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 January 2014, His grandfather Kim Il-sung, the founder and leader of North Korea until his death in 1994, is the country's "Eternal President",NEWS,weblink Why has the Bush administration lost interest in North Korea?, Hitchens, Christopher, 24 December 2007, Slate (magazine), Slate, 9 April 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 May 2010, while his father Kim Jong-il who succeeded Kim Il-sung as leader was announced "Eternal General Secretary" after his death in 2011.According to the Constitution of North Korea there are officially three main branches of government. The first of these is the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, which acts as "the supreme national guidance organ of state sovereignty".Article 109 of the Constitution of North KoreaWEB, DPRK Constitution Text Released Following 2016 Amdendments,weblink North Korea Leadership Watch, 18 April 2017, dead,weblink 18 April 2017, dmy-all, 2016-09-04, Its role is to deliberate and decide the work on defense building of the State, including major policies of the State; and to carry out the directions of the Chairman of the commission, Kim Jong-Un.Legislative power is held by the unicameral Supreme People's Assembly (SPA). Its 687 members are elected every five years by universal suffrage. Supreme People's Assembly sessions are convened by the SPA Presidium, whose president (Choe Ryong-hae since 2019) represents the state in relations with foreign countries. Deputies formally elect the President, the vice-presidents and members of the Presidium and take part in the constitutionally appointed activities of the legislature: pass laws, establish domestic and foreign policies, appoint members of the cabinet, review and approve the state economic plan, among others.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=198}} The SPA itself cannot initiate any legislation independently of party or state organs. It is unknown whether it has ever criticized or amended bills placed before it, and the elections are based around a single list of WPK-approved candidates who stand without opposition.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=197–198}}Executive power is vested in the Cabinet of North Korea, which is headed by Premier Pak Pong-ju.WEB,weblink Pak Opens Account with Conservative Aire, The Daily NK, 23 April 2013, 18 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, The Premier represents the government and functions independently. His authority extends over two vice-premiers, 30 ministers, two cabinet commission chairmen, the cabinet chief secretary, the president of the Central Bank, the director of the Central Bureau of Statistics and the president of the Academy of Sciences. A 31st ministry, the Ministry of People's Armed Forces, is under the jurisdiction of the State Affairs Commission.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=200}}Despite its official title as the 'Democratic People's Republic of Korea', some observers have described North Korea's political system as an absolute monarchyYoung W. Kihl, Hong Nack Kim. North Korea: The Politics of Regime Survival. Armonk, New York, USA: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2006. Pp 56.Robert A. Scalapino, Chong-Sik Lee. The Society. University of California Press, 1972. Pp. 689.Bong Youn Choy. A history of the Korean reunification movement: its issues and prospects. Research Committee on Korean Reunification, Institute of International Studies, Bradley University, 1984. Pp. 117. or a "hereditary dictatorship".NEWS,weblink A tale of two dictatorships: The links between North Korea and Syria, Sheridan, Michael, 16 September 2007, The Times, 9 April 2010, London, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2010,

Political ideology

{{Further|Juche}}The Juche ideology is the cornerstone of party works and government operations. It is viewed by the official North Korean line as an embodiment of Kim Il-sung's wisdom, an expression of his leadership, and an idea which provides "a complete answer to any question that arises in the struggle for national liberation".{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=203}} Juche was pronounced in December 1955 in order to emphasize a Korea-centered revolution.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=203}} Its core tenets are economic self-sufficiency, military self-reliance and an independent foreign policy. The roots of Juche were made up of a complex mixture of factors, including the cult of personality centered on Kim Il-sung, the conflict with pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese dissenters, and Korea's centuries-long struggle for independence.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=204}}Juche was initially promoted as a "creative application" of Marxism–Leninism, but in the mid-1970s, it was described by state propaganda as "the only scientific thought... and most effective revolutionary theoretical structure that leads to the future of communist society". Juche eventually replaced Marxism–Leninism entirely by the 1980s,{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=206}} and in 1992 references to the latter were omitted from the constitution.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=186}} The 2009 constitution dropped references to communism and elevated the Songun military-first policy while explicitly confirming the position of Kim Jong-il.NEWS,weblink North Korea drops communism, boosts "Dear Leaders", Jon, Herskovitz, Christine, Kim, 28 September 2009, 17 July 2011, Reuters, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 August 2011, However, the constitution retains references to socialism.NEWS,weblink N.Korea updates constitution expanding Kim Jong Un's position, JH Ahn, NK News, 30 June 2016, Juche{{'}}s concepts of self-reliance have evolved with time and circumstances, but still provide the groundwork for the spartan austerity, sacrifice and discipline demanded by the party.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=207}}Scholar Brian Reynolds Myers views North Korea's actual ideology as a Korean ethnic nationalism similar to statism in Shōwa Japan and European fascism.WEB,weblink Review of The Cleanest Race, Andrei Lankov, 4 December 2009, Far Eastern Economic Review, 5 June 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 4 January 2010, Andrei Lankov, Christopher Hitchens: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – Kim Jong-il's regime is even weirder and more despicable than you thought {{webarchive|url= |date=1 June 2012 }} (2010)NEWS, Brian Reynolds Myers,weblink The Constitution of Kim Jong Il., Wall Street Journal, 1 October 2009, 20 December 2012, From its beginnings in 1945 the regime has espoused—to its subjects if not to its Soviet and Chinese aid-providers—a race-based, paranoid nationalism that has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism. [...] North Korea has always had less in common with the former Soviet Union than with the Japan of the 1930s, another 'national defense state' in which a command economy was pursued not as an end in itself, but as a prerequisite for rapid armament. North Korea is, in other words, a national-socialist country, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 November 2012, Brian Reynolds Myers,

Kim dynasty

File:Sinpyong Lake, North Korea (2921982738).jpg|thumb|A painting of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on top of Paektu MountainPaektu MountainNorth Korea is ruled by the Kim dynasty, which in North Korea is referred to as the Mount Paektu Bloodline. It is a three-generation lineage descending from the country's first leader, Kim Il-sung, since 1948. Kim developed a cult of personality closely tied to the state philosophy of Juche, which was later passed on to his successors: his son Kim Jong-il and grandson Kim Jong-un. In 2013 this lineage was made explicit when Clause 2 of Article 10 of the new edited Ten Fundamental Principles of the Korean Workers' Party stated that the party and revolution must be carried "eternally" by the "Baekdu bloodline".The Twisted Logic of the N.Korean Regime {{webarchive|url= |date=2017-01-13 }}, Chosun Ilbo, 2013-08-13, Accessed date: 2017-01-11 In order to solidify Mount Paektu Bloodline, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il have recalled all the family genealogy books under the pretext that familyism and regionalism are the hotbeds of the revolution. In 1958, North Korea declared its ideology to be socialism and took away all of people's private property and dismantled family groups that had been living in the center of genealogy and ancestors. They later moved the entire population from the northern 38th parallel.WEB,weblink 백두혈통 김씨 족보 곁가지 김정은, 1 December 2015, Jayu Asia Broadcast, 2019-06-16, Hence, in North Korea there is no bon-gwan in people's names.WEB,weblink 친족 개념 흐려진 북한 대부분 "본관이 뭔가요"… 자기성 전인지 전인지도 몰라, The concept of kinship is blurred in most of North Korea. What is bongwan?, 30 October 2000, Chosun ilbo, 2019-06-16, According to New Focus International, the cult of personality, particularly surrounding Kim Il-sung, has been crucial for legitimizing the family's hereditary succession,WEB,weblink We have just witnessed a coup in North Korea, Staff, New Focus International, 27 December 2013, 22 January 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 January 2014, The control the North Korean government exercises over many aspects of the nation's culture is used to perpetuate the cult of personality surrounding Kim Il-sung,{{Sfn|Myers|2011|p= 100}} and Kim Jong-il.{{Sfn|Myers|2011|p=113}} While visiting North Korea in 1979, journalist Bradley Martin wrote that nearly all music, art, and sculpture that he observed glorified "Great Leader" Kim Il-sung, whose personality cult was then being extended to his son, "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il.{{sfn|Martin|2004|p=}}{{Page needed|date=July 2015}}Claims that the dynasty has been deified are contested by North Korea researcher B. R. Myers: "Divine powers have never been attributed to either of the two Kims. In fact, the propaganda apparatus in Pyongyang has generally been careful not to make claims that run directly counter to citizens' experience or common sense."{{Sfn|Myers|2011|p=7}} He further explains that the state propaganda painted Kim Jong-il as someone whose expertise lay in military matters and that the famine of the 1990s was partially caused by natural disasters out of Kim Jong-il's control.{{Sfn|Myers|2011|p=114, 116}}File:Chung Eui-yong and Kim Jong-un.jpg|thumb|Kim Jong-un and his sister Kim Yo-jongKim Yo-jongThe song "No Motherland Without You", sung by the North Korean army choir, was created especially for Kim Jong-il and is one of the most popular tunes in the country. Kim Il-sung is still officially revered as the nation's "Eternal President". Several landmarks in North Korea are named for Kim Il-sung, including Kim Il-sung University, Kim Il-sung Stadium, and Kim Il-sung Square. Defectors have been quoted as saying that North Korean schools deify both father and son.Chol-hwan Kang and Pierre Rigoulot (2005). The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, Basic Books. {{ISBN|0-465-01104-7}}{{Page needed|date=February 2016}} Kim Il-sung rejected the notion that he had created a cult around himself, and accused those who suggested this of "factionalism".{{sfn|Martin|2004|p=}}{{Page needed|date=July 2015}} Following the death of Kim Il-sung, North Koreans were prostrating and weeping to a bronze statue of him in an organized event;NEWS, DEATH OF A LEADER: THE SCENE; In Pyongyang, Crowds of Mourners Gather at Kim Statue, The New York Times,weblink 19 November 2007, 10 July 1994, similar scenes were broadcast by state television following the death of Kim Jong-il.NEWS, North Koreans' reaction to Kim Jong-il's death is impossible to gauge, Justin, McCurry,weblink The Guardian, 19 December 2011, 29 May 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2016, Critics maintain that Kim Jong-il's personality cult was inherited from his father. Kim Jong-il was often the center of attention throughout ordinary life. His birthday is one of the most important public holidays in the country. On his 60th birthday (based on his official date of birth), mass celebrations occurred throughout the country.NEWS,weblink North Korea marks leader's birthday, BBC, 16 February 2002, 18 December 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 November 2008, Kim Jong-il's personality cult, although significant, was not as extensive as his father's. One point of view is that Kim Jong-il's cult of personality was solely out of respect for Kim Il-sung or out of fear of punishment for failure to pay homage,WEB,weblink Korean Monarch Kim Jong Il: Technocrat Ruler of the Hermit Kingdom Facing the Challenge of Modernity, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, The Nautilus Institute, 18 December 2007, Mansourov, Alexandre, live,weblink" title="">weblink 22 September 2013, while North Korean government sources consider it genuine hero worship.Jason LaBouyer (May/June 2005) WEB,weblink When friends become enemies â€” Understanding left-wing hostility to the DPRK, 3 July 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 February 2008, , Lodestar, pp. 7–9. Retrieved 18 December 2007.The extent of the cult of personality surrounding Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung was illustrated on 11 June 2012 when a 14-year-old North Korean schoolgirl drowned while attempting to rescue portraits of the two from a flood.DPRK honors schoolgirl who died saving Kim portraits – People's Daily Online {{webarchive|url= |date=3 July 2012 }}. (28 June 2012). Retrieved on 6 April 2013.

Foreign relations

File:North Korea - China friendship (5578914865).jpg|thumb|left|The close China-DPRK relationship is celebrated at the Arirang Mass Games in PyongyangPyongyangAs a result of its isolation, North Korea is sometimes known as the "hermit kingdom", a term that originally referred to the isolationism in the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty.WEB, N Korea: Tuning into the 'hermit kingdom', Lankov, Andrei, Al Jazeera, 10 June 2015, 20 February 2015,weblink live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 March 2015, Initially, North Korea had diplomatic ties with only other communist countries, and even today, most of the foreign embassies accredited to North Korea are located in Beijing rather than in Pyongyang.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 29 April 2011, 北 수교국 상주공관, 평양보다 베이징에 많아, 13 December 2010, 2 March 2009, Yonhap News, dmy-all, In the 1960s and 1970s, it pursued an independent foreign policy, established relations with many developing countries, and joined the Non-Aligned Movement. In the late 1980s and the 1990s its foreign policy was thrown into turmoil with the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Suffering an economic crisis, it closed a number of its embassies. At the same time, North Korea sought to build relations with developed free market countries.WEB,weblink Daniel Wertz, JJ Oh, Kim Insung, Issue Brief: DPRK Diplomatic Relations, 17 April 2016, August 2015, The National Committee on North Korea, 1–7; n4, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 March 2016, North Korea enjoys a close relationship with China which is often called North Korea's closest ally.JOURNAL, Nanto, Dick K., Manyin, Mark E., 2011, China-North Korea Relations,weblink North Korean Review, 7, 2, 94–101, 10.3172/NKR.7.2.94, 1551-2789, 43908855, WEB,weblink China's Xi to visit North Korea as both countries lock horns with United States, The relations were strained in the last few years because of China's concerns about North Korea's nuclear program. However, the relations have started to improve again and been increasingly close especially after Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China visited North Korea in April 2019.WEB,weblink Kim's visit evidence China, North Korea remain allies, analysts say, 2018-03-27, South China Morning Post, en, 2019-07-25, {{As of|2015}}, North Korea had diplomatic relations with 166 countries and embassies in 47 countries. However, owing to the human rights and political situation, the DPRK is not recognised by Argentina, Botswana, Estonia, France, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States.See South Korea–Taiwan relations.JOURNAL, Haggard, M, 1965, North Korea's International Position, Asian Survey, 5, 8, 375–388, 0004-4687, 48536955, 10.2307/2642410, 2642410, Seung-Ho Joo, Tae-Hwan Kwak - Korea in the 21st CenturyIn spite of the United States recognition of South Korea de jure, Sweden acts as its protecting power.{{sfn|Ryang|2013|pp=32–33}}WEB,weblink Audition de M. Jack Lang, envoyé spécial du Président de la République pour la Corée du Nord., Commission de la défense nationale et des forces armées, 30 March 2010, fr, 2010-05-02,weblink" title="">weblink live, 2010-04-21, WEB,weblink Botswana Cuts Ties with North Korea, 20 February 2014,, Politics of Botswana, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, 5 January 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 January 2015, This means that in September 2017, France and Estonia are the last two European countries that do not have an official relationship with North Korea.WEB,weblink Quelles relations la France entretient-elle avec la Corée du Nord ?, 6 September 2017, North Korea continues to have strong ties with its socialist southeast Asian allies in Vietnam and Laos, as well as with Cambodia.WEB,weblink Kim Yong Nam Visits 3 ASEAN Nations To Strengthen Traditional Ties, 1 August 2007, 2001, The People's Korea, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2007, File:Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin (2019-04-25) 05.jpg|thumb|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting with Russian President PutinPutinFile:2018 North Korea-United States summit - Kim and Trump shake hands.jpg|thumb|U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un during the 2018 North Korea-United States summit2018 North Korea-United States summitAs a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, the Six-Party Talks were established to find a peaceful solution to the growing tension between the two Korean governments, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States. The talks were discontinued in 2009. North Korea was previously designated a state sponsor of terrorismWEB,weblink Country Reports on Terrorism: Chapter 3 – State Sponsors of Terrorism Overview, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, 26 June 2008, because of its alleged involvement in the 1983 Rangoon bombing and the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner.NEWS,weblink Country Guide, 26 June 2008, The Washington Post, live,weblink 24 May 2010, On 11 October 2008, the United States removed North Korea from its list of states that sponsor terrorism after Pyongyang agreed to cooperate on issues related to its nuclear program.NEWS,weblink U.S. takes North Korea off terror list, CNN, 11 October 2008, 11 October 2008, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 October 2008, North Korea was re-designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. under the Trump administration on 20 November 2017, 9 years after it was removed from the list.NEWS,weblink Trump declares North Korea 'sponsor of terror', 20 November 2017, 20 November 2017, BBC News, The kidnapping of at least 13 Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and the 1980s has affected North Korea's relationship with Japan.NEWS,weblink N Korea to face Japan sanctions, 26 June 2008, 13 June 2006, BBC News, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 January 2009,

Inter-Korean relations

The Korean Demilitarized Zone with South Korea remains the most heavily fortified border in the world.NEWS,weblink Koreas agree to military hotline â€“ Jun 4, 2004,, 4 June 2004, 18 February 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 November 2009, Inter-Korean relations are at the core of North Korean diplomacy and have seen numerous shifts in the last few decades. North Korea's policy is to seek reunification without what it sees as outside interference, through a federal structure retaining each side's leadership and systems. In 1972, the two Koreas agreed in principle to achieve reunification through peaceful means and without foreign interference.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=218}} On 10 October 1980 then North Korean president Kim Il-sung proposed a federation between North and South Korea named the Democratic Federal Republic of Korea in which the respective political systems would initially remain.WEB,weblink REPORT TO THE SIXTH CONGRESS OF THE WORKERS' PARTY OF KOREA ON THE WORK OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE, Kim, Il Sung, 10 October 1980, Songun Politics Study Group (USA), 4 July 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 August 2009, However, relations remained cool well until the early 1990s, with a brief period in the early 1980s when North Korea offered to provide flood relief to its southern neighbor.US State Department country profile on North Korea Although the offer was initially welcomed, talks over how to deliver the relief goods broke down and none of the promised aid ever crossed the border.Koreans disagree on aid by North {{webarchive|url= |date=18 April 2017 }} – NY TimesThe two countries also organized a reunion of 92 separated families.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=220}}File:2018 inter-Korean summit 01.jpg|thumb|left|Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands during the 2018 inter-Korean Summit, April 2018]](File:501 cows sent to North Korea.jpg|thumb|upright|left|South Korean aid convoy entering North Korea through the Demilitarized Zone, 1998)The Sunshine Policy instituted by South Korean president Kim Dae-jung in 1998 was a watershed in inter-Korean relations. It encouraged other countries to engage with the North, which allowed Pyongyang to normalize relations with a number of European Union states and contributed to the establishment of joint North-South economic projects. The culmination of the Sunshine Policy was the 2000 Inter-Korean summit, when Kim Dae-jung visited Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=222}} Both North and South Korea signed the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration, in which both sides promised to seek peaceful reunification.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2007, North-South Joint Declaration, 1 August 2007, 15 June 2000, Naenara, On 4 October 2007, South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il signed an eight-point peace agreement.NEWS,weblink Factbox â€“ North, South Korea pledge peace, prosperity, 4 October 2007, Reuters, 4 October 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 December 2007, However, relations worsened in the late 2000s and early 2010s when South Korean president Lee Myung-bak adopted a more hard-line approach and suspended aid deliveries pending the de-nuclearization of the North. North Korea responded by ending all of its previous agreements with the South.NEWS,weblink North Korea tears up agreements, BBC News, 30 January 2009, 8 March 2009, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 March 2009, It deployed additional ballistic missilesNEWS,weblink North Korea deploying more missiles, BBC News, 23 February 2009, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 August 2010, and placed its military on full combat alert after South Korea, Japan and the United States threatened to intercept a Unha-2 space launch vehicle.NEWS,weblink BBC News, 3 March 2009, 8 March 2009, North Korea warning over satellite, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 March 2009, The next few years witnessed a string of hostilities, including the alleged North Korean involvement in the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan, mutual ending of diplomatic ties,Text from North Korea statement {{webarchive|url= |date=5 June 2010 }}, by Jonathan Thatcher, Reuters, 25 May 2010 a North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island,NEWS,weblink North Korea: a deadly attack, a counter-strike â€“ now Koreans hold their breath, 23 November 2010, London, The Guardian, Tania, Branigan, Ewen, MacAskill, live,weblink 27 December 2016, and growing international concern over North Korea's nuclear program.NEWS, MacAskill, Ewen, US warns North Korea of increased isolation if threats escalate further,weblink The Guardian, 5 April 2013, Washington, D.C., 29 March 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 September 2013, In 2018, a détente developed at the Winter Olympics in the South.WEB,weblink The False Promise of South Korea's Olympic Diplomacy, Kim, Young Ho, The Diplomat,, 1 February 2018, 4 May 2018, In September 2018, at a joint news conference in Pyongyang, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un agreed upon turning the Korean Peninsula into a "land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats".NEWS,weblink North Korea's Kim says to scrap missile sites, visit Seoul, Reuters, 19 September 2018,

Human rights

{{see also|Prisons in North Korea}}{{location map+|North Korea|caption = A map of political prison camps in North Korea. An estimated 40% of prisoners die of malnutrition.NEWS,weblink Report: Torture, starvation rife in North Korea political prisons, CNN, 4 May 2011, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 December 2014, | float=right|width=|places={{location map~|North Korea|label=Pukchang| position=bottom|lat=39.446164|long=126.163223 |region=KP-02}}{{location map~|North Korea|label=Chongjin| position=left|lat=41.833486|long=129.725597|region=KP-09}}{{location map~|North Korea|label=Hoeryong| position=left|lat=42.537967|long=129.935517|region=KP-09}}{{location map~|North Korea|label=Hwasong| position=left|lat=41.268505|long=129.391211|region=KP-09}}{{location map~|North Korea|label=Kaechon| position=left|lat=39.571086|long=126.055466|region=KP-02}}{{location map~|North Korea|label=Yodok|position=right|lat=39.674163|long=126.851406|region=KP-08}}}}North Korea is widely accused of having perhaps the worst human rights record in the world.WEB,weblink Our Issues, North Korea, 1 August 2007, Amnesty International, 2007, Human Rights Concerns, Amnesty International, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 March 2007, dmy-all, North Koreans have been referred to as "some of the world's most brutalized people" by Human Rights Watch, because of the severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms.WEB,weblink Grotesque indifference, 1 August 2007, Kay Seok, 15 May 2007, Human Rights Watch, live,weblink" title="">weblink 29 September 2007, WEB,weblink Human Rights in North Korea,, Human Rights Watch, 17 February 2009, 13 December 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, The North Korean population is strictly managed by the state and all aspects of daily life are subordinated to party and state planning. Employment is managed by the party on the basis of political reliability, and travel is tightly controlled by the Ministry of People's Security.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=272–273}}Amnesty International reports of severe restrictions on the freedom of association, expression and movement, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment resulting in death, and executions.WEB, Annual Report 2011: North Korea, Amnesty International,weblink 20 April 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 March 2012, The State Security Department extrajudicially apprehends and imprisons those accused of political crimes without due process.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=278}} People perceived as hostile to the government, such as Christians or critics of the leadership, are deported to labor camps without trial,WEB
, Concentrations of Inhumanity (p. 40–44)
, Freedom House, May 2007
, 10 April 2012
, live
,weblink" title="">weblink
, 30 October 2012
, often with their whole family and mostly without any chance of being released.WEB, Survey Report on Political Prisoners' Camps in North Korea (p. 58–73), National Human Rights Commission of Korea, December 2009,weblink 10 April 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 April 2012, Based on satellite images and defector testimonies, Amnesty International estimates that around 200,000 prisoners are held in six large political prison camps,WEB, North Korea: Political Prison Camps, Amnesty International, 4 May 2011,weblink 10 April 2012, WEB, North Korea: Catastrophic human rights record overshadows 'Day of the Sun', Amnesty International, 12 April 2012,weblink 10 April 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 April 2012, where they are forced to work in conditions approaching slavery.WEB, Images reveal scale of North Korean political prison camps, Amnesty International, 3 May 2011,weblink 10 April 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2012, Supporters of the government who deviate from the government line are subject to reeducation in sections of labor camps set aside for that purpose. Those who are deemed politically rehabilitated may reassume responsible government positions on their release."Report on political prisoners in North soon" {{webarchive|url= |date=23 May 2013 }} article by Han Yeong-ik in Korea Joongang Daily 30 April 2012North Korean defectorsNEWS, Torture in North Korea: Concentration Camps in the Spotlight,weblink Badt, Karin, 8 October 2010, 21 April 2010, Huffington Post, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 May 2010, have provided detailed testimonies on the existence of the total control zones where abuses such as torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labor, and forced abortions have been reported.WEB, The Hidden Gulag – Exposing Crimes against Humanity in North Korea's Vast Prison System, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea,weblink 14 September 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 March 2015, On the basis of these abuses, as well as persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearance of persons and forced starvation, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry has accused North Korea of crimes against humanity.WEB, North Korea: UN Commission documents wide-ranging and ongoing crimes against humanity, urges referral to ICC, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,weblink 17 February 2014, 18 February 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 February 2014, WEB, Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,weblink Michael, Kirby, Marzuki, Darusman, Sonja, Biserko, 17 February 2014, 18 February 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 17 February 2014, Walker, Peter (17 February 2014). North Korean human rights abuses recall Nazis, says UN inquiry chair {{webarchive|url= |date=18 February 2014 }}. The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2014 The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) estimates that over 10,000 people die in North Korean prison camps every year.WEB, Human Rights Groups Call on UN Over N.Korea Gulag, The Chosunilbo, April 4, 2012,weblink 10 April 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 April 2012, According to Human Rights Watch, which cites interviews with defectors, North Korean women are routinely subjected to sexual violence, unwanted sexual contact, and rape. Men in positions of power, including police, high-ranking officials, market supervisors, and guards can abuse women at will and are not prosecuted for it. It happens so often that it is accepted as a routine part of life. Women assume they can't do anything about it. The only ones with protection are those whose husbands or fathers are themselves in positions of power.WEB,weblink North Korean women suffer serious sexual violence by authorities, report says, Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, 1 November 2018, 1 November 2018, The North Korean government rejects the human rights abuse claims, calling them "a smear campaign" and a "human rights racket" aimed at government change.KCNA Assails Role Played by Japan for UN Passage of "Human Rights" Resolution against DPRK {{webarchive|url= |date= 1 April 2012 }}, KCNA, 22 December 2005.KCNA Refutes U.S. Anti-DPRK Human Rights Campaign {{webarchive|url= |date= 1 April 2012 }}, KCNA, 8 November 2005.WEB, February 2012 DPRK (North Korea),weblink United Nations Security Council, February 2012, In a 2014 report to the UN, North Korea dismissed accusations of atrocities as "wild rumors".NEWS,weblink North Korea defends human rights record in report to UN, BBC News, 8 October 2014, 8 October 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 November 2014, The official state media, KCNA, responded with an article that included homophobic insults against the author of the human rights report, Michael Kirby, calling him "a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality ... This practice can never be found in the DPRK boasting of the sound mentality and good morals ... In fact, it is ridiculous for such gay {{sic}} to sponsor dealing with others' human rights issue."NEWS,weblink Adam, Taylor, North Korea slams U.N. human rights report because it was led by gay man, Washington Post, 2014-04-22, 2014-04-23, WEB,weblink, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), 17 August 2015, 22 April 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 29 July 2014, KCNA Commentary Slams Artifice by Political Swindlers, As for Kirby who took the lead in cooking the "report", he is a disgusting old lecher with a 40-odd-year-long career of homosexuality. He is now over seventy, but he is still anxious to get married to his homosexual partner. This practice can never be found in the DPRK boasting of the sound mentality and good morals, and homosexuality has become a target of public criticism even in Western countries, too. In fact, it is ridiculous for such gay to sponsor dealing with others' human rights issue., The government, however, admitted some human rights issues related to living conditions and stated that it is working to improve them.

Law enforcement and internal security

{{see also|Law of North Korea|Judiciary of North Korea}}(File:North Korean traffic police in Pyongyang (12074843383).jpg|thumb|upright=0.85|North Korean traffic police in Pyongyang)North Korea has a civil law system based on the Prussian model and influenced by Japanese traditions and communist legal theory.WEB,weblink Legal System field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 18 May 2014, live,weblink 18 May 2014, Judiciary procedures are handled by the Supreme Court (the highest court of appeal), provincial or special city-level courts, people's courts and special courts. People's courts are at the lowest level of the system and operate in cities, counties and urban districts, while different kinds of special courts handle cases related to military, railroad or maritime matters.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=274}}Judges are theoretically elected by their respective local people's assemblies, but in practice they are appointed by the Workers' Party of Korea. The penal code is based on the principle of nullum crimen sine lege (no crime without a law), but remains a tool for political control despite several amendments reducing ideological influence.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=274}} Courts carry out legal procedures related to not only criminal and civil matters, but also political cases as well.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=201}} Political prisoners are sent to labor camps, while criminal offenders are incarcerated in a separate system.NEWS,weblink Outside World Turns Blind Eye to N. Korea's Hard-Labor Camps, The Washington Post, 20 July 2009, 19 May 2014, live,weblink 19 September 2010, The Ministry of People's Security (MPS) maintains most law enforcement activities. It is one of the most powerful state institutions in North Korea and oversees the national police force, investigates criminal cases and manages non-political correctional facilities.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=276}} It handles other aspects of domestic security like civil registration, traffic control, fire departments and railroad security.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=277}} The State Security Department was separated from the MPS in 1973 to conduct domestic and foreign intelligence, counterintelligence and manage the political prison system. Political camps can be short-term reeducation zones or "kwalliso" (total control zones) for lifetime detention.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=277–278}} Camp 15 in YodokWEB, North Korea: A case to answer – a call to act (p. 25–26), Christian Solidarity Worldwide, June 20, 2007,weblink 10 April 2012, and Camp 18 in BukchangWEB, Subcommittee on International Human Rights, 40th Parliament, 3rd session, February 1, 2011: Testimony of Ms. Hye Sook Kim, Parliament of Canada,weblink 10 April 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 November 2012, have been described in detailed testimonies.The security apparatus is very extensive,{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=272}} exerting strict control over residence, travel, employment, clothing, food and family life.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=273}} Security forces employ mass surveillance. It is believed they tightly monitor cellular and digital communications.JOURNAL,weblink Cell Phones in North Korea, Kim Yonho, 35–38, 2014, 3 June 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2014, —, dmy-all,


{{See also|North Korea and weapons of mass destruction|Songun}}File:Soldiers at Panmunjon (5063812314).jpg|thumb|Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers at PanmunjomPanmunjomThe Korean People's Army (KPA) is North Korea's military organization. The KPA has 1,106,000 active and 8,389,000 reserve and paramilitary troops, making it the largest military institution in the world.BOOK, The Military Balance 2010, International Institute for Strategic Studies, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Hackett, James, 3 February 2010, Routledge, London, 978-1-85743-557-3, IISS2010, About 20 percent of men aged 17–54 serve in the regular armed forces, and approximately one in every 25 citizens is an enlisted soldier.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 17 February 2007, Army personnel (per capita) by country, 1 August 2007, 2007, NationMaster, The KPA has five branches: Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Force, and Rocket Force. Command of the Korean People's Army lies in both the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea and the independent State Affairs Commission. The Ministry of People's Armed Forces is subordinated to the latter.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=239}}Of all KPA branches, the Ground Force is the largest. It has approximately one million personnel divided into 80 infantry divisions, 30 artillery brigades, 25 special warfare brigades, 20 mechanized brigades, 10 tank brigades and seven tank regiments.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=247}} They are equipped with 3,700 tanks, 2,100 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles,{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=248}} 17,900 artillery pieces, 11,000 anti-aircraft guns{{Sfn|Country Profile|2007|p= 19 – Major Military Equipment}} and some 10,000 MANPADS and anti-tank guided missiles.WEB,weblink Worls militaries: K,, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, Other equipment includes 1,600 aircraft in the Air Force and 1,000 vessels in the Navy.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=249–253}} North Korea has the largest special forces and the largest submarine fleet in the world.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|pp=288–293}}File:AIR KORYO IL76 P912 AT SONDOK HAMHUNG AIRPORT DPR KOREA OCT 2012 (8179381094).jpg|thumb|Ilyushin Il-76 strategic military airlifter used by Air KoryoAir KoryoNorth Korea possesses nuclear weapons, but the strength of its arsenal is uncertain. In January 2018, estimates of North Korea's nuclear arsenal ranged between 15 and 60 bombs, probably including hydrogen bombs. Delivery capabilitiesNEWS,weblink North Korea is fully fledged nuclear power, experts agree, 25 April 2009, The Times, London, 24 April 2009, Deirdre Hipwell, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2010, are provided by the Rocket Force, which has some 1,000 ballistic missiles with a range of up to {{convert|7400|mi|km}}.NEWS, Ryall, Julian, How far can North Korean missiles travel? Everything you need to know,weblink 9 August 2017, The Telegraph, 9 August 2017, According to a 2004 South Korean assessment, North Korea possesses a stockpile of chemical weapons estimated to amount to 2,500–5,000 tons, including nerve, blister, blood, and vomiting agents, as well as the ability to cultivate and produce biological weapons including anthrax, smallpox, and cholera.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=260}}WEB,weblink New Threat from N.Korea's 'Asymmetrical' Warfare, The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition),, 29 April 2010, 13 December 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 December 2010, Because of its nuclear and missile tests, North Korea has been sanctioned under United Nations Security Council resolutions 1695 of July 2006, 1718 of October 2006, 1874 of June 2009, 2087 of January 2013,WEB, UN Documents for DPRK (North Korea): Security Council Resolutions [View All Security Council Resolutions],, 2 October 2015,weblink and 2397 in December, 2017.The military faces some issues limiting its conventional capabilities, including obsolete equipment, insufficient fuel supplies and a shortage of digital command and control assets due to other countries being banned from selling weapons to it by the UN sanctions. To compensate for these deficiencies, the KPA has deployed a wide range of asymmetric warfare technologies like anti-personnel blinding lasers,WEB,weblink North Korea's military aging but sizable, CNN, 25 November 2010, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2014, GPS jammers,NEWS,weblink N.Korea Developing High-Powered GPS Jammer, The Chosun Ilbo, 7 September 2011, 8 September 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 24 September 2012, WEB,weblink North Korea Appears Capable of Jamming GPS Receivers,, 7 October 2010, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2014, midget submarines and human torpedoes,WEB,weblink North Korea's Human Torpedoes, DailyNK, 6 May 2010, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 30 August 2014, stealth paint,NEWS,weblink North Korea 'develops stealth paint to camouflage fighter jets', The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2010, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 September 2014, and cyberwarfare units.NEWS,weblink N.Korea Boosting Cyber Warfare Capabilities, The Chosun Ilbo, 5 November 2013, 23 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 December 2013, In 2015, North Korea was estimated as having 6,000 sophisticated computer security personnel.WEB,weblink North Korean hackers 'could kill', Dave Lee and Nick, Kwek, 29 May 2015,, KPA units have allegedly attempted to jam South Korean military satellites.WEB,weblink Satellite in Alleged NK Jamming Attack, Daily NK, 15 November 2012, 12 December 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, Much of the equipment is engineered and produced by a domestic defense industry. Weapons are manufactured in roughly 1,800 underground defense industry plants scattered throughout the country, most of them located in Chagang Province.WEB,weblink Defense, Federation of American Scientists, 11 October 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 June 2013, The defense industry is capable of producing a full range of individual and crew-served weapons, artillery, armored vehicles, tanks, missiles, helicopters, surface combatants, submarines, landing and infiltration craft, Yak-18 trainers and possibly co-production of jet aircraft.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=272}} According to official North Korean media, military expenditures for 2010 amount to 15.8 percent of the state budget.WEB, Report on Implementation of 2009 Budget and 2010 Budget,weblink Korean Central News Agency, 9 April 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, The U.S. State Department has estimated that North Korea's military spending averaged 23% of its GDP from 2004 to 2014, the highest level in the world.NEWS,weblink N. Korea ranks No. 1 for military spending relative to GDP: State Department report, Yonhap, 23 December 2016,



File:North Korea - Kumsusan (5015230319).jpg|thumb|North Koreans posing for a photo in front of Kumsusan Palace of the SunKumsusan Palace of the Sun{|class="wikitable" style="float: right; margin-left: 10px"! colspan="4" style="text-align:center; background:#cfb;"|Population{{UN_Population|ref}}! style="background:#cfb;"|Year! style="background:#cfb;"|Million1950 style="text-align:right;"|10.52000 style="text-align:right;"|22.9{{UN_Population{{#expr:{{formatnum:{{UN_PopulationR}}/1e6 round 1}}(File:Bevölkerungspyramide Nordkorea 2016.png|thumb|Population pyramid in 2016)With the exception of a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese, North Korea's {{UN_Population|Dem. People's Republic of Korea}}{{UN_Population|ref}} people are ethnically homogeneous.WEB,weblink Field Listing: Ethnic Groups, CIA World Factbook, 21 July 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Demographic experts in the 20th century estimated that the population would grow to 25.5 million by 2000 and 28 million by 2010, but this increase never occurred due to the North Korean famine.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=69}} It began in 1995, lasted for three years and resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 North Koreans.JOURNAL, Spoorenberg, Thomas, Schwekendiek, Daniel, Demographic Changes in North Korea: 1993–2008, Population and Development Review, 38, 1, 133–158, 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2012.00475.x, 2012, International donors led by the United States initiated shipments of food through the World Food Program in 1997 to combat the famine.WEB,weblink Foreign Assistance to North Korea: Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Federation of American Scientists, 26 April 2012, 22 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2014, Despite a drastic reduction of aid under the George W. Bush Administration,WEB,weblinksocecon/hunger/relief/2005/0520nkorea.htm,, 16 February 2007, US Has Put Food Aid for North Korea on Hold, 1 August 2007, Jay Solomon, 20 May 2005, Wall Street Journal, the situation gradually improved: the number of malnourished children declined from 60% in 1998{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=xxii}} to 37% in 2006WEB,,weblink" title="">weblink 29 May 2007, Asia-Pacific : North Korea, 1 August 2007, 2007, Amnesty International, and 28% in 2013.WEB,weblink National Nutrition Survey final report, The United Nations Office in DPR Korea, 19 March 2013, 22 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 July 2014, dmy-all, Domestic food production almost recovered to the recommended annual level of 5.37 million tons of cereal equivalent in 2013,WEB,weblink The State of North Korean Farming: New Information from the UN Crop Assessment Report, 38North, 18 December 2013, 22 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 July 2014, but the World Food Program reported a continuing lack of dietary diversity and access to fats and proteins.WEB,weblink Korea, Democratic People's Republic (DPRK) | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide, WFP, 22 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 May 2014, The famine had a significant impact on the population growth rate, which declined to 0.9% annually in 2002.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=69}} It was 0.53% in 2014.WEB,weblink Field Listing: Population Growth Rate, CIA World Factbook, 22 July 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Late marriages after military service, limited housing space and long hours of work or political studies further exhaust the population and reduce growth.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=69}} The national birth rate is 14.5 births per year per 1,000 population.WEB,weblink Country Comparison: Birth Rate, CIA World Factbook, 22 July 2014, live,weblink 4 August 2014, Two-thirds of households consist of extended families mostly living in two-room units. Marriage is virtually universal and divorce is extremely rare.WEB,weblink North Korea Census Reveals Poor Demographic and Health Conditions, Population Reference Bureau, December 2010, 22 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014,


File:North Korea-Pyongyang Maternity Hospital-04.jpg|thumb|A dental clinic at Pyongyang Maternity HospitalPyongyang Maternity HospitalNorth Korea had a life expectancy of 69.8 years in 2013.WEB,weblink Country Comparison: Life Expectancy at Birth, CIA World Factbook, 22 July 2014, live,weblink 4 August 2014, While North Korea is classified as a low-income country, the structure of North Korea's causes of death (2013) is unlike that of other low-income countries. Instead, it is closer to worldwide averages, with non-communicable diseases—such as cardiovascular disease and cancers—accounting for two-thirds of the total deaths.A 2013 study reported that communicable diseases and malnutrition are responsible for 29% of the total deaths in North Korea. This figure is higher than those of high-income countries and South Korea, but half of the average 57% of all deaths in other low-income countries.JOURNAL, Overview of the Burden of Diseases in North Korea, Yo Han, Lee, Seok-Jun, Yoon, Young Ae, Kim, Ji Won, Yeom, In-Hwan, Oh, 1 May 2013, Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, 46, 3, 111–117, 10.3961/jpmph.2013.46.3.111, 23766868, 3677063, In 2003 infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and hepatitis B were described as endemic to the country as a result of the famine.WEB,weblink Life Inside North Korea, 18 November 2008, U.S. Department of State, However, in 2013, they were reported to be in decline.In 2013, cardiovascular disease as a single disease group was reported as the largest cause of death in North Korea. The three major causes of death in DPR Korea are ischaemic heart disease (13%), lower respiratory infections (11%) and cerebrovascular disease (7%).WEB,weblink WHO country cooperation strategy: Democratic People's Republic of Korea 2009–2013, 2009, World Health Organization, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 December 2007, Non-communicable diseases risk factors in North Korea include high rates of urbanization, an aging society, and high rates of smoking and alcohol consumption amongst men.According to a 2003 report by the United States Department of State, almost 100% of the population has access to water and sanitation. 80% of the population had access to improved sanitation facilities in 2015.WEB, Democratic People's Republic of Korea: WHO statistical profile, World Health Organization,weblink A free universal insurance system is in place.{{Sfn|Country Profile|2007|pp=7–8}} Quality of medical care varies significantly by region{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=127}} and is often low, with severe shortages of equipment, drugs and anesthetics. According to WHO, expenditure on health per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Preventive medicine is emphasized through physical exercise and sports, nationwide monthly checkups and routine spraying of public places against disease. Every individual has a lifetime health card which contains a full medical record.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=126}}


(File:Laika ac Mangyongdae School Children's Palace (11985523363).jpg|thumb|North Korean schoolchildren)The 2008 census listed the entire population as literate. An 11-year free, compulsory cycle of primary and secondary education is provided in more than 27,000 nursery schools, 14,000 kindergartens, 4,800 four-year primary and 4,700 six-year secondary schools.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=xxii}} 77% of males and 79% of females aged 30–34 have finished secondary school. An additional 300 universities and colleges offer higher education.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=xxii}}Most graduates from the compulsory program do not attend university but begin their obligatory military service or proceed to work in farms or factories instead. The main deficiencies of higher education are the heavy presence of ideological subjects, which comprise 50% of courses in social studies and 20% in sciences,{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=122}} and the imbalances in curriculum. The study of natural sciences is greatly emphasized while social sciences are neglected.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=123}} Heuristics is actively applied to develop the independence and creativity of students throughout the system.WEB,weblink Educational themes and methods,, 23 June 2010, live,weblink 12 December 2012, The study of Russian and English was made compulsory in upper middle schools in 1978.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=124}}


{{Further|North–South differences in the Korean language}}North Korea shares the Korean language with South Korea, although some dialectal differences exist within both Koreas.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=xxii}} North Koreans refer to their Pyongyang dialect as munhwaŏ ("cultured language") as opposed to the dialects of South Korea, especially the Seoul dialect or p'yojun'ŏ ("standard language"), which are viewed as decadent because of its use of loanwords from Chinese and European languages (particularly English).WEB,weblink The Korean Language, Library of Congress Country Studies, June 1993, 25 July 2014, Words of Chinese, Manchu or Western origin have been eliminated from munhwa along with the usage of Chinese hancha characters. Written language uses only the chosŏn'gŭl (Hangul) phonetic alphabet, developed under Sejong the Great (1418–1450).{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=18}}


{{Further|Religion in North Korea}}File:Chilgol Church (15545529301).jpg|thumb|Chilgol Church in Pyongyang, where Kang Pan-sok—the mother of the late supreme leader Kim Il-sung—served as a PresbyterianPresbyterianOfficially, North Korea is an atheist state.BOOK,weblink 2007, World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia, Marshall Cavendish, North Korea is officially an atheist state in which almost the entire population is nonreligious., 20 May 2019, 9780761476313, BOOK,weblink The State of Religion Atlas, Simon & Schuster, Atheism continues to be the official position of the governments of China, North Korea and Cuba., 20 May 2019, Joanne O'Brien, Martin Palmer, December 1993, There are no known official statistics of religions in North Korea. According to Religious Intelligence, 64.3% of the population are irreligious, 16% practice Korean shamanism, 13.5% practice Chondoism, 4.5% are Buddhist, and 1.7% are Christian.WEB,weblink Religious Intelligence UK report, Religious Intelligence, Religious Intelligence, 4 July 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 13 October 2007, Freedom of religion and the right to religious ceremonies are constitutionally guaranteed, but religions are restricted by the government.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=115}}WEB,weblink Human Rights in North Korea, 2 August 2007, July 2004, Human Rights Watch, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 December 2006, Amnesty International has expressed concerns about religious persecution in North Korea.WEB,weblink North Korea: Freedom of Movement, Opinion and Expression, 4 March 2014, 2009, Amnesty International, The influence of Buddhism and Confucianism still has an effect on cultural life.WEB,weblink Culture of North Korea â€“ Alternative name, History and ethnic relations, Countries and Their Cultures, Advameg Inc., 4 July 2009, live,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2009, WEB,weblink Background Note: North Korea, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, February 2009, U.S. State Department, 4 July 2009, Chondoism ("Heavenly Way") is an indigenous syncretic belief combining elements of Korean shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism and Catholicism that is officially represented by the WPK-controlled Chongu Party.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=120}}The Open Doors mission, a Protestant-group based in the United States and founded during the Cold War-era, claims the most severe persecution of Christians in the world occurs in North Korea.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2007, Open Doors International : WWL: Focus on the Top Ten, Open Doors International, Open Doors (International), 4 July 2009, Four state-sanctioned churches exist, but critics claim these are showcases for foreigners.WEB,weblink Annual Report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 2 August 2007, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 21 September 2004, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, Nautilus Institute,weblink" title="">weblink 11 March 2007, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, NEWS,weblink N Korea stages Mass for Pope, 2 August 2007, 10 April 2005, BBC News, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2008,

Formal ranking of citizens' loyalty

{{Further|Songbun}}(File:Korean youth on Pyongyang street.jpg|thumb|Sneaker-wearing North Korean youths walking in Pyongyang)According to North Korean documents and refugee testimonies,BOOK, Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea's Social Classification System, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea,weblink Robert Collins, 8 June 2012, 6 June 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2013, all North Koreans are sorted into groups according to their Songbun, an ascribed status system based on a citizen's assessed loyalty to the government. Based on their own behavior and the political, social, and economic background of their family for three generations as well as behavior by relatives within that range, Songbun is allegedly used to determine whether an individual is trusted with responsibility, given opportunities,NEWS, Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea's Social Classification System,weblink 8 June 2012, NK News, 7 June 2012, Matthew McGrath, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 March 2013, or even receives adequate food.BOOK, Kim Il-song's North Korea, 1999, Praeger, Westport, Connecticut, London, 978-0-275-96296-8, 3–11, 31–33, Helen-Louise Hunter, Foreword by Stephen J. Solarz, Songbun allegedly affects access to educational and employment opportunities and particularly whether a person is eligible to join North Korea's ruling party. There are 3 main classifications and about 50 sub-classifications. According to Kim Il-sung, speaking in 1958, the loyal "core class" constituted 25% of the North Korean population, the "wavering class" 55%, and the "hostile class" 20%. The highest status is accorded to individuals descended from those who participated with Kim Il-sung in the resistance against Japanese occupation during and before World War II and to those who were factory workers, laborers, or peasants in 1950.WEB, A Look at North Korean Society,weblink, 8 June 2011, Jerry Winzig, book review of Kim Il-song's North Korea by Helen-Louise Hunter, In North Korea, one's songbun, or socio-economic and class background, is extremely important and is primarily determined at birth. People with the best songbun are descendants of the anti-Japanese guerrillas who fought with Kim Il-song, followed by people whose parents or grandparents were factory workers, laborers, or poor, small farmers in 1950. "Ranked below them in descending order are forty-seven distinct groups in what must be the most class-differentiated society in the world today." Anyone with a father, uncle, or grandfather who owned land or was a doctor, Christian minister, merchant, or lawyer has low songbun., While some analysts believe private commerce recently changed the Songbun system to some extent,NEWS, North Korea's Songbun Caste System Faces Power Of Wealth, Tim Sullivan, Huffington Post, 29 December 2012,weblink 28 February 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 January 2013, most North Korean refugees say it remains a commanding presence in everyday life. The North Korean government claims all citizens are equal and denies any discrimination on the basis of family background.KINU White Paper on Human Rights in North Korea 2011, p. 216, 225. (30 August 2011). Retrieved on 6 April 2013.


North Korea has maintained one of the most closed and centralized economies in the world since the 1940s.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 135}} For several decades it followed the Soviet pattern of five-year plans with the ultimate goal of achieving self-sufficiency. Extensive Soviet and Chinese support allowed North Korea to rapidly recover from the Korean War and register very high growth rates. Systematic inefficiency began to arise around 1960, when the economy shifted from the extensive to the intensive development stage. The shortage of skilled labor, energy, arable land and transportation significantly impeded long-term growth and resulted in consistent failure to meet planning objectives.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 138}} The major slowdown of the economy contrasted with South Korea, which surpassed the North in terms of absolute GDP and per capita income by the 1980s.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 142}} North Korea declared the last seven-year plan unsuccessful in December 1993 and thereafter stopped announcing plans.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 140}}File:Industry Hamhung, North Korea.jpg|thumb|An industrial plant in HamhungHamhungThe loss of Eastern Bloc trading partners and a series of natural disasters throughout the 1990s caused severe hardships, including widespread famine. By 2000, the situation improved owing to a massive international food assistance effort, but the economy continues to suffer from food shortages, dilapidated infrastructure and a critically low energy supply. In an attempt to recover from the collapse, the government began structural reforms in 1998 that formally legalized private ownership of assets and decentralized control over production.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 143, 145}} A second round of reforms in 2002 led to an expansion of market activities, partial monetization, flexible prices and salaries, and the introduction of incentives and accountability techniques.{{Sfn|Country Profile|2007|p = 9}} Despite these changes, North Korea remains a command economy where the state owns almost all means of production and development priorities are defined by the government.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink Economy, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 31 May 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2014, North Korea has the structural profile of a relatively industrialized country{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = 145}} where nearly half of the Gross Domestic Product is generated by industryWEB,weblink GDP Composition by sectory field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 31 May 2014, live,weblink 22 May 2014, and human development is at medium levels.WEB,weblink Filling Gaps in the Human Development Index, United Nations ESCAP, February 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 October 2011, Purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP is estimated at $40 billion,WEB,weblink GDP (PPP) Field listing, CIA World Factbook, 31 May 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, with a very low per capita value of $1,800.WEB,weblink GDP (PPP) per capita Field listing, CIA World Factbook, 31 May 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, In 2012, Gross national income per capita was $1,523, compared to $28,430 in South Korea.WEB,weblink North Korean Economy Records Positive Growth for Two Consecutive Years, The Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 17 July 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2015, The North Korean won is the national currency, issued by the Central Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|p=931}}The economy is heavily nationalized.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p = xxiii}} Food and housing are extensively subsidized by the state; education and healthcare are free;{{Sfn|Country Profile|2007|p = 8}} and the payment of taxes was officially abolished in 1974.WEB,weblink DPRK—Only Tax-free Country, 19 June 2009, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 October 2009, A variety of goods are available in department stores and supermarkets in Pyongyang,WEB,weblink Pyongyang glitters but most of North Korea still dark, AP through MSN News, 28 April 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 July 2014, though most of the population relies on small-scale jangmadang markets.Jangmadang Will Prevent "Second Food Crisis" from Developing {{webarchive|url= |date=22 December 2010 }}, DailyNK, 26 October 20072008 Top Items in the Jangmadang {{webarchive|url= |date=23 September 2015 }}, The DailyNK, 1 January 2009 In 2009, the government attempted to stem the expanding free market by banning jangmadang and the use of foreign currency, heavily devaluing the won and restricting the convertibility of savings in the old currency,BOOK, Cha, Victor, The Impossible State, 2012, Ecco, but the resulting inflation spike and rare public protests caused a reversal of these policies.Kim Jong Eun's Long-lasting Pain in the Neck {{webarchive|url= |date=3 December 2010 }}, TheDailyNK, 30 November 2010 Private trade is dominated by women because most men are required to be present at their workplace, even though many state-owned enterprises are non-operational.WEB,weblink NK is no Stalinist country, The Korea Times, 9 October 2011, 9 October 2011, live,weblink 16 October 2015, File:Masikryong North Korea Ski Resort (12300043424).jpg|thumb|Foreign tourists in Masikryong Ski ResortMasikryong Ski ResortIndustry and services employ 65%WEB,weblink Labor Force by occupation field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 7 June 2014, live,weblink 22 May 2014, of North Korea's 12.6 million labor force.WEB,weblink Labor Force field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 7 June 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Major industries include machine building, military equipment, chemicals, mining, metallurgy, textiles, food processing and tourism.WEB,weblink Major Industries field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 7 June 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Iron ore and coal production are among the few sectors where North Korea performs significantly better than its southern neighbor â€“ it produces about 10 times larger amounts of each resource.In limited N.Korean market, furor for S.Korean products {{webarchive|url= |date=9 January 2011 }}, The Hankyoreh, 6 January 2011 Using ex-Romanian drilling rigs, several oil exploration companies have confirmed significant oil reserves in the North Korean shelf of the Sea of Japan, and in areas south of Pyongyang.WEB,weblink Pyongyang's Crude: Three Reasons Why North Korea Doesn't Fear US Oil Embargo, Sputnik,, The agricultural sector was shattered by the natural disasters of the 1990s.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=154}} Its 3,500 cooperatives and state farms{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=143}} were among the most productive and successful in the world around 1980{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=47}} but now experience chronic fertilizer and equipment shortages. Rice, corn, soybeans and potatoes are some of the primary crops. A significant contribution to the food supply comes from commercial fishing and aquaculture. Tourism has been a growing sector for the past decade.NEWS,weblink North Korea welcomes increase in tourism, The Telegraph, 20 February 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2014, North Korea aims to increase the number of foreign visitors from 200,000 to one million by 2016 through projects like the Masikryong Ski Resort.NEWS,weblink Skiing in North Korea: Mounting Problems, The Economist, 14 February 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink 9 June 2014, {{update inline|?=yes|date=June 2017}}Foreign trade surpassed pre-crisis levels in 2005 and continues to expand.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=173}}WEB, North Korea's Trade and the KOTRA Report, Boydston, Kent, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 1 August 2017, 22 May 2018,weblink North Korea has a number of special economic zones (SEZs) and Special Administrative Regions where foreign companies can operate with tax and tariff incentives while North Korean establishments gain access to improved technology.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=165}} Initially four such zones existed, but they yielded little overall success.WEB,weblink North Korea's crusade for more special economic zones, NKNews, 1 December 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2014, The SEZ system was overhauled in 2013 when 14 new zones were opened and the Rason Special Economic Zone was reformed as a joint Chinese-North Korean project.NEWS,weblink North Korea Plans To Expand Special Economic Zones, The Huffington Post, 16 November 2013, 15 June 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 April 2014, The Kaesong Industrial Region is a special economic zone where more than 100 South Korean companies employ some 52,000 North Korean workers.WEB,weblink Cumulative output of Kaesong park reaches US$2.3 bln, Yonhap News, 12 June 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 August 2014, {{as of|2017|August}}, China is the biggest trading partner of North Korea outside inter-Korean trade, accounting for more than 84% of the total external trade ($5.3 billion) followed by India at 3.3% share ($205 million).WEB,weblink India is North Korea's second biggest trading partner after China, Moneycontrol, 16 August 2017, In 2014, Russia wrote off 90% of North Korea's debt and the two countries agreed to conduct all transactions in rubles.WEB,weblink Russia, North Korea Agree to Settle Payments in Rubles in Trade Pact, RIA Novosti, 28 March 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 June 2014, WEB,weblink Russia and N. Korea switching to trade in rubles, RT, 5 June 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 June 2014, Overall, external trade in 2013 reached a total of $7.3 billion (the highest amount since 1990WEB,weblink North Korean Foreign Trade Volume Posts Record High of USD 7.3 Billion in 2013, The Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 28 May 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 September 2015, ), while inter-Korean trade dropped to an eight-year low of $1.1 billion.NEWS,weblink South Korea has lost the North to China, Financial Times, 20 February 2014, 15 June 2014,


{{further|Energy in North Korea|Transport in North Korea}}File:Korean Peninsula at night from space.jpg|thumb|left|Satellite image of the Korean Peninsula at night, showing North Korea in almost complete darkness, with one small bright spot, the capital PyongyangPyongyangNorth Korea's energy infrastructure is obsolete and in disrepair. Power shortages are chronic and would not be alleviated even by electricity imports because the poorly maintained grid causes significant losses during transmission.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=146}}{{update inline|?=yes|date=February 2018}} Coal accounts for 70% of primary energy production, followed by hydroelectric power with 17%.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=147}} The government under Kim Jong-un has increased emphasis on renewable energy projects like wind farms, solar parks, solar heating and biomass.WEB,weblink North Korea to Utilize Science and Technology to Overcome Its Energy Crisis, The Institute of Far Eastern Studies, 3 April 2014, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2015, A set of legal regulations adopted in 2014 stressed the development of geothermal, wind and solar energy along with recycling and environmental conservation.WEB,weblink North Korea Adopts Renewable Energy Law, The Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 17 September 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2015, North Korea's long-term objective is to curb fossil fuel usage and reach an output of 5 million kilowatts from renewable sources by 2044, up from its current total of 430,000 kilowatts from all sources. Wind power is projected to satisfy 15% of the country's total energy demand under this strategy.WEB,weblink Progress in North Korea's Renewable Energy Production, NK Briefs, The Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 2 March 2016, 18 December 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 December 2016, North Korea also strives to develop its own civilian nuclear program. These efforts are under much international dispute due to their military applications and concerns about safety.NEWS,weblink Activity Seen at North Korean Nuclear Plant, The New York Times, 24 December 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 July 2014, File:DPRK railway diesel. (11585810604).jpg|thumb|A Soviet-built M62 diesel unit at Pyongyang StationPyongyang StationFile:Tupolev Tu-204-300 of Air Koryo at Vladivostok Airport (1).jpg|thumb|Tupolev Tu-204Tupolev Tu-204Transport infrastructure includes railways, highways, water and air routes, but rail transport is by far the most widespread. North Korea has some 5,200 kilometers of railways mostly in standard gauge which carry 80% of annual passenger traffic and 86% of freight, but electricity shortages undermine their efficiency.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=147}} Construction of a high-speed railway connecting Kaesong, Pyongyang and Sinuiju with speeds exceeding 200 km/h was approved in 2013.WEB,weblink High Speed Rail and Road Connecting Kaesong-Pyongyang-Sinuiju to be Built, The Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 20 December 2013, 15 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2015, North Korea connects with the Trans-Siberian Railway through Rajin.WEB,weblink Russia to extend Trans-Eurasian rail project to Korea, RT, 6 June 2014, 16 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 June 2014, Road transport is very limited — only 724 kilometers of the 25,554 kilometer road network are paved,WEB,weblink Roadways field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 16 June 2014, live,weblink 22 May 2014, and maintenance on most roads is poor.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=150}} Only 2% of the freight capacity is supported by river and sea transport, and air traffic is negligible.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=147}} All port facilities are ice-free and host a merchant fleet of 158 vessels.WEB,weblink Merchant marine field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 16 June 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Eighty-two airportsWEB,weblink Airports field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 16 June 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, and 23 helipadsWEB,weblink Helipads field listing, CIA The World Factbook, 16 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 June 2011, are operational and the largest serve the state-run airline, Air Koryo.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=147}} Cars are relatively rare, but bicycles are common.WEB,weblink 70% of Households Use Bikes, The Daily NK, 30 October 2008, 16 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 6 July 2014, {{update inline|?=yes|date=February 2018}}

Science and technology

{{further|Korean Committee of Space Technology|Telecommunications in North Korea|National Aerospace Development Administration}}R&D efforts are concentrated at the State Academy of Sciences, which runs 40 research institutes, 200 smaller research centers, a scientific equipment factory and six publishing houses.NEWS,weblink Academies, Andrei Lankov, The Korea Times, 1 April 2007, 16 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2014, The government considers science and technology to be directly linked to economic development.N. Korea moves to develop cutting-edge nanotech industry {{webarchive|url= |date=7 April 2014 }} Yonhap News – 2 August 2013 (access date: 17 June 2014) A five-year scientific plan emphasizing IT, biotechnology, nanotechnology, marine and plasma research was carried out in the early 2000s.WEB,weblink North Korea to Become Strong in Science and Technology by Year 2022, The International Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 21 December 2012, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 September 2015, A 2010 report by the South Korean Science and Technology Policy Institute identified polymer chemistry, single carbon materials, nanoscience, mathematics, software, nuclear technology and rocketry as potential areas of inter-Korean scientific cooperation. North Korean institutes are strong in these fields of research, although their engineers require additional training and laboratories need equipment upgrades.WEB,weblink Two Koreas can cooperate in chemistry, biotech and nano science: report, Yonhap News, 6 January 2010, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 December 2013, File:North Korean Unha-3 rocket at launch pad.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Unha-3Unha-3Under its "constructing a powerful knowledge economy" slogan, the state has launched a project to concentrate education, scientific research and production into a number of "high-tech development zones". International sanctions remain a significant obstacle to their development.WEB,weblink High-Tech Development Zones: The Core of Building a Powerful Knowledge Economy Nation, The International Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 5 June 2014, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 23 April 2015, The Miraewon network of electronic libraries was established in 2014 under similar slogans.WEB,weblink "Miraewon" Electronic Libraries to be Constructed Across North Korea, The International Institute for Far Eastern Studies, 22 May 2014, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 September 2015, Significant resources have been allocated to the national space program, which is managed by the National Aerospace Development Administration (formerly managed by the Korean Committee of Space Technology until April 2013)WEB, Pearlman, Robert,weblink, North Korea's 'NADA' Space Agency, Logo Are Anything But 'Nothing', live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 May 2016, BOOK, Lele, Ajey, Asian Space Race: Rhetoric Or Reality, 2013, Springer, 978-81-322-0732-0, 70–72,weblink Domestically produced launch vehicles and the Kwangmyŏngsŏng satellite class are launched from two spaceports, the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. After four failed attempts, North Korea became the tenth spacefaring nation with the launch of Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 in December 2012, which successfully reached orbit but was believed to be crippled and non-operational.NEWS, Talmadge, Eric, Crippled NKorean probe could orbit for years,weblink 18 December 2012, AP, 18 December 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2013, MAGAZINE,weblink Japan to launch spy satellite to keep an eye on North Korea, Wired, 23 January 2013, 17 June 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 July 2014, It joined the Outer Space Treaty in 2009WEB,weblink High five: Messages from North Korea, The Asia Times, 19 March 2009, 17 June 2014, and has stated its intentions to undertake manned and Moon missions. The government insists the space program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries maintain that it serves to advance military ballistic missile programs.NEWS,weblink North Korea appears to ape Nasa with space agency logo, The Guardian, 1 April 2014, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 4 July 2014, On 7 February 2016, North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket, supposedly to place a satellite into orbit. Critics believe that the real purpose of the launch was to test a ballistic missile. The launch was strongly condemned by the UN Security Council.WEB, UN Security Council vows new sanctions after N Korea's rocket launch,weblink BBC News, 7 February 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 February 2016, NEWS, U.N. Security Council condemns North Korea launch -,weblink CNN, 7 February 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 February 2016, NEWS, North Korea rocket launch: UN security council condemns latest violation,weblink The Guardian, 7 February 2016, 7 February 2016, 0261-3077, en-GB, Justin McCurry Damien, Gayle, agencies, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 February 2016, A statement broadcast on Korean Central Television said that a new Earth observation satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4, had successfully been put into orbit less than 10 minutes after lift-off from the Sohae space center in North Phyongan province.Usage of communication technology is controlled by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. An adequate nationwide fiber-optic telephone system with 1.18 million fixed linesWEB,weblink Country Comparison: Telephones – main lines in use, CIA, The World Factbook, live,weblink 27 December 2016, and expanding mobile coverage is in place.WEB,weblink Telephone System Field Listing, CIA The World Factbook, 17 June 2014, live,weblink 25 June 2014, Most phones are installed for senior government officials and installation requires written explanation why the user needs a telephone and how it will be paid for.{{sfn|French|2007|p=22}} Cellular coverage is available with a 3G network operated by Koryolink, a joint venture with Orascom Telecom Holding.NEWS,weblink North Korea embraces 3G service, BBC, 26 April 2013, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 28 May 2014, The number of subscribers has increased from 3,000 in 2002WEB,weblink Chinese Cell Phone Breaches North Korean Hermit Kingdom, 2 August 2007, Rebecca MacKinnon, 17 January 2005, Yale Global Online, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 October 2009, to almost two million in 2013. International calls through either fixed or cellular service are restricted, and mobile Internet is not available.Internet access itself is limited to a handful of elite users and scientists. Instead, North Korea has a walled garden intranet system called Kwangmyong,WEB,weblink North Korea: On the net in world's most secretive nation, BBC, 10 December 2012, 17 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 July 2014, which is maintained and monitored by the Korea Computer Center.NEWS, North Korea's IT revolutiondate=24 April 2007publisher=Asia TimesPUBLISHER=NEWS.COM.AU ACCESSDATE=17 JUNE 2014 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140718042530/HTTP://WWW.NEWS.COM.AU/TECHNOLOGY/ONLINE/NORTH-KOREA-HAS-BRIGHT-IDEA-FOR-INTERNET/STORY-FNJWMWRH-1226817110549 Red Star OS, an operating system derived from Linux, with a Shell (computing)>user shell visually similar to that of OS X. On 19 September 2016, a TLDR project noticed the North Korean Internet DNS data and top-level domain was left open which allowed global DNS zone transfers. A dump of the data discovered was shared on GitHub.HERSHER >FIRST1=REBECCA URL=HTTPS://WWW.NPR.ORG/SECTIONS/THETWO-WAY/2016/09/21/494902997/NORTH-KOREA-ACCIDENTALLY-REVEALS-IT-ONLY-HAS-28-WEBSITES AGENCY=NPR URL-STATUS=LIVE ARCHIVEDATE=22 SEPTEMBER 2016, BRYANT >FIRST1=MATTHEW URL=HTTPS://GITHUB.COM/MANDATORYPROGRAMMER/NORTHKOREADNSLEAK DATE=19 SEPTEMBER 2016 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20160921171448/HTTPS://GITHUB.COM/MANDATORYPROGRAMMER/NORTHKOREADNSLEAK, 21 September 2016,


{{see also|Culture of Korea}}File:Pyohunsa Temple - Mount Kumgang North Korea (10449400303).jpg|thumb|Pyohunsa Buddhist Temple, a National Treasure of North Korea ]]Despite a historically strong Chinese influence, Korean culture has shaped its own unique identity.BOOK, John K. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer & Albert M. Craig, East Asia: Tradition & Transformation, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1978, 978-0-395-25812-5, It came under attack during the Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, when Japan enforced a cultural assimilation policy. Koreans were forced to learn and speak Japanese, adopt the Japanese family name system and Shinto religion, and were forbidden to write or speak the Korean language in schools, businesses, or public places.BOOK,weblink The Rise of Korean Nationalism and Communism, Bruce G. Cumings, A Country Study: North Korea, Library of Congress, Call number DS932 .N662 1994, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 April 2007, After the peninsula was divided in 1945, two distinct cultures formed out of the common Korean heritage. North Koreans have little exposure to foreign influence. The revolutionary struggle and the brilliance of the leadership are some of the main themes in art. "Reactionary" elements from traditional culture have been discarded and cultural forms with a "folk" spirit have been reintroduced.WEB,weblink Contemporary Cultural Expression, Library of Congress Country Studies, 1993, 3 July 2014, live,weblink 13 December 2012, Korean heritage is protected and maintained by the state.{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|pp=496–497}} Over 190 historical sites and objects of national significance are cataloged as National Treasures of North Korea, while some 1,800 less valuable artifacts are included in a list of Cultural Assets. The Historic Sites and Monuments in Kaesong and the Complex of Goguryeo Tombs are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.WEB,weblink Democratic People's Republic of Korea, UNESCO, 6 June 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2014,


{{further|Korean art|Korean architecture}}Visual arts are generally produced in the esthetics of Socialist realism. North Korean painting combines the influence of Soviet and Japanese visual expression to instill a sentimental loyalty to the system.WEB,weblink A window into North Korea's art world, The Asia Times, 16 June 2012, 14 July 2014, All artists in North Korea are required to join the Artists' Union, and the best among them can receive an official license to portray the leaders. Portraits and sculptures depicting Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un are classed as "Number One works".NEWS,weblink Socialist realism, Andrei Lankov, The Korea Times, 13 February 2011, 6 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 July 2014, Most aspects of art have been dominated by Mansudae Art Studio since its establishment in 1959. It employs around 1,000 artists in what is likely the biggest art factory in the world where paintings, murals, posters and monuments are designed and produced.WEB,weblink Mansudae Art Studio, North Korea's Colossal Monument Factory, Bloomberg Business Week, 6 June 2013, 14 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2015, The studio has commercialized its activity and sells its works to collectors in a variety of countries including China, where it is in high demand. Mansudae Overseas Projects is a subdivision of Mansudae Art Studio that carries out construction of large-scale monuments for international customers. Some of the projects include the African Renaissance Monument in Senegal,NEWS,weblink Senegal President Wade apologises for Christ comments, BBC News, 31 December 2009, British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, London, 14 July 2014, and the Heroes' Acre in Namibia.WEB,weblink Heroes' monument losing battle, The Namibian, 5 June 2005, 14 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 July 2014, dmy-all,

World Heritage

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Goguryeo tumulus is registered on the World Heritage list of UNESCO. These remains were registered as the first World Heritage property of North Korea in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) in July 2004. There are 63 burial mounds in the tomb group, with clear murals preserved. It is believed that these murals also influenced the Japanese Kita Tora burial mound.WEB,weblink Complex of Koguryo Tombs,, 2017-09-01,


{{Listen| filename =Song of Comradeship excerpt.ogg| title ="Song of Comradeship"| alt =| description = performed by the KPA State Chorus| filename2 =Moranbong Band excerpt.ogg| title2 ="Let us Dash towards the Future"| alt2 =| description2 =performed by Moranbong Band}}The government emphasized optimistic folk-based tunes and revolutionary music throughout most of the 20th century. Ideological messages are conveyed through massive orchestral pieces like the "Five Great Revolutionary Operas" based on traditional Korean ch'angguk.WEB,weblink Literature, Music, and Film, Library of Congress Country Studies, 1993, 14 July 2014, Revolutionary operas differ from their Western counterparts by adding traditional instruments to the orchestra and avoiding recitative segments.NEWS,weblink North Korean Opera Draws Acclaim in China, The New York Times, 28 July 2010, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 July 2014, Sea of Blood is the most widely performed of the Five Great Operas: since its premiere in 1971, it has been played over 1,500 times,WEB,weblink Revolutionary opera "Sea of Blood" 30 years old, Korean Central News Agency, KCNA, August 2001, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 October 2014, and its 2010 tour in China was a major success. Western classical music by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and other composers is performed both by the State Symphony Orchestra and student orchestras.NEWS,weblink North Korea: Bringing modern music to Pyongyang, BBC News, 3 January 2013, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 July 2014, Pop music appeared in the 1980s with the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble and Wangjaesan Light Music Band.NEWS,weblink Meet North Korea's new girl band: five girls who just wanna have state-sanctioned fun, The Telegraph, 29 May 2013, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 July 2014, Improved relations with South Korea following the 2000 inter-Korean summit caused a decline in direct ideological messages in pop songs, but themes like comradeship, nostalgia and the construction of a powerful country remained.{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|p=478}} In 2014, the all-girl Moranbong Band was described as the most popular group in the country.NEWS,weblink Moranbong: Kim Jong-un's favourite band stage a comeback, The Guardian, 24 April 2014, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 26 August 2014, North Koreans also listen to K-pop which spreads through illegal markets.NEWS,weblink Pyongyang goes pop: How North Korea discovered Michael Jackson, The Guardian, 1 February 2011, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2014, BOOK, Youna Kim, South Korean Popular Culture and North Korea,weblink 2019, Routledge, London, 978-1-351-10410-4, 155–156,


File:North Korea (5015250703).jpg|thumb|left|A North Korean bookstore with works of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-ilKim Jong-ilAll publishing houses are owned by the government or the WPK because they are considered an important tool for propaganda and agitation.{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|pp=423–424}} The Workers' Party of Korea Publishing House is the most authoritative among them and publishes all works of Kim Il-sung, ideological education materials and party policy documents.{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|p=424}} The availability of foreign literature is limited, examples being North Korean editions of Indian, German, Chinese and Russian fairy tales, Tales from Shakespeare and some works of Bertolt Brecht and Erich Kästner.{{update inline|?=yes|date=February 2018}}Kim Il-sung's personal works are considered "classical masterpieces" while the ones created under his instruction are labeled "models of Juche literature". These include The Fate of a Self-Defense Corps Man, The Song of Korea and Immortal History, a series of historical novels depicting the suffering of Koreans under Japanese occupation. More than four million literary works were published between the 1980s and the early 2000s, but almost all of them belong to a narrow variety of political genres like "army-first revolutionary literature".{{sfn|North Korea Handbook|2003|p=475}}Science fiction is considered a secondary genre because it somewhat departs from the traditional standards of detailed descriptions and metaphors of the leader. The exotic settings of the stories give authors more freedom to depict cyberwarfare, violence, sexual abuse and crime, which are absent in other genres. Sci-fi works glorify technology and promote the Juche concept of anthropocentric existence through depictions of robotics, space exploration and immortality.WEB,weblink Benoit Symposium: From Pyongyang to Mars: Sci-fi, Genre, and Literary Value in North Korea, SinoNK, 25 September 2013, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 13 June 2014,


File:Laika ac Rodong Shinmun Office (12196828873).jpg|thumb|right|The Rodong Sinmun office in PyongyangPyongyangGovernment policies towards film are no different than those applied to other arts—motion pictures serve to fulfill the targets of "social education". Some of the most influential films are based on historic events (An Jung-geun shoots Itō Hirobumi) or folk tales (Hong Gildong). Most movies have predictable propaganda story lines which make cinema an unpopular entertainment. Viewers only see films that feature their favorite actors.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=114}} Western productions are only available at private showings to high-ranking Party members,{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=94}} although the 1997 film Titanic is frequently shown to university students as an example of Western culture.NEWS,weblink Pyongyang goes pop: Inside North Korea's first indie disco, The Guardian, 22 February 2011, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 July 2014, {{update inline|?=yes|date=February 2018}} Access to foreign media products is available through smuggled DVDs and television or radio broadcasts in border areas.WEB, A Quiet Opening: North Koreans in a Changing Media Environment,weblink InterMedia, 19 January 2013, Nat, Kretchun, Jane, Kim, 10 May 2012, The primary focus of the study was on the ability of North Koreans to access outside information from foreign sources through a variety of media, communication technologies and personal sources. The relationship between information exposure on North Koreans’ perceptions of the outside world and their own country was also analyzed., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 January 2013, dmy-all, Western films like The Interview, Titanic, and Charlie's Angels are just a few films that have been smuggled across the borders of North Korea, allowing for access to the North Korean citizens.Harvard International Review. Winter2016, Vol. 37 Issue 2, pg46-50. 5p.Crocker, L. (22 December 2014). North Korea's Secret Movie Bootleggers: How Western Films Make It Into the Hermit Kingdom.North Korean media are under some of the strictest government control in the world. Freedom of the press in 2017 was 180th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' annual Press Freedom Index.WEB, North Korea, Reporters Without Borders, 2017, 28 April 2017,weblink live,weblink 26 April 2017, According to Freedom House, all media outlets serve as government mouthpieces, all journalists are Party members and listening to foreign broadcasts carries the threat of a death penalty.WEB,weblink Freedom of the Press: North Korea, Freedom House, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 7 July 2014, The main news provider is the Korean Central News Agency. All 12 major newspapers and 20 periodicals, including Rodong Sinmun, are published in the capital.BOOK, Pervis, Larinda B., North Korea Issues: Nuclear Posturing, Saber Rattling, and International Mischief, Nova Science Publishers, 2007, 22, 978-1-60021-655-8, There are three state-owned TV stations. Two of them broadcast only on weekends and the Korean Central Television is on air every day in the evenings.NEWS,weblink Meagre media for North Koreans, BBC News, 10 October 2006, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 August 2014, Uriminzokkiri and its associated YouTube and Twitter accounts distribute imagery, news and video issued by government media.WEB,weblink North Korea Uses Twitter, YouTube For Propaganda Offensive, The Huffington post, 17 August 2010, 14 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 October 2014, The Associated Press opened the first Western all-format, full-time bureau in Pyongyang in 2012.NEWS, Calderone, Michael, Associated Press North Korea Bureau Opens As First All-Format News Office In Pyongyang,weblink 26 March 2012, The Huffington Post, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 16 April 2012, Media coverage of North Korea has often been inadequate as a result of the country's isolation. Stories like Kim Jong-un undergoing surgery to look like his grandfather, executing his ex-girlfriend or feeding his uncle to a pack of hungry dogs have been circulated by foreign media as truth despite the lack of a credible source.NEWS, Chad, O'Carroll,weblink North Korea's invisible phone, killer dogs and other such stories – why the world is transfixed, The Telegraph, 6 January 2014, 14 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 October 2014, Many of the claims originate from the South Korean right-wing newspaper The Chosun Ilbo.WEB,weblink Why You Shouldn't Necessarily Trust Those Reports Of Kim Jong-un Executing His Ex-Girlfriend, Taylor, Adam, 29 August 2013,, Business Insider, 19 January 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 19 January 2014, Max Fisher of The Washington Post has written that "almost any story [on North Korea] is treated as broadly credible, no matter how outlandish or thinly sourced".NEWS, Fisher, Max, 3 January 2014, No, Kim Jong Un probably didn't feed his uncle to 120 hungry dogs,weblink Washington Post, Washington, D.C., live,weblink 26 July 2014, Occasional deliberate disinformation on the part of North Korean establishments further complicates the issue. The censorship in North Korea encompasses all the information produced by the media. Monitored heavily by government officials, the media is strictly used to reinforce ideals approved by the government. There is no freedom of press in North Korea as all the media is controlled and filtered through governmental censors.Journalists, C. T. (25 April 2017). North Korean censorship.


File:North Korean Bibimbap 비빔밥 (12330376074).jpg|thumb|North Korean bibimbapbibimbapKorean cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Originating from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions in southern Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula, it has gone through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends.WEB,weblink ko:Korean Cuisine (한국요리 韓國料理), Naver / Doosan Encyclopedia, Korean, 15 July 2014, Rice dishes and kimchi are staple Korean food. In a traditional meal, they accompany both side dishes (panch'an) and main courses like juk, pulgogi or noodles. Soju liquor is the best-known traditional Korean spirit.WEB,weblink Food, Korean Culture and Information Service, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 3 July 2014, North Korea's most famous restaurant, Okryu-gwan, located in Pyongyang, is known for its raengmyeon cold noodles.{{citation|last=Lankov|first=Andrei|authorlink=Andrei Lankov|title=North of the DMZ: Essays on daily life in North Korea|publisher=McFarland|year=2007|isbn=978-0-7864-2839-7|pages=90–91}} Other dishes served there include gray mullet soup with boiled rice, beef rib soup, green bean pancake, sinsollo and dishes made from terrapin.WEB,weblink Okryu Restaurant Becomes More Popular for Terrapin Dishes, Korean Central News Agency, 26 May 2010, 15 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, WEB,weblink Okryu restaurant, Korean Central News Agency, 31 August 1998, 15 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 January 2011, Okryu-gwan sends research teams into the countryside to collect data on Korean cuisine and introduce new recipes. Some Asian cities host branches of the Pyongyang restaurant chain where waitresses perform music and dance.NEWS,weblink The mystery of North Korea's virtuoso waitresses, BBC News, 8 June 2014, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 25 July 2014,


(File:FIFA World Cup 2010 Brazil North Korea 7.jpg|thumb|North Korea (in red) against Brazil at the 2010 FIFA World Cup)File:Laika ac Arirang Mass Games (7934639696).jpg|thumb|left|A scene from the 2012 Arirang FestivalArirang FestivalMost schools have daily practice in association football, basketball, table tennis, gymnastics, boxing and others. The DPR Korea League is popular inside the country and its games are often televised.{{Sfn|Country Study|2009|p=114}} The national football team, Chollima, competed in the FIFA World Cup in 2010, when it lost all three matches against Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast.NEWS,weblink Fifa investigates North Korea World Cup abuse claims, BBC News, 11 August 2010, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 29 August 2014, Its 1966 appearance was much more successful, seeing a surprise 1–0 victory over Italy and a quarter final loss to Portugal by 3–5.NEWS,weblink When Middlesbrough hosted the 1966 World Cup Koreans, BBC News, 15 June 2010, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2014, A national team represents the nation in international basketball competitions as well. In December 2013, former American basketball professional Dennis Rodman visited North Korea to help train the national team after he developed a friendship with Kim Jong-un.NEWS, Rodman returns to North Korea amid political unrest,weblink 20 December 2013, Fox News, 19 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 19 December 2013, North Korea's first appearance in the Olympics came in 1964. The 1972 Olympics saw its summer games debut and five medals, including one gold. With the exception of the boycotted Los Angeles and Seoul Olympics, North Korean athletes have won medals in all summer games since then.WEB,weblink Democratic People's Republic of Korea, International Olympic Committee, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2014, Weightlifter Kim Un-guk broke the world record of the Men's 62 kg category at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.NEWS,weblink North Korea's Kim Un Guk wins 62kg weightlifting Olympic gold, BBC News, 30 July 2012, 15 July 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2015, dmy-all, Successful Olympians receive luxury apartments from the state in recognition for their achievements.NEWS,weblink North Korea rewards athletes with luxury apartments, Reuters, 4 October 2013, 20 December 2013, live,weblink" title="">weblink 20 December 2013, The Arirang Festival has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the biggest choreographic event in the world.WEB,weblink North Korea halts showcase mass games due to flood, reuters, 27 August 2007, live,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2009, Some 100,000 athletes perform rhythmic gymnastics and dances while another 40,000 participants create a vast animated screen in the background. The event is an artistic representation of the country's history and pays homage to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.NEWS,weblink Despair, hunger and defiance at the heart of the greatest show on earth, The Guardian, 17 May 2002, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 9 September 2014, Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, the largest stadium in the world with its capacity of 150,000, hosts the Festival.NEWS,weblink Kim Jong-un orders spruce up of world's biggest stadium as 'millions starve', The Daily Telegraph, 26 September 2013, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 12 June 2014, The Pyongyang Marathon is another notable sports event. It is a IAAF Bronze Label Race where amateur runners from around the world can participate.NEWS,weblink North Korea allows tourists to run in Pyongyang marathon for the first time, The Daily Telegraph, 3 April 2014, 15 July 2014, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 August 2014, {{Clear}}

See also

{{Wikipedia books|North Korea}} {{-}}





  • WEB,weblink Country Profile: North Korea, July 2007, Library of Congress â€“ Federal Research Division, 4 July 2009, {{SfnRef, Country Profile, 2007, }}
  • Armstrong, Charles K. "North Korea in 2016." Asian Survey 57.1 (2017): 119-127. abstract
  • BOOK, French, Paul, 2007, North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula: A Modern History, Second, Zed Books, harv,
  • Hayes, Peter, and Roger Cavazos. "North Korea in 2015." Asian Survey 56.1 (2016): 68-77. abstract
  • Hayes, Peter, and Roger Cavazos. "North Korea in 2014." Asian Survey 55.1 (2015): 119-131. abstract; also full text online
  • BOOK, Jackson, Van, Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US–North Korea Relations, 2016, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 978-1-107-13331-0, , covers 1960s to 2010.
  • Jackson, Van. "Deterring a Nuclear-Armed Adversary in a Contested Regional Order: The 'Trilemma' of US–North Korea Relations." Asia Policy 23.1 (2017): 97-103. online
  • Lee, Hong Yung. "North Korea in 2013: Economy, Executions, and Nuclear Brinksmanship." Asian Survey 54.1 (2014): 89-100. online
  • BOOK, Martin, Bradley K., Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty, Thomas Dunne Books, 2004, New York, 978-0-312-32322-6, harv,
  • BOOK, Myers, Brian Reynolds, Brian Reynolds Myers, 2011, The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters, Melville House, 978-1933633916, harv, The Cleanest Race,
  • WEB,weblink North Korea – A Country Study, 2009, Library of Congress Country Studies, {{SfnRef, Country Study, 2009, }}
BOOK, harv, Ryang, Sonia, Ryang, Sonia, Koreans in Japan: Critical Voices from the Margin,weblink 2013, Routledge, London, 978-1-136-35305-5, The North Korean Homeland of Koreans in Japan, 32–54,
  • BOOK, Yonhap News Agency, North Korea Handbook, Yonhap T'ongsin, 2003, 978-0-7656-1004-1,weblink {{SfnRef, North Korea Handbook, 2003, }}

External links

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