The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK; Chosŏn’gŭl: 조선민주주의인민공화국; Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk), commonly called North Korea ( listen), is a country in East Asia, in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital is Pyongyang, the country’s largest city by both land area and population. The Amnok River and the Tumen River form the international border between North Korea and thePeople’s Republic of China. A small section of the Tumen River also lies along the border between North Korea and the Russian Federation, technically following the river’s thalweg. The Korean Demilitarized Zone formSouth Korea. The legitimacy of this border is not accepted by either side, as both states claim to be the legitimate government of the entire country.
s the boundary between North Korea and
The Korean peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, until it was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, Japanese rule ceased. The Korean peninsula was divided into two occupied zones in 1945, with the northern half of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern half by the United States. A United Nations–supervised election held in 1948 led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. The conflicting claims of sovereignty led to the Korean War in 1950. An armistice in 1953 committed both to a cease-fire, but the two countries remain officially at war because a formal peace treaty was never signed. Both states were accepted into the United Nations in 1991.
North Korea political parties includes Workers’ Party of Korea, Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party (also there are some independent deputies). The three political parties participate in the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland led by the Workers’ Party of Korea. The government follows the Juche ideology of self-reliance, initiated by the country’s first President, Kim Il-sung. After his death, Kim Il-sung was declared the country’s Eternal President. Juche became the official state ideology, replacing Marxism–Leninism, when the country adopted a new constitution in 1972. In 2009, references to Communism (Chosŏn’gŭl: 공산주의) were removed from the country’sconstitution.
Education in North Korea is universal and free of charge (it is one of the most literate countries in the world, with an average literacy rate of 99%). The country has a national medical service and health insurance system which are offered for free. Housing and food rations traditionally have been heavily subsidized. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il adopted Songun, or “military-first” policy in order to strengthen the country and its government. North Korea is the world’s most militarized country, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the 4th largest in the world, after China, the U.S., and India. It is a nuclear-weapons state and has an active space program.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, North Korea lost a major trading partner and strategic ally. Combined with a series of natural disasters, this led to the North Korean famine, which lasted from 1994 to 1998 and killed an estimated 240,000 to 1,000,000 people.As a result of its isolation it is sometimes known as the “Hermit kingdom“, a name once given to its predecessor, the Korean Empire. Although North Korea is officially a socialist republic and elections are held, it has been described by the mass media as a totalitarian and Stalinistdictatorship with an elaborate cult of personality around the Kim family. Also, the Economist Intelligence Unit, a private business based in the United Kingdom, ranked it as the lowest country in the Democracy Index. Finally, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watchreport of severe restrictions on human rights but the government rejects these claims.
The Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces maintains the Korean People’s Army (KPA), which serves as the military force of the country. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) is the name for the collective armed personnel of the North Korean military. It has five branches: Ground Force, Naval Force, Air Force, Special Operations Force, and Rocket Force. According to the U.S. Department of State, North Korea has the fourth-largest army in the world, at an estimated 1.21 million armed personnel, with about 20% of men aged 17–54 in the regular armed forces. North Korea has the highest percentage of military personnel per capita of any nation in the world, with approximately one enlisted soldier for every 25 citizens. North Korea also has a Defense Industry that is responsible for engineering military equipment. In 1994, North Korea received 10Golf II Class Submarines from Russia.
Military strategy is designed for insertion of agents and sabotage behind enemy lines in wartime, with much of the KPA’s forces deployed along the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone. The Korean People’s Army operates a very large amount of equipment, including 4,060 tanks, 2,500APCs, 17,900 artillery pieces, 11,000 air defense guns and some 10,000 MANPADS and anti-tank guided missiles in the Ground force; at least 915 vessels in the Navy and 1,748 aircraft in the Air Force, of which 478 are fighters and 180 are bombers.
North Korea also has the largest special forces in the world, as well as the largest submarine fleet. The equipment is a mixture of World War II vintage vehicles and small arms, widely proliferated Cold War technology, and more modern Soviet or locally produced weapons. In line with itsasymmetric warfare strategy, North Korea employs a wide range of unconventional techniques and equipment, such as GPS jammers, stealthpaint, midget submarines and human torpedoes, a vast array of chemical and biological weapons, and blinding laser weapons.According to official North Korean media, military expenditures for 2010 amount to 15.8% of the state budget.
North Korea has active nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs and has been subject to United Nations Security Council resolutions 1695of July 2006, 1718 of October 2006, and 1874 of June 2009, for carrying out both missile and nuclear tests. North Korea probably has fissile material for up to nine nuclear weapons, and has the capability to deploy nuclear warheads on intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The launch of a North Korean satellite in December 2012 was seen as a weapons development step by South Korea and its allies and condemned by the UN Security Council.
In North Korea, weapons are manufactured in roughly 180 underground defense industry plants in Jagang-do. The plants are responsible for producing; 200,000 Kalashnikov rifles annually, 3,000 heavy guns, 200 battle tanks, 400 armored cars and amphibious crafts in addition to several other weapons.
In the 1990s, North Korea sold medium-sized nuclear capable missiles to Pakistan in a deal facilitated by China. In 2005, North Korea admitted to having nuclear weapons but vowed to close their nuclear programs. The promise of a reduction in nuclear programs has also been reinforced at various Inter-Korean Summit meetings between North and South Korea since the year 2000. However, nuclear plants in North Korea have caused international concern since the 1950s as they are capable of assisting in the development of nuclear arms. International issues involving North Korea’s refusal to discontinue nuclear projects have prevented Russia based Gazprom from developing a $2.5 billion pipeline to South Korea through Pyongyang. The revenue generated from Gazprom is intended to provide North Korea with $100 million per year in transit fees.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has been able to use technological advances in seismology to detect various nuclear weapons tests.