North Korea country profile




  • In Business
  • 2023-01-24 12:42:21Z
  • By BBC
Map of North Korea
Map of North Korea  

For decades North Korea has been one of the world's most secretive societies. It is one of the few countries still under nominally communist rule.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions have exacerbated its rigidly maintained isolation from the rest of the world.

The country emerged in 1948 from the chaos following the end of World War Two. Its history is dominated by its Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, who shaped political affairs for almost half a century.

Decades of this rigid state-controlled system have led to stagnation and a leadership dependent on a cult of personality. The totalitarian state also stands accused of systematic human rights abuses.

DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA: FACTS

  • Capital: Pyongyang

  • Area: 120,540 sq km

  • Population: 25.9 million

  • Language: Korean

  • Life expectancy: 68 years (men) 75 years (women)

LEADER

Supreme leader: Kim Jong-un

North Korea
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un  

Kim Jong-un is the third leader from the Kim dynasty, founded by his grandfather Kim il-Sung.

Kim Jong-un took over from his father Kim Jong-il when the latter died of a heart attack in December 2011.

Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea has continued its policy of promoting the military at home while sending mixed signals to the rest of the world about its nuclear programme.

MEDIA

North Korea is accused of keeping its people in a state of ignorance through tight control of the media
North Korea is accused of keeping its people in a state of ignorance through tight control of the media  

Radio and TV sets in North Korea are pre-tuned to government stations that pump out a steady stream of propaganda.

The press and broadcasters - all of them under direct state control - serve up a menu of flattering reports about North Korea's leader.

Economic hardship and famines are not reported. North Korea is one of the hardest countries for foreign media to cover.

TIMELINE

Korean People
Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers salute as they watch a mass rally on Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang on 9 September, 2018.  

Some key dates in North Korea's history:

1945 - Japan's colonial rule ends with its World War Two surrender.

1948 - Korea is divided between the Soviet-backed North and the US-backed South.

1950-1953 - Korean War ends in truce.

1994 - Founding President Kim Il-sung dies, succeeded by his son Kim Jong-il, who dies in 2011.

2018 - Kim Jong-un becomes first North Korean leader to enter the South when he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks. Weeks later he meets US President Donald Trump.

With her brother on her back a war-weary Korean girl trudges by a M-26 tank at Haengju.
With her brother on her back a war-weary Korean girl trudges by a M-26 tank at Haengju.  
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