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North Korea

North Korea (Korean: 조선; MR: Chosŏn or literally 북조선; MR: Pukchosŏn; officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or DPR Korea) (Korean: 조선민주주의인민공화국, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi 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 rivers 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 islands. Read more...

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A man smokes at a shop selling cigarettes.
Tobacco smoking is popular and, at least for men, culturally acceptable in North Korea. As of 2014, some 45% of men are reported to smoke daily, whilst in contrast only 2.5% of women smoke daily, with most of these being older women from rural areas. Smoking is a leading cause of death in North Korea, and as of 2010 mortality figures indicate that 34% of men and 22% of women die due to smoking-related causes, the highest mortality figures in the world. There are tobacco control programs in North Korea, and although smoking is not prohibited in all public spaces, the smoking rates have declined since their peak in the 2000s.

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Jo Ki-chon (조기천; 6 November 1913 – 31 July 1951) was a Russian-born North Korean poet. He is regarded as "a founding father of North Korean poetry" whose distinct Soviet-influenced style of lyrical epic poetry became an important feature of North Korean literature. He was nicknamed "Korea's Mayakovsky" after the writer whose works had had an influence on him and which implied his breaking from literature of the old society and his commitment to communist values. After a remark made by Kim Jong-il on his 2001 visit to Russia, North Korean media has referred to Jo as the "Pushkin of Korea".

Jo was dispatched by the Soviet authorities to liberated Korea when the Red Army entered in 1945. By that time, he had much experience of Soviet literature and literature administration. The Soviets hoped that Jo would shape the cultural institutions of the new state based on the Soviet model. For the Soviets, the move was successful and Jo did not only that but also significantly developed socialist realism as it would become the driving force of North Korean literature and arts.

Jo offered some of the earliest contributions to Kim Il-sung's cult of personality. His most famous work is Mt. Paketu (1947), a lyrical epic praising Kim Il-sung's guerrilla activities and promoting him as a suitable leader for the new North Korean state.

North Korea in the news

4 July 2019 – Australia–North Korea relations
An Australian student who had been detained in North Korea on June 25 is freed thanks to diplomatic talks between Australia and North Korea via Swedish officials. (Reuters)
3 July 2019 – Death of Otto Warmbier, North Korea–United States relations
The parents of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died in North Korean custody after allegedly being tortured, file a claim for a seized North Korean cargo ship in an attempt to collect on a $501 million judgment they received after suing the country. (Associated Press)
1 July 2019 – Japan–United States relations, Japan–North Korea relations, 2018–19 Korean peace process
After speaking by phone with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno says "he hopes the meeting adds momentum to efforts toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". Kōno also says that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe "wants to meet Kim Jong-un to solve the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens". (Japan Today)
30 June 2019 – 2019 Koreas–United States DMZ Summit, North Korea–United States relations, South Korea–United States relations, North Korea–South Korea relations, 2018–19 Korean peace process
U.S. President Donald Trump, together with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Joint Security Area, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in North Korea. Trump also invites Kim to the White House to resume talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. (NBC News) (Business Insider) (CNN)

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Kim Il-sung

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North Korea topics

History Korean independence movement | Soviet Civil Administration | Provisional People's Committee for North Korea | Division of Korea | Korean War | Korean DMZ Conflict | North Korean famine
Politics Constitution | Government (President · Premier) | Leaders | Kim dynasty | Cabinet | Supreme People's Assembly | Judiciary | Elections | Political parties (Workers' Party of Korea · Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland) | Juche | Military | National Defence Commission | Nuclear weapons | Human rights | Foreign relations
Culture Arirang Festival | Education | Holidays | Propaganda | North–South differences in language | Religion | Sport in North Korea
Art Architecture | Cinema | Literature | Music | Opera
Economy Currency | Agriculture | Automotive industry | Energy | Mining | Teleсommunications | Tourism | Transportation (Pyongyang Metro)
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