Portal:North Korea

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Introduction

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu (Amnok) and Tumen rivers, and South Korea to the south at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Its western border is formed by the Yellow Sea, while its eastern border is defined by the Sea of Japan. North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. Pyongyang is the country's capital and largest city.

In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan. In 1945, after the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel, 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 DPRK in the north, and the capitalist Republic of Korea in the south. The Korean War began in 1950, with an invasion by North Korea, and lasted to 1953. The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire and established a demilitarized zone (DMZ), but no formal peace treaty was ever signed.

According to Article 1 of the state constitution, North Korea is an "independent socialist state". It holds elections, though they have been described by independent observers as sham elections, as North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship, with an elaborate cult of personality around the Kim dynasty. The Workers' Party of Korea, led by a member of the ruling family, is the dominant party and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, of which all political officers are required to be members.

According to Article 3 of the constitution, Juche is the official ideology of North Korea. 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. 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 from malnutrition. (Full article...)

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The human rights record of North Korea is often considered to be the worst in the world and has been globally condemned, with the United Nations, the European Union and groups such as Human Rights Watch all critical of the country's record. Most international human rights organizations consider North Korea to have no contemporary parallel with respect to violations of liberty.

Western human rights groups such as Amnesty International and nations such as the United States have asserted that, in practice, there is no right to free speech, and the only media providers that are deemed legal are those operated by the government in North Korea. According to reports from Amnesty International and the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, by 2017 an estimated 200,000 prisoners were incarcerated in camps that are dedicated to political crimes, and subjected to forced labour, physical abuse, and execution.

The North Korean government strictly monitors the activities of foreign visitors. Aid workers are subjected to considerable scrutiny and they are also excluded from places and regions which the government does not want them to enter. Since citizens cannot freely leave the country, it is mainly from stories of refugees and defectors that the nation's human rights record has been constructed. The government's position, expressed through the Korean Central News Agency, is that international criticism of its human rights record is a pretext for overthrowing its Juche-based system, while the abuses of its critics go unpunished. (Full article...)
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North Korea in the news

4 January 2022 – North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
The South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff say that North Korea has launched an unidentified projectile ballistic missile. No confirmation has been given. (BBC News)
2 January 2022 – North Korea–South Korea relations
A South Korean citizen crosses the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone in a rare case of defection to North Korea from the South. (BBC News)

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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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