North Korea

North Korea ( listen), officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK  listen), is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is the nation's capital and largest city. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in China) and Tumen rivers; it is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two.

0409 - Nordkorea 2015 - Kumgang Gebirge (22961925095).jpg Mount Kumgang

In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans. 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.

501 cows sent to North Korea.jpg South Korean aid convoy entering North Korea through the Demilitarized Zone, 1998

North Korea officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state and formally holds elections. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various media outlets have called it Stalinist, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. International organizations have assessed that human rights violations in North Korea have no parallel in the contemporary world. The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family, 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.

AIR KORYO IL76 P912 AT SONDOK HAMHUNG AIRPORT DPR KOREA OCT 2012 (8179381094).jpg Ilyushin Il-76 strategic military airlifter used by Air Koryo

Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution as a "creative application of Marxism–Leninism" in 1972. 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 0.24 and 3.5 million people, and the country continues to struggle with food production. North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy. 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. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India. It possesses nuclear weapons. North Korea is an atheist state with no official religion and where public religion is discouraged.

Chongjin.jpg Chongjin
DPRK Soldier.JPG A Korean People's Army soldier pointing to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
Emblem of North Korea.svg Emblem of North Korea
Flag of North Korea.svg Flag of North Korea
Hamhung North Korea.jpg Hamhung
Jeju Massacre.jpg Suspected communist sympathizers awaiting execution in May 1948 after the Jeju Uprising
Juche Tower.jpg The Juche Tower in Pyongyang is dedicated to the Juche ideology.
Kim ok.jpg U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, left, meets with Jo Myong Rok, second from right, first vice-chairman of North Korea's National Defense Commission, 11 October 2000
Laika ac Mangyongdae School Children's Palace (11985523363).jpg North Korean schoolchildren
Laika ac Pyongyang (12074843383).jpg North Korean traffic police in Pyongyang
Majon Beach Guest House, DPRK (14876597009).jpg North Korean coast near Hamhung
Mansudae-Kongressalle.JPG Mansudae Assembly Hall, seat of the Supreme People's Assembly
Martial law, Korea 1900s.jpg Three Koreans shot for pulling up rails as a protest against seizure of land without payment by the Japanese
NKmuseum.jpg Museum of American War Atrocities. Alleged American war atrocities against the Korean people is the main theme of the museum.
Nampocity.jpg Nampo
North Korea-Pyongyang Maternity Hospital-04.jpg A dental clinic at Pyongyang Maternity Hospital
North Korea (orthographic projection).svg Area controlled by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea shown in green
North Korea - China friendship (5578914865).jpg The close China-DPRK relationship is celebrated at the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang.
North Korea - Kumsusan (5015230319).jpg North Koreans posing for a photo in front of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
North Korea Topography.png Topographic map of North Korea
North Korea map of Köppen climate classification.svg North Korea map of Köppen climate classification
Pjongjang Zentrum.jpg Pyongyang in 1989
Pyongyang western view April 2010.jpg Pyongyang
Sinpyong Lake, North Korea (2921982738).jpg A painting of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il on top of Paektu Mountain
Soldiers at Panmunjon (5063812314).jpg Korean People's Army (KPA) soldiers at Panmunjom
The statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in Pyongyang (april 2012).jpg North Koreans bowing in front of the statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il at the Mansudae Grand Monument
Vladimir Putin with Kim Jong-Il-7.jpg North Korean leader Kim Jong-il meeting with Russian President Putin, 19 July 2000

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