Communist North Korea
North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. For much of the nation’s long history it was independent from other Asian countries, but the entire peninsula was occupied by the Japanese from 1905 until the end of World War II. After Japan surrendered at the end of the war, the Korean split occurred and North Korea fell under the control of the communist Soviets, who withdrew in 1948 and the Kim family came into power. The Korean War from 1950 to 1953 was North Korea’s attempt to conquer South Korea. They failed and the Supreme Leader Kim Il Sung decided to essentially close all of the borders of the nation, a practice that has continued into today.
North Korea is the northern portion of the Korean peninsula located in eastern Asia. It is bordered by the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, South Korea and China. The climate is considered temperate with significant droughts in the spring, followed by extensive rain and flooding in the summer months. The terrain mainly consists of hills and mountains with deep valleys. The western part of North Korea is a coastal plains region, but the eastern side is more mountainous.
People and Society
The people of North Korea are known as Koreans and they speak Korean. They are a racially homogenous group with a small population of Chinese and Japanese. Pyongyang, the capital city has a population of 2.843 million and the total population is approximately 24 million.
North Korea is currently a one-man dictatorship with a communist government. The head of state is Kim Jong-un, who is considered the Supreme Leader. He became Supreme Leader following his father’s funeral in 2011. The ruling political party since 1948 has been the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), but there are two minor parties: the Chondoist Chongu Party and Social Democratic Party. Both minor parties are under KWP control.
Because North Korea is one of the most closed countries in the world, they constantly face economic challenges. Due to years of underinvestment, spare part shortages and poor maintenance most of the industrial stock is beyond repair today. The poor weather also makes agriculture difficult and most of the nation’s money goes to military spending. Food aid from China prevents widespread starvation. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the country is approximated at only $40 billion, but they do not publish reliable accounts of their income nor unemployment statistics.