North Korea -- Geography --
Official Name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Capital City: Pyongyang
Official Currency: North Korean won
Religions: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity
Land Area: 120,540 sq km
North Korea -- History --
After Japan was defeated in World War II, the Korean peninsula is divided between the Soviet Union and USA. The Soviet Union controls the north part and USA- the south.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is established in 1948. Head of the country was Kim, who came into power after his attendance is lots of Anti-Japanese groups during World War II. The Korean War started two years after the establishment of DPRK. There war a lot of armed conflicts between soldiers of the two countries until 1950, but the beginning of the war is considered to be 25-th June 1950 when North Korea attacked South Korea. Initially the army of North Korea smashed the not-well-trained army of South Korea. After all American troops withdrew from South Korea in 1949, the Korean People’s army occupied almost the whole Korean peninsula. Little before the whole peninsula was seized, the American army arrived together with British, Canadian, French, Dutch, Ethiopian and Turkish troops to help South Korea. And about 800 000 Chinese “volunteers” entered the battlefield on the side of DPRK so no side was able to defeat the other. After a few years of battles, a peace treaty is signed between North and South Korea with the help of UNO. The agreement was signed between the armies of DPRK, China and UNO on 27 July 1953. The recovery was fast and dynamic thanks to different 5-year, 6-year and 7-year plans. Due to an agreement between DPRK and the Democratic Republic of China made in 1961, DPRK recorded rise of the export of production and started importing goods from China at lower prices.
Negotiations for a union with South Korea started in 1972 but without a result. Despite that, nowadays the North Korean media continues to talk about the establishment of a common country in the form of a federation and the trade between the two countries is increased.
On 8 July 1994 Kim suddenly died at the age of 83. Three years of mourning was announced after that moment and later Kim was declared Eternal President of DPRK. His son succeeded to the presidential post and this was the beginning of the first world’s Communist dynasty. A meeting between the presidents of North and South Korea was held in 2000 that initialized the process of rapprochement of “the separated family” but it was hindered by the coming to power of George Bush’s in USA.
The two countries started an entirely new stage in their relations after the visit of No Mu Hen- the South Korea president, in Pyongyang. DPRK and the Republic of Korea sign an agreement for permanent peace on the peninsula. There are also agreements for the expansion of the economic cooperation, transport connections and the restoring of the railway and airway to the North.
North Korea -- Economy --
While North Korea is more developed than most African and South Asian nations with a Medium HDI of 0.766 and a GDP per capita standing at about $2,000, its strong isolation policy means that international trade is highly restricted, hampering a significant potential for future economic growth. North Korea's large economic potential can be seen when compared with its neighbour, South Korea, who has adopted a capitalist economy and is now a major economic power and a highly developed country in the world. In the aftermath of the Korean War and throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, the country's state-controlled economy grew at a significant rate before collapsing. State-owned industry produces nearly all manufactured goods. The government focuses on heavy military industry, following Kim Jong-il's adoption of the Songun "Military-First" policy.
Estimates of the North Korean economy cover a broad range, as the country does not release official figures and the secretive nature of the country makes outside estimation difficult. According to accepted estimates, North Korea spends $5 billion out of a gross domestic product (GDP) of $20.9 billion on the military, compared with South Korea's $24 billion out of a GDP of $1.196 trillion. Part of the reason for this is that the military serves a number of roles in addition to national defense. The military assists farmers with crops, local areas with building of infrastructure, and, as is similar to the National Guard in the United States, assisting during natural disasters.
China and South Korea remain the largest donors of unconditional food aid to North Korea. The U.S. objects to this manner of donating food due to lack of oversight. In 2005, China and South Korea combined to provide 1 million tons of food aid, each contributing half. In addition to food aid, China reportedly provides an estimated 80 to 90 percent of North Korea's oil imports at "friendly prices" that are sharply lower than the world market price.
On September 19, 2005, North Korea was promised fuel aid and various other non-food incentives from South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Russia, and China in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapons program and rejoining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Providing food in exchange for abandoning weapons programs has historically been avoided by the U.S. so as not to be perceived as "using food as a weapon". Humanitarian aid from North Korea's neighbors has been cut off at times to provoke North Korea to resume boycotted talks, such as South Korea's "postponed consideration" of 500,000 tons of rice for the North in 2006 but the idea of providing food as a clear incentive (as opposed to resuming "general humanitarian aid") has been avoided. There have also been aid disruptions due to widespread theft of railroad cars used by mainland China to deliver food relief.
North Korea -- Culture --
There is a vast cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il and much of North Korea's literature, popular music, theater, and film glorify the two men.
A popular event in North Korea is the Mass Games. The most recent and largest Mass Games was called "Arirang". It was performed six nights a week for two months, and involved over 100,000 performers. Attendees to this event report that the anti-West sentiments have been toned down compared to previous performances. The Mass Games involve performances of dance, gymnastic, and choreographic routines which celebrate the history of North Korea and the Workers' Party Revolution. The Mass Games are held in Pyongyang at various venues (varying according to the scale of the Games in a particular year) including the May Day Stadium.
Culture is officially protected by the North Korean government. Large buildings committed to culture have been built, such as the People's Palace of Culture or the Grand People's Palace of Studies, both in Pyongyang. Outside the capital, there's a major theatre in Hamhung and in every city there are State-run theatres and stadiums.
Korean culture came under attack during the Japanese rule from 1910-1945. Japan enforced a cultural assimilation policy. Koreans were forced to learn and speak Japanese, adopt the Japanese family name system and Shinto religion, and forbidden to write or speak the Korean language in schools, businesses, or public places. In addition, the Japanese altered or destroyed various Korean monuments including Gyeongbok Palace and documents which portrayed the Japanese in a negative light were revised.
In July 2004, the Complex of Goguryeo Tombs became the first site in the country to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
North Korea -- Political system, law and government --
North Korea is a self-described Juche (self-reliance) state. Government is organized as a dictatorship, with a pronounced cult of personality organized around Kim Il-sung (the founder of North Korea and the country's first and only president) and his son and heir, Kim Jong-il. Following Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, he was not replaced but instead received the designation of "Eternal President", and was entombed in the vast Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang.
Although the active position of president has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung, the de facto head of state is Kim Jong-il, who is Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea. The legislature of North Korea is the Supreme People's Assembly, currently led by President Kim Yong-nam. The other senior government figure is Premier Kim Yong-il.
North Korea is a single-party state. The governing party is the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a coalition of the Workers' Party of North Korea and two other smaller parties, the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party. These parties nominate all candidates for office and hold all seats in the Supreme People's Assembly.