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Korea (North Korea) - Choson, Chosun
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North Korea

Country Profile

Capital: P'yongyang

Other Cities: Hamhung, Chongjin, Wonsan, Nampo, and Kaesong

Local Time: UTC +9h


Location: Eastasia
Area: 120,410 sq. km. (47,000 sq. mi.) Terrain: About 80% of land area is moderately high mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys and small, cultivated plains. The remainder is lowland plains covering small, scattered areas.
Border countries: China, Russia, South Korea

Climate: Long, cold, dry winters; short, hot, humid, summers.

Type: Highly centralized communist state
Independence: September 9, 1948
Constitution: 1948; 1972, revised in 1992.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Korean(s)
Population: 21 million
Ethnic groups: Korean; small Chinese and Japanese populations.
GNI per capita PPP: $ 1 400 (year) Religions: Buddhism, Shamanism, Chongdogyo, Christian; religious activities have been virtually nonexistent since 1945. Language: Korean Literacy: 99%


Currency: North Korean Won (KPW)

Natural resources: Coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs.

Industries: Military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism.

Exports partners:
South Korea 28.5%, China 28.4%, Japan 24.7% (2002)

Imports partners: China 39.7%, Thailand 14.6%, Japan 11.2%, Germany 7.6%, South Korea 6.2% (2002)

Internet Links

(Semi-) Official Sites of North Korea

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Korean Peninsula

Map of North Korea

Map of Asia


Korea, North

Background:  Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern
half coming under Communist domination and the southern portion becoming
Western oriented. KIM Chong-il has ruled North Korea since his father
and the country's founder, president KIM Il-song, died in 1994. After
decades of mismanagement, the North relies heavily on international
food aid to feed its population, while continuing to expend resources
to maintain an army of about 1 million. North Korea's long-range missile
development and research into nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the
international community.

Geography Korea, North

Location:  Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering
the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea

Geographic coordinates:  40 00 N, 127 00 E

Map references:  Asia

Area:  total: 120,540 sq km water: 130 sq km land: 120,410 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Mississippi

Land boundaries:  total: 1,673 km border countries: China 1,416 km,
South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km

Coastline:  2,495 km

Maritime claims:  territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
note: military boundary line 50 NM in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive
economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and
aircraft without permission are banned

Climate:  temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer

Terrain:  mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys;
coastal plains wide in west, discontinuous in east

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m highest point:
Paektu-san 2,744 m

Natural resources:  coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite,
iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower

Land use:  arable land: 14% permanent crops: 3% other: 83% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  14,600 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding;
occasional typhoons during the early fall

Environment - current issues:  water pollution; inadequate supplies
of potable water; water-borne disease; deforestation; soil erosion
and degradation

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Antarctic
Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification,
Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution signed, but not ratified:
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography - note:  strategic location bordering China, South Korea,
and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated

People Korea, North

Population:  22,224,195 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 25.4% (male 2,888,478; female 2,747,133)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 7,380,183; female 7,612,275) 65 years and over:
7.2% (male 527,256; female 1,068,870) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.1% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  17.95 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  6.96 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.49 male(s)/female total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  22.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   74.44 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.22 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Korean(s) adjective: Korean

Ethnic groups:  racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community
and a few ethnic Japanese

Religions:  traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and
syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way) note: autonomous
religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored
religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom

Languages:  Korean

Literacy:   age 15 and over can read and write Korean total population:
Government Korea, North

Country name:  conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of
Korea conventional short form: North Korea local short form: none local
long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk note: the North Koreans
generally use the term "Choson" to refer to their country abbreviation:

Government type:  authoritarian socialist; one-man dictatorship

Capital:  P'yongyang

Administrative divisions:  9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 4
special cities* (si, singular and plural); Chagang-do (Chagang Province),
Hamgyong-bukto (North Hamgyong Province), Hamgyong-namdo (South Hamgyong
Province), Hwanghae-bukto (North Hwanghae Province), Hwanghae-namdo
(South Hwanghae Province), Kaesong-si* (Kaesong City), Kangwon-do (Kangwon
Province), Najin Sonbong-si*, Namp'o-si* (Namp'o City), P'yongan-bukto
(North P'yongan Province), P'yongan-namdo (South P'yongan Province),
P'yongyang-si* (P'yongyang City), Yanggang-do (Yanggang Province)

Independence:  15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday:  Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK), 9 September (1948)

Constitution:  adopted 1948, completely revised 27 December 1972,
revised again in April 1992 and September 1998

Legal system:  based on German civil law system with Japanese influences
and Communist legal theory; no judicial review of legislative acts;
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  17 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: KIM Chong-il (since NA July 1994);
note - in September 1998, KIM Chong-il was reelected Chairman of the
National Defense Commission, a position accorded the nation's "highest
administrative authority"; KIM Yong-nam was named President of the Supreme
People's Assembly Presidium and given the responsibility of representing
the state and receiving diplomatic credentials elections: premier elected
by the Supreme People's Assembly; election last held NA September 1998
(next to be held NA) election results: HONG Song-nam elected premier;
percent of Supreme People's Assembly vote - NA% cabinet: Cabinet (Naegak),
members, except for the Minister of People's Armed Forces, are appointed
by the Supreme People's Assembly head of government: Premier HONG Song-nam
(since 5 September 1998); Vice Premiers CHO Ch'ang-tok (since NA),
KWAK Pom-ki (since NA), Sin IL-nam (since NA April 2002)

Legislative branch:  unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin
Hoeui (687 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year
terms) elections:  percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party -
the KWP approves a single list of candidates who are elected without
opposition; minor parties hold a few seats

Judicial branch:  Central Court (judges are elected by the Supreme
People's Assembly)

Political parties and leaders:  Chondoist Chongu Party [YU Mi-yong,
chairwoman]; Korean Social Democratic Party [KIM Yong-tae, chairman];
major party - Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Chong-il, General

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ARF (dialogue partner), ESCAP,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  none; note - North Korea has a
Permanent Mission to the UN in New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:  none (Swedish Embassy in
P'yongyang represents the US as consular protecting power)

Flag description:  three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (triple
width), and blue; the red band is edged in white; on the hoist side of
the red band is a white disk with a red five-pointed star

Economy Korea, North

Economy - overview:  North Korea, one of the world's most
centrally planned and isolated economies, faces desperate economic
conditions. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a
result of years of underinvestment and spare parts shortages. Industrial
and power output have declined in parallel. Despite a good harvest in
2001, the nation faces its eighth year of food shortages because of
a lack of arable land; collective farming; weather-related problems,
including major drought in 2000; and chronic shortages of fertilizer
and fuel.  Massive international food aid deliveries have allowed the
regime to escape mass starvation since 1995-96, but the population
remains vulnerable to prolonged malnutrition and deteriorating living
conditions. Large-scale military spending eats up resources needed for
investment and civilian consumption. In 2001, the regime placed emphasis
on earning hard currency, developing information technology, addressing
power shortages, and attracting foreign aid, but in no way at the expense
of relinquishing central control over key national assets or undergoing
widespread market-oriented reforms.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $21.8 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  -3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,000 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 30% industry: 42% services:
28% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  NA%

Labor force:  9.6 million

Labor force - by occupation:  agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures
of $NA

Industries:  military products; machine building, electric power,
chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc,
lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  33.4 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 32.63% hydro: 67.37%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  31.062 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle,
pigs, pork, eggs

Exports:  $708 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

Exports - commodities:  minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures
(including armaments); agricultural and fishery products

Exports - partners:  Japan 40%, South Korea 24%, Hong Kong 7%, China 6%,
France 4%, Germany 4% (2000)

Imports:  $1.686 billion (c.i.f., 2000 est.)

Imports - commodities:  petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment;
consumer goods, grain

Imports - partners:  China 38%, Japan 17%, South Korea 8%, Hong Kong 6%,
Germany 4.5% (2000)

Debt - external:  $12 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA; note - nearly $300 million in food aid
alone from US, South Korea, Japan, and EU in 2001 plus much additional
aid from the UN and non-governmental organizations

Currency:  North Korean won (KPW)

Currency code:  KPW

Exchange rates:  official: North Korean won per US dollar - 2.15
(December 2001), 2.15 (May 1994), 2.13 (May 1992), 2.14 (September
1991), 2.1 (January 1990); market: North Korean won per US dollar - 200
(December 2001)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Korea, North

Telephones - main lines in use:  1.1 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: NA international:
satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Russian (Indian
Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 16, FM 14, shortwave 12 (1999)

Radios:  3.36 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  38 (1999)

Televisions:  1.2 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .kp

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  NA

Transportation Korea, North

Railways:  total: 5,000 km standard gauge: 4,095 km 1.435-m gauge (3,500
km electrified; 159 km double-tracked) narrow gauge: 665 km 0.762-m gauge
dual gauge: 240 km 1.435-m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails provide two
gauges) (1996)

Highways:  total: 31,200 km paved: 1,997 km unpaved: 29,203 km (1996)

Waterways:  2,253 km note: mostly navigable by small craft only

Pipelines:  crude oil 37 km; petroleum product 180 km

Ports and harbors:  Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Kimch'aek,
Kosong, Najin, Namp'o, Sinuiju, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi),
Ungsang, Wonsan

Merchant marine:  total: 122 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 738,886
GRT/1,037,506 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Denmark 1, Greece 2, Pakistan 1, Singapore
1 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 102, combination bulk 1,
multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 1,
petroleum tanker 6, refrigerated cargo 3, short-sea passenger 2

Airports:  87 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 39 over 3,047 m: 3 2,438 to 3,047
m: 26 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:   24 914 to 1,523 m: Military Korea,

Military branches:  Korean People's Army (includes Army, Navy, Air Force),
Civil Security Forces

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 6,032,376 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 3,619,535
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 179,136
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $5,124,100,000 (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  31.3% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Korea, North

Disputes - international:  33-km section of boundary with China in
the Paektu-san (mountain) area is indefinite; Demarcation Line with
South Korea

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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