North Korea Country Overview

By | January 30, 2022

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (in Korean Choson Minjujuui Inmin Konghwaguk), colloquially called North Korea to distinguish it from South Korea, is a country in East Asia.

Geographic location

Located in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean peninsula, between the Sea of Japan to the East and the Yellow Sea to the West, it borders China to the North and Russia and South Korea to the South, on a strip – the parallel 38 – established in 1953 in an armistice that, being a temporary cessation of hostilities and not an end to the war, does not turn the area into an official border (at least in theory).

Historical synthesis

According to thesciencetutor, the Korean territory has been, over the centuries, the theater of successive struggles between the Mongol armies, the local dynasties and the Chinese. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, under the Yi Dynasty, the country faced Japanese invasions. Relations between Korea and Japan have traditionally been stained by the blood of these conflicts and racial hatred. Japan militarily occupied Korea in 1905, after winning the war with China and Russia, completely isolating it from the outside world and subjecting its population to cruel excesses and humiliations.

In 1910, Japan transformed the country into its colony. That same year the guerrilla movement led by Kim il Sung was born, which for 15 years harassed the invaders. With Soviet support, Kim il Sung drove the Japanese out of Korea during World War II, while the south of the country was occupied by American MacArthur troops. At the end of the war, four decades of Japanese rule ended, leaving a sequel of destruction and chaos.

The 9 of September of 1948, a Popular Assembly proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Korea in the north of the peninsula and Kim il Sung was appointed prime minister. Months earlier, in the south, under US military control and presence, Syngman Rhee, a politician who guaranteed the interests of the occupying power, had come to power. Unlike the Soviets, who had withdrawn their troops from the north, the United States maintained them by invoking the flag of the United Nations.

In June of 1950 he broke the Korean War in its 27 – month caused more than four million dead and inflicted to the United States a great military wear. Thanks to a mutual aid pact with Seoul, the United States defied the prohibition decreed by the United Nations after the signing of the armistice that ended the war in 1953, by which no country could keep troops under its flags in the two Koreas.

In 1991, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea joined the UN together with South Korea. In 1999, there is a worsening of border incidents between the two Koreas, leaving more than eighty dead in naval clashes.

Since December 2011, following the family line, the tasks of North Korean head of state and government have been carried out by Kim Jong-un, son of Kim Jong Il and grandson of Kim Il Sung.


It occupies the northern part of the Korean peninsula located to the east of China, between the Japan and Yellow Seas. Korea is a typically mountainous country, especially in the northern and western regions.


Its relief links with the Manchurian chain and the continental block, being one of the most mountainous regions on the planet. Above 1,500 m there are important volcanic formations and, on the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan, mountain ranges covered by forests.


The main rivers are the Yalu and the Tumen, which are respectively tributaries of the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, and partially navigable. The watercourses that descend towards the east are brief and torrential. Westerners, like the Taedong, the most important of them, traverse fertile plains.


The climate is under oceanic influence and has continental characteristics, that is, distinct seasons, with very rigorous winters and summers with high temperatures. In this last period, the oceanic monsoon is responsible for almost all the precipitations, very abundant in the coastal areas.


74.4% of the Korean territory is made up of a forest cover, while the mountainous areas are populated by extensive coniferous forests. However, as a result of the Korean War (1950 – 1953), the country suffered extensive deforestation. Reforestation programs have been implemented in recent years.


The most outstanding examples of the fauna of this country are the Deer, Antelopes, Bears, Tigers, Panthers, Leopards and wolves, as well as some species of migratory seabirds.


North Korea has an ethnically homogeneous population and, like the South Korean people, they are believed to be descended from a single racial stock, known as the Tungus, who merged with Indomalayan populations from war and invasion migrations. About 800,000 Chinese lived in Korea before 1945.

The national language of the country is Korean. The religions practiced are Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Catholicism and Protestantism were introduced to Korea between the 17th and 19th centuries by European missionaries, but these were expelled during World War II. Followers of these religions still remain, although the majority of the population is atheist or follows traditional Korean shamanism.

It is a densely inhabited country with one of the highest annual population growth rates in Asia. The high birth rate is stimulated by the one-party regime of Kim il Sung. People are concentrated in the mining and industrial centers and basically in the Pyongyang area, the state capital, and the port of Chinnampo.

The flow of migrations, from the industrialization that began in 1945, has always followed the country-city orientation. The strong migratory wave of the population during 1930 and 1940 was reversed after the Second World War.

Economic development

The country, after the war, adopted the planned central economy model, which relies on industry and agriculture, with very low returns at the international level, but these are offset by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and annual income. per capita, very high within the region.

Food is rationed and a considerable part of the labor force is employed in agriculture, where cooperative-type farms operate. The country must periodically face the shortage of certain food products. The most important product of Korean agriculture is rice, and it is also in the diet of the population.

The coal is the main mineral resource of the country and its sale is a very important factor for the acquisition of foreign currency, representing a chronic deficit for the two coffers of the state. The most dominant heavy industries in the manufacturing sector, which explains the shortage of consumer goods. The planned economy has favored the production of industrial and agricultural machinery, steel, coal and chemical products (fertilizers).

At the end of 1990, the government defined a series of sectors where the productive effort should concentrate: energy, metallurgy, machine tools, electronics, railways, industry, construction and consumer goods.

Despite imperialist sanctions against the economy and the dry spring weather, food production has grown considerably in recent years; a decline in production would not devastate the population. Although the tests are inconclusive since 2017, commercial prices did not indicate an imminent food crisis. [1]

Social development

The North Korean population enjoys quite acceptable social conditions in the context of the third world states of Asia. Society has been modernized thanks to the constant expansion of the economy. North Korea has a lower suicide rate than South Korea by a factor of two.


Emphasis has been placed on preventive medicine, which has brought many infectious diseases under control. Despite everything, parasitic diseases continue to be a problem in rural areas of the country. Housing is practically free for all who request it. Undoubtedly, it is these conditions that have determined the general good health of the social fabric.


Pyongyang: The capital, just 30 km from the Yellow Sea, is reputed to be the oldest city in Korea. According to legend, the ancient capital of the legendary Tangun dynasty (around 2333 BC) stood in the place where Pyongyang was founded in 1122 ne

After passing from hand to hand several times, in 1592 the city fell to the Japanese and at the beginning of the 17th century it was destroyed by the Manchu. Today, apart from the center of power and the seat of Kim il Sung University, Pyongyang is a major textile and food manufacturing center. The capital has a population of approximately 2,741,260 people.

In the center of the city stands the Juche Idea Tower, also called Juche ideology, a 150 m high construction that was erected in 1982.

North Korea Country Overview