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Countries > Korea (North) Korea (North) Flag
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Capital: Pyongyang
Population: 24,500,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Korea (North) Map


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

total: 120,540 sq km
land: 120,410 sq km
water: 130 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
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%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 61%
other : 23% (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: localized air pollution attributable to inadequate industrial controls; water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water

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, nearly inaccessible, and sparsely populated


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:
total population: 71.3 years
male : 68.31 years
female: 74.44 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.22 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean

Ethnic groups: racially homogeneous

Religions: Buddhism and Confucianism, some Christianity and syncretic Chondogyo
note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom

Languages: Korean

definition: age 15 and over can read and write Korean
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (1990 est.)


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

Data code: KN

Government type: Communist state; one-man dictatorship

National 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: 9 September 1948
note: 15 August 1945, date of independence from the Japanese and celebrated in North Korea as National Liberation Day

National holiday: DPRK Foundation Day, 9 September (1948)

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

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
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)
cabinet: State Administration Council appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly
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%

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 :last held 26 July 1998 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: 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 Secretary]

International organization participation: ESCAP, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, headed by KIM Hyong-u

Diplomatic representation from the US: none

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 - 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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 9.6 million
by occupation: agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%

Unemployment rate: NA%

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 9.5 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 33.4 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 31.062 billion kWh (2000)

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

total value: $708 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: minerals, metallurgical products, agricultural and fishery products, manufactures (including armaments)
partners : Japan 40%, South Korea 24%, Hong Kong 7%, China 6%, France 4%, Germany 4% (2000)

total value: $1.686 billion (c.i.f., 2000 est.)
commodities : petroleum, grain, coking coal, machinery and equipment, consumer goods
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: 1 North Korean won(KPW) = 100 chon

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


Telephones: 1.1 million (1997)

Telephone system: system is believed to be available principally for government business
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (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)


total: 5,000 km
standard gauge : 4,095 km 1.435-m gauge (3,500 km electrified; 159 km double track)
narrow gauge: 665 km 0.762-m gauge
dual gauge: 240 km (standard and broad gauge) (1996 est.)

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

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

Pipelines: crude oil 37 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
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:
total : 48
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m:13
under 914 m: 8 (2001)


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

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

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

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 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

Disputes - international: s33-km section of boundary with China in the Paektu-san (mountain) area is indefinite; Demarcation Line with South Korea