Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Capital: Pyongyang

Languages: Korean

GDP (PPP): $40 billion etimate

Currency: Won

Population:  24,895,000

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is both the nation’s capital as well as its largest city. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in China) and Tumen rivers. The country is bordered to the south by South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea), with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two.

The DPRK officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state and formally holds elections. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various outlets have called it Stalinist, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. International organizations have assessed human rights violations in North Korea as belonging to a category of their own, with no parallel in the contemporary world. The Workers’ Party of Korea, led by a member of the ruling family, holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members.

Over time North Korea has gradually distanced itself from the world communist movement. Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution as a “creative application of Marxism–Leninism” in 1972.The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded. From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered from a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 0.24 and 3.5 million people, and the country continues to struggle with food production. North Korea follows Songun, or “military-first” policy. It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the U.S., and India. It possesses nuclear weapons. North Korea is an atheist state with no official religion and where public religion is discouraged.

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