Dialing code +850
ISO 2 code KP
ISO 3 code PRK
Capital Pyongyang
Main Language Korean
Currency Won (KPW)
GDP $40.0 billion 93rd
Population 22,912,177 49th


Continent Asia
Location Eastern Asia northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan between China and South Korea
Land 120,540 km2 100th
Terrain Mostly hills and mountains separated by deep narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west discontinuous in east
Climate Temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer
Natural Hazards Mostly hills and mountains separated by deep narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west discontinuous in east
Note: Strategic location bordering China South Korea and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated

Neighbouring Countries

China Russia South Korea


An independent kingdom for much of its long history Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force North Korea (DPRK) under its founder President KIM Il Sung adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda and molded political economic and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM's son the current ruler KIM Jong Il was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980 assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea's history of regional military provocations proliferation of military-related items long-range missile development WMD programs including nuclear weapons test in 2006 and 2009 and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.
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Life Expectancy 63.81 years 155th
Median Age 33.5 years 64th
Birth Rate 14.82 births/1,000 population 132nd
Death Rate 10.52 births/1,000 population 54th
Sex Ratio 0.63 male(s)/female 186th
Literacy 99.0% 30th

22.9 million


Roadways 25554 km 103rd
Railways 5235 km 33rd
Airports 78 70th
Waterways 2250 km 37th
Heliports 23 7th
Airports paved 1 106th


Currency Won (KPW)
GDP $40.0 billion 93rd
GDP per capita (PPP) $1700 169th