General Information about North Korea

The official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It is located in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The area is 122.8 thousand km2, the population is approx. 23 million people (2002). The official language is Korean. The capital is Pyongyang (about 2 million people, 2002). Public holidays: April 15 – “Day of the Sun”, the birthday of Kim Il Sung; February 16 – Kim Jong Il’s birthday August 15 – Liberation Day (1945); September 9 – Republic Day (1948). The monetary unit is won.

Member of more than 200 international organizations, incl. UN (1991), UNESCO, UNDP, FAO, WHO, etc.

Population of the North Korea

The North Korea does not publish statistical reports. Here and below, the calculated data are presented.

Population growth 1.5% per year. As a result of natural disasters and crop failures in 1995–97, 1–2 million people died of starvation in the North Korea. According to international organizations, mortality, especially among children, is high. According to Countryaah, average life expectancy has dropped sharply in recent years (from 72 to 58-60 years) due to the famine that hit the country in mid-1990s. 1990s The average life expectancy for men is 56 years, for women 62 years.

Persons under the age of 15 make up 30% of the population, 15-49 years – approx. 50%, 50 years and older – approx. 20%. Men 49%, women 51%.

Urban population 40%, rural – 60%. Due to the deep crisis in the economy, part of the urban population (1 million people) was sent to rural areas.

Officially, retirement for women is from 55 years old, for men – from 60 years old.

Ethnic composition – Koreans. There are also 6,000 Chinese living in the country. The language is Korean.

The constitutional norm declares freedom of conscience. However, the state does not allow the use of religion as “a means of penetration of external forces, violation of state and public order.” Formally, Buddhism, Christianity and Chondogyo, the religion of the “heavenly path”, exist in the country. There are Buddhist temples in Pyongyang and other regions of the country. Religious activities are strictly controlled by the authorities.

Inter-Korean relations

For almost 60 years, the Korean Peninsula has been divided into two states – the North Korea and the South Korea, which have created opposite socio-political and economic systems. The entire period of existence of the two Korean states was marked by a sharp military-political and ideological confrontation, a three-year bloody war of 1950–53.

In the beginning of 1970s North and South began a dialogue that ended with the adoption of the Joint Statement (July 4, 1972), which determined the fundamental approaches of Pyongyang and Seoul to the unification of Korea, which must be achieved, firstly, independently, without the intervention of external forces, and secondly, by peaceful means and, thirdly, on the basis of national consolidation.

In the beginning of 1990s The North Korea and the South Korea signed two important interstate documents – the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression, Cooperation and Exchanges (December 13, 1991) and the Declaration on the Nuclear-Free Status of the Korean Peninsula (December 31, 1991). These documents de jure recorded the existence of two states on the Korean Peninsula and the principles of their relationship as independent states.

Historic events in inter-Korean relations were the meeting of the leaders of the North Korea and the South Korea, Kim Jong Il and Kim Dae-chung in June 2000 in Pyongyang and the Joint Declaration signed by them (June 15, 2000), which reflected common approaches to the unification of the country, the development of political, economic and cultural links between North and South. At the highest level, it was confirmed that the unification of Korea. will be carried out by the Koreans themselves, peacefully and on the basis of the convergence of the North Korean idea of confederation and the South Korean concept of community.

Of great importance for inter-Korean rapprochement was the “sunshine” policy pursued by President Kim Dae-jung in relation to the North Korea (involving North Korea in broad international cooperation, developing multilateral ties with it).

In 1998-2002, political contacts were established between the North and South, economic cooperation, trade, and humanitarian ties expanded. The North Korea and the South Korea are implementing mutually beneficial projects: connecting the railways of the North and South with access to the Trans-Siberian Railway, creating a technology park in the Kaesong region, the Kymgangsan tourism project, etc. Nevertheless, the inter-Korean dialogue cannot be called stable. Periodically, serious conflicts arise between the parties (combat clashes of military vessels in the Yellow Sea in 1999 and 2002). The North Korean nuclear issue also has a negative impact on the dialogue. The government of President Roh Moo-hyun is in favor of continuing the policy of dialogue with the North Korea and for a peaceful political settlement of the North Korean nuclear problem.

People of North Korea