CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Korea, North

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CIA WFB Seal.png Korea, North Flag of North Korea (WFB 2004).gif
Korea, North-CIA WFB Map.png
 
Introduction Korea, North
Background: An independent kingdom under Chinese suzerainty for most of the past millennium, Korea was occupied by Japan 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 domination. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed republic in the southern portion by force, North Korea under its founder President KIM Il Sung adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against excessive Soviet or Communist Chinese influence 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 KIM's future successor in 1980 and assumed a growing political and managerial role until his father's death in 1994, when he assumed full power without opposition. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the North since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international food aid to feed its population while continuing to expend resources to maintain an army of about 1 million. North Korea's long-range missile development and research into nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community. In December 2002, following revelations it was pursuing a nuclear weapons program based on enriched uranium in violation of a 1994 agreement with the United States to freeze and ultimately dismantle its existing plutonium-based program, North Korea expelled monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and in January 2003 declared its withdrawal from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty. In mid-2003 Pyongyang announced it had completed the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods (to extract weapons-grade plutonium) and was developing a "nuclear deterrent." Since August 2003 North Korea has participated in six-party talks with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia to resolve the stalemate over its nuclear programs.
 
Geography Korea, North
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
Area: total: 120,540 sq km
water: 130 sq km
land: 120,410 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
note: 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: 20.76%
permanent crops: 2.49%
other: 76.75% (2001)
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: water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; water-borne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Environment - international agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note: strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
 
People Korea, North
Population: 22,697,553 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.6% (male 2,836,991; female 2,755,127)
15-64 years: 67.8% (male 7,575,590; female 7,812,878)
65 years and over: 7.6% (male 583,463; female 1,133,504) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 31.4 years
male: 30.2 years
female: 32.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.98% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 16.77 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 6.99 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.52 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 24.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 26.59 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.08 years
male: 68.38 years
female: 73.92 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups: racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
Religions: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)
note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom
Languages: Korean
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99%
 
Government Korea, North
Country name: conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
conventional short form: North Korea
local short form: none
local long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk
note: the North Koreans generally use the term "Choson" to refer to their country
abbreviation: DPRK
Government type: Communist state one-man dictatorship
Capital: Pyongyang
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 4 municipalities (si, singular and plural)
: provinces: Chagang-do (Chagang), Hamgyong-bukto (North Hamgyong), Hamgyong-namdo (South Hamgyong), Hwanghae-bukto (North Hwanghae), Hwanghae-namdo (South Hwanghae), Kangwon-do (Kangwon), P'yongan-bukto (North P'yongan), P'yongan-namdo (South P'yongan), Yanggang-do (Yanggang)
: municipalites: Kaesong-si (Kaesong), Najin Sonbong-si (Najin), Namp'o-si (Namp'o), P'yongyang-si (Pyongyang)
Independence: 15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holiday: Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
Constitution: adopted 1948, completely revised 27 December 1972, revised again in April 1992 and September 1998
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 Jong Il (since July 1994); note - on 3 September 2003, rubberstamp Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) reelected KIM Jong Il Chairman of the National Defense Commission, a position accorded nation's "highest administrative authority"; SPA reelected KIM Yong Nam President of its Presidium also with responsibility of representing state and receiving diplomatic credentials; SPA appointed PAK Pong Ju Premier
election results: KIM Jong Il and KIM Yong Nam were only nominees for positions and ran unopposed
head of government: Premier PAK Pong Ju (since 3 September 2003); Vice Premiers KWAK Pom Gi (since 5 September 1998), JON Sung Hun (since 3 September 2003), RO Tu Chol (since 3 September 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet (Naegak), members, except for the Minister of People's Armed Forces, are appointed by the SPA
elections: election last held in September 2003 (next to be held in September 2008)
Legislative branch: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; the KWP approves a list of candidates who are elected without opposition; some seats are held by minor parties
elections: last held 3 August 2003 (next to be held in August 2008)
Judicial branch: Central Court (judges are elected by the Supreme People's Assembly)
Political parties and leaders: major party - Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Jong Il, general secretary]; minor parties - Chondoist Chongu Party [RYU Mi Yong, chairwoman] (under KWP control); Social Democratic Party [KIM Yong Dae, chairman] (under KWP control)
Political pressure groups and leaders: none
International organization participation: ARF, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none; North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: none (Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power)
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 Korea, North
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. The nation has suffered its tenth year of food shortages because of a lack of arable land, collective farming, weather-related problems, 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 the victim of prolonged malnutrition and deteriorating living conditions. Large-scale military spending eats up resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. In 2003, heightened political tensions with key donor countries and general donor fatigue threatened the flow of desperately needed food aid and fuel aid as well. Black market prices continued to rise following the increase in official prices and wages in the summer of 2002, leaving some vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and unemployed, less able to buy goods. The regime, however, relaxed restrictions on farmers' market activities in spring 2003, leading to an expansion of market activity.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $29.58 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,300 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 30.2%
industry: 33.8%
services: 36% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA (2003 est.)
Labor force: 9.6 million
Labor force - by occupation: agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%
Unemployment rate: NA (2003)
Budget: revenues: NA
expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs
Industries: military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity - production: 30.01 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 27.91 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 85,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Exports: $1.044 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities: minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments); textiles and fishery products
Exports - partners: South Korea 28.5%, China 28.4%, Japan 24.7% (2002)
Imports: $2.042 billion c.i.f. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment; textiles, grain
Imports - partners: China 39.7%, Thailand 14.6%, Japan 11.2%, Germany 7.6%, South Korea 6.2% (2002)
Debt - external: $12 billion (1996 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $NA; note - over $133 million in food aid through the World Food Program in 2003 plus additional aid from bilateral donors and non-governmental organizations
Currency: North Korean won (KPW)
Currency code: KPW
Exchange rates: official: North Korean won per US dollar - 150 (December 2002), 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 - 300-600 (December 2002), 200 (December 2001)
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Korea, North
Telephones - main lines in use: 1.1 million (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Russian (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)
Internet country code: .kp
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: NA
 
Transportation Korea, North
Railways: total: 5,214 km
standard gauge: 5,214 km 1.435-m gauge (3,500 km electrified) (2003)
Highways: total: 31,200 km
paved: 1,997 km
unpaved: 29,203 km (1999 est.)
Waterways: 2,250 km
note: most navigable only by small craft (2004)
Pipelines: oil 154 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Kimch'aek, Kosong, Najin, Namp'o, Sinuiju, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Ungsang, Wonsan
Merchant marine: total: 203 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 921,577 GRT/1,339,929 DWT
by type: bulk 6, cargo 166, combination bulk 2, container 3, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 3, multi-functional large load carrier 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea/passenger 1
registered in other countries: 4 (2004 est.)
foreign-owned: Albania 1, Belize 1, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 3, Cyprus 1, Egypt 3, Germany 1, Greece 4, Italy 1, Lebanon 2, Marshall Islands 1, Pakistan 1, Portugal 1, Romania 8, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Syria 9, Tanzania 1, Tunisia 1, Turkey 5, Ukraine 2, United States 3
Airports: 78 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 35
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2003 est.)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 43
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 20
under 914 m: 8 (2003 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 14
Heliports: 19 (2003 est.)
 
Military Korea, North
Military branches: Korean People's Army (includes Army, Navy, Air Force), Civil Security Forces
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 17 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 6,181,038 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 3,694,855 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 189,014 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $5,217.4 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 22.9% (2003)
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003



This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005