North Korea “the hermit kingdom”
History • In the aftermath of the Japanese occupation of Korea which ended with Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel in accordance with a United Nations arrangement, to be administered by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. • The history of North Korea formally begins with the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic in 1948.
Korean War • The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea with major hostilities beginning on June 25, 1950. • The conflict arose from the division of Korea by the UN and the attempts of the two Korean powers to reunify Korea under their respective governments. The division led to full scale civil war with a cost of more than 2 million civilians and soldiers from both sides. • These negotiations ended when the military of North Korea invaded the South on June 25, 1950. Under the aegis of the United Nations, nations allied with the United States intervened on behalf of South Korea. • After rapid advances in a South Korean counterattack, North-allied Chinese forces intervened on behalf of North Korea, shifting the balance of the war and ultimately leading to an armistice that approximately restored the original boundaries between North and South Korea. • While some have referred to the conflict as a civil war, there were many other factors at play. The Korean War was also the first armed confrontation of the Cold War and set the standard for many later conflicts. It created the idea of a proxy war, where the two superpowers would fight in another country, forcing the people in that nation to suffer the bulk of the destruction and death involved in a war between such large nations. • It also expanded the Cold War, which to that point had mostly been concerned with Europe. A heavily guarded demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel continues to divide the peninsula today with anti-Communist and anti-North Korea sentiment still remaining in South Korea.
Late 20th century • The relative peace between the south and the north was punctuated by border skirmishes and assassination attempts. The North failed in several assassination attempts on South Korean leaders, most notably in 1968, 1974 and the Rangoon bombing in 1983 • Tunnels were frequently found under the DMZ and war nearly broke out over the Axe Murder Incident at Panmunjeom in 1976.
21st Century • In 2002, United States president George W. Bush labeled North Korea part of an "axis of evil" and an "outpost of tyranny". The highest-level contact the government has had with the United States was with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who made a visit to Pyongyang in 2000,[but the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations. • By 2006, approximately 37,000 American soldiers remained in South Korea, although by June 2009 this number had fallen to around 30,000.Kim Jong-il has privately stated his acceptance of U.S. troops on the peninsula, even after a possible reunification. Publicly, North Korea strongly demands the removal of American troops from Korea. • On June 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that in response to new UN sanctions, North Korea declared it would progress with its uranium enrichment program. This marked the first time the DPRK has publicly acknowledged that it is conducting a uranium enrichment program. • In August 2009, former US president Bill Clinton met with Kim Jong-il to secure the release of 2 US journalists, who had been sentenced for entering the country illegally.[ • Current U.S. President Barack Obama's position towards North Korea has been to remain calm in the face of North Korea's provocations while resisting making deals with North Korea merely for the sake of defusing tension, a policy known as "strategic patience."
Government Structure • North Korea is a self-described Juche (self-reliant) state, described by some observers as a "hereditary dictatorship"[ with a pronounced cult of personality organized around Kim Il-sung (the founder of North Korea and the country's only president) and his son and heir, Kim Jong-il. • Following Kim Il-sung's death in1994, he was not replaced but instead received the designation of "Eternal President", and was entombed in the vast Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang. • The structure of the government is described in the Constitution of North Korea. It is a single-party state. The governing party is the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland. • In June 2009, it was reported in South Korean media that intelligence indicates the country's next leader will be Kim Jong-un, the youngest of Kim Jong-il's three sons. • Plaid Avenger
Military • The Korean People's Army (KPA) is the name for the collective armed personnel of the North Korean military. It has five branches: Ground Force, Naval Force, Air Force, Special Operations Force, and Rocket Force. • According to the U.S. Department of State, North Korea has the fourth-largest army in the world, at an estimated 1.21 million armed personnel, with about 20% of men aged 17–54 in the regular armed forces.North Korea has the highest percentage of military personnel per capita of any nation in the world, with approximately 1 enlisted soldier for every 25 citizens.
Military strategy is designed for insertion of agents and sabotage behind enemy lines in wartime,with much of the KPA's forces deployed along the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone. • The Korean People's Army operates a very large amount of equipment, including 4,060 tanks, 2,500 APCs, 17,900 artillery pieces, 11,000 air defense guns and some 10,000 MANPADS and anti-tank guided missiles. in the Ground force; at least 915 vessels in the Navy and 1,748 aircraft in the Air Force, of which 478 are fighters and 180 are bombers. • The equipment is a mixture of World War II vintage vehicles and small arms, widely proliferated Cold War technology, and more modern Soviet or locally produced weapons. • In line with its asymmetric warfare strategy, North Korea has also developed a wide range of unconventional techniques and equipment, such as GPS jammers, stealth paint, midget submarines and human torpedoes, a vast array of chemical and biological weapons, and anti-personnel lasers. • According to official North Korean media, military expenditures for 2010 amount to 15.8% of the state budget. • North Korea has active nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs and has been subject to United Nations Security Council resolutions 1695 of July 2006, 1718 of October 2006, and 1874 of June 2009, for carrying out both missile and nuclear tests. North Korea probably has fissile material for up to 9 nuclear weapons, and has the capability to deploy nuclear warheads on intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Current Crisis • On November 23, 2010, North Korea fired about 170 rounds of artillery on Yeonpyeong Island and the surrounding waters near the Yellow Sea border, with some 90 shells landing on the island. • The attack resulted in the deaths of two South Korean marines and two civilians. Fifteen marines and at least three civilians were wounded. • North Korean news sources alleged that the North Korean actions, described as "a prompt and powerful physical strike", were in response to provocation from South Korea, alleging that South Korea fired "dozens of shells inside its territorial waters". • Former US President Jimmy Carter made a call for a peaceful solution of this crisis • Plaid Avenger
Nuclear Weapons • As a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, the Six-party talks were established to find a peaceful solution to the growing tension between the two Korean governments, the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and the United States. • On July 17, 2007, United Nations inspectors verified the shutdown of five North Korean nuclear facilities, according to the February 2007 agreement. • On October 4, 2007, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il signed an 8-point peace agreement, on issues of permanent peace, high-level talks, economic cooperation, renewal of train, highway and air travel, and a joint Olympic cheering squad.
Economy • North Korea has an industrialized, near-autarkic, highly centralized command economy. • Of the five remaining Communist states in the world, North Korea is one of only two (along with Cuba) with an almost entirely government-planned, state-owned economy. The Central Planning Committee prepares, supervises and implements economic plans, while a General Bureau of Provincial Industry in each region is responsible for the management of local manufacturing facilities, production, resource allocation and sales. • North Korea's isolation policy means that international trade is highly restricted. North Korea passed a law in 1984 allowing for foreign investment through joint ventures, but failed to attract any significant investment. In 1991, it established the Rason Economic Special Zone in an attempt to attract foreign investment from China and Russia. Chinese and Russian companies have purchased rights to use the ports at Rason. Chinese investors are renovating a road from Rason to China, and Russian railway workers are renovating the railway from Rason to Russia, from where it continues onto the Trans-Siberian Railway. • Until 1998, the United Nations published HDI and GDP per capita figures for North Korea, which stood at a medium level of human development at 0.766 (ranked 75th) and a GDP per capita of $4,058. • The average salary is about $47 per month. Despite substantial economic problems, quality of life is improving and wages are rising steadily. Small-scale private markets, known as janmadang, exist throughout the country and provide the population with imported food and commodities ranging from cosmetics to motorcycles in exchange for money. In 2009, the government carried out a currency redenomination with the aim to curb free market activity across the country, but the attempt failed, causing inflation rates to skyrocket, and eventually led to the lifting of the ban on free market trade.
Food rations, housing, healthcare, and education are offered from the state for free, and the payment of taxes has been abolished since April 1, 1974. In order to increase productivity from agriculture and industry, since the 1960s the North Korean government has introduced a number of management systems such as the Taean work system. In the 21st century, North Korea's GDP growth has been slow but steady, although in recent years, growth has gradually accelerated to 3.7% in 2008, the fastest pace in almost a decade, largely due to a sharp growth of 8.2% in the agricultural sector. • Major industries include military products, machine building, electric power, chemicals, mining, metallurgy, textiles, food processing and tourism. • In 2005, North Korea was ranked by the FAO as an estimated 10th in the production of fresh fruitand as an estimated 19th in the production of apples. It has substantial natural resources and is the world's 18th largest producer of iron and zinc,having the 22nd largest coal reserves in the world. It is also the 15th largest fluorite producerand 12th largest producer of copper and salt in Asia. Other major natural resources in production include lead, tungsten, graphite, magnesite, gold, pyrites, fluorspar, and hydropower.
Six Party Talks • Participating Countries: • the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) • the Republic of Korea (South Korea) • the People's Republic of China • the United States of America • the Russian Federation • the State of Japan • Discontinuation of talks • On April 5, 2009, North Korea proceeded with its announced satellite launch, despite international pressure not to do so. The pressure was due to international belief that the "satellite" was in fact a test of North Korea's Taepodong-2 ICBM. The launch was a failure, and it landed in the Pacific Ocean. Despite the failure, U.S. President Barack Obama responded that "violations must be punished," ordered North Korea to be "punished. South Korea urged heavier sanctions against North Korea. • On April 13, 2009, the United Nations Security Council agreed unanimously to a Presidential Statement that condemned North Korea for the launch and stated the Council's intention to expand sanctions on North Korea. • On April 14, 2009, North Korea, responding angrily to the UN Security Council's resolution, said that it "will never again take part in such [six party] talks and will not be bound by any agreement reached at the talks." North Korea expelled nuclear inspectors from the country and also informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that they would resume their nuclear weapons program. • On May 25, 2009, North Korea detonated a nuclear device underground. The test was condemned by the United Nations,NATO, the other five members of the Six-party talks, and many other countries worldwide.
South Korea: Republic of Korea • Under its current constitution the state is sometimes referred to as the Sixth Republic of South Korea. • Like many democratic states, South Korea has a government divided into three branches: executive, judicial, and legislative. • The South Korean government's structure is determined by the Constitution of the Republic of Korea. This document has been revised several times since its first promulgation in 1948 at independence. • Although South Korea experienced a series of military dictatorships since the 1960s up until the 1980s, it has since developed into a successful liberal democracy. • Today, the CIA World Factbook describes South Korea's democracy as a "fully functioning modern democracy". • plaid avenger