Country Profile

ABOUT DPRK

Official Name

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

Head of State

Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Supreme Commander of the KPA, Chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Head of Government

Pak Pong-ju, Premier of the DPRK Cabinet.

Ruling Party

Workers’ Party of Korea

Currency

Won =100 chon (approx 8,000 Won = US$1)

Statistics

Area: total: 120,540 sq km (80% mountainous).
Population: 24million.  Labour force: 10 million

MAPS

Central Pyongyang
DPRK Map

DPRK TIMELINE

Korea’s history spans over 5000 years. Due to its strategic geographical location, neighbouring China, Japan and Russia, the peninsula has often been the field of battle of foreign powers and as now inextricably enmeshed in the global political climate.

WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND NORTH KOREA?

Japan occupied Korea from 1910 until the end of the Second World War whereupon the Russians took the surrender in the north and the Americans to the south on the 38th parallel. This was meant to be a temporary border however due to mistrust between Russian and America and the outbreak of the Cold War the line became permanent. Tension between the two halves led to the outbreak of the Korean War, 1950-1953 (Fatherland Liberation War) which has left the country divided until the present day.
The North Korea is a country run on communist principles but dominated by the countries ‘Juche Idea’, a philosophy aimed at developing self-reliance. With the change in political direction of it’s old comrades Russia and China, North Korea has become increasingly isolated and is seen as one of the most difficult countries to get a tourist visa. It was thought that the food and economic crisis would put too great a strain on the Juche ideology, inevitably leading to the opening of the country through reform or even implosion or war. However it is apparent that the DPRK is still maintaining it’s steadfast attitude and optimists are seeing this decade as a change through dialogue with the South and the outside world.

BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF KOREAN HISTORY

918-1392 Koryo – first dynasty to unify the Korean peninsula

1392-1910 Yi (Chosun) Dynasty

1910-1945 Occupation by Japan

1945 World War II ends– Korea divided on the 38th parallel

1945 Founding of Workers’ Party of Korea

1948 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea established in the North, Republic of Korea in the South

1948 Kim Il-sung becomes president of DPRK

1950-53 Korean War

1989 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang

1994 Death of President Kim Il-sung

2011 Death of WPK General Secretary Kim Jong-il

2016 Marshal Kim Jong-un becomes Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea

ANNUAL HOLIDAYS & EVENTS

Juche Era set up 1912 when the ‘sun’ of Juche, Kim Il Sung,was born. It was enacted on the occasion of the third anniversary of his death.
January 1st – New Years Day
February 16th – Comrade Kim Jong Il’s birthday (1942)
April 15th – President Kim Il Sung’s Birthday (1912)
May 1st – May Day, International holiday of Workers
July 8th 1994 (Juche 83)Memorial day of the death of Kim Il Sung
July 27th 1953 Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War (Korean War 1950-1953)
August 15th – National Liberation Day (1945)
September 9th – Day of the Foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1948)
October 10th – Day of the Foundation of the Workers Party of Korea (1945)
December 27th – Day of the Promulgation of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK (1972)