Country of the World North Korea

About the country North Korea, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.





Lay of the Land: Located in northeast Asia the Korean Peninsula juts south from Manchuria into the Pacific Ocean, dividing the Sea of Japan from the Yellow Sea. In the north, Korea borders China and, for 20 mi., the U.S.S.R. Mountains cover most of the northern and southwestern regions of the peninsula, and a coastal plain runs along the eastern coast.

Size: 46,800 sq. mi. (121,300 sq. km.).

Population: 17.1 million.

Who Rules: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is governed by the national legislature--the Supreme People's Assembly--and Kim Il Sung, who is both head of state and the secretary general of the Communist Korean Workers' party. The country's constitution formally acknowledges the leadership role of the Workers' party.

Who REALLY Rules: For many years Kim Il Sung has held apparently unchallenged authority over North Korea's economy, domestic policy, and foreign relations. The glorification of his rule easily surpasses the Mao cult in China during the late 1960s. However, other leaders have delayed, and perhaps blocked, Kim's transfer of power to his son, Kim Chong Il, first announced in 1974. Foreign observers cannot accurately determine the source of opposition, but it may include veteran revolutionaries, economic technocrats, and powerful members of Kim's immediate family.

In 1976 North Korea resorted to a novel means to recoup its foreign exchange losses. Korean diplomats were instructed to sell duty-free cigarettes, vodka, and Syrian hashish at their respective stations. Korean diplomats, generally considered dull and drab, proved to be inept smugglers, and their schemes were soon stopped. In Denmark the four Korean representatives asked for permission to import, duty-free for embassy consumption, 2.5 million cigarettes.

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