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Useful Notes / North Korea

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The Hermit State.

"If you wanted to create a totally isolated and hermetic society, northern Korea in the years after the 1953 'armistice' would have been the place to start... Pyongyang was an ashen moonscape. It was Year Zero. Kim Il Sung could create a laboratory, with controlled conditions, where he alone would be the engineer of the human soul."
Christopher Hitchens, Visit to a Small Planet

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Korean: 조선민주주의인민공화국, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk), far better known as North Korea (Korean: 북조선, Pukchosŏn) or simply Korea (Korean: 조선, Chosŏn), is a workers' paradise in East Asia which controls much of the northern Korean peninsula. It was founded in 1948, something the late Christopher Hitchens noted: "You almost get the feeling that Kim Il-Sung was handed a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four in Korean that year and asked, 'Do you think we could make this work?' And he thought, 'Well I don't know, but we can sure give it the old college try.'" Indeed, North Korea is probably the closest any society has ever come to realizing a real life Oceania. It is so isolationist, that while China has built a $350m bridge to increase trade, it ends in a dirt track on the North Korean side - something of a slap in the face to a country that provides 80% of its foreign trade.

Analysts have consistently ranked North Korea as the world's most authoritarian country.note 

A highly isolationist and rigidly controlled society, it has reasonable relations with its two powerful northern neighbors, the People's Republic of Chinanote  and Russianote ; while maintaining unbelievably terrible relations with its southern neighbor, the Republic of Koreanote , as well as with Japannote , the United Statesnote  and Israelnote . Despite what most people think, however, outside of these countries (plus a couple of their allies, such as Canada, France, and Saudi Arabia), North Korea still maintains relations with the majority of countries in the world, but its traditional allies remain its old Cold War friends: Cuba, Syria, et al.

The planned establishment can be traced back to 1910 when an up-and-coming Imperial Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula. While northern Korea experienced industrial development, many Koreans chafed under Japan's repressive and paternalistic colonialist practices. In this environment of subjugation, a then 14-year-old Kim Il-Sung formed the Down-With-Imperialism Union in 1926 as a Communist revolt against Japanese colonization, with himself as a de facto leader. In the aftermath of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to split the Korean peninsula in two, with Kim Il Sung emerging as the head of the Soviet-administered part of Korea. The division was supposed to be temporary, but with the Cold War in full swing, the two global powers and their client regimes couldn't agree on a path to unification. One Korean War and armistice later, and the peninsula has remained divided ever since.

North Korea also possesses one of the largest armies in the world and holds the record for highest military spending as a percentage of GDP - so much, that rather than a country with a military, it has been described as a military with a country - but there's no need to worry because the army is so badly equipped, mostly with Cold War era technology. After all, spending most of a country's GDP on the military doesn't amount to much when there's not much GDP to begin with (which in turn is likely because so much output is swallowed by the military instead of being used to support economic growth). It's more reasonable to be concerned about their nuclear capabilities - not because of a high number of high-quality missiles, but down to Kim Jong-un's obvious lack of self-restraint and willingness to pump all his resources into missile-based projects.

North Korea and its rulers also tend to spend large amounts of money on vanity projects to make Pyongyang look impressive then running out of money half-way through. Examples are a massive hotel which is effectively a framework, and many swanky high-rises that look good on the outside but have no running water or electricity, and are populated by gangs of homeless children. They are built at "Chollima Speed", a reference to a mythological winged horse that could travel tremendous distances at supernatural speed — exhausting workers and lowering quality. Pyongyang is a city for looking at, not living in, and visiting journalists are given strict tours. In the DMZ, you will find Kijŏng-dong, the empty village with a 160m flagpole, built to encourage South Korean defection, wired with electricity despite nobody actually living there.

Generally featured in fiction as targets of derision and a sort of Captain Ersatz for China, as both happen to be a) East Asian, and b) "communist" (while China itself is a huge market with Culture Police who will shut out anything that can be construed as even remotely unsympathetic towards Beijing). North Korea, like Oceania, technically transcends both communism and fascism into a state that can only be described as nonspecifically totalitarian, as, unlike with actual communism or fascism, their government's sole concern is remaining in power. There have been some interesting non-fictional works made about the DPRK, such as propaganda films and documentaries from survivors of the regime.

The second North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il was seen by the West as a real-life Dr. Evil and actually a James Bond fan. (Except Die Another Day, obviously. But then, there are claims by former White House adviser Victor Cha in his book that Kim Jong-il watched the film and was impressed. Knowing him, he would probably have ordered a few hovercraft thinking it would be a good idea.) He died in December 2011, with the announcement coming a couple of days after the fact, having reigned since his father's death in 1994. He was then succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un. It should be noted that neither Kim Jong-il nor Kim Jong-un were given the title "head of state", that title still belongs to Kim Il-Sung... who died in 1994. They take his title as the "Eternal President" very seriously, continually referring to him in the present tense. Christopher Hitchens snarked that this made them The Necrocracy as a result.

North Korea's national identity is largely shaped by the Korean War. The near-complete domination of the South in the early part of the conflict are lionized as communist internationalism at its finest and the prevailing narrative to this day is that the United States (and to the lesser extent, the UN the US forces were leading) used the early advances as an excuse to fiendishly get involved and take over. The later pushes past the 38th parallel, when US general Douglas MacArthur attempted to push the communists entirely out of the peninsula, served as vindication of this. It is against the law in North Korea to use the term 'north' to describe it as by official stance it is the only Korea and the south is land held by capitalist traitors and US forces. North Korean media portrays southerners as malnourished and suffering in a sort of capitalist wasteland ruled by the Americans, rather than living in one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. To this end North Korea also places an exteme importance on preserving traditional Korean culture as the last holdout against the Western imperialists. For example, wives of leading Party members often go outside to do things like shopping in elaborate hanbok.

North Korea adheres to the political doctrine of Juche, or "self-reliance", which is ironic since it depends on foreign aid (particularly China's) to prop up its failing economy, and its leaders regularly smuggle in luxuries and delicacies for themselves. After decades of surviving off aid from the former Soviet Union, it suffered a disastrous famine between 1994 and 1998 in which around a million citizens died. The regime's propaganda refers to this as the Arduous March. According to defectors, the country's food situation is again deteriorating since the 2012 ascension of Kim Jong-Un. The country's official policy is seen by some as extremely authoritarian, militaristic, nationalistic, xenophobic, and racist. Some observers describe it as the world's last Stalinist dictatorship, but others believe terms such as "hereditary dictatorship" or even "absolute monarchy" are more appropriate because of the strong personality cult organized around the ruling Kim family. Another view, based on researching the country's domestic and international policy documents instead of its propaganda, is that North Korea's politics are actually very similar to those of Imperial Japan — very ironic, considering that Kim Il-sung made a name for himself as a guerrilla fighting against the Japanese in World War II. Although ruled by a nominally communist party, North Korea has removed all references to communism in its constitution. Perhaps they realized communist internationalism is diametrically opposed to the isolationist and xenophobic tenets of Juche, or perhaps they realized the Cold War is effectively dead and thought dropping the "communist" label would get them good PR. Make of it what you will. However, defectors have also reported that more and more of the economy has moved "off-books" since the famines, so that on paper there is free education and full employment, in reality most teachers expect bribes from parents, and large numbers of people who, on paper, work in factories or other state enterprises never actually show up for their jobs, and survive through transactions in the black market. The government has increasingly turned a blind eye to these informal markets, known as Jangmadang, although the occasional bribe does have to be paid to get the government to look the other way.

Although itís a medium-population country of about 25 million people sitting on a veritable treasure trove of lucrative natural resources, its economy is in an absolutely horrific state. According to the United Nations, North Korea's nominal GDP in 2017 is $17 billion, meaning the GDP per capita is less than $700 (while South Korea's GDP is $1.5 trillion in a population of 51 million people, or a GDP per capita of $29,000). The real unemployment rate hovers at about 25% most years, around 60% of people live in poverty, and its currency is essentially worthless. That being said, some market liberalization began in 2012 and began to pay off by the end of the decade. It's important to note that after the Korean War ended in the 1950s, both North and South Korea were extremely poor, since the war basically wrecked everything, on top of decades of harsh Imperial Japanese rule, and the governments were extremely similar in spite of following different ideologies: authoritarian, corrupt, and self-serving. In fact, the North was in some respects the better of the two Koreas, since it had the head start of being supported by the Eastern Bloc early on, and south-to-north defections were not seen as lunacy as they are today. It's just that South Korea eventually managed to move on thanks to a strong degree of self-improvement culture, a transition to democracy, and not-so-small American funding, while the North is perpetually stuck in the Cold War mindset, something that got worse when Soviet aid petered out after the fall of communism.

It's also an example of how even the worst of situations can have a small silver lining. The 160-mile long, 2.5-mile wide Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea has had basically no human incursion for the past 80+ years, and is now regarded as an incredible nature preserve. Many rare species can be found there, and some can be found only there. If the countries ever re-united, a very high priority has been given to preserving the DMZ as a nature park.

Whilst its portrayal as the Small Name, Big Ego of world politics is frequently played for laughs, it may do you good to recall that this country is indeed home to 25 million people who never asked to live in a totalitarian nightmare; that said regime is responsible for the starvation and execution of over a million people and the destitution of many more. Even the smallest smidgen of dissent is punishable by you and several generations of your family being imprisoned in brutal concentration camps where guards have the license to beat, torture, and violate you. Any criticism of the Kim family will get you in deep trouble.

Also, keep in mind that North Korea is a real, if very repressive country, not a cartoon totalitarian hellscape where anything can happen, so before you add a particularly lurid detail, read, for example, this.

Despite mutual hatred, amid bouts of violence and tit-for-tat attacks, North and South Korea have tried to patch things up several times. The latest one started in 2018: with the mediation of US President Donald Trump, North and South Korea have been holding talks to normalize relations, with a potential treaty to formally end the Korean War (which never had a peace treaty even though it ended back in 1953) and establish diplomatic missions. There are even rumors of reunification. However, it's unknown what kind of outcome these talks will bear, since the Kim dynasty have not given indication of wanting to give up power.

Reunification is also another issue; while it's exciting to imagine a united Korea after 80+ years of division on paper, these countries have been separated for longer than West and East Germany had been, and far more economic and social differences have developed.note  Also, China is opposed to unification since (among other things) it could lead to an American-allied Korea on China's doorstep. If, and only if, the states are reunited; it will certainly be a herculean task and may need the international community's assistance to make it work.

Useful notes about North Korea

The DPRK and its inhabitants in fiction

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Discworld: Having noted that the Discworld canon acquired a Korea-like place as part of the protmanteau of East Asian ethnicities that make up Agatea, fanfic author A.A. Pessimal expanded the up to eleven Korean references to encompass a mysterious secretive state called Hubwards Grimchi. This state is harnessing the explosive powers of fermented cabbage to create really big Barking Dogs that can threaten not only the neighboring regional power of Agatea, but may in time point towards the accepted Disc superpowers of Klatch and Ankh-Morpork. Agencies such as the Guild of Assassins have been approached to suggest solutions.
  • The Way Is Shut, a World War Z fanfic exploring what could have happened to North Korea.

  • It isn't fiction, but ''Film/{{Under The Sun}|2015}}' is a 2015 Russian documentary filmed in Pyongyang.
  • Ditto Crossing the Line, a 2006 British documentary about James Joseph Dresnok, an American soldier who defected to North Korea in the 1960s and was still living there 40 years later.
  • Their military personnel feature as the villains of the 2002 James Bond movie Die Another Day, albeit more in a Renegade North Korean way (the Big Bad's father, himself a high ranking officer, is actually depicted with a great deal of honor and common sense compared to his son's madness and megalomania). Interestingly, high ranking Chinese People's Liberation Army officers show up in support of the villain's plan to destroy the minefield in the South with a laser satellite.
  • Kim Jong-Il features in Team America: World Police.
  • The Interview has talk show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his more down-to-earth producer/best friend Dave Rapaport (Seth Rogen) finding themselves going to North Korea for an interview with Kim Jong-Un (who happens to be a fan of their show)... which quickly turns into a CIA-backed mission to assassinate the dictator. Needless to say, the real North Korean authorities were quite upset at this movie. So much so that a North Korean team of hackers, the Guardians of Peace, infamously broke into the servers of Sony Pictures and leaked everything they could find (and not just the film, the entirety of their film scripts for their 2014-to-2016 film scripts and numerous internal emails). This got Sony to cancel the theatrical release... but that didn't stop the movie from being seen on Netflix and YouTube.
  • The Red Dawn (2012) remake received a last-minute edit to turn the villains from Chinese to North Koreans. The reason behind the change is that China makes up the second largest box office audience. This elicited much derision at a movie depicting North Korea, a nation so dirt poor that it can't keep the lights on, taking over the United States. The movie ended up bombing, so the decision to change the villain for the sake of money turned out to be for nothing.
  • They're the bad guys in Olympus Has Fallen. Perhaps not unintentionally, the Big Bad played the Dragon of the Die Another Day example, and is himself a renegade.
  • Direct-to-DVD flick Behind Enemy Lines 2: Axis of Evil is set in North Korea, with U.S. Special Forces trying to disable a nuclear launch site.
  • In the film adaptation of World War Z, North Korea survived the zombie apocalypse by removing the teeth from the entire population within twenty four hours.

  • In the Dale Brown novel ''Battle Born'', a popular revolution leads to the collapse of Communism.
  • Kim Jong-Il also features in the Larry Bond novel Red Phoenix.
  • Inspector O series by James Church features an anonymous police investigator of the Pyongyang police crime department.
  • Force 5 Recon: Deployment: North Korea by P.W.Storm. Interesting in its portrayal of North Korean commando squad as professionals who just do their job.
  • WWIII series by Ian Slater features North Korea as one of the antagonists, beside Soviet Union and China. The North Koreans manage to conquer Seoul early on by rushing thousands of obsolete tanks through the DMZ.
  • In World War Z the North Koreans just... vanish. As the zombie crisis unfolds around the world, South Korean observers and US spy satellites see fewer and fewer people on the roads and in cities throughout North Korea. Eventually even the guards which staff the DMZ on the North side return to their barracks at the end of the day and aren't replaced by the next shift. After this the US spy satellites do not pick up any activity in North Korea at all. The likely explanation is that they retreated to underground bunkers, but even that's just a guess and nobody knows what happened to them since. Have they all died of starvation and darkness? Is the Underground City still alive? Did an infected person get inside and cause an outbreak that spread through all twenty-five million people? Nobody knows.
  • The Orphan Master's Son, a 2012 novel by Adam Johnson.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, the students and teachers at Jindai High end up in North Korea after their airplane is hijacked. The country was changed to USSR in the anime however. Agent Wraith is also from North Korea.
  • In Ibyabek, the titular planet is a sci-fi stand-in for North Korea. The author was inspired by Without You There Is No Us, a nonfiction book about the lives of students at an elite school in Pyongyang.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Crash Landing on You is a Korean drama about a feisty South Korean fashion executive who goes paragliding one day, runs into a tornado, and is flung Wizard of Oz style across the DMZ into North Korea. She falls in love with a handsome North Korean border guard while trying to find a way to get out.
  • Leonard Hofstadter in The Big Bang Theory briefly "dated" a woman named Joyce Kim, who turned out to be a North Korean spy trying to steal the formula to an experimental rocket fuel he was working on for the government. Fortunately, Sheldon chased her out of the apartment when Leonard didn't give him the required two weeks notice to bring a strange woman in, and she returned to North Korea.
    • In another episode, a North Korean Child Prodigy defector named Dennis Kim was briefly employed at CalTech alongside the main characters, acting as The Rival to Sheldon, but he discovered girls and dropped out, becoming a hippie with his girlfriend.
  • How I Met Your Mother has on several occasions mentioned or implied that the Mega-Corp Barney works for has a number of illegal dealings with North Korea. At one point, Barney is chewing out a woman who pretended to be into him just so he'd give her money, saying, "At my job we don't rip people's hearts out for money. My company briefly backed a lab in North Korea that did, but we sold it!"
    • In one episode, he's shown having a meeting with four Asian men, one wearing what looks like a KPA uniform, although when he speaks to them in Korean, none of them understand him.
  • 30 Rock had a Story Arc involving Recurring Character Avery Jessup (played by Elizabeth Banks) being held prisoner in North Korea. She was Put on a Bus for about a year. Kim Jong-Il was humorously portrayed by Margaret Cho. Failed Future Forecast resulted when the real Kim Jong-Il died during the arc. Not wanting to throw away the chance to bring Margaret Cho's performance back, they had Kim Jong-Il turn up in America with the explanation that his death had been faked.
  • NCIS: The team tracked down a woman from North Korea who is married to a US marine. Turns out she had genuinely fallen in love with her husband and "gone native" in America, and was out killing other women from North Korea who are trained as infiltrators just like her, trying to stop a terrorist attack directed by their leader.
  • JAG: Harmon Rabb flies the secret Aurora spy plane in on a reconnaissance mission over North Korea in "The One That Got Away".
  • Due to its anti-war perspective on The Korean War, M*A*S*H is probably the closest thing you'll ever see to a positive portrayal of North Korea in American pop culture. Most of the North Korean characters are soldiers and/or Viet Cong-style guerrillas who are treated with sympathy by the war-hating protagonists. Almost nothing is said about the actual North Korean regime, although "Joe Stalin" is occasionally alluded to be the leader of "the other side".
    • The ultimate reason for this, of course, is that MASH was actually intended to be a satire of the Vietnam War, but at the time, criticizing the Vietnam War directly would have been seen as being in bad taste. Using the Korean War as an analogue, however, was fair game.
  • In the Expanded Universe of Babylon 5, North Korea is a technically independent part of China. It's the result of North Korea's last Epic Fail: with most of the world distracted by World War III, the North Koreans finally invaded the South only to have their military crushed by the ROK Armed Forces and what troops the Americans had not moved to other theatres yet and get themselves bombed back to stone age, at which point the Chinese came in force to prevent an invasion (that neither the South nor the Americans were willing to do for fear of escalating the war) and simply never left, transforming the place in a puppet state. By the time of the series, North Korea is theorically an independent member of Earth Alliance (as China brought them in for the ride when they joined), but is effectively ruled by Chinese senators who keep the country in poverty, with the people desperately wishing for reunification with the still independent South Korea.
  • Episode 13 of SEAL Team's second season takes place on a submarine surveying merchant vessels off the coast of North Korea violating international sanctions. Unfortunately while Bravo Team is being extracted, the submarine suffers a power malfunction and Sonny gets trapped in a torpedo tube that is slowly flooding with water while they are in danger of being discovered by a North Korean submarine. Season 5 premiers with a two-parter that sees Bravo return to North Korea on a high-risk operation to extract a government defector.
  • In the third season of For All Mankind, North Korea is revealed to have a space program much more advanced than the one they have in reality. They launch two astronauts on a one-way flight to Mars, but the spacecraft crash-lands, killing one of the crew and stranding the other on the surface.

    Video Games 
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory has a North Korean anti-ship missile sink a U.S. Navy vessel right before they launch an all-out attack on South Korea. Two missions involve Sam infiltrating a North Korean missile battery to obtain intelligence on the circumstances of the launch, and the mission after takes him to war-torn Seoul, right in the middle of a massive NKA invasion. The missile was remotely launched by the real Big Bad, and North Korea is being manipulated the entire time.
  • In the Dragon's Teeth DLC of Battlefield 4, one of the multiplayer maps appropriately titled "Propaganda" is set in the Pyongyang district, with elements of the PLA and the USMC duking it out within the capital.
  • Featured as the antagonists in a Captain Ersatz of sorts of the PRC in Crysis.
  • The first Mercenaries game is set here, when it gets an even more 'rogue' leader. China, South Korea, Russian criminals, and a UN in all but name show up to finally bring it in line, something.
  • North Korea will later unite with the South in Homefront under its rule and conquers most of East Asia sans China and even invades the western United States by 2027. They're the villains of Homefront, unless you play the Japanese version, wherein Canada is the Big Bad.
  • Kim Jong-Il makes an appearance at the end of Forum Warz, Episode 1, after you cause an explosion at a nuclear power plant by pwning its forum... somehow, remarking that he is impressed with your actions. He shows up again in Episode Two under the handle "KIM_SHADY", commanding you to pwn the Pentagon's forums for him.
  • The Hitman: World of Assassination Trilogy occasionally mentions an obvious stand-in for North Korea in Khandanyang, an East-Asian third-world dictatorship known for having a strong Cult of Personality surrounding its "Heavenly Leader" and his offspring, a fanatical military and Praetorian Guard, frequent domestic purges and human rights violations, abducting and executing dissidents abroad and engaging in cyber-terrorism and disruptive sabotage against America, China, South Korea and Japan. Every game in the trilogy has had at least one target from Khandanyang: The first has a State Security Department operative as an Elusive Target, the second has a Sniper Assassin mission to kill off several high-ranking officers before they can execute a Defector from Commie Land, and the third has a cyberterrorist-turned-ICA cybersecurity specialist as a main story target.
  • The original Spec Ops and Spec Ops 2: Green Berets both feature several missions throughout North Korea.
  • Video game based on the Rogue Warrior book series features levels set in 1980s North Korea. According to the game, each and every single apartment block houses KPA soldiers in combat gear.
  • Budget title DMZ: North Korea. It's every bit as bad as it sounds.

    Visual Novels 

  • Spinnerette villain Colonel Glass hails from DPRK. He's... not a very nice person. Best that can be said about him is that he seems quite patriotic, taking offense at an insult to Kim Il-Sung.
  • In Scandinavia and the World, North Korea is the only character whose face cannot be seen. Instead, he is completely wrapped in the North Korean flag, only showing his (angry) eyes. And whenever he and South Korea are in the same comic, he's attacking South Korea (either verbally or physically).

    Web Original 
  • The Adventuresof Kim Jong Un by CollegeHumor satirically portrays him as the Memetic Badass of his own TV show. The Penalty for Questioning this show's accuracy on real events is Death By Scorpions.
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-1427, a seemingly-featureless steele housed in Pyongyang. The steele constantly transmits electromagnetic pulses at the nearest approximately-20,000 humans to destroy their consciousness, and it will skip over humans who have already fallen victim to its effects but will keep trying to target humans in range who are immune to its effects, with humans who have authoritative-submissive qualities being immune to the artifact. With North Korea being home to 25 million people who exhibit such tendencies, the country serves as a prime location for housing the artifact in such a way that it won't wipe out human consciousness on a global scale. In fact, in order to uphold this containment procedure, the Foundation makes efforts to prop up the North Korean dictatorship, believing it to be Necessarily Evil; an alternative was proposed in which an artificial dictatorship consisting of D-class personnel (conscripts, mainly from prisons, who often serve as the Foundation's lab rats) would allow the Foundation to contain the artifact without enabling a real totalitarian government, but didn't gather enough support from the Foundation's Ethics Committee.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer: Archer and Lana are tasked with intercepting North Korean agents looking to purchase weapons-grade uranium in "The Honeymooners".

The North Korean flag
The flag reuses the standard red, white and blue colors of the Korean Empire, but with more prominence placed on the red (as reflected on its central placement), symbolizing the revolution, while the blue side stripes stand for sovereignty, peace and friendship, and the white fimbriations stands for unity; the red star on a white disk symbolizes communism, and later, after North Korea disassociated itself from post-Stalinist USSR, the juche philosophy.

Emblem of North Korea
Based on the 1948 emblem, the current emblem was adopted in 1993. The emblem includes a red star, the Sup'ung Dam, Mount Paektu, ears of rice and a red ribbon contain the full name of the country in Korean.

The North Korean anthem

아침은 빛나라 이 강산
은금에 자원도 가득한
삼천리 아름다운 내 조국
반만년 오랜 력사에

찬란한 문화로 자라난
슬기론 인민의 이 영광
몸과 맘 다 바쳐 이 조선
길이 받드세

백두산 기상을 다 안고
근로의 정신은 깃들어
진리로 뭉쳐진 억센 뜻
온 세계 앞서 나가리

솟는 힘 노도도 내밀어
인민의 뜻으로 선 나라
한없이 부강하는 이 조선
길이 빛내세

Shine bright, you dawn, on this land so fair,
The country of three thousand ri,
So rich in silver and in gold you are,
Five thousand years your history.

Our people ever were renowned and sage,
And rich in cultural heritage,
And as with heart and soul we strive,
Korea shall forever thrive!

And in the spirit of Mount Paektu,
With love of toil that shall never die,
With will of iron fostered by the truth,
We'll lead the whole world by and by.

We have the might to foil the angry sea,
Our land more prosperous still shall be,
As by the people's will we strive,
Korea shall forever thrive!

  • Unitary republic under a dominant single party dictatorship through the state-approve popular front with the Juche ideologynote  as the ideological basis
    • General Secretary of the Worker's Party of Korea and President of the State Affairs Commission: Kim Jong-un
    • Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly and First Vice President of the State Affairs Commission: Choe Ryong-hae
    • Vice President of the State Affairs Commission: Pak Pong-ju
    • Premier of the Cabinet: Kim Tok-hun
    • Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly: Pak Thae-song
    • Popular Front: Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea that has the Workers' Party of Korea in the dominant position along with minor parties such as Korean Social Democratic Party, Chondoist Chongu Partynote  and a Japan-based pro-Pyongyang resident organzation called Ch'ongryŏnnote 

  • Capital and largest city: Pyongyang (평양시)
  • Population: 25,549,604
  • Area: 120,540 km² (46,540 sq mi) (97th)
  • Currency: North Korean won (₩) (KPW)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: KP
  • Country calling code: 850
  • Internet country code: .kp
  • Highest point: Paektu-san (2744 m/9,003 ft) (80th)
  • Lowest points: East Seanote /Sea of Japan (12,276 ft/3,742 m) (-) and Yellow Sea (152 m/499 ft) (-)

North Korean society is shut down—animation suspended, all dead quiet on the set, endlessly awaiting not action (we hope) or even cameras, but light.

Alternative Title(s): Democratic Peoples Republic Of Korea