For decades North Korea has been one of the world’s most secretive societies. It is one of the few countries still under nominally communist rule.
North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have exacerbated its rigidly maintained isolation from the rest of the world.
The country emerged in 1948 amid the chaos following the end of the Second World War. Its history is dominated by its Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, who shaped political affairs for almost half a century.
Decades of this rigid state-controlled system have led to stagnation and a leadership dependent on the cult of personality. The totalitarian state also stands accused of systematic human rights abuses.
- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- Capital: Pyongyang
- Population 24.5 million (UN, 2012)
- Major language Korean
- Major religions Mainly atheist or non-religious, traditional beliefs
- Life expectancy 66 years (men), 72 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit Won
- Internet domain .kp