Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Short for KP on ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, North Korea has been called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1948. The state comprises a narrow part of the Korean peninsula bordering China and Russia, which is part of the East Asian mainland mass, and the Korean peninsula up to the 38th parallel, the border with South Korea. It is a mountain and hill country rich in relics, the highest point is 2744 m high. The west side of the Korean peninsula has larger hills and basins as well as shallower coastal areas. The economically usable areas of North Korea are located around the capital Pyongyang.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The economy, which has been controlled by a central planning commission since 1945, had primarily expanded the heavy industry with iron and steel products. After the partition of Korea, however, the communist planned economy in North Korea failed. The country is in a deep economic crisis. The standard of living is very low.

The Korean peninsula forms the land bridge between the East Asian mainland and the Asian island kingdom. It lies between the Japanese and the Yellow Sea. The Korean Strait separates them from the Japanese islands.

Since 1945 the country has been divided into a communist state in the north, North Korea, and a capitalist state in the south, South Korea. The demarcation line along the 38th parallel is the southern limit of North Korea. It covers the narrow part of the Korean peninsula bordering China and Russia. The capital is Pyongyang.

Important data about the country

Surface: 120,538 km²
Residents: 22.8 million
Population density: 189 residents / km²
Growth of population: 0.5% / year
Life expectancy: 63 years
State capital: Pyongyang
Form of government: People’s Democratic Republic
Languages: Korean, Russian (business language), Chinese (business language)
Religions: Non-denominational 70%, Korean religions with shamanic characteristics 15%, Chondokyo religions 13%, Buddhists 1.5%, Christians form a minority
Climate: cool temperate continental climate, subtropical climate
Land use: Arable land 18.7%, forest 74.4%
Economic sectors
(share of employees):
Agriculture 30%, industry 34%, services 36%
Export goods: Textiles, metals, food and live animals
Gross domestic product: 16,400 million US $ (2002)
Gross National Product: US $ 706 / resident (2001)

Surface shape

More than three quarters of the area of ​​Korea is mountainous and hilly. It is heavy and difficult to manage. In the north of the country, the east Manchurian mountain range stretches from southwest to northeast. Over a 2500 m high plateau it meets the volcanic area of ​​the 2744 high Paektusan, the highest mountain in North Korea on the border with China. The narrow east coast is poorly structured. In contrast, the broad west side of Korea is structured by low mountain and hill countries as well as shallow coasts and alluvial zones.


The longest river is the Jalu with a length of 790 km. It is the border river between North Korea and China. Numerous tributaries of the Jalu arise in the mountains and are z. T. dammed up for hydropower generation. The capital of North Korea, Pyongyang, lies on the Taedong River, which flows into the Yellow Sea on the country’s flat west coast.


The climate is influenced by the monsoons. Korea lies in the transition area between the continental area in the north and the extra-tropical climate in the extreme south of North Korea. The northern part has a cool, moderate climate. The summers are hot and humid, in winter it is exposed to the cold and dry winter monsoons from the strong cold peaks of Eastern Siberia. Temperatures exceed 20 °C in summer and drop below 0 °C in winter. The main rainy season is from June to September. The growing season is relatively short at 28-32 weeks and only allows the cultivation of summer cereals. In the central area of ​​the Korean peninsula, the climatic conditions are more favorable. In July the values ​​rise to an average of 25 °C.

North Korea


Two thirds of the area of ​​Korea is covered by extensive forests. Coniferous forests predominate in the north and in the mountains. The naturally rich forests were heavily exploited by the Japanese during the colonial period and reduced by the destruction of the war. Systematic afforestation has been carried out since 1954. The vast plains in the south of North Korea and on the west coast around Pyongyang are the main agricultural areas.


As a communist people’s republic, North Korea pursued a conscious policy of isolation from the outside world. The ideology of “Juche” founded by the head of state KIM IL SUNG (died 1994) shapes all areas of social life. “Juche” includes the return to and exclusive trust in the strength of the Korean people as well as the worship of one person, the “great leader”.

This ideology has taken on pseudo-religious traits and declared that 70% of the population are officially considered non-religious or atheist. Around 15% profess the traditional Korean religion with a shamanistic character. Buddhists and Christians are small religious minorities.

Economy Development since 1946

In contrast to South Korea, the north of the country was industrialized during the Japanese colonial era and was significantly richer than the south. The division of Korea into two states reversed the situation. The economy of North Korea has been controlled by a central planning commission since 1946, but the communist planned economy failed. The collapse of the Eastern Bloc or the USSR between 1989 and 1991 meant the loss of North Korea’s most important economic partners. In addition, there was the end of all support from the USSR. The economic situation has deteriorated since 1990 and has worsened since the mid-1990’s.

North Korea is currently in a serious economic crisis. Many companies are out of date and their products are not internationally competitive. When there was famine in the 1990’s, the situation was exacerbated by the export of food ordered by the government.


North Korea has rich raw material deposits such as coal and lignite, various ores, graphite, gold and cadmium. In 1946, the centrally planned economy pushed the expansion of heavy industry with ore smelting, machine and vehicle construction, as well as the chemical industry and shipbuilding.

In recent years, an inadequate energy supply and problems with the delivery of raw materials and intermediate products have led to production closures.

The consumer goods industry has only been increasingly developed since the 1970’s. The most important trading partners nowadays are Japan, Russia and China. The import volume is twice as large as the export volume of the country, so that deficits arise in the economic balance.


20% of the land area is used by agriculture. About 30% of North Korea’s workforce is employed in nearly 4,000 manufacturing cooperatives. Because of the short vegetation period, only summer cereals can be grown in the north. Rice, corn, soybeans, potatoes, cotton and tobacco can also be grown in the more southern regions. The cultivation of ginseng roots and the cultivation of silkworms are export-oriented. Fishing is of great importance for feeding the population.

Only a small part of the roads in North Korea is paved. There is an international airport in Pyongyang, while larger seaports are on the Japanese and Yellow Seas.


Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC BC: Immigration of the Koreans to the peninsula.

Until the end of the 19th century: Isolation of the Korean empires.

1904/1905: Korea becomes a Japanese protectorate.

1945: With the end of the Second World War, the Japanese colonial era ends. Soviet troops occupy the north of the country, US units the south. The line of demarcation is the 38th parallel. The Cold War between the US and the USSR led to the partition of Korea. Free elections only take place in the south.

08/15/1949: Constitution of the Republic of Korea in the South
09/09/1948: Proclamation of the People’s Republic of Korea in the North
1950–1953:After troops withdrew from the USA and the USSR:
Korean War. The connections between North and South Korea will be completely broken.

February 1992: Ratification of a reconciliation treaty between the two countries with non-aggression, exchange and cooperation.

Mid-June 2000: The heads of state of both countries meet for the first time.