North Korea

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Mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west, discontinuous in east


Temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer


Nationality: Korean(s)
Population: 24,720,407 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Korean


Traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way) Note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom


North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power out-put have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels.

Living Conditions

Little is known about North Korea in the United States, or in the world for that matter; except for the rare but striking news story about its international terrorism, the nuclear arms threat, and the devastating famine of recent years, nothing substantial is known about North Korea. This is due to the nation's strict closed-country policy: not many outsiders have visited there and not many North Koreans have traveled to the outside world.


Communist state one-man dictatorship

US Military Presence/Support

Most forms of U.S. economic assistance, other than purely humanitarian assistance, are prohibited. North Korea has at times experienced periods of famine, and the United States has provided food aid. The United States has also assisted U.S. NGOs in providing aid to fight the outbreak of infectious diseases and to improve the supply of electricity at provincial hospitals in North Korea.





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