Portal:North Korea
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Portal:North Korea
The North Korea PortalThe North Korea Portal

Introduction

North Korea (Korean: ; MR: Chos?n or literally ; MR: Pukchos?n), officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or DPR Korea; Korean: , Chos?n Minjuju?i Inmin Konghwaguk), is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang as its capital and the largest city in the country. To the north and northwest, the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in Chinese) and Tumen rivers and to the south it is bordered by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. Nevertheless, North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands.

In 1910, Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan. At the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones, with the north occupied by the Soviet Union and the south occupied by the United States. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948, separate governments were formed: the socialist Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the capitalist Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950-1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, but no peace treaty was signed.

North Korea officially describes itself as a "self-reliant" socialist state, and formally holds elections, though they have been described by outside observers as sham elections. Outside observers also generally view North Korea as a Stalinist dictatorship, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around the Kim dynasty. The Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family, holds absolute power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members. Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution in 1972. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms. Most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded. From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 people, and the population continues to suffer malnutrition. North Korea follows Songun, or "military-first" policy. It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve and paramilitary personnel, or approximately 37% of its population. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, the United States and India; consisting of 4.7% of its population. It possesses nuclear weapons. In addition to being a member of the United Nations since 1991, North Korea is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, G77 and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

A 2014 UN inquiry into human rights in North Korea concluded that, "The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world". The North Korean regime strongly denies most allegations, accusing international organizations of fabricating human rights abuses as part of a smear campaign with the covert intention of undermining the state, although it admits that there are human rights issues relating to living conditions which it says it is attempting to correct. Read more...

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Olive-colored cover page of a book with red inscription. The text reads: "Kim Jong Il. On the Art of the Cinema. Pyongyang, Korea. 1989.

On the Art of the Cinema (Korean; MRY?nghwa yesul ron; lit. Film Art Theory) is a 1973 treatise by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. It is considered the most authoritative work on North Korean filmmaking.

The book sets forth several original theories, which can be applied to the practices of filmmaking, the arts, and beyond. Of these the theory of literature as "humanics" and the "seed theory" are the most important ones. Humanics centers on the question of a good and worthy life. In art, it emphasizes truly independent individuals who are capable of transforming society. The seed theory has become essential to North Korean film theory. It seeks to direct all artistic creation through a single ideological foundation, or "seed". In an individual work, the seed is the synthesis of its subject matter and idea and the basis of its propaganda message. These ideas complement the themes of nationalistic form and socialist content of films. Many ideas presented in the book are justifications for the creation of propaganda supporting the Workers' Party of Korea's policies.

On the Art of the Cinema had major political implications on Kim Jong-il's succession of Kim Il-sung. Kim Jong-il gained political and cultural influence in North Korean society and government by authoring the book. Read more...

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North Korea in the news

30 November 2019 - Japan-North Korea relations
In an insult-laden statement, North Korean media warn Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe that he "may see a real ballistic missile in the near future." (Reuters)
28 November 2019 -
South Korean army officials claim that North Korea launched two projectiles "from a super-large caliber multiple rocket launcher." (CNN)
18 November 2019 -
Japan opens its first military arms show, as it tries to improve its military technology to combat external threats from China and North Korea. (Reuters)
17 November 2019 - Japan-United States relations, Japan-North Korea relations
Japanese Defence Minister Tar? K?no tells his United States and South Korea counterparts that "no one could be optimistic about North Korea" after "they launched over 20 missiles so far this year". (Yahoo! News)

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