50 Important Facts About North Korea

Last updated on March 4th, 2020

27. There is only one ISP in North Korea. And there is just one cable linking the internet in North Korea. This is an intentional design to maintain complete access when there is only one route to access and send information.

28. North Korea has just 1,024 IP addresses, while countries like the U.S. have 1,541,605,760.

29. There is a ‘three generations of punishment policy’ in North Korea. The offender, along with his next two generations, has to bear the consequences of the offense.

30. North Korean workers enjoy virtually no free time. They have to work six days a week, with the seventh day spent doing ‘enforced’ voluntary work.

31. To date, the North Korean space program has experienced a success rate of only 20%.

32. North Korea has a propaganda city, built in the 1950s, which has no actual residents. The aim to build such a city close to its southern borders was to defect South Korean people. The city has some empty buildings, while others are just empty concrete shells.

33. North Korea also houses the world’s largest flagpole. It holds the North Korean flag.

34. Most ordinary North Koreans eat ‘corn-rice’ as their staple food.

35. There are a total of 25,554 km of roads in North Korea, but only 724 km are paved.

36. North Korea is an East Asian country consisting of the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Russia, China, and South Korea are its closest borders.[1]

37. Did you know that there is a heavily Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea? This zone acts as a buffer zone between the two countries. The zone is about 250 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide.[2]

North Korea facts
The Demilitarized Zone in Korea. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

38. The northern part is known as the socialists Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the southern part is known as the capitalist Republic of Korea.[1]

39. Between 1994 and 1998 a famine in North Korea resulted in the deaths of between 240,000 and 420,000 people.[1]

40. North Korea is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel. They follow Songun (“military first”) policy.[1]

41. The country has the fourth largest strength of active duty personal behind China, the United States, and India.[1]

42. After Japan’s surrender in World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two zones. The northern part was occupied by the Soviet Union and the Southern part was occupied by the United States. The partition divided the country into approximately two halves and the capital of the Korean Peninsula fell under the American control. However, both the forces withdrew from northern and southern regions in 1948 and 1949 respectively.[1]

43. Between 1950 and 1953, the region was under the effects of a war, which was predominantly started by North Korea when it invaded the south on June 25, 1950. The United States intervened and supported South Korea while China intervened and supported North Korea and the war came to a complete halt on 27 July 1953.[1,7]

44. Malaysia and Singapore are the only two countries in the world that are allowed via free travel to North Korea. However, the visa-free stay is allowed up to a maximum of 30 days.[3]

45. Sadly, malnutrition affects a shocking amount of children in North Korea. It is estimated that at least 28% of the kids fewer than 5 years of age have stunted growth.[4,6]

46. One soldier that tried to defect North Korea was shot by his fellow soldiers five times as he made his escape. When he was rushed to the hospital, the surgeons made a shocking discovery when they revealed that he had white worms, some of which reached 11 inches long. It is estimated that it costs approximately $8,000 to defect from North Korea.[4]

47. North Korea (120,538 square kilometers) is about the size of Pennsylvania (119,279 square kilometers).

48. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, North Korea is among the top ten most corrupt countries in the world.[5]

49. According to the CIA, North Korea has a 100% literacy rate.[6]

50. On December 17, 2011 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (the second Supreme Leader of North Korea) died at the age of 69.[7]

North Korea – the country at a glance

Independence15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National anthem"Aegukka" (Patriotic Song)
Capital CityPyongyang
(39°2′N 125°45′E)
Largest CityPyongyang
(39°2′N 125°45′E)
Total area120,538 sq km
Population25,643,466 (July 2020 est.)
Population growth rate0.51% (2020 est.)
Official LanguageKorean
Government typecommunist state
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-un
Suffrage17 years of age; universal
Literacy rate100%
BordersChina, Russia, South Korea
CurrencyNorth Korean won (₩) (KPW)
ReligionBuddhism
DemonymNorth Korean, Korean
Life expectancy71.6 years (2020)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Industriesmilitary products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
Exports$222 million (2018)
minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products
Imports$2.32 billion (2018 est.)
petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,700 (2015 est.)
National symbolsred star, chollima (winged horse)
National colorsred, white, blue
Terrainmostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
Mean elevation600 m
Lowest pointSea of Japan 0 m
Highest pointPaektu-san 2,744 m
Climatetemperate, with rainfall concentrated in summer; long, bitter winters
Natural resourcescoal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
Agricultural land21.8%
Birth rate14.5 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate9.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio0.945 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Time ZonePyongyang Time (UTC+8:30)
Calling Code+850
Drives on theRight
Railwaystotal: 7,435 km
Airportstotal - 82
paved - 39
unpaved - 43
Table last updatedMarch 30, 2020