23.11 million (July 2006 estimate)
Border countries: China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km. Mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated.
arable land: 22.4%
permanent crops: 1.66%
other: 75.94% (2005)
Traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (religion of the Heavenly Way). Autonomous religious activities are now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups reportedly exist to provide illusion of religious freedom.
Racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese.
Communist state one-man dictatorship
Purchasing power parity -- $40 billion (2005 estimate)
Aug. 15, 1945 from Japan
military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles; food processing; tourism
coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, cattle, pigs, pork, eggs
China 45.6%, South Korea 20.2%, Japan 12.9% (2004)
North Korean won (KPW)
$5 billion (FY 2002)
Under the terms of the 1994 Agreed Framework, a treaty signed by North Korea and the United States, North Korea halted construction of a 200 megawatt nuclear reactor at Taechon. The reactor would have been on line by 1996. Global digital imagery confirmed that North Korea had not resumed work on the facility as of April 2005, but published reports from Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper claim work resumed around June 2005.
The United States agreed to build two light-water nuclear power reactors here under the 1994 Agreed Framework. The $4.6 billion project started in 1997. South Korea, the United States, Japan and the European Union formed a group to implement the construction.
In November 2003, construction halted because North Korea failed to meet the conditions of the treaty and stop its nuclear program.
The Yongbyon Nuclear Complex has 390 buildings and an estimated staff of 2,000. It is the largest nuclear facility in the country. Yongbyon's nuclear technology includes a 5 megawatt nuclear research reactor, a 50 megawatt reactor under construction, a plutonium reprocessing facility and a nuclear fuel rod fabrication plant.
Pyongyang is the site of two colleges of nuclear physics that train most of North Korea's nuclear weapons researchers and scientists. The schools are the College of Nuclear Physics at Kim Il-Song University and the College of Nuclear Physics within Kim Cha'ek University of Technology.
On Oct. 9, 2006, North Korea's state news agency announced the country successfully conducted an underground nuclear test. The test was later confirmed at this site.
Prior to the test, there were reports of suspicious activity outside P'unggye-yok, including vehicle movement and unloading of large reels of cable.