Geography • North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a state in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. • Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. • The border between North Korea and South Korea is called the Korean Demilitarized Zone. • The Amnok River is the border between North Korea and China. The Tumen River in the extreme north-east is the border with Russia.
Brief History • The peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire until it was occupied by Japan following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. • It was divided into Russian and U.S. occupied zones in 1945, following World War II. • North Korea refused to participate in a United Nations-supervised election held in the south in 1948. • This led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones. • Both North and South Korea claim sovereignty over the entire peninsula and both were accepted as members of the UN in 1991.
Brief Politics • North Korea is a one party state.The country's government styles itself as following the Juche ideology of self-reliance, developed by Kim Il-sung, the country's former leader. • Though nominally a socialist republic, it is widely considered by the outside world to be a de facto totalitarian stalinistdictatorship. • The current leader is Kim Jong-il, the late president Kim Il-sung's son. • Following a major famine in the early 1990s, due partly to the collapse of the Soviet Union (previously a major economic partner), leader Kim Jong-il instigated the "Military-First" policy in 1995, increasing economic concentration on and support for the military.
Stalinism • Stalinism is a term that purportedly describes the political system of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from 1929–1953. • The term implies an inherently oppressive system of extensive government spying, extrajudicial punishment, and political "purging", or elimination of political opponents either by direct killing or through exile, • and it involves a state using extensive use of propaganda to establish a personality cult around an absolute dictator to maintain control over the nation's people and to maintain political control for the Communist Party.
Totalitarianism • Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a concept used to describe political systems whereby a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. • Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of an official all-embracing ideologyand propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that controls the state, personality cults, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics. • The term has been applied to many states, including: the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Socialist Republic of Romania, People's Socialist Republic of Albania,Ethiopia,People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Communist Czechoslovakia.
Juche • The Juche Idea (Korean: 주체사상, Chuch'eSasang) is the official state ideology of North Korea and the political system based on it. • The doctrine is a component part of Kimilsungism, the North Korean term for Kim Il-sung's family regime. • Juche literally means "main body" or "subject"; it has also been translated in North Korean sources as "independent stand" and the "spirit of self-reliance". • Zimbabwe is another country that follows this system.
Juche’s Practical Application • According to Kim Jong-il'sOn the Juche Idea, the application of Juche in state policy entails the following: • The people must have independence (chajusong) in thought and politics, economic self-sufficiency, and self-reliance in defense. • Policy must reflect the will and aspirations of the masses and employ them fully in revolution and construction. • Methods of revolution and construction must be suitable to the situation of the country. • The most important work of revolution and construction is molding people ideologically as communists and mobilizing them to constructive action. • The Juche outlook also requires absolute loyalty to the party and leader. In North Korea, these are the Workers' Party of Korea and Kim Jong-il, respectively.
Kim Jong Il • PresidentKim Il-sung died 8 July 1994, at age 82 of a heart attack. He was not replaced as President, and received the designation of "Eternal President”. • The active position has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung. • Kim Jong-il officially took the titles of General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and chairman of the National Defense Commission on 8 October 1997. • In 1998, his Defense Commission position was declared to be "the highest post of the state", so Kim may be regarded as North Korea's head of state from that date. • Since Kim is not the president, he is not constitutionally required to hold elections to confirm his legitimacy and has not done so.