Scratch beneath the propaganda-covered surface of North Korea and you’ll find that there’s far more to the world’s most secretive state than its public image of strict regime, controlled media and elaborate military parades.Read more...
North Korea - At a glance
North Korea at a glance
Location Northeast Asia: China and Russia are along the northern borders; South Korea (the Republic of Korea, ROK) to the south; Japan to the east
Climate Long, cold winters; short, hot, humid and rainy summers
Main towns Kaesong, Wonsan, Hamhung, Nampo, Chongjin, Kangye, Sinuiju
Currency Won; North Korean Won is referred to as KPW (1 won = 100 chon); for up-to-date exchange rates, go to www.xe.com.
Official language Korean
(Photo: The tomb of King Kong Min near Kaesong © Eric Lafforgue, www.ericlafforgue.com)
Ethnic divisions Racially homogeneous; there is a very small Chinese community.
Type of government Authoritarian socialist dictatorship
International telephone code +850
Time GMT +9
Weights and measures Metric
Electricity 220v, 60Hz
Flag Three horizontal bands, blue–red–blue, with thin white lines dividing them; off-centre-left of the red band is a white circle with a red, five-pointed star.
Public holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day), 16 February (Kim Jong Il’s birthday), 15 April (Kim Il Sung’s birthday), 25 April (Army Day), 1 May (May Day), 8 July (Memorial day to Kim Il Sung’s death), 27 July (Victory Day), 15 August (Independence from Japan Day), 9 September (Republic Foundation Day), 10 October (Korean Workers’ Party Foundation Day), 27 December (Constitution Day)
Important commemoration days 20 February (Machine Workers’ Day), 5 March (Farmers’ Day), 8 March (International Women’s Day), 22 March (Fishermen’s Day), 5 April (Public Health Day), 6 April (Reforestation Day), 8 April (Communications Day), 11 May (Railway Day), 15 May (Geological Survey Day), 21 May (Builders’ Day), 1 June (International Children’s Day), 6 June (Day of the Foundation of Korean Children’s Union), 7 June (Local Industry Day), 1 July (Miners’ Day), 7 July (Coal-Miners’ Day), 10 August (Forestry Workers’ Day), 20 August (Air Force Day), 28 August (Navy Day and Youth Day), 5 September (City Administration Day), 15 September (Commerce Day), 9 October (Metal Workers’ Day), 14 October (Broadcasting Workers’ Day), 15 October (Textile Industry Day), 1 November (Press Day), 16 November (Land and Marine Transport Day), 6 December (Chemical Industry Day).