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An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to KIM Jong Un and Jong Un has begun to assume his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea's history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community. The regime has marked 2012, the centenary of KIM Il Sung's birth, a banner year; to that end, the country has heightened its focus on developing its economy and improving its people's livelihoods.


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Airports World Ranking: 71
81 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 39
Over 3,047 m 3
2,438 to 3,047 m 22
1,524 to 2,437 m 8
914 to 1,523 m 2
Under 914 m 4 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 42
2,438 to 3,047 m 3
1,524 to 2,437 m 17
914 to 1,523 m 14
Under 914 m 8 (2012)

23 (2012)

Oil 154 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 33
Total 5,242 km
Standard gauge
5,242 km 1.435-m gauge (3,500 km electrified) (2009)

Roadways World Ranking: 104
Total 25,554 km
Paved 724 km
Unpaved 24,830 km (2006)

Waterways World Ranking: 38
2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 37
Total 158
By type
Bulk carrier 6, cargo 131, carrier 1, chemical tanker 1, container 4, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 2
13 (Belgium 1, China 3, Nigeria 1, Singapore 1, South Korea 1, Syria 4, UAE 2)
Registered in other countries
6 (Mongolia 1, Sierra Leone 2, unknown 3) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Namp'o, Senbong, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan


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  North Korea (Pyongyang):

  GPS points from North Korea (Pyongyang)

Ch'osan-dong North Korea (general)

Soru Semu Hamgyong-namdo

Pukjung P Yongan-bukto

Man-dong Hwanghae-namdo

Ha-dong Chagang-do

Sae-dong Hamgyong-bukto

Wolsan-ni North Korea (general)

Kwanghyon-bong Kangwon-do
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