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DPRK (NORTH KOREA): DPRK IS A MISNOMER FOR NORTH KOREA

PROFILE: dprk / NORTH KOREA


Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("DPRK") is the official name Kim Il Sung gave to North Korea. Since DPRK is neither democratic nor a republic nor belongs to the people, the "D", the "P" and the "R" in DPRK are misnomers.

Geographically, the Pacific Ocean lies to the east and west of DPRK. To the south is the heavily mined, militarized border with South Korea, and to the north is China. DPRK also shares a short 12 mile border with Russia at its northeastern tip.

Seventy-eight percent of DPRK is mountainous. The highest point is Mount Paektu, which borders China and peaks at 9,002 feet above the sea level. DPRK's main rivers are the Yalu and the Tumen, which comprise the northern border with China and Russia, as well as the Taedong and the Imjin rivers further to the south.

There are nine provinces in DPRK, whose capital city is Pyongyang, located in South Pyongan province, about 25 miles from the east coast and half way between its north and southern borders.

DPRK is a small, extremely poor country. It's 46,528 square mile land mass ranks it the world's 98th largest country. Its population of 24 million makes it the world's 48th most populous country, while its per capita GDP of $1,200 ranks 150th in the world.

But the DPRK military is quite another story.

DPRK has the world's 4th largest army, with 1.1 million active duty soldiers, including the world's largest 100,000 special forces troops, as well as 5 million reserves, the world's 3rd largest. A majority of the active duty units are already in formation for a southern invasion, which wouldn't require troop redeployment.

The minimum age for the draft is 17 years and the draftees are required to serve 10 years. Roughly one-fifth of all North Korean men are on active duty at any given time. The minimum height is only 4 feet 2 inches, reflective of the country's poor diet.

The army has 21,000 artillery pieces, the third most in the world, about half of which are aimed at Seoul. It also has 16,000 surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, the world's 4th largest stockpile, as well as the world's 4th largest submarine fleet, albeit mostly comprised of World War II era submersibles.

DPRK is a nuclear power, has large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and is developing long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology.