North Korea, whose official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, has been a country of interest to millions of people for many years. Because almost nothing is known about North Korea due to the closed regime in the country. For this reason, the myths and legends about North Korea are told as if they were real and accepted. However, we also have some information about this island country, which from time to time has interesting outlets in world politics, the veracity of which you are sure.
For example, North Korea was established on September 9, 1948 in the north of the Korean Peninsula with the support of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, much more interesting things are known about North Korea, which was isolated from the world for many years. Here are 17 surprising facts about North Korea that you probably haven’t heard of yet…
1. North Korea has been at war with South Korea since 1950.
II. With the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula became one of the battlefields of the US and the Soviet Union. At the end of this struggle, a US-led pro-Western South Korea was created in the south of the island, and a Soviet-led communist North Korea in the north.
The ultimate goal of both countries was the creation of a unified Korea. However, they advocated very different methods of unification. That is why in 1950 war broke out between the two countries.
By 1953, the sharp conflicts in the region subsided and the real war ended. However, an official peace treaty between the two countries was never signed. This is why the war between North and South Korea has technically been going on since 1950.
2. People don’t call themselves North Koreans
Because, in their opinion, there is only one legitimate government on the island and only one Korean people. Of course, they consider their own government to be the legitimate government and simply call themselves Koreans.
According to North Koreans, those who live in South Korea are also citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and therefore Koreans. But they are oppressed by an illegitimate government.
3. Run by the same family since inception
First leader of North Korea, World War II. It was Kim Il Sung who led the guerrilla war during World War II. Il Sen single-handedly ruled the country from 1948 until his death in 1994. During this time, he achieved the title of “Great Leader”. When Il Sung died, his son Kim Jong Il took over the government. Chen Il, on the other hand, ruled the country until his death in 2011 and was named “Dear Leader”. North Korea’s administration is now in the hands of Jong Il’s son, Kim Jong Un.
4. Not a communist country
One of the biggest misconceptions about North Korea is that the country is still ruled by communism. Yes, North Korea was founded many years ago around communist ideology. Today, however, they have largely abandoned this ideology.
So much so that almost everything related to communism was gradually removed from their constitutions until 2009. The country is governed by the Juche Doctrines created by Chen Il and established as the country’s official ideology.
5. North Korea has its own calendar
This calendar begins with 1912, the year Kim Il Sung was born.
6. One of the world’s largest art studios is located in North Korea.
In the capital, Pyongyang, there is a huge structure called the Mansudae Art Studio built on a 120,000 square meter site. The best artists of the country work in this institution.
7. The public does not have access to the Internet
In the country, only a few thousand people from the elite class can use the Internet. But even the Internet used by the elite is not the Internet we know. The elite can use North Korea’s “own internet” called Kwangmyong.
Of course, only government-approved sites can be accessed on this internet system. The only class in the country with real internet access are the propaganda or hacking units on behalf of the government.
8. The North Korean government claims the country has a 100% literacy rate.
9. Citizens of only two countries in the world can travel to North Korea without a visa
Malaysia and Singapore. Anyone who is not a citizen of these two countries must apply for a visa to visit North Korea and travel with a government-approved travel agency.
10. North Korea has the 4th largest army in the world
The number of active servicemen in the country is estimated at 1.21 million people. In other words, about 5 percent of the country’s population are soldiers! With paramilitaries and reserve troops also involved, the number of soldiers in the country is believed to be approaching 10 million.
11. Military service is compulsory for both women and men.
As of 2015, women in North Korea are also required to enlist at the age of 23. Men in the country are recruited from the age of 17 and their term of office is at least 10 years!
12. Pyongyang Metro, also a nuclear bunker
13. North Korea has its own space program
The country has been implementing a program for many years that includes various space missions, such as launching rockets and satellites into space. However, the question of how successful this program is is highly debatable.
14. There are only 4 TV channels in the country
These channels include a historical propaganda and news channel, two educational channels and a sports channel that broadcasts sporting events in the country.
15. Power outages happen quite often in North Korea.
Because the electricity infrastructure of the country is quite old. For this reason, power outages often occur throughout the country. Accordingly, many electrical appliances, especially televisions, are only allowed to be used during certain hours.
16. North Korea owes Sweden $300 million.
In the mid-1970s, important trade agreements were concluded between Sweden and North Korea. During this period, Sweden sent a thousand cars to North Korea with subsequent payment. This debt is still unpaid, and the Swedish government recalculates every year how much North Korea owes them with interest.
17. North Korea has very beautiful nature
The country especially attracts attention with its breathtaking mountain landscapes covered with dense forests.
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