Home

North Korea vs. China

Introduction

North KoreaChina
Background"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 2010.
Following KIM Jong Il's death in 2011, KIM Jong Un quickly assumed power and has now taken on most of his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has faced chronic food shortages. In recent years, the North’s domestic agricultural production has increased, but still falls far short of producing sufficient food to provide for its entire population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but has made few other efforts to meet its goal of improving the overall standard of living. 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, 2009, 2013, and 2016; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community and have limited the DPRK’s international engagement, particularly economically. The regime abides by a policy calling for the simultaneous development of its nuclear weapons program and its economy.
"
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO's successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.

Geography

North KoreaChina
LocationEastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Geographic coordinates40 00 N, 127 00 E
35 00 N, 105 00 E
Map referencesAsia
Asia
Areatotal: 120,538 sq km
land: 120,408 sq km
water: 130 sq km
total: 9,596,960 sq km
land: 9,326,410 sq km
water: 270,550 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than Virginia; slightly smaller than Mississippi
slightly smaller than the US
Land boundariestotal: 1,607 km
border countries (3): China 1,352 km, South Korea 237 km, Russia 18 km
total: 22,457 km
border countries (14): Afghanistan 91 km, Bhutan 477 km, Burma 2,129 km, India 2,659 km, Kazakhstan 1,765 km, North Korea 1,352 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,063 km, Laos 475 km, Mongolia 4,630 km, Nepal 1,389 km, Pakistan 438 km, Russia (northeast) 4,133 km, Russia (northwest) 46 km, Tajikistan 477 km, Vietnam 1,297 km
regional border(s) (2): Hong Kong 33 km, Macau 3 km
Coastline2,495 km
14,500 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
note: military boundary line 50 nm in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and aircraft without permission are banned
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climatetemperate, with rainfall concentrated in summer; long, bitter winters
extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Terrainmostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 600 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m
mean elevation: 1,840 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level)
Natural resourcescoal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest), arable land
Land useagricultural land: 21.8%
arable land 19.5%; permanent crops 1.9%; permanent pasture 0.4%
forest: 46%
other: 32.2% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 54.7%
arable land 11.3%; permanent crops 1.6%; permanent pasture 41.8%
forest: 22.3%
other: 23% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land14,600 sq km (2012)
690,070 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardslate spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall
volcanism: Changbaishan (elev. 2,744 m) (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu or P'aektu-san), on the Chinese border, is considered historically active
frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
volcanism: China contains some historically active volcanoes including Changbaishan (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu, or P'aektu-san), Hainan Dao, and Kunlun although most have been relatively inactive in recent centuries
Environment - current issueswater pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US) and largest country situated entirely in Asia; Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak above sea level
Population distributionpopulation concentrated in the plains and lowlands; least populated regions are the mountainous provinces adjacent to the Chinese border; largest concentrations are in the western provinces, particularly the municipal district of Pyongyang, and around Hungnam and Wonsan in the east
overwhelming majority of the population is found in the eastern half of the country; the west, with its vast mountainous and desert areas, remains sparsely populated; though ranked first in the world in total population, overall density is less than that of many other countries in Asia and Europe; high population density is found along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, the Xi Jiang River delta, the Sichuan Basin (around Chengdu), in and around Beijing, and the industrial area around Shenyang

Demographics

North KoreaChina
Population25,115,311 (July 2016 est.)
1,373,541,278 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 20.97% (male 2,678,638/female 2,588,744)
15-24 years: 15.88% (male 2,009,360/female 1,977,942)
25-54 years: 44.22% (male 5,567,682/female 5,537,077)
55-64 years: 9.19% (male 1,090,739/female 1,218,406)
65 years and over: 9.74% (male 840,003/female 1,606,720) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 17.1% (male 126,732,020/female 108,172,771)
15-24 years: 13.27% (male 97,126,460/female 85,135,228)
25-54 years: 48.42% (male 339,183,101/female 325,836,319)
55-64 years: 10.87% (male 75,376,730/female 73,859,424)
65 years and over: 10.35% (male 67,914,015/female 74,205,210) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 33.8 years
male: 32.3 years
female: 35.4 years (2016 est.)
total: 37.1 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 38.1 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.53% (2016 est.)
0.43% (2016 est.)
Birth rate14.6 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
12.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.3 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
7.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.15 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.17 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 22.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 12.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 70.4 years
male: 66.6 years
female: 74.5 years (2016 est.)
total population: 75.5 years
male: 73.5 years
female: 77.9 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.96 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.6 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
0.1% (2012 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese
Ethnic groupsracially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
Han Chinese 91.6%, Zhuang 1.3%, other (includes Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai and other nationalities) 7.1%
note: the Chinese Government officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups (2010 est.)
Religionstraditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)
note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom
Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, folk religion 21.9%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 52.2%
note: officially atheist (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
NA
LanguagesKorean
Standard Chinese or Mandarin (official; Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
note: Zhuang is official in Guangxi Zhuang, Yue is official in Guangdong, Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.4%
male: 98.2%
female: 94.5% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2015)
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2015)
Education expendituresNA
NA
Urbanizationurban population: 60.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 55.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.05% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.4% of population
total: 99.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.6% of population
total: 0.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97.5% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 95.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.5% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 4.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 87.9% of population
rural: 72.5% of population
total: 81.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 12.1% of population
rural: 27.5% of population
total: 18.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 86.6% of population
rural: 63.7% of population
total: 76.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13.4% of population
rural: 36.3% of population
total: 23.5% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationPYONGYANG (capital) 2.863 million (2015)
Shanghai 23.741 million; BEIJING (capital) 20.384 million; Chongqing 13.332 million; Guangdong 12.458 million; Tianjin 11.21 million; Shenzhen 10.749 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate82 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
27 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight15.2% (2012)
3.4% (2010)
Physicians density2.78 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
1.49 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
Hospital bed density13.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
3.8 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate2.5% (2014)
7.3% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 44.3
youth dependency ratio: 30.5
elderly dependency ratio: 13.8
potential support ratio: 7.3 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 36.6
youth dependency ratio: 23.5
elderly dependency ratio: 13
potential support ratio: 7.7 (2015 est.)

Government

North KoreaChina
Country name"conventional long form: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
conventional short form: North Korea
local long form: Choson-minjujuui-inmin-konghwaguk
local short form: Choson
abbreviation: DPRK
etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the North Korean name ""Choson"" means ""[Land of the] Morning Calm""
"
"conventional long form: People's Republic of China
conventional short form: China
local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
local short form: Zhongguo
abbreviation: PRC
etymology: English name derives from the Qin (Chin) rulers of the 3rd century B.C., who comprised the first imperial dynasty of ancient China; the Chinese name Zhongguo translates as ""Central Nation""
"
Government typecommunist state
communist state
Capitalname: Pyongyang
geographic coordinates: 39 01 N, 125 45 E
time difference: UTC+8.5 (13.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
note: on 15 August 2015, North Korea reverted to UTC+8.5, a time zone that had been observed during pre-colonial times
"name: Beijing
geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
note: despite its size, all of China falls within one time zone; many people in Xinjiang Province observe an unofficial ""Xinjiang time zone"" of UTC+6, two hours behind Beijing
"
Administrative divisions9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 2 cities (si, singular and plural)
provinces: Chagang, Hambuk (North Hamgyong), Hamnam (South Hamgyong), Hwangbuk (North Hwanghae), Hwangnam (South Hwanghae), Kangwon, P'yongbuk (North Pyongan), P'yongnam (South Pyongan), Ranggang
cities: P'yongyang, Rason
note: Rason is sometimes designated as a special city and P'yongyang as a capital city
23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)
provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)
autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang (Tibet)
municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau
Independence15 August 1945 (from Japan)
1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)
National holidayFounding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
National Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949)
Constitutionprevious 1948, 1972; latest adopted 1998 (during KIM Jong Il era); revised 2009, 2012, 2013 (2016)
several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982; amended several times, last in 2004 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system based on the Prussian model; system influenced by Japanese traditions and Communist legal theory
civil law influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; note - criminal procedure law revised in early 2012
Suffrage17 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: KIM Jong Un (since 17 December 2011)
head of government: Premier PAK Pong Ju (since 2 April 2013); Vice Premiers JON Kwant Ho (since 17 January 2017), RI Ju O (since 29 June 2016), RI Ryong Nam (since 29 June 2016), KO In Ho (since 29 June 2016), IM Chol Ung (since 29 May 2014), KIM Tok Hun (since 19 June 2013), RI Mu Yong (since 31 May 2011), RO Tu Chol (since 3 September 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet or Naegak members appointed by the Supreme People's Assembly except the Minister of People's Armed Forces
elections/appointments: chief of state and premier indirectly elected by the Supreme People's Assembly; election last held on 9 March 2014 (next election NA)
election results: KIM Jong Un elected unopposed
note: the Korean Workers' Party continues to list deceased leaders KIM Il Sung and KIM Jong Il as Eternal President and Eternal General Secretary respectively
chief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President LI Yuanchao (since 14 March 2013)
head of government: Premier LI Keqiang (since 16 March 2013); Executive Vice Premiers ZHANG Gaoli (since 16 March 2013), LIU Yandong (since 16 March 2013), MA Kai (since 16 March 2013), WANG Yang (since 16 March 2013)
cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 5-17 March 2013 (next to be held in March 2018); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress
election results: XI Jinping elected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,952 ; LI Yuanchao elected vice president with 2,940 votes
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the Korean Workers' Party selects all candidates
elections: last held on 9 March 2014 (next to be held in March 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; ruling party approves a list of candidates who are elected without opposition; a token number of seats are reserved for minor parties
description: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (2,987 seats; members indirectly elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and the People's Liberation Army; members serve 5-year terms); note - in practice, only members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its 8 allied parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected
elections: last held in December 2012-February 2013 (next to be held in late 2017 to early 2018)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - 2,987
Judicial branch"highest court(s): Supreme Court or Central Court (consists of the chief justice and 2 ""People's Assessors"" and for some cases, 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Supreme People's Assembly for 5-year terms
subordinate courts: provincial, municipal, military, special courts; people' courts (lowest level)
"
highest court(s): Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges including the chief justice, 13 grand justices organized into a civil committee and tribunals for civil, economic, administrative, complaint and appeal, and communication and transportation cases)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the People's National Congress (NPC); term limited to 2 consecutive 5-year terms; other justices and judges nominated by the chief justice and appointed by the Standing Committee of the NPC; term of other justices and judges determined by the NPC
subordinate courts: Higher People's Courts; Intermediate People's Courts; District and County People's Courts; Autonomous Region People's Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues
note: in late 2014, China unveiled planned judicial reforms
Political parties and leadersmajor party: Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Jong Un]
minor parties: Chondoist Chongu Party (under KWP control)
Social Democratic Party [KIM Yong Dae] (under KWP control)
Chinese Communist Party or CCP [XI Jinping]
note: China has eight nominally independent small parties ultimately controlled by the CCP
Political pressure groups and leadersnone
no substantial political opposition groups exist
International organization participationARF, FAO, G-77, ICAO, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, IMO, IMSO, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, CDB, CICA, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-5, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USnone; North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
chief of mission: Ambassador CUI Tiankai (since 3 April 2013)
chancery: 3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 495-2266
FAX: [1] (202) 495-2138
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USnone; note - Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires David A. RANK (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: 55 An Jia Lou Lu, 100600 Beijing
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 50, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [86] (10) 8531-3000
FAX: [86] (10) 8531-3300
consulate(s) general: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of blue (top), red (triple width), and blue; the red band is edged in white; on the hoist side of the red band is a white disk with a red five-pointed star; the broad red band symbolizes revolutionary traditions; the narrow white bands stand for purity, strength, and dignity; the blue bands signify sovereignty, peace, and friendship; the red star represents socialism
red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner; the color red represents revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of China
National anthem"name: ""Aegukka"" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: PAK Se Yong/KIM Won Gyun
note: adopted 1947; both North Korea's and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics; the North Korean anthem is also known as ""Ach'imun pinnara"" (Let Morning Shine)
"
"name: ""Yiyongjun Jinxingqu"" (The March of the Volunteers)
lyrics/music: TIAN Han/NIE Er
note: adopted 1949; the anthem, though banned during the Cultural Revolution, is more commonly known as ""Zhongguo Guoge"" (Chinese National Song); it was originally the theme song to the 1935 Chinese movie, ""Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm""
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)red star, chollima (winged horse); national colors: red, white, blue
dragon; national colors: red, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of North Korea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen of China
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: while naturalization is theoretically possible, in practical terms it is extremely difficult; residency is required but not specified

Economy

North KoreaChina
Economy - overviewNorth Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending and development of its ballistic missile and nuclear program severely draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power outputs have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel.

The mid 1990s were marked by severe famine and widespread starvation. Significant food aid was provided by the international community through 2009. Since that time, food assistance has declined significantly. In the last few years, domestic corn and rice production has been somewhat better, although domestic production does not fully satisfy demand. A large portion of the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed semi-private markets to begin selling a wider range of goods, allowing North Koreans to partially make up for diminished public distribution system rations. It also implemented changes in the management process of communal farms in an effort to boost agricultural output.

In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. A concurrent crackdown on markets and foreign currency use yielded severe shortages and inflation, forcing Pyongyang to ease the restrictions by February 2010. In response to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, South Korea’s government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities. In February 2016, South Korea ceased its remaining bilateral economic activity by closing the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test a month earlier. This nuclear test and another in September 2016 resulted in two United Nations Security Council Resolutions that targeted North Korea’s foreign currency earnings, particularly coal and other mineral exports. Over the last decade, China has been North Korea’s primary trading partner.

The North Korean government continues to stress its goal of improving the overall standard of living, but has taken few steps to make that goal a reality for its populace. In 2016, the regime used two mass mobilizations — one totaling 70 days and another 200 days — to spur the population to increase production and complete construction projects quickly. The regime released a five-year economic development strategy in May 2016 that outlined plans for promoting growth across sectors. Firm political control remains the government’s overriding concern, which likely will inhibit formal changes to North Korea’s current economic system.
"Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phase-out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state-support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2016 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, China in July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing allowed resumption of a gradual liberalization. In 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced it would continue to carefully push for full convertibility of the renminbi after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF’s special drawing rights basket. After engaging in one-way, large-scale intervention to resist appreciation of the RMB for a decade, China’s 2016 intervention in foreign exchange markets has sought to prevent a rapid RMB depreciation that would have negative consequences for the United States, China, and the global economy.

China’s economic growth has slowed since 2011. The Chinese Government faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) servicing its high corporate debt burdens to maintain financial stability (c) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (d) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector; (e) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (f) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2016 more than 169.3 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of China’s population control policy known as the “one-child policy”—which was relaxed in 2016 to permit all families to have two children-- is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and urbanization. The Chinese government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on natural gas, nuclear, and clean energy development. In 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement to combat climate change, and committed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030.

The government's 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, emphasizes the need to increase innovation and boost domestic consumption to make the economy less dependent on government investment, exports, and heavy industry. However, China has made only marginal progress toward these rebalancing goals. Under President XI Jinping, Beijing has signaled its understanding that China's long-term economic health depends on giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but has moved slowly on market-oriented reforms because of potential negative consequences for stability and short-term economic growth. He has also increased state-control over key sectors and Party control over State Owned Enterprises. Chinese leaders in 2010 pledged to double China’s GDP by 2020, and the 13th Five Year Plan includes annual economic growth targets of at least 6.5% through 2020 to achieve that goal. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors considered important to ""economic security,"" explicitly looking to foster globally competitive industries. Chinese leaders also have undermined some market-oriented reforms by reaffirming the “dominant” role of the state in the economy, a stance that threatens to discourage private initiative and make the economy less efficient over time.
"
GDP (purchasing power parity)$40 billion (2015 est.)
$40 billion (2014 est.)
$40 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2014 US dollars;
North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates for North Korea that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2011 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the results were rounded to the nearest $10 billion.
$21.14 trillion (2016 est.)
$19.82 trillion (2015 est.)
$18.34 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate-1.1% (2015 est.)
1% (2014 est.)
1.1% (2013 est.)
6.7% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
7.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,700 (2015 est.)
$1,800 (2014 est.)
$1,800 (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
$14,600 (2016 est.)
$14,500 (2015 est.)
$13,400 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 21.6%
industry: 46.2%
services: 32.2% (2015 est.)
agriculture: 8.6%
industry: 39.8%
services: 51.6%
(2016 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
3.3%
note: in 2011, China set a new poverty line at RMB 2300 (approximately US $400)
(2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 31.4%
note: data are for urban households only (2012)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)NA%
2% (2016 est.)
1.4% (2015 est.)
Labor force14 million
note: estimates vary widely (2014 est.)
907.5 million
note: by the end of 2012, China's population at working age (15-64 years) was 1.004 billion (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 37%
industry and services: 63% (2008 est.)
agriculture: 28.3%
industry: 29.3%
services: 42.4%
(2015 est.)
Unemployment rate25.6% (2013 est.)
25.5% (2012 est.)
4% (2016 est.)
4.1% (2015 est.)
note: data are for registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants
Budgetrevenues: $3.2 billion
expenditures: $3.3 billion (2007 est.)
revenues: $2.3 trillion
expenditures: $2.708 trillion (2016 est.)
Industriesmilitary products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
world leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products (including footwear, toys, and electronics); food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites
Industrial production growth rate-3.1% (2015 est.)
6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsrice, corn, potatoes, wheat, soybeans, pulses, beef, pork, eggs
world leader in gross value of agricultural output; rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, apples, cotton, pork, mutton, eggs; fish, shrimp
Exports$4.152 billion (2015 est.)
$2.098 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.143 trillion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesminerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products
electrical and other machinery, including data processing equipment, apparel, furniture, textiles, integrated circuits
Exports - partnersChina 76.5% (2015)
US 18%, Hong Kong 14.6%, Japan 6%, South Korea 4.5% (2015)
Imports$4.819 billion (2015 est.)
$1.587 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.576 trillion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiespetroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain
electrical and other machinery, oil and mineral fuels; nuclear reactor, boiler, and machinery components; optical and medical equipment, metal ores, motor vehicles; soybeans
Imports - partnersChina 76.3%, Republic of the Congo 5.5% (2015)
South Korea 10.9%, US 9%, Japan 8.9%, Germany 5.5%, Australia 4.1% (2015)
Debt - external$5 billion (2013 est.)
$1.421 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.418 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesNorth Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (average market rate)
8,200 (2015 est.)
7,900 (2014 est.)
98.5 (2013 est.)
155.5 (2012 est.)
Renminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -
6.626 (2016 est.)
6.2275 (2015 est.)
6.2275 (2014 est.)
6.1958 (2013 est.)
6.3123 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
GDP (official exchange rate)$28 billion (2013 est.)
$10.73 trillion (2016 est.)
note: because China's exchange rate is determined by fiat rather than by market forces, the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China's output; GDP at the official exchange rate substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China's situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries
Taxes and other revenues11.4% of GDP
note: excludes earnings from state-operated enterprises (2007 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-0.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
-3% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: NA%
government consumption: NA%
investment in fixed capital: NA%
investment in inventories: NA%
exports of goods and services: 5.9%
imports of goods and services: -11.1% (2014 est.)
household consumption: 37.1%
government consumption: 14%
investment in fixed capital: 43.7%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 22%
imports of goods and services: 18.5% (2015 est.)
Gross national savingNA%
46% of GDP (2016 est.)
47.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
49.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

North KoreaChina
Electricity - production17 billion kWh (2014 est.)
6.142 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption15 billion kWh (2014 est.)
5.92 trillion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2014 est.)
18.91 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2014 est.)
6.185 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
3.983 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports70,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
7.599 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
58,650 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
25 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
6 billion cu m (31 December 2016 )
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2014 est.)
150 billion cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2014 est.)
224 billion cu m (2016 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2014 est.)
3.918 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2014 est.)
75.1 billion cu m (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity10 million kW (2014 est.)
1.646 billion kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels45% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
64% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants55% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
20.2% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
2% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
13.7% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production11,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
10.35 million bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption17,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
11.12 million bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
593,400 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports5,678 bbl/day (2013 est.)
600,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy50 million Mt (2013 est.)
9.135 billion Mt (2014 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 18,400,000
electrification - total population: 30%
electrification - urban areas: 41%
electrification - rural areas: 13% (2013)
population without electricity: 1,200,000
electrification - total population: 99.9%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 99.8% (2016)

Telecommunications

North KoreaChina
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 1.18 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 230.996 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 17 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 3.24 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (July 2015 est.)
total: 1,305.738 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 95 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: adequate system; nationwide fiber-optic network; mobile-cellular service expanded beyond Pyongyang
domestic: fiber-optic links installed down to the county level; telephone directories unavailable; mobile service launched in late 2008 for the Pyongyang area and considerable progress in expanding to other parts of the country since
international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing (2015)
general assessment: domestic and international services are available for private use; unevenly distributed domestic system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and many towns; China continues to develop its telecommunications infrastructure; China in the summer of 2008 began a major restructuring of its telecommunications industry, resulting in the consolidation of its 6 telecom service operators to 3, China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom, each providing both fixed-line and mobile services
domestic: interprovincial fiber-optic trunk lines and cellular telephone systems have been installed; mobile-cellular subscribership is increasing rapidly; the number of Internet users now over 50% of the population; a domestic satellite system with several earth stations is in place
international: country code - 86; a number of submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean; 1 Intersputnik - Indian Ocean region; and 1 Inmarsat - Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2012)
Internet country code.kp
.cn
Broadcast mediano independent media; radios and TVs are pre-tuned to government stations; 4 government-owned TV stations; the Korean Workers' Party owns and operates the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and the state-run Voice of Korea operates an external broadcast service; the government prohibits listening to and jams foreign broadcasts (2015)
all broadcast media are owned by, or affiliated with, the Communist Party of China or a government agency; no privately owned TV or radio stations; state-run Chinese Central TV, provincial, and municipal stations offer more than 2,000 channels; the Central Propaganda Department lists subjects that are off limits to domestic broadcast media with the government maintaining authority to approve all programming; foreign-made TV programs must be approved prior to broadcast; increasingly, Chinese turn to online television to access Chinese and international films and television shows (2017)

Transportation

North KoreaChina
Railwaystotal: 7,435 km
standard gauge: 7,435 km 1.435-m gauge (5,400 km electrified)
note: figures are approximate; some narrow-gauge railway also exists (2014)
total: 124,000 km
standard gauge: 124,000 km 1.435-m gauge (80,000 km electrified); 102,000 traditional, 22,000 high-speed (2017)
Roadwaystotal: 25,554 km
paved: 724 km
unpaved: 24,830 km (2006)
total: 4,577,300 km
paved: 4,046,300 km (includes 123,500 km of expressways)
unpaved: 531,000 km (2015)
Waterways2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
110,000 km (navigable waterways) (2011)
Pipelinesoil 6 km (2013)
gas 70,000 km; crude oil 22,900 km; refined petroleum products 25,500 km; water 710,206 km (2015)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Namp'o, Senbong, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan
major seaport(s): Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin
river port(s): Guangzhou (Pearl)
container port(s) (TEUs): Dalian (9,591,000), Guangzhou (17,097,000), Ningbo (20,636,000), Qingdao (17,323,000), Shanghai (36,516,000), Shenzhen (24,142,000), Tianjin (13,881,000)(2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Tangshan, Zhejiang
Merchant marinetotal: 158
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 131, carrier 1, chemical tanker 1, container 4, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 12, refrigerated cargo 2
foreign-owned: 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)
total: 4,052
by type: bulk carrier 1,020, container 187, general cargo 632, oil tanker 474, other 1,739 (2016)
foreign-owned: 22 (Hong Kong 18, Indonesia 2, Japan 2) (2010)
registered in other countries: 1,559 (Bangladesh 1, Belize 61, Cambodia 177, Comoros 1, Cyprus 6, Georgia 10, Honduras 2, Hong Kong 500, India 1, Indonesia 1, Kiribati 26, Liberia 4, Malta 6, Marshall Islands 14, North Korea 3, Panama 534, Philippines 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 65, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Sierra Leone 19, Singapore 29, South Korea 6, Thailand 1, Togo 1, Tuvalu 4, UK 7, Vanuatu 1, unknown 73) (2010)
Airports82 (2013)
507 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 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 (2013)
total: 463
over 3,047 m: 71
2,438 to 3,047 m: 158
1,524 to 2,437 m: 123
914 to 1,523 m: 25
under 914 m: 86 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 43
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 8 (2013)
total: 44
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 18 (2013)
Heliports23 (2013)
47 (2013)

Military

North KoreaChina
Military branchesNorth Korean People's Army: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force; civil security forces (2005)
People's Liberation Army (PLA): Army, Navy (PLAN, includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (Zhongguo Renmin Jiefangjun Kongjun, PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), and Strategic Support Force (space and cyber forces); People's Armed Police (Renmin Wuzhuang Jingcha Budui, PAP); PLA Reserve Force (2016)
Military service age and obligation17 years of age for compulsory male and female military service; service obligation 10 years for men, to age 23 for women (2017)
18-24 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs; a recent military decision allows women in combat roles; the first class of women warship commanders was in 2011 (2012)

Transnational Issues

North KoreaChina
Disputes - internationalrisking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression; North Korea and China dispute the sovereignty of certain islands in Yalu and Tumen Rivers; Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents in the Yellow Sea with South Korea which claims the Northern Limiting Line as a maritime boundary; North Korea supports South Korea in rejecting Japan's claim to Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima)
continuing talks and confidence-building measures work toward reducing tensions over Kashmir that nonetheless remains militarized with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; China and India continue their security and foreign policy dialogue started in 2005 related to the dispute over most of their rugged, militarized boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, and other matters; China claims most of India's Arunachal Pradesh to the base of the Himalayas; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lie in Bhutan's northwest and along the Chumbi salient; Burmese forces attempting to dig in to the largely autonomous Shan State to rout local militias tied to the drug trade, prompts local residents to periodically flee into neighboring Yunnan Province in China; Chinese maps show an international boundary symbol off the coasts of the littoral states of the South China Seas, where China has interrupted Vietnamese hydrocarbon exploration; China asserts sovereignty over Scarborough Reef along with the Philippines and Taiwan, and over the Spratly Islands together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei; the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea eased tensions in the Spratlys but is not the legally binding code of conduct sought by some parties; Vietnam and China continue to expand construction of facilities in the Spratlys and in March 2005, the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam signed a joint accord on marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands;
China occupies some of the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan; certain islands in the Yalu and Tumen Rivers are in dispute with North Korea; North Korea and China seek to stem illegal migration to China by North Koreans, fleeing privations and oppression, by building a fence along portions of the border and imprisoning North Koreans deported by China; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with their 2004 Agreement; China and Tajikistan have begun demarcating the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; the decade-long demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary was completed in 2009; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, China has reconsidered construction of 13 dams on the Salween River, but energy-starved Burma, with backing from Thailand, remains intent on building five hydro-electric dams downstream despite regional and international protests
Chinese and Hong Kong authorities met in March 2008 to resolve ownership and use of lands recovered in Shenzhen River channelization, including 96-hectare Lok Ma Chau Loop
Illicit drugsfor years, from the 1970s into the 2000s, citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK), many of them diplomatic employees of the government, were apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics, including two in Turkey in December 2004; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine, including an attempt by the North Korean merchant ship Pong Su to deliver 150 kg of heroin to Australia in April 2003
major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia; growing domestic consumption of synthetic drugs, and heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia; source country for methamphetamine and heroin chemical precursors, despite new regulations on its large chemical industry; more people believed to be convicted and executed for drug offences than anywhere else in the world, according to NGOs (2008)
Refugees and internally displaced personsIDPs: undetermined (periodic flooding and famine during mid-1990s) (2007)
refugees (country of origin): 317,098 (Vietnam); undetermined (North Korea) (2016)
IDPs: undetermined (2014)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: North Korea is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; many North Korean workers recruited to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments, most often Russia and China, are subjected to forced labor and do not have a choice in the work the government assigns them, are not free to change jobs, and face government reprisals if they try to escape or complain to outsiders; tens of thousands of North Koreans, including children, held in prison camps are subjected to forced labor, including logging, mining, and farming; many North Korean women and girls, lured by promises of food, jobs, and freedom, have migrated to China illegally to escape poor social and economic conditions only to be forced into prostitution, domestic service, or agricultural work through forced marriages
tier rating: Tier 3 - North Korea does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government continued to participate in human trafficking through its use of domestic forced labor camps and the provision of forced labor to foreign governments through bilateral contracts; officials did not demonstrate any efforts to address human trafficking through prosecution, protection, or prevention measures; no known investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of trafficking offenders or officials complicit in trafficking-related offenses were conducted; the government also made no efforts to identify or protect trafficking victims and did not permit NGOs to assist victims (2015)
current situation: China is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor; Chinese adults and children are forced into prostitution and various forms of forced labor, including begging and working in brick kilns, coal mines, and factories; women and children are recruited from rural areas and taken to urban centers for sexual exploitation, often lured by criminal syndicates or gangs with fraudulent job offers; state-sponsored forced labor, where detainees work for up to four years often with no remuneration, continues to be a serious concern; Chinese men, women, and children also may be subjected to conditions of sex trafficking and forced labor worldwide, particularly in overseas Chinese communities; women and children are trafficked to China from neighboring countries, as well as Africa and the Americas, for forced labor and prostitution
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; official data for 2014 states that 194 alleged traffickers were arrested and at least 35 were convicted, but the government’s conflation of human trafficking with other crimes makes it difficult to assess law enforcement efforts to investigate and to prosecute trafficking offenses according to international law; despite reports of complicity, no government officials were investigated, prosecuted, or convicted for their roles in trafficking offenses; authorities did not adequately protect victims and did not provide the data needed to ascertain the number of victims identified or assisted or the services provided; the National People’s Congress ratified a decision to abolish “reform through labor” in 2013, but some continued to operate as state-sponsored drug detention or “custody and education” centers that force inmates to perform manual labor; some North Korean refugees continued to be forcibly repatriated as illegal economic migrants, despite reports that some were trafficking victims (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook