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China vs. North Korea

Introduction

ChinaNorth Korea
Background

China's historical civilization dates from at least 1200 B.C.; from the 3rd century B.C. and for the next two millennia, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. 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 Chinese Communist Party 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 but political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.

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. Under KIM Jong Il's rein, the DPRK continued developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. 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 since occupied the regime's highest political and military posts. 

After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has faced chronic food shortages and economic stagnation. 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 provocative regional military; proliferation of military-related items; long-range missile development; WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2017; and large conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community and have limited the DPRK's international engagement, particularly economically. In 2013, the DPRK declared a policy of simultaneous development of its nuclear weapons program and economy. In late 2017, KIM Jong Un declared the North's nuclear weapons development complete. In 2018, KIM announced a pivot towards diplomacy, including a re-prioritization of economic development, a pause in missile testing beginning in late 2017, and a refrain from anti-US rhetoric starting in June 2018. Since 2018, KIM has participated in four meetings with Chinese President XI Jinping, three with ROK President MOON Jae-in, and three with US President TRUMP. Since 2019, North Korea has continued developing its ballistic missile program and issued statements condemning the US.

Geography

ChinaNorth Korea
LocationEastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and VietnamEastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
Geographic coordinates35 00 N, 105 00 E40 00 N, 127 00 E
Map referencesAsiaAsia
Areatotal: 9,596,960 sq km

land: 9,326,410 sq km

water: 270,550 sq km
total: 120,538 sq km

land: 120,408 sq km

water: 130 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than the USslightly larger than Virginia; slightly smaller than Mississippi
Land boundariestotal: 22,457 km

border countries (14): Afghanistan 91 km, Bhutan 477 km, Burma 2129 km, India 2659 km, Kazakhstan 1765 km, North Korea 1352 km, Kyrgyzstan 1063 km, Laos 475 km, Mongolia 4630 km, Nepal 1389 km, Pakistan 438 km, Russia (northeast) 4133 km and Russia (northwest) 46 km, Tajikistan 477 km, Vietnam 1297 km
total: 1,607 km

border countries (3): China 1352 km, South Korea 237 km, Russia 18 km
Coastline14,500 km2,495 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial 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
Climateextremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in northtemperate, with rainfall concentrated in summer; long, bitter winters
Terrainmostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in eastmostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
Elevation extremeshighest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,849 m

lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m

mean elevation: 1,840 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m

lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m

mean elevation: 600 m
Natural resourcescoal, iron ore, helium, petroleum, natural gas, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, cadmium, ferrosilicon, gallium, germanium, hafnium, indium, lithium, mercury, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, antimony, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest), arable landcoal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, precious metals, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 54.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 22.3% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)
agricultural land: 21.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 19.5% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 0.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 46% (2018 est.)

other: 32.2% (2018 est.)
Irrigated land690,070 sq km (2012)14,600 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

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

late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall

volcanism: Changbaishan (2,744 m) (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu or P'aektu-san), on the Chinese border, is considered historically active

Environment - current issuesair 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; coastal destruction due to land reclamation, industrial development, and aquaculture; deforestation and habitat destruction; poor land management leads to soil erosion, landslides, floods, droughts, dust storms, and desertification; trade in endangered specieswater pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Law of the Sea
Geography - notenote 1: 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

note 2: the largest cave chamber in the world is the Miao Room, in the Gebihe cave system at China's Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park, which encloses some 10.78 million cu m (380.7 million cu ft) of volume

note 3: China appears to have been the center of domestication for two of the world's leading cereal crops: millet in the north along the Yellow River and rice in the south along the lower or middle Yangtze River
strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
Total renewable water resources2,840,220,000,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)77.15 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)
Population distributionoverwhelming 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 Shenyangpopulation 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

Demographics

ChinaNorth Korea
Population1,397,897,720 (July 2021 est.)25,831,360 (July 2021 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 17.29% (male 129,296,339/female 111,782,427)

15-24 years: 11.48% (male 86,129,841/female 73,876,148)

25-54 years: 46.81% (male 333,789,731/female 318,711,557)

55-64 years: 12.08% (male 84,827,645/female 83,557,507)

65 years and over: 12.34% (male 81,586,490/female 90,458,292) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 20.33% (male 2,680,145/female 2,571,334)

15-24 years: 14.39% (male 1,873,814/female 1,842,269)

25-54 years: 43.77% (male 5,671,900/female 5,633,861)

55-64 years: 11.77% (male 1,454,000/female 1,585,830)

65 years and over: 9.75% (male 878,176/female 1,640,031) (2021 est.)
Median agetotal: 38.4 years

male: 37.5 years

female: 39.4 years (2020 est.)
total: 34.6 years

male: 33.2 years

female: 36.2 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate0.26% (2021 est.)0.49% (2021 est.)
Birth rate11.3 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)14.35 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)9.39 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)-0.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.11 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.16 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.17 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 10.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
total: 22.42 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 25.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 19.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.31 years

male: 74.23 years

female: 78.62 years (2021 est.)
total population: 71.65 years

male: 67.79 years

female: 75.74 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate1.6 children born/woman (2021 est.)1.91 children born/woman (2021 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNANA
Nationalitynoun: Chinese (singular and plural)

adjective: Chinese
noun: Korean(s)

adjective: Korean
Ethnic groupsHan 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% (2010 est.)

note: the Chinese Government officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups
racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNANA
Religionsfolk religion 21.9%, Buddhist 18.3%, Christian 5.2%, Muslim 2%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 51.8% (2020 est.)

note: officially atheist
traditionally 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
HIV/AIDS - deathsNANA
LanguagesStandard 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)

major-language sample(s):
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The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Korean

major-language sample(s):
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The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.8%

male: 98.5%

female: 95.2% (2018)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 100%

male: 100%

female: 100% (2015)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2015)
total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2015)
Education expendituresNANA
Urbanizationurban population: 62.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau
urban population: 62.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.85% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 87.8% of population

total: 92.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 12.2% of population

total: 7.2% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 97.2% of population

rural: 90.2% of population

total: 94.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.8% of population

rural: 9.8% of population

total: 5.5% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 97.1% of population

rural: 82% of population

total: 90.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 18% of population

total: 9.3% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 91.9% of population

rural: 72.3% of population

total: 84.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.1% of population

rural: 27.7% of population

total: 15.5% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population27.796 million Shanghai, 20.897 million BEIJING (capital), 16.382 million Chongqing, 13.794 million Tianjin, 13.635 million Guangzhou, 12.592 million Shenzhen (2021)3.108 million PYONGYANG (capital) (2021)
Maternal mortality rate29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)89 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight2.4% (2013)9.3% (2017)
Physicians density1.98 physicians/1,000 population (2017)3.68 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density4.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)13.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate6.2% (2016)6.8% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate84.5% (2017)70.2% (2017)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 42.2

youth dependency ratio: 25.2

elderly dependency ratio: 17

potential support ratio: 5.9 (2020 est.)

data do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan
total dependency ratio: 41.2

youth dependency ratio: 28

elderly dependency ratio: 13.2

potential support ratio: 7.6 (2020 est.)

Government

ChinaNorth Korea
Country nameconventional 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" or "Middle Kingdom"
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"
Government typecommunist party-led statedictatorship, single-party state; official state ideology of "Juche" or "national self-reliance"
Capitalname: Beijing

geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: China is the largest country (in terms of area) with just one time zone; before 1949 it was divided into five

etymology: the Chinese meaning is "Northern Capital"
name: Pyongyang

geographic coordinates: 39 01 N, 125 45 E

time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: on 5 May 2018, North Korea reverted to UTC+9, the same time zone as South Korea

etymology: the name translates as "flat land" in Korean
Administrative divisions

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 Uyghur, 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

9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 3 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), Ryanggang

major cities: Nampo, P'yongyang, Rason



note: Nampo is sometimes designated as a metropolitan city, P'yongyang as a directly controlled city, and Rason as a city

Independence1 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)15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holidayNational Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949)Founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), 9 September (1948)
Constitutionhistory: several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982

amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or supported by more than one fifth of the National People’s Congress membership; passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the Congress membership; amended several times, last in 2018
history: previous 1948, 1972; latest adopted 1998 (during KIM Jong Il era)

amendments: proposed by the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA); passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the total SPA membership; revised several times, last in 2019
Legal systemcivil law influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; note - on 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress adopted the PRC Civil Code, which codifies personal relations and property relationscivil law system based on the Prussian model; system influenced by Japanese traditions and Communist legal theory
Suffrage18 years of age; universal17 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branchchief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018)

head of government: Premier LI Keqiang (since 16 March 2013); Executive Vice Premiers HAN Zheng (since 19 March 2018), SUN Chunlan (since 19 March 2018), LIU He (since 19 March 2018), HU Chunhua (since 19 March 2018)

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 (no term limits); election last held on 17 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress

election results: XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,970 (unanimously); WANG Qishan elected vice president with 2,969 votes
chief of state: Supreme People's Assembly President CHOE Ryong Hae (since 11 April 2019); note - functions as the technical head of state and performs related duties, such as receiving ambassadors' credentials

head of government: State Affairs Commission Chairman KIM Jong Un (since 17 December 2011); note - functions as the commander-in-chief and chief executive

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 10 March 2019 (next election March 2024)

election results: KIM Jong In reelected 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
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (maximum of 3,000 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 independent parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected

elections: last held in December 2017-February 2018 (next to be held in late 2022 to early 2023)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 2,238, women 742, percent of women 24.9%
description: unicameral Supreme People's Assembly or Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui (687 seats; members directly elected by majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms); note - the Korean Workers' Party selects all candidates

elections: last held on 10 March 2019 (next to be held March 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KWP 607, KSDP 50, Chondoist Chongu Party 22, General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) 5, religious associations 3; ruling party approves a list of candidates who are elected without opposition; composition - men 575, women 112, percent of women 16.3%

note: KWP, KSDP, Chondoist Chongu Party, and Chongryon are under the KWP's control; a token number of seats reserved for minor parties
Judicial branchhighest courts: Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges, including the chief justice and 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); 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; International Commercial Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues

note: in late 2014, China unveiled a multi-year judicial reform program; progress continued in 2018
highest courts: Supreme Court or Central Court (consists of one judge and 2 "People's Assessors" or, 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: lower provincial courts as determined by the Supreme People's Assembly
Political parties and leadersChinese Communist Party or CCP [XI Jinping]

note: China has 8 nominally independent small parties controlled by the CCP
major parties:
Korean Workers' Party or KWP [KIM Jong Un, general secretary]
General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon)
minor parties:
Chondoist Chongu Party (under KWP control)
Social Democratic Party or KSDP [KIM Yong Dae] (under KWP control)
International organization participationADB, 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, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZCARF, 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
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador QIN Gangas (since 29 July 2021)

chancery: 3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 495-2266

FAX: [1] (202) 495-2138

email address and website:
chinaemppress_us@mfa.gov.cn

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco; note - the US ordered closure of the Houston consulate in late July 2020
chief of mission: none; North Korea has a Permanent Mission to the UN in New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires David MEALE (since July 2021)

embassy: 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600

mailing address: 7300 Beijing Place, Washington DC  20521-7300

telephone: [86] (10) 8531-3000

FAX: [86] (10) 8531-4200

email address and website:
BeijingACS@state.gov

https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/

consulate(s) general: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan; note - the Chinese Government ordered closure of the US consulate in Chengdu in late July 2020
embassy: none; the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang represents the US as consular protecting power
Flag descriptionred 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 Chinathree 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
National anthemname: "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"
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)
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCthas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICC
National symbol(s)dragon, giant panda; national colors: red, yellowred star, chollima (winged horse); national colors: red, white, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship 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
citizenship 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

Economy

ChinaNorth Korea
Economy - overview

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 phaseout 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. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 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.

In July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) 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 announced it would resume a gradual appreciation. From 2013 until early 2015, the renminbi held steady against the dollar, but it depreciated 13% from mid-2015 until end-2016 amid strong capital outflows; in 2017 the RMB resumed appreciating against the dollar – roughly 7% from end-of-2016 to end-of-2017. 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. However, since late 2015 the Chinese Government has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability.

The Chinese Government faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) managing its high corporate debt burden to maintain financial stability; (c) controlling off-balance sheet local government debt used to finance infrastructure stimulus; (d) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (e) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector without sharply slowing the economy; (f) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (g) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital and state-support for innovation. 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 more progress on subsidizing innovation than rebalancing the economy. Beijing has committed to giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but the Chinese Government’s policies continue to favor state-owned enterprises and emphasize stability. 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. The slight acceleration in economic growth in 2017—the first such uptick since 2010—gives Beijing more latitude to pursue its economic reforms, focusing on financial sector deleveraging and its Supply-Side Structural Reform agenda, first announced in late 2015.

North 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 decades of mismanagement, underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Corruption and resource misallocation, including show projects, large-scale military spending, and development of its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, 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 through mid-2000s 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 improved, 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. Throughout 2017, North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile tests led to a tightening of UN sanctions, resulting in full sectoral bans on DPRK exports and drastically limited key imports. 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$22,526,502,000,000 (2019 est.)

$21,229,363,000,000 (2018 est.)

$19,887,033,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$40 billion (2015 est.)

$40 billion (2014 est.)

$40 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars
North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2015 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.
GDP - real growth rate6.14% (2019 est.)

6.75% (2018 est.)

6.92% (2017 est.)
-1.1% (2015 est.)

1% (2014 est.)

1.1% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$16,117 (2019 est.)

$15,243 (2018 est.)

$14,344 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$1,700 (2015 est.)

$1,800 (2014 est.)

$1,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 7.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.5% (2017 est.)

services: 51.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 22.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 47.6% (2017 est.)

services: 29.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line0.6% (2019 est.)NA
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 31.4% (2012)

note: data are for urban households only
lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.8% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

1.5% (2017 est.)

NA

Labor force774.71 million (2019 est.)

note: by the end of 2012, China's working age population (15-64 years) was 1.004 billion
14 million (2014 est.)

note: estimates vary widely
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 27.7%

industry: 28.8%

services: 43.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 37%

industry: 63% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate3.64% (2019 est.)

3.84% (2018 est.)

note: data are for registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants
25.6% (2013 est.)

25.5% (2012 est.)
Budgetrevenues: 2.553 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.008 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: 3.2 billion (2007 est.)

expenditures: 3.3 billion (2007 est.)
Industriesworld 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; fertilizer; consumer products (including footwear, toys, and electronics); food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, railcars and locomotives, ships, aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellitesmilitary products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism
Industrial production growth rate6.1% (2017 est.)1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsmaize, rice, vegetables, wheat, sugar cane, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, sweet potatoesrice, maize, vegetables, apples, potatoes, cabbages, fruit, sweet potatoes, beans, soybeans
Exports$2.49 trillion (2018)

$2.216 trillion (2017 est.)

$1.99 trillion (2016 est.)
$222 million (2018)

$4.582 billion (2017 est.)

$2.908 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesbroadcasting equipment, computers, integrated circuits, office machinery and parts, telephones (2019)watch components, fake hair, iron alloys, instructional models, tungsten (2019)
Exports - partnersUnited States 17%, Hong Kong 10%, Japan 6% (2019)China 67%, Suriname 6% (2019)
Imports$2.14 trillion (2018)

$1.74 trillion (2017 est.)

$1.501 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.32 billion (2018 est.)

$3.86 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiescrude petroleum, integrated circuits, iron, natural gas, cars, gold (2019)clothing and apparel, soybean oil, rice, wheat products, clocks/watches (2019)
Imports - partnersSouth Korea 9%, Japan 8%, Australia 7%, Germany 7%, US 7%, Taiwan 6% (2019)China 96% (2019)
Debt - external$2,027,950,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,935,206,000,000 (2018 est.)
$5 billion (2013 est.)
Exchange ratesRenminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -

6.5374 (2020 est.)

7.0403 (2019 est.)

6.8798 (2018 est.)

6.1434 (2014 est.)

6.1958 (2013 est.)
North Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (average market rate)

135 (2017 est.)

130 (2016 est.)

130 (2015 est.)

98.5 (2013 est.)

155.5 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar yearcalendar year
GDP (official exchange rate)$14,327,359,000,000 (2019 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
$28 billion (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues21.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)11.4% (of GDP) (2007 est.)

note: excludes earnings from state-operated enterprises
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)-0.4% (of GDP) (2007 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 39.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 42.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 20.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -18.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: NA (2014 est.)

government consumption: NA (2014 est.)

investment in fixed capital: NA (2014 est.)

investment in inventories: NA (2014 est.)

exports of goods and services: 5.9% (2016 est.)

imports of goods and services: -11.1% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving44.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

44.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

45% of GDP (2017 est.)

NA

Energy

ChinaNorth Korea
Electricity - production5.883 trillion kWh (2016 est.)16.57 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption5.564 trillion kWh (2016 est.)13.89 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports18.91 billion kWh (2016 est.)0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports6.185 billion kWh (2016 est.)0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production3.773 million bbl/day (2018 est.)0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports6.71 million bbl/day (2015 est.)10,640 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports57,310 bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves25.63 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves5.44 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production145.9 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption238.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports3.37 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports97.63 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity1.653 billion kW (2016 est.)10.01 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels62% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)45% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)55% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production11.51 million bbl/day (2015 est.)11,270 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption12.47 million bbl/day (2016 est.)18,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports848,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports1.16 million bbl/day (2015 est.)8,260 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2020)electrification - total population: 26% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 36% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 11% (2019)

Telecommunications

ChinaNorth Korea
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 191.033 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.75 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 1,183,806

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4.64 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal subscriptions: 1,746,238,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125.66 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,821,857

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 14.98 (2019 est.)
Internet country code.cn.kp
Telecommunication systemsgeneral assessment: China has the largest Internet market in the world with almost all subscribers accessing Internet through mobile devices; market is driven through government-allied investment; fast-developing data center market; government aims to provide universal and affordable broadband coverage through market competition and private investment in state-controlled enterprises; 3G and LTE subscribers will migrate to 5G aiming for 1M 5G base stations; government strengthens IoT policies to boost economic growth; China is pushing development of smart cities beyond Beijing; Beijing residents carry virtual card integrating identity, social security, health, and education documents; government controls gateways to global Internet through censorship, surveillance, and shut-downs; major exporter of broadcasting equipment world-wide (2021) (2020)

domestic: 13 per 100 fixed line and 120 per 100 mobile-cellular; a domestic satellite system with several earth stations has been in place since 2018 (2019)

international: country code - 86; landing points for the RJCN, EAC-C2C, TPE, APCN-2, APG, NCP, TEA, SeaMeWe-3, SJC2, Taiwan Strait Express-1, AAE-1, APCN-2, AAG, FEA, FLAG and TSE submarine cables providing 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) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments
general assessment: underdeveloped yet growing market dependent on 3G; nationwide fiber-optic network; some mobile-cellular service beyond Pyongyang; remote areas on manual switchboards; though currently under sanction, dependent on foreign investment (primarily Chinese) for equipment and infrastructure; low broadband penetration; international communication restricted and domestic use monitored by state (2021) (2020)

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; fixed-lines are 5 per 100 and mobile-cellular 15 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments
Broadcast mediaall 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 sends directives to all domestic media outlets to guide its reporting with the government maintaining authority to approve all programming; foreign-made TV programs must be approved prior to broadcast; increasingly, Chinese turn to online and satellite television to access Chinese and international films and television shows (2019)no 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 (2019)

Transportation

ChinaNorth Korea
Railwaystotal: 131,000 km 1.435-m gauge (80,000 km electrified); 102,000 traditional, 29,000 high-speed (2018)total: 7,435 km (2014)

standard gauge: 7,435 km 1.435-m gauge (5,400 km electrified) (2014)

note: figures are approximate; some narrow-gauge railway also exists
Roadwaystotal: 4,960,600 km (2017)

paved: 4,338,600 km (includes 136,500 km of expressways) (2017)

unpaved: 622,000 km (2017)
total: 25,554 km (2006)

paved: 724 km (2006)

unpaved: 24,830 km (2006)
Waterways110,000 km (navigable waterways) (2011)2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
Pipelines76000 km gas, 30400 km crude oil, 27700 km refined petroleum products, 797000 km water (2018)6 km oil (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin

container port(s) (TEUs): Dalian (8,760,000), Guangzhou (23,236,200), Ningbo (27,530,000), Qingdao (21,010,000), Shanghai (43,303,000), Shenzhen (25,770,000), Tianjin (17,264,000) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Tangshan, Zhejiang

river port(s): Guangzhou (Pearl)
major seaport(s): Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam, Namp'o, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan
Merchant marinetotal: 6,197

by type: bulk carrier 1,515, container ship 322, general cargo 862, oil tanker 968, other 2,530 (2020)
total: 261

by type: bulk carrier 8, container ship 5, general cargo 187, oil tanker 32, other 29 (2020)
Airportstotal: 507 (2013)total: 82 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 510 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 87

2,438 to 3,047 m: 187

1,524 to 2,437 m: 109

914 to 1,523 m: 43

under 914 m: 84
total: 39 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 22 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2017)

under 914 m: 4 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 23 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 0

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 13
total: 43 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 17 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 15 (2013)

under 914 m: 8 (2013)
Heliports39 (2019)23 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 56 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2,890

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 436,183,969 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 611,439,830 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 4

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 103,560 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 250,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixBP

Military

ChinaNorth Korea
Military branchesPeople's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (PLAN, includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), and Strategic Support Force (information warfare, cyber, space forces); People's Armed Police (PAP, includes Coast Guard, Border Defense Force, Internal Security Forces); PLA Reserve Force (2021)

note(s): the PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and charged with internal security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and maritime rights protection

in 2018, the Coast Guard was moved from the State Oceanic Administration to the PAP; in 2013, China merged four of its five major maritime law enforcement agencies – the China Marine Surveillance (CMS), Maritime Police, Fishery Law Enforcement (FLE), and Anti-Smuggling Police – into a unified coast guard
Korean People's Army (KPA): KPA Ground Forces, KPA Navy, KPA Air Force (includes air defense), KPA Strategic Forces (missile forces); Security Guard Command (protects the Kim family, other senior leadership figures, and government facilities); Ministry of Public Security: Border Guards, civil security forces (2021)
Military service age and obligation18-22 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 (2019)17 years of age for compulsory male and female military service; service obligation 10 years for men, to age 23 for women (reportedly reduced in 2021 to 8 years for men and 5 years for women) (2021)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2019)

1.9% of GDP (2018)

1.9% of GDP (2017)

1.9% of GDP (2016)
in 2019, it was assessed that North Korea spent between 22% and 24% of GDP (between US$3.7 billion and US$4.2bn in 2017 dollars) annually on the military between 2007 and 2017

Transnational Issues

ChinaNorth Korea
Disputes - international

China and India continue their security and foreign policy dialogue started in 2005 related to a number of boundary disputes across the 2,000 mile shared border; India does not recognize Pakistan's 1964 ceding to China of the Aksai Chin, a territory designated as part of the princely state of Kashmir by the British Survey of India in 1865; China claims most of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh to the base of the Himalayas, but the US recognizes the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory; Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China's Chumbi salient; Chinese maps show an international boundary symbol (the so-called “nine-dash line”) off the coasts of the littoral states of the South China Sea, 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, and in 2017 China and ASEAN began confidential negotiations for an updated Code of Conduct for the South China Sea designed not to settle territorial disputes but establish rules and norms in the region; this still 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 early 2018 China began deploying advanced military systems to disputed Spratly outposts; 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 privation and oppression; 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, continues to consider building five hydro-electric dams downstream despite regional and international protests

risking 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)

Illicit drugsmajor 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 NGOsat present there is insufficient information to determine the current level of involvement of government officials in the production or trafficking of illicit drugs, but for 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; police investigations in Taiwan and Japan in recent years have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 303,095 (Vietnam), undetermined (North Korea) (2019)

IDPs: undetermined (2021)
IDPs: undetermined (2021)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in China and Chinese people abroad; Chinese men, women, and children are victims of forced labor and sex trafficking in at least 60 countries; traffickers also use China as a transit point to subject foreign individuals to trafficking in other countries throughout Asia and in international maritime industries; state-sponsored forced labor is intensifying under the government’s mass detention and political indoctrination campaign against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; well-organized criminal syndicates and local gangs subject Chinese women and girls to sex trafficking within China; women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and several countries in Africa experience forced labor in domestic service, forced concubinism leading to forced childbearing, and sex trafficking via forced and fraudulent marriage to Chinese men; African and Asian men reportedly experience conditions indicative of forced labor aboard Chinese-flagged fishing vessels; many North Korean refugees and asylum-seekers living in China illegally are particularly vulnerable to trafficking

tier rating: Tier 3 — China does not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government prosecuted and convicted some traffickers and continued to cooperate with international authorities to address forced and fraudulent marriages in China; however, there was a government policy or pattern of widespread forced labor, including the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of law enforcement officials allegedly complicit despite continued reports of officials benefiting from, permitting, or directly facilitating sex trafficking; authorities did not report identifying any trafficking victims or referring them to protective services; it is likely that law enforcement arrested and detained unidentified trafficking victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit; for the third consecutive year, the government did not report the extent to which it funded anti-trafficking activities in furtherance of the 2013-2020 National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking (2020)
current situation: North Korea is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor, forced marriage, and sex trafficking; in the recent past, many North Korean women and girls lured by promises of food, jobs, and freedom migrated to China illegally to escape poor social and economic conditions only to be forced into prostitution, marriage, or exploitative labor arrangements; North Koreans do not have a choice in the work the government assigns them and are not free to change jobs at will; many North Korean workers recruited to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments are subjected to forced labor and reportedly face government reprisals if they try to escape or complain to outsiders; thousands of North Koreans, including children, are subjected to forced labor in prison camps

tier rating: Tier 3 — the government of North Korea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; during this reporting period there was a government policy or pattern of forced labor of adults and children in prison camps, labor training centers, and through its imposition of forced labor conditions on North Korean overseas contract workers;  proceeds from state-sponsored forced labor fund government functions and illicit activities; the government has made no effort to address human trafficking (2020)

Source: CIA Factbook