North Korea (official title: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is a country that covers 120,540 square kilometers (46,528 sq mi) with a population of about 24.5 million. It is best known for being a dictatorship and the frosty relationship between the country and much of the international community (especially the United States). The history of the country can be traced back many thousands of years to the ancient Korean kingdoms. However, the modern history of the country began after the Japanese surrender during World War II. Let’s find out where North Korea is located and take a brief look at how the country was formed.
Where is North Korea located?
North Korea is located on the northern half of the Korean peninsula, which is located in East Asia, and is bordered by China and Russia to the north and South Korea to the south. The following map shows the location of North Korea and the surrounding countries.
(click to enlarge)
How the country was formed
Japan invaded the Korean peninsula in 1910 and Japanese rule ended after World War II. At this time the peninsula was divided into two zones. The northern half was occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern part was occupied by the United States. North Korea (DPRK) and South Korea (Republic of Korea) were officially formed in 1948. This border between the countries originally existed along the 38th parallel. However, tensions between the countries escalated rapidly, as both believed they had full claim to the peninsula, and the Korean War (1950 to 1953) broke out. Eventually the countries agreed to end the war and the current border (known as the military demarcation line) was established. A 4km (2km on each side) wide demilitarized zone was also established at this time and it runs the entire length of the border.
Did you know?
Both North Korea and South Korea do not accept the current border as official. The governments of both countries claim that they are the rightful government of the whole peninsula!