North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is an East Asian nation. It forms the northern half of the Korean Peninsula, sharing boundaries with China and Russia to the north at the Yalu (Amnok) and Tumen rivers, and with South Korea to the south at the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The Yellow Sea forms the country's western boundary, while the Sea of Japan defines its eastern border. North Korea, like its southern neighbor, claims to be the legitimate government of the whole peninsula and surrounding islands. The capital and biggest city is Pyongyang.
The Japanese Empire seized Korea in 1910. After the Japanese surrendered at the conclusion of World War II, Korea was split into two zones along the 38th parallel, with the Soviet Union occupying the north and the United States occupying the south. After reunification talks failed, two governments were founded in 1948: the communist and Soviet-aligned DPRK in the north and the capitalist, the Western-aligned Republic of Korea in the south. The Korean War started in 1950 with a North Korean invasion and continued until 1953. The Korean Armistice Agreement created a cease-fire and a demilitarized zone (DMZ), but no official peace treaty was ever signed.
North Korea is an "independent socialist state," according to Article 1 of the state constitution. It organizes elections, albeit they have been criticized as sham elections by impartial observers since North Korea is a totalitarian government with a thorough personality cult centered on the Kim dynasty. The Workers' Party of Korea, headed by a member of the ruling family, is the dominant party and the only legitimate political organization, leading the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea.
Juche is North Korea's official philosophy, according to Article 3 of the constitution. The state owns the means of production via state-run firms and collectivized farms. Most services, including as healthcare, education, housing, and food production, are subsidized or sponsored by the government. North Korea had a famine from 1994 to 1998, killing between 240,000 and 420,000 people, and the population continues to suffer from starvation.
North Korea's Korean People's Army operates under the Songun, or "military first" strategy. It has nuclear weapons and the second biggest number of military and paramilitary forces, with 7.769 million active, reserve, and paramilitary people, or nearly 30 percent of its population. Its active duty army of 1.28 million troops is the world's fourth-largest, accounting for 5% of its population. A United Nations investigation into human rights breaches in North Korea determined in 2014 that "the magnitude, size, and character of these atrocities show a regime that has no parallel in the modern world," with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expressing similar views. North Korea's leadership disputes these allegations. North Korea has been a member of the United Nations since 1991, and it is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.