The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia. The country follows a form of left-nationalist ideology called Juche, or self-sufficiency. North Korea’s claims to control over the entire Korean peninsula are contested by South Korea, a capitalist nation originally ruled by dictator Syngman Rhee. From 1950-1953, the two sides fought the Korean War, which failed to result in a decisive victory for either side.

The highest organ of state power in North Korea is the Supreme People’s Assembly. The other bodies are the National Defence Commission, chaired by Kim Jong-il, the Presidium, chaired by Kim Yong-nam, and the cabinet (government ministers), chaired by Choe Yong-rim.


North Korea’s fate first diverged from South Korea in 1945. In that year, the Soviet Army liberated North Korea from Japanese colonial occupation and agreed with the United States to hold elections for a unified Korean government. However, in 1948 the elections in the South were rigged, installing American puppet Syngman Rhee. The North declined to participate, and held separate elections in won by the Korean Workers’ Party and Kim Il-sung.

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