The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
Joint Korean industrial zone closes for holiday
The South-North Korean industrial complex that has become a chip in a high-stakes game of military brinkmanship on the Korean peninsula was closed Friday for a scheduled holiday, officials said.
The 53,000 North Koreans who work at the 123 South Korean companies in the Kaesong joint industrial zone, 10 kilometres inside the North, took the day off, the South’s Unification Ministry spokeswoman said.
With inter-Korean tensions at their highest level for years, North Korea blocked South Koreans from accessing Kaesong on Wednesday, and the next day threatened to pull all its workers out and shut the whole complex down.
The Unification Ministry said there were still 608 South Korean citizens in Kaesong on Friday, after 253 returned to the South.
Mangers of the companies in the complex have warned that the blocking of raw materials and personnel movement will force them to shut operations in a matter of days.
Established in 2004, Kaesong is a crucial hard currency source for North Korea.
Neither of the Koreas has allowed previous crises to significantly affect the complex, which is the only surviving example of inter-Korean cooperation and seen as a bellwether for stability on the Korean peninsula.