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.
'Executed' singer said to be ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un alive, North Korean TV shows
A North Korean singer said to be leader Kim Jong-un's former girlfriend, and who was rumoured to have been executed last year, has appeared in public alive and well.
State television showed Hyon Song-wol, leader of a band known as Moranbong, delivering a speech at a national art workers' rally in Pyongyang on Friday.
Hyon expressed her gratitude for Kim's leadership and pledged to work harder to "stoke up the flame for art and creative work".
Her appearance came after months of speculation about whether or not she was still alive.
Japan's Asahi Shimbun and South Korean media said in September that Hyon, members of the Unhasu Orchestra and other state musicians had been executed by firing squad for taping themselves having sex.
South Korea's spy chief Nam Jae-joon added weight to the reports with comments he allegedly made in October.
"We are aware of the execution of some 10 people associated with the Unhasu Orchestra", two lawmakers quoted Nam as saying at a closed door parliamentary session, according to Yonhap news agency.
The Asahi said the rare execution of state performers had been ordered to prevent rumours spreading about the supposedly decadent lifestyle of North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju while she was an entertainer.
North Korea angrily denied the reports, describing them as an "unpardonable" crime.
Pyongyang's state news agency KCNA said the reports were the work of "psychopaths" and "confrontation maniacs" in the South Korean government and media.
"This is an unpardonable, hideous provocation hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership," a KCNA commentary said in September.
In an apparent attempt to prove the rumours untrue, North Korean radio in October aired a performance by the orchestra.