About the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, commonly referred to as North Korea) is one of the world's military flashpoints. Although a small country with a population of only 20-22 million people, North Korea is of vital strategic importance because of its geographic location in an area of the world where the interests of China, Russia, Japan, and the United States collide. Making the situation even more complex and volatile, these interests are carried out on a politically divided peninsula, with the northern half dominated by the DPRK government, and the southern half dominated by the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK, commonly known as South Korea). Globally, North Korea is of critical significance because of its potential to export weapons of mass destruction, its ballistic missile capacity, and the nuclear capability it has developed.