North Korea. After talks in Beijing with the US, North Korea promised in February to freeze its nuclear weapons and missile program and allow foreign inspectors to visit the Yongbyon nuclear plant. In return, the United States would provide the country with 240,000 tonnes of food, intended for children and pregnant women.
Just over two weeks later, North Korea broke the pledge when management announced its intention to launch a long-range rocket to place a satellite into orbit around the Earth. The US, South Korea and Japan saw it as a disguised missile test for long-range weapons, and it was speculated that North Korea was planning to test nuclear weapons again. Two previous rocket launches – 2006 and 2009 – had been followed by test blasts and sanctions from the UN.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for North Korea. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
The rocket launch was carried out as planned in connection with the centenary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung in April. But it became a failure rocket exploded after a minute in the air and fell into the sea. Just a few hours later, North Korean TV surprisingly reported that the launch failed. Previous failures had been perpetrated by the media.
In connection with the centenary celebration, the new leader Kim Jong Un, grandson of the country father, also gave a televised speech. It attracted attention when the representative, his father Kim Jong Il, never spoke publicly during his time in power in 1994-2011. Other signs of a more modern leadership style with the younger Kim were also reported, but otherwise there were few signs of reform or other crucial changes in the closed communist state.
In the spring, drought occurred that threatened the grain harvest and which, according to state media, was the worst in 60 years. During the summer, the country was instead hit by floods. Hundreds of people drowned, over 200,000 became homeless and the already severe food shortage worsened. The UN and South Korea offered aid shipments during the autumn. Famine was threatened in the country where millions were already malnourished.
In December, a rocket was fired again. The launch was successful this time and a satellite was placed in orbit. The UN General Assembly condemned the postponement.
2013 Crisis on the Korean Peninsula
After a series of failed fires in December 2012, the country sent a Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 weather satellite in orbit. This also marked the fact that the country was theoretically capable of hitting the United States with intercontinental weapons – which the United States had been able to hit North Korea for decades. The dispatch was condemned by the United States and its allies. On January 22, 2013, a United Nations Security Council condemned the Korean rocket launch. On February 12, North Korea responded again by conducting an underground nuclear test with a bomb of 6-9 kilotons. Three days later, North Korea informed China that it would conduct another 1-2 test blasts during 2013. In the following weeks, the US and South Korea conducted the joint military exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2013, prompting North Korea to terminate the ceasefire agreement from 1953. On March 7, a United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2094, which restricted exports of luxury goods to North Korea. The following day, North Korea announced that it would terminate all non-attack agreements with South Korea, close the joint border crossing and cut off the North-South crisis telephone connection. Four days later, the US and South Korea launched joint military maneuvers condemned by the North. On March 15, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the superpower was strengthening its missile shield to protect itself from missile attacks from North Korea and Iran. On March 26, the United States sent B-52 bombers from Guam to South Korea, as part of the ongoing military exercises. On March 28, two B-2A Stealth bombers flew from their base in Missouri across the Pacific, throwing a fictitious bomb over an airbase in South Korea, and then returning to Missouri. The United States declared the demonstration to show, that the superpower could and would conduct intercontinental bombing as and when required. At the same time, seven B-1 bombers were transferred to the US military base at Guam. North Korea again responded to the US B-2 drill by declaring itself in a state of war with South Korea two days later. The United States immediately responded again by transferring more bombers to its bases in Japan. On April 3, North announced that it was closing the Kaesong industrial zone, a joint project between the North and the South with South Korean capital and North Korean workers. On the same day, the United States announced that it was sending a number of larger warships to the eastern Pacific. On April 5, North Korea announced a number of Western embassies as well as the Russian to evacuate by April 10. An invitation that was ignored.
On April 15, North Korea declared its willingness to develop peaceful relations with the rest of the world, provided its nuclear status was not contested. In Japan, former Secretary of Defense Shigeru Ishiba declared that Japan “had the right to conduct a preventive attack on North Korea”. On April 18, North Korea came forward with proposals to resume negotiations. The condition was that UN sanctions against the country should be lifted and US and South Korea’s joint military maneuvers be stopped. The US Secretary of State rejected the proposal. On April 20, North Korea accepted a Chinese proposal for dialogue. On April 30, the United States and South Korea suspended the joint military maneuvers. Although the crisis was cooling, several Chinese banks ceased their cooperation with North Korean banks in mid-May. At the same time, North Korea conducted a series of smaller missile test launches. On June 5, North Korea rejected a Chinese request to suspend its nuclear tests. On June 6, North offered to enter into negotiations with the South to reopen the Kaesong industrial zone, and this was immediately accepted. The South Korean Stock Exchange had fallen significantly during the previous months’ crisis. On June 19, China and North Korea jointly called for the resumption of the six-party talks. On June 24, Barack Obama announced that the US military emergency would be extended for 1 year due to the Korean Peninsula situation. On July 2, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun urged the United States to enter into direct talks without any preconditions. The 6th. July and North and South announced that after 15 hours of negotiations, they had agreed to reopen the Kaesong industrial zone. On July 18, US Vice President Joe Biden announced that the superpower was willing to enter into negotiations, but only if they were “honest” and only if North Korea abandoned its nuclear program in advance.
In May 2014, a 23 storey residential building in Pyongyang crashed. The loss figure was not disclosed but was probably several hundred.
According to countryaah, the population of North Korea in 2012 was 25,183,722, ranking number 51 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.510% yearly, and the population density was 209.1507 people per km2.