According to the 1972 constitution (amended several times), North Korea is a socialist state based on the guidelines of “Juche” (“independence”) and Songun (“military first”). In 2013, the guideline of parallel development (»Byungjin«) was adopted, which postulates the equality of economic and military development. According to carswers, the “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un (from 2011) has dictatorial power as chairman of the commission for state affairs, chairman of the state party PdAK and military commander-in-chief. The cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister (elected by Parliament) as the actual government, has the character of an administrative and executive body and is responsible to the Supreme People’s Assembly. The legislature lies formally with the parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly (687 members, elected for 5 years according to single lists). However, it only meets once or twice a year to adopt bills. The current business is carried out by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. The chairman, since 2019 Choe Ryong Hae, is at the head of the state in terms of protocol – the “Eternal” President is the “Great Leader” and state founder Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994.
The national flag has horizontal stripes in blue, white, red, white and blue, the stripes are in a ratio of 6: 2: 17: 2: 6 to each other. In the red stripe there is a five-pointed red star in a white circle, shifted towards the leech. The blue stripes symbolize the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan that encircle North Korea, the red stripe indicates that the country is on the way to communism. As the traditional color of Koreans, white stands for readiness for peace. – The coat of arms was adopted on September 9, 1948. Within a wreath of rice ears in a mountain landscape, it shows a dam with a hydroelectric power station and high-voltage pylon, raised by the shining red star of communism. The ears of wheat are tied with a red ribbon with the official state name in Hangŭl (Korean script) held together.
September 9 commemorates the 1948 proclamation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The state party is the Communist Labor Party of Korea (PdAK; founded 1945); As part of the National Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, the Social Democratic Party of Korea (founded in 1945 as the Democratic Party) and the religiously based Chundo-gyo-Chongu Party (founded in 1945) support the policy of the PdAK.
The most important trade unions are the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (founded in 1945; divided into 7 branch-specific sub-groups) and the Association of Working People in Agriculture of Korea (founded in 1965).
The North Korean conscription army (service in the army and navy at least five years, with the air force three to four years) with almost 1.3 million soldiers is one of the largest in the world. Around 1.1 million serve in the army, 110,000 in the air force and 60,000 in the navy. Then there are the border guards and other security forces. In addition, a large part of the able-bodied population, including women up to 30 years of age, is included in combat troops of the PdAK state party. North Korea is in fact a nuclear power. The army has missile weapons that can also carry nuclear warheads.
The judiciary is shaped by the Soviets. Jurisdiction is exercised at the top by the Central Court of Justice, whose judges are appointed by the Supreme People’s Assembly for a period of five years. In addition to the provincial courts, there are numerous people’s courts in the districts and cities. There are special courts for members of the military and the railway. The constitution does not provide for any appeal. Procedures in constitutional, administrative and electoral questions are also de facto not provided.
North Korea is divided into 9 provinces (Thu), 3 special regions (Kaesŏng, Kŭmgang-san, Sinŭiju) and the direct government capital Pyongyang. All administrative levels are subject to central control.
There is twelve years of compulsory schooling from the age of 6, preceded by the one-year compulsory elementary level. The school system is divided into a six-year primary level and a six-year secondary level. A higher education is offered by universities and other scientific institutes. There are about 30 universities; The largest university is the Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang (founded in 1946).
The media are exclusively committed to the propaganda of the state and the party or Kim Jong Un. Free reporting is prevented, and the use of foreign news sources is severely punished.
Press: The daily press is distributed nationwide in the capital, such as the central organ of the PdAK »Rodong Shinmun« (»Workers’ Newspaper«), the government newspaper »Minju Chosŏn« (»Democratic Korea«), the trade union organ »Rodongja Shinmun« and the army newspaper » Chosŏn Inmingun «. The weekly newspaper “The Pyongyang Times” is published in English and French.
News Agency: Chung Yang Tong Shin / Korean Central News Agency (KCNA, state).
Radio: The state radio broadcasts nationwide radio and television programs. The “Voice of Korea” overseas service broadcasts programs in nine languages.
Telecommunications: Cell phones are only accessible to a small part of the population; in addition, the network is limited to the domestic market. North Korea is largely isolated from the global Internet. Companies, authorities and ministries are linked by a nationwide intranet.