The Amnok River and the Tumen River form the international border between North Korea and the People's Republic of China. A small section of the Tumen River also lies along the border between North Korea and the Russian Federation, technically following the river's thalweg. The Korean Demilitarized Zone forms the boundary between North Korea and South Korea. The legitimacy of this border is not accepted by either side, as both states claim to be the legitimate government of the entire country.
The Korean peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire from the late 19th century to the early 20th century, until it was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, Japanese rule ceased. The Korean peninsula was divided into two occupied zones in 1945, with the northern half of the peninsula occupied by the Soviet Union and the southern half by the United States.
A United Nations–supervised election held in 1948 led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. The conflicting claims of sovereignty led to the Korean War in 1950. An armistice in 1953 committed both to a cease-fire, but the two countries remain officially at war because a formal peace treaty was never signed. Both states were accepted into the United Nations in 1991.
North Korea political parties includes Workers' Party of Korea, Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party (also there are some independent deputies). The three political parties participates in the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland led by the Workers' Party of Korea. The government follows the Juche ideology of self-reliance, initiated by the country's first President, Kim Il-sung. After his death, Kim Il-sung was declared the country's Eternal President. Juche became the official state ideology, replacing Marxism–Leninism, when the country adopted a new constitution in 1972. In 2009, references to Communism (Chosŏn'gŭl: 공산주의) were removed from the country's constitution.
Education in North Korea is universal and free of charge (it is one of the most literate countries in the world, with an average literacy rate of 99%). The country has a national medical service and health insurance system which are offered for free. Housing and food rations traditionally have been heavily subsidized. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises and collectivized farms.
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