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North Korea: Isolated by choice


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End of Japan’s 35 years old colonial rule was marked by the division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea, which stems from the 1945 allied victory in World War II.

Amidst the chaos, North Korea emerged in 1948 after World War II. Known for its communist rule, for decades the country has been world’s one of the most reserved societies.

Its history is dominated by its Great Leader, Kim Il-sung, who shaped political affairs for almost half a century. Its nuclear ambitions have aggravated its rigidly maintained isolation from the rest of the world.

After the Korean War, Kim Il-sung introduced the personal philosophy of Juche, or self-reliance, which became a guiding light for North Korea's development. Kim Il-sung's son, Kim Jong-il, is now head of state, but the post of president has been assigned "eternally" to his late father.

North Korea is very rigid when it comes to the communication with rest of the world. It prefers remaining in its own seclusion. And in order to maintain it, governance is quite strict in the country. And reportedly, those who do not abide by the rules have to face the atrocities. Reports of torture, public executions, slave labour, and forced abortions and infanticides in prison camps have emerged in the country. The totalitarian state also stands accused of systematic human rights abuses.

North Korea has an industrialized and highly central planned economy. The hold of Government is such that the supply and prices are regulated by Government rather than market force.

The Government planners decide which goods and services are produced and also their distribution. International trade is highly restricted and the country prefers isolation. Even the education system is strictly run by the government of North Korea.

It is said that women play an important role in the formation and smooth running of society. The social status and roles of women were radically changed after 1945. On July 30, 1946, authorities north of the thirty-eighth parallel passed a Sex Equality Law. The 1972 constitution asserted that "women hold equal social status and rights with men." The 1990 constitution stipulates that the state creates various conditions for the advancement of women in society. In principle, North Korea strongly supports sexual equality.

In contemporary North Korea, women are expected to fully participate in the labor force outside the home. Apart from its ideological commitment to the equality of the sexes, the government views women's employment as essential because of the country's labor shortage. No able-bodied person is spared from the struggle to increase production and compete with the more populous southern half of the peninsula.

Tensions between North Korea and a few countries increased steadily from late 2008 onwards, especially after the new South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, ended his predecessor's "sunshine policy" of rapprochement with the North.

In April 2009 North Korea walked out of international talks aimed at ending its nuclear activities. The following month the country carried out its second ever underground nuclear test and announced that it no longer considered itself bound by the terms of the 1953 truce that ended the war between the two Koreas.

Tensions reached a new high in spring 2010, when the South accused North Korea of being responsible for sinking one of its warships, the Cheonan, and cut off all cross-border trade. Pyongyang denied the claims, and in turn severed all ties with Seoul.

Decades of the rigid state-controlled system in North Korea, have led to stagnation in the running of the administration and the leadership dependency, a faction of personality.

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