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Territory & Geography

Territory

North Korea occupies territories north of the military demarcation line as stipulated by the ceasefire agreement of July 1953 that ended the Korean War. According to South Korea Constitution, which states that the national territory includes the whole of the Peninsula and surrounding islands, North Korea’s territory legally belongs to South Korea but is being ruled by North Korea.

Territory
Coordinates 124˚18´41˝to 130˚41´32˝ East / 37˚41´00˝ to 43˚00´36˝North
Area 122,762㎢ (55% of 222,300㎢, total area of the Peninsula and surrounding islands)
National Borders 1,369.4㎞ (China 1,353.2㎞, Russia 16.2㎞)
Coastline Length 2,495㎞ (Total coastline length of the Peninsula is 8,593㎞)

Geography

Elevation is high in the northern and eastern regions, gradually leveling out toward the southern and western regions. Part of the Baekdu Mountains, the Nangrim Range spreads from the north to the south, from which the Gangnam, Jukyuryung, Myohyang, Uhnjin, and Myulak Ranges sprout to the west. The Hamgyung and Boojunryung Ranges encompass the North and South Hamgyung Provinces, eventually meeting with the Nangrim Range. Rivers originating from these mountain ranges flow to the East and Yellow Seas, forming flatlands in the western regions.

Geography
Major Mountains and Peaks Mount Baekdu (2,750m), Gwanmo Peak (2,540m), Mount Buksubaek (2,521m), Mount Nampotae (2,433m). There are some 50 mountains and peaks with elevations higher than 2,000m.
Major Plateaus Plateaus of high elevations have been formed to the north of regions connecting North Pyongan Province’s Myohyang Mountains and South Hamgyung Province’s Hamheung city. The ten main plateaus include the Baekmu, Gaema, Jangjin, Nangrim, and the Poongsan.
Major Basins Hweryung, Gangge, Goosung, Dukchun, Echun, etc.
Major Rivers Rivers flowing westward are long and winding - some major rivers are the Abrok (Yalu), Daedong, Chongchun, Yesung, etc.
Rivers flowing eastward are short and straight - some main rivers are the Duman (Tumen), Namdaechon, Yongheung, Uhrangchon, Sungchun, etc.
Major Plains Flatlands are located mainly in the western regions.
Pyongyang Plains (950㎢, drainage of middle and southwest parts of the Daedong River), Jaeryung Plains (1,300㎢, includes South Hwanghe Province’s Jaeryung, Shinchun, Ahnak, and Eunchun; drainage of the Jaeryung River), Yonbaek Plains (1,150㎢, includes South Hwanghe Province’s Yonahn, Baechun, and Chungdan regions), Yoldoo Samchunri Plains (750㎢, includes South Pyongahn Province’s Ahnju, Moonduk, Sookju, and Pyongwon regions; drainiage of the Chongchun River), Hamheung Plains (includes South Hamgyung Province’s Hamju and Jeungpyong regions; drainage of the Sungchun River), Yongchun Plains (drainage of North Pyongahn Province’s Abrok [Yalu] River)
Major Lakes Soopoong (298.2㎢), Woonbong (104.9㎢), Jangjin (46.1㎢), Bujeon (20.3㎢), Suheung, etc. (some 25 lakes are broader than 5㎢)

Climate

Although North Korea is located in a temperate zone, winters are cold while summers are hot due to the influence of the continental climate. The average temperature of the Peninsula throughout the year is 10℃. By region, yearly average temperatures are 14∼15℃ in the south, 10℃ in the middle, and 3∼6℃ in the north. Therefore, the temperature difference between summers and winters in North Korea is significant. The temperature difference is also great within different regions of the country. The yearly average temperature of Hesan is 3.6℃ while that of Haeju and Wonsan is 11℃. This temperature difference becomes greater during the winter. The average January temperature of Wonsan is -2.5℃ while that of Hesan is -16.6℃, resulting in a differences of almost 14℃.
North Korea’s winters, lasting for five months, are almost a month longer than those of the South. Naturally, North Korea’s rivers remain frozen for a longer durations. (Duman [Tumen] River: 4 months, Abrok [Yalu] and Daedong Rivers: 3 months)
In contrast, regional temperatures do not vary substantially during the summer.

Average yearly rainfall in North Korea is 600㎜∼1,500㎜. Although on average, less rain falls in the North, it resembles South Korea in that 53~63% of total rainfall is concentrated during a three-month period from June to August. Rainfall varies by region within North Korea. The yearly average for the Jangjun (Gangwon Province’s Gosung County) area is 1,520㎜, while that for Hesan is only 606㎜.

Natural Resources

A Subterranean Resource Mine in North Korea

Major ores include: molybdenum, magnesite, graphite, barite, mica, fluorite, silver, steel, lead, zinc, aluminum, coal, etc. The numerous geological layers formed during the Archaeozoic to the Cenozoic eras and frequent diastrophism have endowed North Korea with plentiful mineral resources.

Lead and zinc are major components in North Korea’s export industry. Some major mines include the Gumduk Mines in South Hamgyung Province’s Danchon region, the Yang-gangdo Mines, and 20 others.
Almost half of the world’s total magnesite deposits are located in North Korea, especially in the vicinity of Danchon County.

Coal, one of North Korea’s key energy sources, is deposited plentifully throughout the nation. Most of the coal is anthracitic. Bituminous coal deposits are mainly located in North Hamgyung Province’s Aoji and South Pyongan Province’s Anju regions.

Although North Korea is believed to have subterranean oil reserves, their profitability has yet to be established. Foreign oil companies have conducted numerous, yet fruitless, explorations for oil fields in North Korea.