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A North Korean soldier watches the South Korean side at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone on April 4.(Photo: Lee Jong Hoon, AP) 1. The founder of North Korea, first president Kim Il Sung, created the country's policy of juche or "self-reliance," which has essentially cut off North Korea economically and diplomatically from the rest of the world even in times of great need such as famines.

2. Kim Jong Il, son of the country's founder, has been said by state media to have managed amazing feats: He scored a perfect 300 the first time he went bowling and sank 11 holes-in-one the first time he played golf. 3. Between 150,000 and 200,000 North Koreans live in prison camps surrounded by electrified fencing, according to South Korean government estimates and Human Rights Watch. The worst camps are for those who commit political crimes, and offenders can have their entire extended family imprisoned with them.

As many as 40% of camp prisoners die from malnutrition while doing mining, logging and agricultural work with rudimentary tools in harsh conditions, according to a 2011 Amnesty International report. 4. Only military and government officials can own motor vehicles. 5. North Koreans must abide by one of 28 approved haircuts. Unmarried women must have short hair, but married woman have many more options.

The hair of young men should be less than 2 inches long, older men can go as long as 2¾ , according to a Taiwanese website WantChinaTimes. FULL COVERAGE: North Korea crisis 6. All legal televisions are tuned to state-controlled domestic programming. The Internet does not exist other than a closed domestic network. Cellular 3G access is allowed to foreigner visitors. Few North Koreans know anything about world events apart from how they are described by North Korean propaganda.

7. North Korea's missile program was first developed with help from the then-Soviet Union in the 1970s. Its Taepodong-2 missile has an estimated range of more than 4,100 miles but has yet to be test-fired. Other medium-range missiles are capable of being fired over Japan. 8. The border between North Korea and South Korea is one of the most militarized in the world, according to the State Department.

Pyongyang has about 1.2 million military personnel compared with 680,000 troops in South Korea, where 28,000 U.S. troops are also stationed. Nearly 6 million North Koreans are reservists in the worker/peasant guard, compulsory to the age of 60. 9. The World Food Programme estimates that 6 million of North Korea's 25 million people are in need of food aid and one-third of children are chronically malnourished or stunted.

Analysis of escapees from North Korea shows that those born after the Korean War in the late 1950s were on average about 2 inches shorter than South Koreans. Most North Koreans subsist on corn and kimchi, a pickled cabbage. 10. In 1978, North Korean agents kidnapped South Korean film director Shin Sang Ok and his wife, actress Choe Eun Hui, to create a film industry in North Korea. The couple escaped to the West eight years later, after having made dozens of films.

11. The elder brother to current leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam, was passed over to become the heir apparent leader after being arrested in Tokyo in 2001 for traveling to Disneyland on a forged passport. 12. As many as 2 million people died as a result of famine in the 1990s caused by erratic government farming policies and flooding, according to the United Nations. Asia Press reported that a recent return of famine in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has forced some to resort to cannibalism.

13. North Korea spent about one third of its national income on the military, according to a 2011 report from the South Korean government. 14. Annual GDP per capita is about $1,800, which ranks 197th in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook. The GDP is 18 times higher in South Korea. 15. Electric power largely shuts down at night, and the homes that have electricity often receive only a few hours per day.

16. Schoolchildren provide their own desks and chairs, and money to pay for heat. Some students are forced to produce goods for the government. Some parents keep their children home by bribing teachers to keep quiet. 17. North Korea's regime gets much of its income by exporting to Japan and elsewhere counterfeit pharmaceuticals, such as Viagra, narcotics such as methamphetamine, counterfeit cigarettes and fake $100 U.

S. bills, and by selling small arms and missile parts to terror groups and rogue nations. 18. Nearly all property belongs to the state. A modern independent judicial system does not exist. Religious freedom does not exist. 19. Foreign investment in North Korea reached $1.4 billion in 2010, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. European and Chinese companies have opened casinos for tourists and invested in mines for copper, nickel, zinc, iron and gold.

Mineral reserves are estimated to be worth $6 trillion, says South Korean state mining company Korea Resources. 20. North Korea has a network of informants who monitor and report to the authorities fellow citizens they suspect of criminal or subversive behavior. Unauthorized access to non-state radio or TV broadcasts is severely punished. Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/ZsjJVh

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North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching Alaska. The US and South Korea staged a joint military exercise, firing missiles at the North. Kim Jong-un called the launch “a gift for the American b******s” and has vowed to “frequently send gift packages” to the US. Donald Trump has said that the US is considering some "pretty severe things" in response.

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW OUR LATEST LIVE FEED ON NORTH KOREA Sunday July 9 6:40am: Michael Elleman, a weapons expert, saw a distinct similarity between the engine tested by North Korea in March and one he frequently encountered in Russia at the end of the Cold War. He said: “It shocked me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. “They are serious about trying to create a capability that could threaten the United States.

” Saturday July 8 9.27am: The US and South Korea will carried out a joint military live fire drill over the Korean peninsula this weekend. Long-range strategic bomber B-1B Lancers were already spotted flying over the East China Sea, with the assistance of Korean Koku Jieitai JASDF F-2 fighters.  5.45am: The US will test their state–of–the–art interceptor defence system against an intermediate–range ballistic missile amid heightened tensions with North Korea, reports reveal.

It will be the first operational test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system to defend against a simulated attack, following Kim Jong–un’s claim that Pyongyang has successfully developed a devastating missile. The interceptor will be fired from Alaska and will take place “in the coming days”. EPA The US and South Korea carried out a live fire drillGETTY The US will carry out a test of its controversial THAAD system in South KoreaFriday July 7 9pm: Shunichi Tanaka, the boss of Japan's nuclear energy regulator, claimed it would be better for Pyongyang to launch a missile strike on the Japanese capital instead of targeting one of the country's five working reactors.

He has since apologised for the remark. 8.00pm: Theresa May also called on China's president Xi Jinping to use China's influence to put "pressure" on Pyongyang to stop its missile testing programme following North Korea's latest launch. 7.48pm: Rex Tillerson reiterated today the US’ commitment to solving the North Korean problem, saying he had “not given up on hope”. However the Secretary of State underlined that not many options were left if peaceful pressure measures fail to deter Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

"I call it the peaceful pressure campaign ...; This is a campaign to lead us to a peaceful resolution, because if this fails, we don't have very many good options left," he said. "It's one that requires calculated increases in pressure, allow the regime to respond to that pressure, and it takes a little time to let these things happen." 6.37pm: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the US will remain closely engaged with China on resolving the situation in North Korea.

Mr Tillerson added that recent sanctions have caught China’s attention and that moving along with the issue will require patience. 4.51pm: The US, South Korea and Japan have agreed to push for a UN Security Council resolution that would apply new sanctions on North Korea. President Donald Trump met with his Korean and Japanese counterparts at the G20 summit in Germany, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to apply "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

In a joint statement, the three countries said that they "decided to press for the early adoption of a new UNSC resolution with additional sanctions”. 3pm: The Spanish Government has summoned the North Korean ambassador Kim Hyok-chol to denounce Pyongyang’s missile test on Tuesday. Fidel Sendagorta from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, underlined that the missile test was a “serious escalation” and that the Spanish Government was watching Pyongyang “with growing concern”.

Mr Sendagorta further observed that North Korea’s actions were a violation of the UN’s Security Council resolutions. Spain previously summoned the North Korean ambassador in September last year in response to a nuclear test. 1.50pm: Beijing has played down Donald Trump’s claim that trade between North Korea and China is on the rise. On Wednesday Mr Trump tweeted that trade between the two nations grew “almost 40 per cent” in the first three months of 2017.

“So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try,” he added. While China didn’t dispute the figure, it pointed out that when the first five months of the year were taken into account, trade grew by just 13.7 per cent. Over the same period, imports of North Korean goods into China fell 9.3 per cent to $720m,  China's Ministry of Commerce said. 10.30am: South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has said that he is willing to meet with Kim Jong-un “if it will provide an opportunity to transform the tension and confrontation on the Korean Peninsula”.

Speaking in Hamburg ahead of the G20 summit, Mr Moon said: “The current situation where there is no contact between the relevant authorities of the South and the North is highly dangerous. "I am ready to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea at any time at any place.” He said that he is open to putting all issues on the able, including Kim’s nuclear programme and the signing of a peace treaty between the warring neighbours.

07.00am: North Korea claimed that could destroy the US mainland amid a chilling threat to its southern neighbour that it would be a “piece of cake” to wipe out the Seoul. Days after leader Kim Jong-un supervised the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Pyongyang has lashed out at the South Korean officials, branding them “puppet military gangsters” of the US. Pyongyang, publishing it comment through North Korean state media, said: “It will be as easy as a piece of cake for the [North] to wipe out the puppet forces… as we are now able to destroy even the US mainland across the ocean.

" North Korea v USA explosive latest pictures Wed, September 20, 2017 Images depict how tensions have escalated between North Korea and the United States. Kim Jong-Un boasted of North Korea's ability to strike any target in the US after a second ICBM test that weapons experts said could even bring New York into range - in a potent challenge to President Donald Trump AFP/Getty Images 1 of 45 North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14 being lauched at an undisclosed place in North Korea Thursday July 6 10:30pm President Trump has warned he is ready to take a harder line against China following North Korea’s recent missile test.

  This comes as Theresa May has said China must use its influence to stop North Korea.  She said that it was important for China to “play its role”.  China has historically not been opposed to the North Korea regime because of its shared history and geographic proximity.  8:45pm A researcher from a Seoul Think Tank has said that South Korea has had to live under the threat of an attack from North Korea for “several decades”, Bong Yong Shik said: “"So this is not an unusual situation for most South Koreans to deal with.

“There's growing support in favour of giving diplomacy a chance in South Korea, of course in China and even in the United States.” The researcher thinks that South Korea’s new president would be more likely to be behind diplomatic conversations between the two countries.  7.15pm: Senior US and Chinese officials are set o meet on July 19 to discuss economic issues. The meeting follows threats President Trump threatening to put trade pressure on Beijing for not doing enough to reign in Pyongyang.

It will be the fist such meeting of the US–China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue under the current administration. 4.57pm: Russia has openly objected to the UN’s condemnation of North Korea’s Tuesday missile launch because the US named the rocket as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). "The rationale is that based on our (Ministry of Defence's) assessment we cannot confirm that the missile can be classified as an ICBM," Russia's U.

N. mission said in an email to its Security Council colleagues. "Therefore we are not in a position to agree to this classification on behalf of the whole council since there is no consensus on this issue," the email concluded. Security Council statements need to be unanimously agreed upon by all 15 member states. 1.30pm: Donald Trump has vowed to “very strongly” confront North Korea over its missile tests, when he addressed a press conference in Poland’s capital Warsaw.

Following a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, Mr Trump labelled the hermit state "a threat.” “They are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done,” Mr Trump underlined. 11.00am: Boris Johnson has condemned North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test “reckless”, and has called on China to increase pressure on Pyongyang. ”What the North Koreans are doing is reckless, it's indefensible, it's in defiance of (United Nations) resolutions,” the Foreign Secretary told the BBC.

"The single most important thing is that the country with the most direct economic relationship with North Korea, that is China, has got to continue to put on the pressure.  “And in the last six months or so we are seeing some real changes in Beijing's attitude to North Korea and that's got to go further." 10.10am: Donald Trump has said that the US is considering some “pretty severe things”  in response to North Korea’s “very, very bad behaviour”.

Speaking alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda, Mr Trump said that he would look at what happens over the coming weeks and months, but did not draw any red lines. "We must confront the threat from North Korea, that’s what it is it’s a threat, and we will confront it very strongly," Mr Trump said. "President Duda and I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behaviour.

" "There are severe things that we are thinking about, but it doesn't mean we are going to do them. I dont draw red lines, we will take a look at what happens over the coming weeks and months.  "It is a shame they are behaving this way. They are behaving in a dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it."  7.40am: The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said that Washington is prepared to use military force against North Korea after its “reckless and irresponsible” missile test.

Ms Haley called the launch a "clear and sharp military escalation”. "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces,” she said. “We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction." Other options include harsher sanctions on Pyongyang, Ms Haley said, proposing that the US could go as far as cutting links with countries that trade  with North Korea.

  GETTY North Korea's July 4 missile launch was celebrated across in Pyongyang10.00pm: A US diplomat will take part in a conference in Singapore in the wake of this week’s controversial North Korean missile test.  Ambassador Joseph Yun will travel to Singapore July 11-13 to attend the conference of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), and will then travel to Myanmar. Mr Yun negotiated Pyongyang's release of Otto Warmbier, a U.

S. student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, who returned to the United States in a coma on June 13 and died June 19.  While visiting the North to secure his release, Yun met three other Americans held there. 8.45pm:  The US Ambassador to the UN has warned North Korea's actions are "quickly closing off the possibility of a diplomatic solution" and the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

Nikki Haley said: "One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction." She said the United States would propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea "in the coming days." Ms Haley also warned that Washington was prepared to cut off trade with countries trading with North Korea in violation of U.N. resolutions.

7.47pm: South Korean president Moon Jae-in has urged major global powers to consider sanctions against North Korea in response to Tuesday’s missile launch. "This is a great threat and provocation,” Mr Moon said at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He added: ”North Korea should stop immediately... We should work on more sanctions.” Ms Merkel mirrored his concerns when she said she would discuss with him ways in which sanctions can be increased.

6.39pm: The two-stage missile fired on Tuesday by North Korea is being treated by the US intelligence as a brand new type of weapon, US officials have told CNN. According to the news broadcaster, the first part of the missile was made of the well known KN-17 model, but the second stage remains a mystery. CNN’s calculations determined that the unknown part gave the rocket an additional 30-second burn cycle, which allowed it to travel a longer distance.

  5.23pm: The US military boldly said it is capable of defending the United Stated against the “nascent” threat of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis reminded of a successful missile interceptor test carried out in June. The test simulated Pyongyang firing an ICBM at mainland US, and the incoming target was successfully destroyed mid-air.

North Korea celebrates the launch of new intercontinental ballistic missile Fri, July 7, 2017 Kim Jong-un launched a sick celebration of the successful test launch of the country's first intercontinental ballistic missile. Thousands thronged to Kim Il-sung Square in capital city Pyongyang for displays of dancing and fireworks REUTERS 1 of 21 Army personnel and people gather at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang o celebrate the successful test-launch of intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-14 2.

50pm: Donald Trump has left Washington for Poland, where he will deliver a speech on NATO before travelling onward to the G20 summit in Hamburg. The summit will see the US President come face-to-face with his Chinese and Russian counterparts for the first time since their joint statement on North Korea – and for the first time ever in the case of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While most eyes will be on the Trump-Putin meeting, it will be interesting to see if Mr Trump follows up his recent criticism of China’s North Korea policy in person.

Mr Trump has expressed some frustration with China’s failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. 2.00pm: Donald Trump has attacked China’s trade with North Korea in a tweet which questions Beijing’s loyalties. The US President wrote: “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!” China is North Korea’s largest trading partner and ally, however relations between the two have cooled as Kim Jong-un ramps up his nuclear programme.

Mr Trump has criticised Beijing for its modest attempts to put pressure on Pyongyang. After Kim Jong-un launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Tuesday morning, Mr Trump tweeted: “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!” 11.25pm: North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, has released new pictures of Kim Jong-un celebrating the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The rogue dictator is pictured hugging a military official after the successful launch of the warhead, which analysts have said is capable of reaching Alaska. REUTERS Kim Jong-un oversaw an intercontinental ballistic missile launchREUTERS The North Korean leader hugged a military official after the missile was launched11.15am: Russia and China oppose any attempt to resolve the North Korean crisis “by force” or by strangling North Korea economically, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

"The task of the denuclearization of the entire Korean peninsula cannot and should not be used as a disguise for attempts to change North Korea's regime. This is our common position," Mr Lavrov told a news conference. The latest joint statement from the two world powers comes after China’s Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The leaders vowed to work together on a diplomatic solution to Pyongyang’s nuclear threat, and condemned Kim Jong-un’s latest missile test.

At the end of a two-day state visit, Mr Xi declared that relations between Russia and China were at their “best time in history”. 10.00am: North Korea has said that its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead. Kim Jong-un said that yeserday’s completed his country's strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, the state KCNA news agency said.

Pyongyang would not negotiate with the US to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its “hostile” policy against the North, Kim is reported to have said. 8.30am: An ex-CIA expert has said that she “can absolutely see” North Korea launching a military strike against the US. Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight, Dr Sue Mi Terry said: “It’s conceivable. “It’s not likely, they are not going to just preemptively use it because they know that it would mean the end of the regime and the end of the state as they know it.

"But if they thought that we were entering regime change mode or if military confrontation was on the way, I can absolutely see them using it – in fact the North Koreans have told me that they would use it. “They have not spent years of hardship pursuing this nuclear weapons programme just to perish without using them.” 6.00am: Kim Jong-un called yesterday’s missile launch “a gift for the American b******s”, North Korea’s state KCNA news agency report.

The Pyongyang mouthpiece said that Kim broke into a “broad smile” as he “feasted his eyes” on the nuclear-capable warhead. He reportedly urged scientists to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees”, a chilling warning that more tests could be forthcoming. Related articles Donald Trump 'prepared to retaliate against North Korea ALONE' Kim Jong-un declares ICBM was a 'gift' to 'American b******s’ 5.

00am: The US and South Korea have staged a joint ballistic missile drill in response to "North Korea's destabilising and unlawful actions”. "The drills showcased precision targeting of the enemy's leadership in case of an emergency," a South Korean Defence Ministry statement said. The exercise came hours after China and Russia issued a call for North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs, in exchange for a pause in US-South Korea military drills.

"The situation in the region affects the national interests of both countries," a joint statement said.  "Russia and China will work in close coordination to advance a solution to the complex problem of the Korean Peninsula in every possible way." REUETRS Kim Jong-un punched the air as he oversaw the ICBM launchGETTY The US and South Korea launched a missile test4.00am: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the US “will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea” in strongly-worded statement condemning the rogue state’s intercontinental ballistic missile launch (ICBM).

Mr Tillerson called the missile test "a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world” in a statement last night. "Global action is required to stop a global threat," he said. "Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.

" Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that North Korea’s test was an ICBM, after a previous assessment determined the launch to be an intermediate range missile. "The launch continues to demonstrate that North Korea poses a threat to the United States and our allies," a Pentagon statement said. Pyongyang announced that the ICBM was “lofted” at a steep trajectory and reached an altitude of 2,802 km (1,741 miles).

It hit its target in the Sea of Japan “precisely” after flying for 39 minutes. A North Korea state television report claimed that the state now has the technology to target "anywhere in the world". "As a strongest nuclear state with the best ICBM rockets, North Korea will end the US nuclear war threats and defence peace and stability of the Korean peninsula," a reporter said. Analysts have said that the missile could be capable of targeting Alaska, but not the rest of the US.

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