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The Korean Peninsula, located in Northeast Asia, is bordered on the north by China and Russia and juts toward Japan to the southeast.  The northernmost point is Yup'ojin in Onsong-gun, Hamgyongbuk-do Province, and the southernmost point is Marado island, Cheju-do Province.  The westernmost point of Maando island in Yongch'on-gun, Pyonganbuk-do Province, and the easternmost is Tokdo island in Ullung-gun, Kyongsangbukdo Province.  The Korean Peninsula is 222,154 square kilometers, almost the same size as the UK or Romania.  The administrative area of the Republic of Korea is 99,392 square kilometers, slightly larger than Hungary or Portugal and a little smaller than Iceland.

The northern part of the peninsula is divided into two geographical regions: the P'yong-an-do province in the northwest and the Hamgyong-do province in the northeast.  The former with more flatlands is also known as the Kwanso region while the latter is often referred to as Kwanbuk.  P'yong-an-do province serves as the major agricultural area of the North.

By contrast, Hamgyong-do province, due to its mountainous topography, boasts mining and forestry as its major economic activities.  P'yongyang, a leading urban  center in the P'yong-an-do province, is the capital of North Korea and Namp'o serves as the gateway port to P'yongyang.  Hamhung and Ch'rongjin are the other major centers of amgyong-do province.

The third geographical region of the North, Hwanghae-do province lies to the south of O'yong-an-do province.  Once a part of the Central region prior to the South-North division, Hwanghae-do province shares a great many cultural similarities with other west-central regions of the peninsula.  Kaesong is the major city of the region.


Early European visitors to Korea remarked that the country resembled "a sea in a heavy gale" because of the many successive mountain ranges that crisscross the peninsula. Some 80% of North Korea is composed of mountains and uplands, separated by deep and narrow valleys, with all of the peninsula's mountains with elevations of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) or more located in North Korea. The coastal plains are wide in the west and discontinuous in the east. A great majority of the population lives in the plains and lowlands.

The highest point in North Korea is Baekdu Mountain which is a volcanic mountain near the Chinese border with basalt lava plateau with elevations between 1,400 and 2,000 metres (4,600 and 6,600 ft) above sea level. The Hamgyong Range, located in the extreme northeastern part of the peninsula, has many high peaks including Gwanmosan at approximately 1,756 m (5,761 ft).

Other major ranges include the Rangrim Mountains, which are located in the north-central part of North Korea and run in a north-south direction, making communication between the eastern and western parts of the country rather difficult; and the Kangnam Range, which runs along the North Korea–China border. Geumgangsan, often written Mt Kumgang, or Diamond Mountain, (approximately 1,638 metres or 5,374 ft) in the Taebaek Range, which extends into South Korea, is famous for its scenic beauty.

For the most part, the plains are small. The most extensive are the Pyongyang and Chaeryong plains, each covering about 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi). Because the mountains on the east coast drop abruptly to the sea, the plains are even smaller there than on the west coast. Unlike neighboring Japan or northern China, North Korea experiences few severe earthquakes.


North Korea has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. Long winters bring bitter cold and clear weather interspersed with snow storms as a result of northern and northwestern winds that blow from Siberia. Average snowfall is 37 days during the winter. The weather is likely to be particularly harsh in the northern, mountainous regions.

Summer tends to be short, hot, humid, and rainy because of the southern and southeastern monsoon winds that bring moist air from the Pacific Ocean. Typhoons affect the peninsula on an average of at least once every summer. Spring and autumn are transitional seasons marked by mild temperatures and variable winds and bring the most pleasant weather. Natural hazards include late spring droughts which often are followed by severe flooding. There are occasional typhoons during the early fall.

Administrative divisions

Principal divisions of North Korea

Major North Korean cities.

  Namea Chosŏn'gŭl Hanja
Directly governed cities (Chikhalsi)a
1 Pyongyang (National Capital) 평양직할시 平壤直轄市
2 Rason 라선직할시 羅先直轄市
Special Administrative Regions (T'ŭkpyŏl Haengjŏnggu)a
3 Kaesong Industrial Region 개성공업지구 開城工業地區
4 Kumgangsan Tourist Region 금강산관광지구 金剛山觀光地區
5 Sinuiju Special Administrative Region 신의주특별행정구 新義州特別行政區
Provinces (do)a
6 Chagang 자강도 慈江道
7 North Pyongan 평안북도 平安北道
8 South Pyongan 평안남도 平安南道
9 South Hwanghae 황해남도 黃海南道
10 North Hwanghae 황해북도 黃海北道
11 Kangwon 강원도 江原道
12 South Hamgyong 함경남도 咸鏡南道
13 North Hamgyong 함경북도 咸鏡北道
14 Ryanggang  량강도 兩江道
– Sometimes rendered "Yanggang".



Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
Geographic coordinates:
40 00 N, 127 00 E
Map references:
total: 120,538 sq km
country comparison to the world: 98
land: 120,408 sq km
water: 130 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Mississippi
Land boundaries:
total: 1,673 km
border countries: China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km
2,495 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
note: military boundary line 50 nm in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and aircraft without permission are banned
Current Weather
temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer
mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west, discontinuous in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m
Natural resources:
coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 22.4%
permanent crops: 1.66%
other: 75.94% (2005)
Irrigated land:
14,600 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
77.1 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 9.02 cu km/yr (20%/25%/55%)
per capita: 401 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall
Environment - current issues:
water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
(International Cooperation of Environmental Youth - Helping Our Polluted Earth) Any advertisement you view helps save the environment!  Thanks!


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