This edition of North Korea: A Country Study replaces the previous edition, published in 1981. Like its predecessor, this study attempts to review the history and treat in a concise manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspect of contemporary North Korea. Sources of information included books, scholarly journals, foreign and domestic newspapers, official reports of governments and international organizations, and numerous periodicals on Korean and East Asian affairs. A word of caution is necessary, however. The government of a closed communist society such as that of North Korea controls information for internal and external consumption, limiting both the scope of coverage and its dissemination. For instance, data from North Korea are, on the whole, dated, limited, and couched in vagaries--and are often provided as percentages of increases over previous years rather than as hard numbers. In addition, information coming from the outside is subject to the political bent of its originator. Data from South Korea, for example, seek, by and large, to show the superiority of that country's economic and political system. North Korea's 1991 admission to the United Nations, however, may result in the release of more statistics.
Spellings of place-names used in the book are in most cases those approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN); the spelling of some of the names, however, cannot be verified, as the BGN itself notes. The generic parts appended to some geographic names have been dropped and their English equivalents substituted: for example, Mayang Island, not Mayangdo , and South P'yngan Province, not P'yngan-namdo. The name North Korea has been used where appropriate in place of the official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The McCuneReischauer system of transliteration has been employed except for the names of some prominent national figures and internationally recognized corporations where the more familiar journalistic equivalent is used. The names of Korean authors writing in English are spelled as given.
The body of the text reflects information available as of June 30, 1993. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.
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