Introduction to North Korea
North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia that has a long, complex history. It follows an ideology known as ‘Juche’, a combination of Marxism and extreme nationalism, and has a Hermit Kingdom-like approach to international relations. It is completely closed off from the rest of the world, and outsiders are unable to gain access to its boundaries.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, North Korea has been ruled by the authoritarian Kim family, which maintains absolute control over its population. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is the country’s latest leader, and under his rule North Korea has remained one of the most isolated and repressive nations in the world.
Which state is closest to North Korea? Geographically speaking, the nearest state to North Korea is the Russian Far East region of Primorsky Krai. This region of Russia is located on the edge of Korea Bay, which separates the two countries and provides a geographical barrier between them. It is almost 800 kilometres (500 miles) away from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and is separated by the Sea of Japan and the Tumen River.
As well as being the closest state geographically, Primorsky Krai is also the easiest to access from North Korea. The region shares a land border with North Korea, stretching 63 kilometres (39 miles) along the Tumen River, making it the most accessible point of entry into North Korea from a foreign nation.
Primorsky Krai is a densely populated region with a population of 1.9 million people as of 2018. It is the 18th largest region in Russia by population, and is home to many ethnic minorities, such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people.
The Relationship between North Korea and Russia
Russia and North Korea maintain a close relationship and Russia’s geographical proximity to North Korea means that it is in a good position to exert influence in the region. Russia has invested heavily in North Korea in recent years, providing aid and investments in projects such as infrastructure, power plants, and food processing plants. North Korea is also highly dependent on Russia’s energy resources and cross-border trade.
The two countries are allies and have a mutual defence agreement which ensures that neither country can attack the other. This agreement has been in place since 2018 and has recently been expanded, with the two countries agreeing to extend their mutual defence agreement for another 10 years. This has further strengthened the relationship between the two countries and has allowed them to develop a closer strategic partnership in the region.
Russia also provides for North Korea through cultural exchanges, providing arts and medical training, and holding discussion forums and workshops in various fields. These cultural exchanges have been beneficial to both countries, providing a platform for them to understand each other’s culture and policies, and facilitating their collaboration on regional security issues.
The Impact of North Korea on the Region
The presence of North Korea in the region has had a major impact on the region, both positively and negatively. On a positive note, North Korea’s presence in the region has increased the level of collaboration between countries in the region, creating diplomatic and economic ties, and enabling countries to cooperate on various issues such as security and the environment.
On the negative side, North Korea’s restrictive policies and nuclear program has caused tension in the region and has been a source of conflict. The country has conducted several tests of its nuclear weapons, which has caused anxiety in neighbouring countries and has raised concerns about the region’s security. This has led to increased military presence in the region and increased efforts to prevent future nuclear tests.
North Korea also has a poor human rights record, with the government exercising strict control over its citizens. The country has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary executions, torture, and the use of forced labour. This has been a source of conflict in the region and has sparked protests from the international community.
The US and the Koreas
The United States is a major player in the region and has a military presence in South Korea. The US and South Korea maintain a close relationship and have a mutual defence treaty that ensures that an attack on one country is considered an attack on the other. The US and South Korea have also worked together in response to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, conducting joint military exercises and imposing sanctions on North Korea.
The US and South Korea also collaborate on other issues such as trade, development, and security. The two countries have also cooperated in the construction of the Korean Industrial Complex in the North, which is intended to promote economic development in North Korea.
However, the US-South Korea relationship has been strained in recent years due to differences in opinion on how to respond to North Korea’s nuclear program and US President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on the issue. This has resulted in the US pulling out of certain South Korean-led initiatives, such as the joint military exercises, which has further heightened tensions in the region.
The Situation with North and South Korea
North and South Korea have long been divided by the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which was set up after the end of the Korean War in 1953. However, in recent years relations between the two countries have improved and there have been several rounds of meetings aimed at fostering cooperation and promoting peace. As a result of these meetings, the two countries have agreed to open several joint liaison offices and resume reunions between families separated by the Korean War.
Despite the improved relationship between North and South Korea, tensions in the region remain high due to the presence of US forces in the peninsula and North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, the two countries have yet to reach a final agreement on the issue of denuclearisation, and the US-South Korea relationship is still strained.
In conclusion, it is clear that the presence of North Korea in the region has had a major impact on the region, both in terms of security and in terms of relations between the two Koreas. Primorsky Krai is the state closest to North Korea, and one of the few points of entry from a foreign nation. The area is highly populated and has been the site of numerous cultural exchanges between Russia and North Korea. The US and South Korea maintain a mutual defence treaty and have collaborated on various issues in the region, although the relationship between the two countries has been strained in recent years.