North Korea and South Korea are two nations that were separated in 1948, ever since a wave of tension has ran through the two separate countries. North Korea, also known as the Democratic Peoples’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is an authoritarian regime, while South Korea, also known as the Republic of Korea is a parliamentary democracy. Who is bigger in terms of land mass, population and economy?
North Korea has a population of 25 million, while South Korea has a population of 51 million people. South Korea is the 11th most populous country on earth while North Korea finds itself at the 64th spot. This makes South Korea over twice as big in population. When it comes to land mass, North Korea is slightly bigger as it covers an area of 46,400 square miles compared to South Korea’s 38,600 square miles. This makes North Korea 1.2 times larger than South Korea in terms of land area.
The economy of these two countries couldn’t be more different. North Korea is an isolated economy with a planned economy that has become less and less effective over the years. It relies heavily on foreign aid and bartering, primarily from its only ally, China. South Korea is a powerful and vibrant economy that relies mainly on exports. South Korea’s exports account for half of its gross domestic product while North Korea’s foreign trade accounts for just 10% of its total economic production. South Korea’s economy is ranked 15th in the world and is over 16 times bigger than North Korea’s economy which is bottom of the list at 187th in the world.
Security and military strength of the two countries also show a huge contrast. South Korea’s military is well-equipped and strong, supported by its ally, the United States. South Korea is considered the most militarized nation in the world. North Korea spends a huge amount of money on military, but its equipment and resources are drastically outdated and ageing and its numbers much lower than South Korea’s. It spends around 22% of its budget on military, compared to South Korea’s 5%.
Both North and South Korea have had different levels of success in international and sports events. South Korea has participated in all Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1948. They have hosted two Olympics events in the past, the Summer Olympics in 1988 in Seoul and the Winter Olympics in 2018 in PyeongChang.On the other hand, North Korea has participated in select Olympic events and many times on their own, without any representation from the International Olympic Committee.They also often fail to qualify and earn medals in international competitions.
Education in North and South Korea
South Korea has a deliberate approach towards education and has worked hard to cultivate a culture of learning by highly investing in their education system. As a result, they are ranked among the most highly educated societies in the world. South Korea also ranks second in bachelor’s degrees per capita with 44.07% of the population having obtained a university degree. North Korea’s education system has lacked the same sort of investment as South Korea, and it does not have the same strong global rankings. With the demand for higher education rising across the world, North Korea stills seems to be struggling in both quality and quantity.
Culture and Society
When compared to South Korea, North Korean culture and society has a minimal presence on the world stage. North Korea is notoriously closed off from the rest of the world, but growing external influences, such as South Korean media, are slowly creeping in. Repressive government regulations around TV, books, and other forms of media help prevent the North Korean people from being exposed to the outside world. South Korea, on the other hand, is one of the most globally connected countries in the world and is a strong advocate and driver of pop culture, with movies, music, and K-pop reaching fans around the world.
Both North and South Korea have noticeably different political systems. North Korea is a single party authoritarian regime led by the Korean Workers’ Party. The government has a policy of ‘self reliance’, with a strong emphasis on Juche ideology, an important basis for North Korean statecraft. South Korea on the other hand is a multi-party democracy and is considered to be one of the freest and most open countries in Asia. South Korea has taken steps to improve on its human rights record, while North Korea lags way behind in the area.
In terms of international ties, South Korea is much further down the line. It enjoys strong diplomatic and economic ties with many countries around the world. South Korea is a dedicated member of the United Nations and G-20, embraces global trade and regularly participates in international forums. North Korea, however, has cut its ties with the United Nations, does not participate in world trade and shuns relationships with other countries. The two Koreas remain heavily divided and the only visits between the two countries are when North Koreans make rare trips to South Korea for sporting or leadership events.