You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. This arsenal won’t be around forever, though, since a denuclearisation agreement was made between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump back in June.
(You’d also be living under a rock to not know that, too).
But are the lesser-known facts about North Korea? Let’s go through them, shall we?
1). The United States is technically still at war with North Korea. A cease-fire agreement was signed in 1953, but no peace treaty ever followed that officially ended the Korean War.
2). It is not the year 2018 in North Korea. It’s actually the year 106. Their years are counted from the birth of their first Supreme Leader, Kim Il-sung, in 1912.
4). One of the major tourist attractions in North Korea is the preserved body of Kim Jong-il.
5). During his reign as Supreme Leader (1994-2011), Kim Jong-il kidnapped a North Korean filmmaker and his wife (who also happened to be an actress) and forced them to make films for him.
6). The North Korean public only knows what the government tells them. The government owns all the television and radio stations, as well as the newspapers. It also regulates the Internet within the country.
7). There’s a three-generation punishment system in North Korea. This means if you commit a crime, then your children and grandchildren also pay the price.
8). North Korea is actually a democratic republic (the country is officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). They have elections, but there’s only one name on the ballot.
9). In North Korea, there are only twenty-eight approved haircuts.
10). North Korean athletes are quarantined and monitored at international events and competitions.
11). The border between North and South Korea is one of the most heavily-guarded places in the world. Guards actually hold hands when they open a door to the other side so that they can’t get pulled over.
12). With all the restrictions in North Korea, it might surprise you that marijuana is actually legal there (but the truth is a tad more complex than that).
Words by Callum J. Jones.