Korea North Issues - 2023


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Disputes - international

North Korea-China: risking arrest, imprisonment, and deportation, tens of thousands of North Koreans cross into China to escape famine, economic privation, and political oppression; North Korea and China dispute the sovereignty of certain islands in Yalu and Tumen Rivers

North Korea-Japan: North Korea supports South Korea in rejecting Japan's claim to Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima)

North Korea-South Korea: Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents in the Yellow Sea with South Korea which claims the Northern Limiting Line as a maritime boundary

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: undetermined (2021)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — the government of North Korea does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government did not demonstrate any efforts to address human trafficking; during this reporting period there was a government policy or pattern of human trafficking in prison camps, in labor training centers, in massed mobilizations of adults and children, and through forced labor by North Korean overseas workers; proceeds from state-sponsored forced labor funded government functions and illicit activities (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers—including government officials—exploit North Koreans at home and abroad; women and children are exploited in sex trafficking within North Korea; forced labor is part of an established system of political repression and a pillar of the economic system; children in prison camps are subject to forced labor for up to 12 hours per day; officials forcibly mobilize adults and school children to work in factories, agriculture, logging, mining, infrastructure work, information technology, and construction sectors; North Koreans sent to work abroad, including through bilateral agreements with foreign businesses or governments, face forced labor conditions; NGOs report overseas workers are managed as a matter of state policy; the government often appropriates and deposits worker salaries into government-controlled accounts; in 2017, the UN Security Council prohibited members from issuing or renewing work authorizations for North Koreans and, with limited exceptions, required repatriation; nonetheless, an estimated 20,000-100,000 North Koreans are working in China, primarily in restaurants and factories; North Korean women and girls lured by promises of jobs in China are forced into prostitution, marriage, or exploitative labor arrangements; many North Koreans continue to work or enter Russia, and some workers are reportedly working in African, Middle Eastern, an Southeast Asian countries (2022)

Illicit drugs

at present there is insufficient information to determine the current level of involvement of government officials in the production or trafficking of illicit drugs, but for years, from the 1970s into the 2000s, citizens of North Korea , many of them diplomatic employees of the government, were apprehended abroad while trafficking in narcotics; police investigations in Taiwan, Japan and Australia during that period have linked North Korea to large illicit shipments of heroin and methamphetamine

NOTE: The information regarding Korea North on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea North 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea North 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.