Country Profile: Democratic People's Republic of Korea


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is located in East Asia and bordered by China and Russia to the northwest, as well as South Korea to the south along the fortified demilitarized zone known as the DMZ line. The DPRK describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state, established in 1948.

Capital: Pyongyang

DPRK has two research reactors: one, IRT-DPRK, is located in the Pyongchen district of Pyongyang and is operated by the Centre for Atomic Energy under the State Committee for Atomic Energy. It is a pool-type, light water reactor producing 8000 kW thermal used for isotope production and irradiation. The second, IRT-2000, is a 5 MW electric gas-graphite moderated reactor located at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. Also at that complex are an unfinished 50 MW electric reactor, a spent fuel reprocessing facility, and multiple waste storage sites. The DPRK produces both weapons-grade plutonium and enriched uranium at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

DPRK maintains a testing facility at Punggye-ri, where it has conducted six underground nuclear weapons tests between 2006 and 2017.

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States, DPRK granted access to IAEA inspectors in exchange for light water reactors and energy assistance. The Agreed Framework dissolved in 2002, shortly before DPRK unilaterally withdrew from the NPT. 

Beginning in 2003, a series of Six-Party Talks between the DPRK, the United States, South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan attempted to negotiate the dismantlement of its nuclear facilities in exchange for aid. The talks ended in 2009 following the DPRK’s early nuclear weapons tests and satellite launch.

On 12 June 2009, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 which established a Panel of Experts on DPRK to assist the Sanctions Committee on UN sanctions against Pyongyang.

In 2016, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested its first thermonuclear weapon. In 2017, it successfully tested two ICBM launches.


  • Member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since 1976
  • Acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol in 1988
  • Acceded to the Antarctic Treaty in 1987
  • Acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1987
  • Acceded to the Convention on Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) in 1984
  • Acceded to the Outer Space Treaty in 2009
  • Acceded to the Treaty for the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1985
    • Withdrew unilaterally in 2003


  • Member of the G-77
  • Member of the G-21
  • Member of the Conference on Disarmament
  • Member of the Asia-Pacific Group


United Nations in North Korea

Fact Sheet on UN Sanctions on DPRK

UN Security Council Documents on DPRK

UN State Summary

Ratification of Treaties & Membership in International Organizations Related to Disarmament