Here's a look at what you need to know about North Korea. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has a centralized communist government.
About North Korea: Land Area: 120,538 sq km, slightly smaller than Mississippi
Population: 24,720,407 (July 2013 est.)
Median age: 33.2 (2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups: Racially homogenous, small ethnic Chinese and Japanese populations
Religion: Traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, with some Christian and other sects
GDP: $40 billion (July 2011 estimate)
GDP per capita: $1,800 (2011 estimate)
Other Facts: North Korea borders China, Russia and South Korea.
North Korea has no diplomatic representation in the United States. They do have a permanent mission to the United Nations.
The U.S. does not have any diplomatic representation in North Korea. The Swedish Embassy represents the U.S. as consular protecting power.
The Korean People's Army has up to 1.2 million active personnel. (State Dept, April 2012 )
Military spending is estimated at 25% of GNP. (State Dept, April 2012)
20% of males ages 17-54 are in the regular armed forces. (State Dept, April 2012)
Timeline: 1910-1945 - The Korean peninsula is under Japanese control.
August 1945 - After Japan surrenders in World War II, the U.S. occupies the southern half of the peninsula while the U.S.S.R occupies the northern half.
1945-1994 - Kim Il-Sung is the country's first leader.
1948 - Separate governments for the northern and southern parts of the Korean peninsula are established after an international stalemate fails to resolve the issue.
June 25, 1950 - North Korea invades South Korea. Peace negotiations begin in 1951, but hostilities continue until 1953.
July 8, 1994 - Kim Jong Il Becomes the leader of North Korea when Kim Il-Sung, his father, dies.
2000 - Kim Dae Jung, the leader of South Korea and Kim Jong Il meet for the first time since the country was separated 50 years earlier.
January 10, 2003 - North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
April 23, 2003 - North Korea declares it has nuclear weapons.
December 11, 2007 - Freight trains begin crossing the border between North and South Korea, resuming a regular service that last ran in the 1950s.