The school in North Korea is free of charge. The compulsory school obligation from 2013 is gradually being increased from eleven to twelve years. A one-year preschool for five-year-olds must be followed by a first five-year stage and then two three-year stages. In the two higher stages, English is compulsory as a second language.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of North Korea, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in North Korea, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
US sanctions against individuals
The United States introduces new sanctions on North Korea, shortly after the UN also tightened its sanctions. This time, the United States is targeting two men who are said to have key positions in North Korea’s robotics program: Kim Jong-Sik and Ri Pyong-Chol. The sanctions will freeze any assets they have in the United States. The two men often figure in pictures together with Kim Jong-Un in connection with robotic launches.
New UN sanctions
The Security Council voted unanimously for new sanctions, following the robot launch in late November. The sanctions mean that oil supplies to North Korea will be further limited by up to 90 percent. Furthermore, the inflow of foreign currency is being suppressed, with tens of thousands of North Korean workers, mainly China and Russia, having to return home within 24 months. According to the UN, their wages go to the regime; The United States behind the resolution, they operate under slave-like conditions. Penalties are also imposed against 16 officials, mainly within the banking system, who receive frozen assets and visa bans. The resolution also prohibits North Korea from exporting machinery and electrical equipment. A few days later, North Korea calls the resolution an “act of war” and threatens retaliation against those who supported the decision.
Japan faces new sanctions on North Korea
The Japanese government is exerting additional pressure on North Korea to stop the development of nuclear weapons. Assets in the country belonging to some 20 people and companies with ties to North Korea are frozen. These are transport companies, banks and companies that trade in coal and minerals.
North Korea promises regular contacts with the UN
For the first time in seven years, North Korea receives a visit from one of the UN’s top executives. Jeffrey Feltman heads the Department of Political Affairs and visits North Korea for five days with the goal of trying to curb the crisis surrounding the country’s nuclear weapons program. During the meeting, Pyongyang promises to maintain relations with the UN “through regular meetings at various levels”.
49 countries have violated North Korea sanctions
According to the Institute for Science and International Security, a think tank in Washington DC, 49 countries to varying degrees and in various ways violated the UN sanctions against North Korea between March 2014 and September 2017. Among the countries include China, Germany, Brazil, India and France. A dozen countries, including Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and Syria, are said to have participated in some form of military exchange with North Korea. North Korean vessels have been helped by some 20 countries to sail under their flag.
Missiles can reach the United States
North Korea carries out a new test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a so-called Hwasong-15. The robot reaches higher than any of the previously tested, before it crashes into the Japanese sea. After the trial, state television announces that the country has achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear weapons state and that it can now hit the American mainland with its missiles.
Kim Jong-Un’s sister gets a high post
Kim Yo-Jong will take his place of office in the Communist Party’s highest decision-making body, the Politburo. Kim Jong-Un announces his decision on the sister’s promotion at a party meeting. Kim Yo-Jong already has important duties in the country’s leadership, including as deputy head of the Ministry of Propaganda.
Kim Jong-Un calls Trump crazy
For the first time, North Korea’s leaders are addressing an international audience. The North Korean leader says in the speech conveyed via state media that the US president will “pay a high price” for his statements to the UN General Assembly the other day. Trump then warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, whom he called “Rocket Man,” that North Korea could be “totally destroyed” if the provocations continue.
New missile over Japan
Pyongyang fires yet another ballistic medium-range robot (IRBM) that lands in the Pacific after passing over Japan. The Japanese government strongly protests against the missile test.
New harsh UN sanctions
The measures are introduced as a penalty for Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test and mean that North Korea’s oil imports are restricted, textile exports are banned and new visas stopped for North Koreans who want to work abroad. The US had proposed that the sanctions would completely prevent North Korea’s oil imports, which are mainly from China, but the Security Council members could not agree on this. Nor did a proposal to freeze Kim Jong-Un’s assets abroad and travel bans go through.
Test of suspected hydrogen bomb
North Korea states that it has completed its sixth nuclear test. According to the regime, it is a hydrogen bomb that can fit into a missile capable of reaching the mainland of the United States, which, however, cannot be confirmed by experts around the world. The sample is detected when a powerful earthquake is registered in North Korea. The nuclear charge is North Korea’s strongest so far and, according to later estimates, can be as large as 250 kilotons, 16 times larger than the bomb against Hiroshima.
Missile over northern Japan
North Korea tests fire another missile, which travels over the island of Hokkaido in Japan before crashing into the sea. The reactions will be severe in Japan, where a nationwide crisis alarm is issued. The missile is believed to be the newly developed Hwasong-12, a medium-range robot, which experts say is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile test is seen as a reaction to the US and Japan having just held a joint military exercise in Hokkaido. In response to the missile test, South Korea is carrying out a bombing exercise with four fighter aircraft.
The United States faces new sanctions
New with the sanctions is that they not only target North Korea, but increasingly hit companies and individuals in other countries. 10 companies and six individuals in China and Russia are identified as having supported North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, despite UN sanctions prohibiting such support. Companies that focus on hiring North Korean workers to other countries are also affected by the new sanctions.
Threats to attack Guam
9th of August
North Korea states that it is investigating the possibility of attacking the US military base Guam in the Pacific. The message comes after US President Donald Trump said that North Korea “will face fire and fury that the world has never seen” if the country does not stop threatening the United States. Trump responded to reports that North Korea can now reach the US mainland with nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons can be produced in miniature format
North Korea is said to have succeeded in building a nuclear warhead that is small enough to fit the country’s rockets. The country has thus reached the goal of having intercontinental ballistic robots capable of reaching the US mainland. The information comes from the US intelligence agency Defense Intelligence Agency.
No to conversation with Syd
North Korea says no to a proposal from South Korea on joint talks aimed at reducing tensions between the countries and discussing a new round of reunions of divided families.
The United States does not want to dismiss the regime
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announces that there are no plans to overthrow the regime in Pyongyang and that the US leadership is willing to talk to North Korea’s leaders. North Korea, however, excludes negotiations on the nuclear program and also condemns the recent UN sanctions.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopts sanctions on North Korea, which prohibits countries from importing coal, iron and iron ore and lead from the country. Nor can North Korea send more citizens abroad to work and send home money. Several regime representatives and companies are also subject to travel bans and freezing of assets in foreign banks. North Korea is projected to lose over a third of its export revenue due to the sanctions. The United States began negotiations with China on new sanctions against Pyongyang in early July after North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental missile (see July 2017).
New robot test raises new protests
North Korea launches its second intercontinental robot in less than a month. The robot crashes into the water in Japan’s economic zone. Kim Jong-Un calls it a “powerful warning” directed at the United States and says that the entire United States can now be reached. From the United States, President Trump is tweeting condemnations of China for keeping the North Koreans, and new military planes over the Korean Peninsula are following. Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe say in a joint statement after a few days that the robotics program is a growing threat. The economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea should increase, it says. But the United States does not request a meeting of the UN Security Council, as it would not “lead to consequences,” says UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
The United States prohibits nationals from traveling to North Korea
The US State Department confirms information that a travel ban for all US citizens to North Korea will be imposed, following Otto Warmbier’s death in June.
North Korea fires long-range robot
North Korea launches a ballistic intercontinental long-range robot, which crashes into the Japanese sea. It is unclear whether or not the robot will land in Japan’s economic zone. The US confirms that it is a robot that could probably reach the American mainland. South Korea and the US respond by firing robots during a joint military exercise, while Russia and China jointly propose that North Korea discontinue its nuclear weapons program at the same time as the US and South Korea cease their joint military exercises.
Tensions are rising after the death of America
A China-based travel company that organizes trips for foreigners to North Korea announces that it no longer takes bookings from US citizens. The reason is that one of the company’s travelers, the American student Otto Warmbier, was first jailed for having taken a North Korean propaganda flag and then passed away after he was handed over to the United States in a state of coma. The ambiguities surrounding Warmbier’s fate strain the already chilly relations between the United States and North Korea.
The UN extends sanctions
The UN Security Council further extends sanctions against North Korea after negotiations for several weeks between the US and China. Targeted sanctions are imposed on 14 high-ranking people, including an intelligence chief. They get their assets in banks abroad frozen and are also subject to international travel bans. Also, a bank with links to Kim Jong-Un, two trading companies and the strategic military department responsible for missile capabilities is included in the sanctions.
New missile test
North Korea fires yet another missile landing in sea areas near Japan. It is the third missile test within three weeks and the twelfth since January.
North Korea is conducting another missile test, which is seen as a mark against the South Korean neighboring state where Moon Jae-In was elected new president. The missile reaches over 70 miles before descending into the Japanese sea. According to North Korea, this was a new type of missile (Hwasong-12) capable of carrying a heavier nuclear warhead. The UN Security Council unanimously condemned the shootout of North Korea.
The United States clarifies North Korea’s strategy
Despite recent tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the fierce rhetoric between North Korea and the United States, US leadership states that diplomacy and additional sanctions will be used and avoid military action against North Korea. The goal is to put pressure on Pyongyang to ensure that North Korea can again be piloted into a dialogue on the nuclear weapons program.
Preventive attack on the United States
After the US nuclear-armed submarine USS Michigan arrives in South Korea to participate in military exercises, the government of North Korea reacts strongly. It is said to be ready to lower the submarine and an American aircraft carrier to participate in the exercises. A preventive attack on the United States or other measures to defend against “US imperialists” is also not ruled out.
North Korea holds military exercise
According to government spokesmen, the military exercise is “the greatest ever”. It is held to celebrate the formation of the army 85 years ago and takes place in the area around the city of Wonsan on the east coast.
Both major powers work closely to deal with the increasingly tense situation of North Korea and its nuclear weapons, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.
“Missile test every week”
North Korea threatens to test missiles once a week in the future. The statement is perceived as a reaction to US Vice President Mike Pence visiting Japan.
North Korea is warned
Vice President Mike Pence warns during a visit to South Korea that the United States “does not exclude anything” about North Korea. President Trump may use military force, Pence says, referring to recent attacks in Syria and Afghanistan.
New missile test
A failed test of a missile is conducted the day after the solemnization of Immortal Father Kim Il Sung’s 105th birthday. The failed test is believed to have been a completely new robot.
New weapons appear at parade
A parade was held to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s 105th birthday. During the parade, North Korea’s weapons arsenal were displayed. This also included what perceived by assessors as new long-range robots.
The quarrel with Malaysia over
Kim Jong-Un’s murdered half-brother’s body (see February 2017) will be sent from Malaysia to Pyongyang. At the same time, North Korea and Malaysia lift the travel bans imposed on nationals of the other country. North Koreans barred from leaving Malaysia are now allowed to leave the country, and the same applies to Malaysians detained in North Korea.
New criticism from the UN
The UN Security Council condemns the latest tests of missiles carried out by North Korea in March.
The United States wants to change its strategy
At a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “all means” could be used to get North Korea back on the nuclear issue. The day before, during a visit to Japan, Tillerson announced that it was time to find a new strategy to meet the threat from North Korea.
The Security Council condemns missile tests
The UN Security Council strongly criticizes North Korea for the new missile launches. The resolution is supported by all members of the Council. North Korea has stated that the missiles were part of a military exercise before being able to attack US military bases in Japan. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposes that Pyongyang cease missile testing and nuclear tests in exchange for the US and South Korea stopping the annual joint military exercises.
New missile tests
North Korea launches four missiles landing in the sea, three of them on Japanese water. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacts strongly, warning of the threat from North Korea, while the US condemns missile tests. A few days earlier, the US and South Korea began joint annual military exercises. These tend to cause tensions on the Korean peninsula every year.
Malaysia expels North Korea’s ambassador
The expulsion takes place as part of the diplomatic quarrel between Malaysia and North Korea following the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam. Evidence has shown that he was murdered with nerve gas, which is classified as a weapon of mass destruction, at Kuala Lumpur Airport. Two women have been charged with the murder. One day later, the state-run North Korean news agency KCNA announced that all Malaysian citizens of North Korea would be stopped from leaving the country until the conflict was resolved. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak responds by banning outbound travel for all North Koreans in Malaysia.
Suspected North Korea is released
The 46-year-old North Korea arrested in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam in Malaysia is released “for lack of evidence” and deported to North Korea.
Two are charged with the murder of Kim Jong-Nam
A 25-year-old Indonesian woman and a 28-year-old woman from Vietnam are being prosecuted in a court in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur for the murder of Kim Jong-Nam.
Malaysia takes home its ambassador
A quarrel has arisen between North Korea’s leadership, which wants to house Kim Jong-Nam’s body, and the Malaysian government that wants to do a forensic examination of the body. From the North Korean perspective, it is argued that an autopsy must not be carried out without the government’s permission. But the Malaysian government does not intend to take this into account.
China stops coal imports from North Korea
Beijing announces that imports will be suspended until the end of the year. For North Korea, coal exports to China play an important role. According to unconfirmed sources, about 90 percent of North Korea’s trade is to be made with China, and about 40 percent of it is coal and minerals. The coal trade has been estimated to have a value equivalent to about 5 percent of the gross domestic product. According to analysts, there may be various reasons why Beijing chooses to punish North Korea: North Korea’s latest missile test (see 11/2) annoyance over the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam (see 14/2) who had strong ties to China and lived in Macau or a ways to improve relations with the new US leadership under President Donald Trump. China has been criticized for being careless in checking that UN sanctions against North Korea are upheld by Chinese companies.
North Korea arrested in Malaysia
The 46-year-old man from North Korea is suspected of the murder of Kim Jong-Nam. Another three people, one woman from Indonesia and one from Vietnam, as well as a Malaysian man have previously been arrested by police. A couple of them have probably been tricked and thought it was all a joke in a TV show. Kim Jong-Nam is believed to have died from a poisonous liquid he received on his face.
Kim Jong-un’s half brother killed
According to South Korean government sources, North Korean leader’s half-brother Kim Jong-Nam is said to have been murdered. According to TV channel TV Chousn, he is said to have been killed at the airport in Malaysia by two female spies. Malaysian police are reported to suspect that North Korea is behind the murder.
The Security Council condemns the missile test
US President Donald Trump promises a powerful response.
New missile launches
It is reported to be a new type of medium- to long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons. According to South Korea’s defense minister, it was a provocation to test how US new president Donald Trump would react.
Spy boss is kicked
According to South Korean government sources, the Minister of State Security has had to step down due to abuse of power. At the same time, several officials at the security authority must also have been executed. The Minister of Security must have been a driving force in the arrest and execution of Kim Jong-Un’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek (see Current policy).
The US threatens North Korea
New US Secretary of Defense James Mattis says a nuclear test carried out by North Korea will meet “effectively and overwhelmingly”.