North Korea Country Report
Rarely are trips necessary, or even permitted, to the distinctive and bristly nation of North Korea (population 25 million), located in the Far East and notorious for its unpredictable and dictatorial regime. North Korea - the most politically isolated country on earth - presents medium-level risks to travelers due to a variety of issues, first and foremost regional tensions and the unpredictable characteristic of its leadership.
The regional security situation remains tense amid provocations, continuing distrust, and repeated ballistic missile tests and nuclear tests.
The political and social situation in the country has been affected by numerous international sanctions. Politically, the state is characterized by its totalitarianism (2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the creation of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea) and lack of freedom of expression and movement. Travelers should avoid criticism of the political and ideological system in North Korea, and be careful not to bring any Korean-language documents into the country.
Following his father's death in December 2011, Kim Jong-Un took over control of the government. Five years since his accession to power, Kim Jong-Un still holds absolute control over virtually every aspect of the state and has made efforts to solidify that power, as demonstrated by the assassination of his half-brother (in exile) Kim Jong-Nam on February 13, 2017, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, likely with VX nerve agent.
As a reminder, individual tourism is generally not allowed in North Korea. Only a few travel agencies recognized by the North Korean government are authorized to organize visits to the country. Be aware that all travelers are closely monitored by the North Korean authorities during their stay. Travelers should also note that many western states do not have diplomatic relations with North Korea.
Health conditions in this secluded country are worrying: tap water is not potable, and medical facilities offer poor quality services and are heavily affected by a lack of funding. Furthermore, due to political and logistical factors, an emergency medical evacuation is not always possible.
Moreover, as a consequence of poor weather conditions (floods) in the country over the past few years, as well as international sanctions that limit trade with other countries, it is estimated that one-quarter of the North Korean population (six million individuals) suffer from malnutrition.
Autumn is sunny and dry. Winters are quite harsh but still sunny and dry. Spring is often foggy and rivers remain frozen until mid-April. Summer, monsoon season, is hot (30°C) and very rainy.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +850
There are no emergency services in North Korea.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz
North Korea: Border bridge to China closed Dec. 11-20
TIMEFRAME: from 12/10/2017, 11:30 PM until 12/20/2017, 11:29 PM (Asia/Pyongyang).
United States: Supreme Court allows travel ban December 5 /update 5
TIMEFRAME: from 12/5/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/9/2017, 11:59 PM (US/Eastern).
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