A Country StudyBook - 2008
This edition of North Korea: A Country Study replaces the previous edition, published in 1994. Like its predecessor, this study attempts to review the history and treat in a concise manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary North Korea. Sources of information included books, scholarly journals, foreign and domestic newspapers, official reports of governments and international organizations, and numerous periodicals and Web sites on Korean and East Asian affairs. A word of caution is necessary, however. Even though more information is forthcoming from and about North Korea since it became a member of the United Nations in 1991, the government of a closed society such as that of North Korea controls information for internal and external consumption, limiting both the scope of coverage and its dissemination.
A chronology of major historical events is provided at the front of the book (see table A). Chapter bibliographies appear at the end of the book, and brief comments on some of the more valuable and enduring sources recommended for further reading appear at the end of each chapter. A glossary also is included.
Spellings of place-names in the book are in most cases those approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN); spellings of some of the names, however, cannot be verified, as the BGN itself notes. Readers of this book are alerted that because the BGN recognizes the Sea of Japan as the formal name of the body of water to the east of the Korean Peninsula, this book also uses that term.. Similarly, the Yellow Sea is identified as the West Sea. The McCune-Reischauer system of transliteration has been employed except for the names of some prominent national and historical figures. Thus, Kim Il-song is rendered as Kim Il Sung, and Kim Chong-il is rendered as Kim Jong Il. The names of Korean authors writing in English are spelled as given in the original publication.
Measurements are given in the metric system. A conversion table (see table B) is provided to assist readers who are unfamiliar with metric measurements.
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The body of the text reflects information available as of August 1, 2007. Certain other parts of the text, however, have been updated: the Chronology and Introduction discuss significant events that have occurred since the completion of research, and the Country Profile and portions of some chapters include updated information as available.