North Korea is a country in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name Korea is derived from the Kingdom of Goguryeo, also spelled as Koryŏ. Pyongyang is both the nation’s capital as well as its largest city, with a population just over 2.5 million. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in China) and Tumen rivers. The country is bordered to the south by South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea), with the heavily-fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two.
Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948 two separate governments were formed: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–53). Although the Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, no official peace treaty was ever signed.