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ASIA CONTINENT
Korea: North and South
Korea: Two Sovereign States Bordered by China and Russia Across the Sea from Japan
Korea, located on the Korean Peninsula, has been divided into two distinct sovereign states, since 1945 --- North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea). Korea is bordered by China to the northwest and Russia to the Northeast. It is separated from Japan by the Sea of Japan.

Population
The combined population of the Koreans is about 76 million (North Korea: 25 million, South Korea: 51 million).

Japanese Lose Control of Korea to Russia and the United States
Korea was under Japanese military occupation since 1910. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces. The Soviets occupied the North and the United States occupied the South. The two superpowers could not agree on the terms of Korean independence as a unified country.

North Korean Government Established by Russia, South Korean Government
Established by U.S./U.N
The Soviets established a communist government in North Korea, and the United States, with assistance from the United Nations, established a democratic government in South Korea.

North Korea, South Korea at War
Both Korean governments claimed sovereignty over all of Korea -- a civil war would ensue, each aided with millions of troops from powerful allies.

Nuclear Weapons Program
North Korea has a military nuclear weapons program that dates back to the 1980s. They also has a significant amount of chemical and biological weapons.

Russia and China Deny
Korea Help in Developing Nuclear Weapons
In 1963, North Korea asked the Soviet Union for help in developing nuclear weapons, but was refused. The Soviet Union agreed to help North Korea develop a peaceful nuclear energy program, including the training of nuclear scientists. Later, China, after its nuclear tests, similarly rejected North Korean requests for help with developing nuclear weapons.

2003: Korea Withdraws from
Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
In 2003, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. In 2005, it admitted to having nuclear weapons but vowed to close the nuclear program.

2006: North Korea Conducts First Nuclear Test - Sanctions Follow
On October 9, 2006, North Korea announced it had successfully conducted its first nuclear test. An underground nuclear explosion was detected, its yield was estimated as less than a kiloton, and some radioactive output was detected. Beginning this year, and following, the country has come under sanctions for conducting nuclear tests.