Administrative divisions of North Korea

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Administrative divisions of North Korea
Provincial level
( to)
Direct-administered city
(직할시 直轄市 chikhalsi)
Special city
(특별시 特別市 t'ŭkpyŏlsi)
Municipal level
Special-level city
(특급시 特級市 t'ŭkkŭpsi)
( si)
( kun)
(구역 區域 kuyŏk)
( ku)
(지구 地區 chigu)
Submunicipal level
( ŭp)
( tong)
( ri)
Workers' District
(로동자구 勞動者區 rodongjagu)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
North Korea
Foreign relations

The administrative divisions of North Korea are organized into three hierarchical levels.These divisions were discovered in 2002. Many of the units have equivalents in the system of South Korea. At the highest level are nine provinces, two directly governed cities, and three special administrative divisions. The second-level divisions are cities, counties, wards, and districts. These are further subdivided into third-level entities: towns, neighborhoods, villages, and workers' districts.

The three-level administrative system used in North Korea was first inaugurated by Kim Il-sung in 1952, as part of a massive restructuring of local government. Previously, the country had used a multi-level system similar to that still used in South Korea.

(The English translations are not official, but approximations. Names are romanized according to the McCune-Reischauer system as officially used in North Korea; the editor was also guided by the spellings used on the 2003 National Geographic map of Korea).

First-level divisions

The nine provinces (To; , ) derive from the traditional provinces of Korea, but have been further subdivided since the division of Korea. They are large areas including cities, rural and mountainous regions. The two special cities (T'ŭkpyŏlsi; 특별시 , 特別市 ) are large metropolitan cities that have been separated from their former provinces to become first-level units. Four other cities have been directly governed in the past, but were subsequently reunited with their provinces or otherwise reorganized.

The three special administrative regions were all created in 2002 for the development of collaborative ventures with South Korea and other countries. One of them, the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region, was intended to draw Chinese investment and enterprise, but as of 2006 appears never to have been implemented. The special administrative regions do not have any known second- and third-level subdivisions.

KP-01Pyongyang capital city평양직할시平壤直轄市
KP-02South Pyongan Province평안남도平安南道
KP-03North Pyongan Province평안북도平安北道
KP-04Chagang Province자강도慈江道
KP-05South Hwanghae Province황해남도黃海南道
KP-06North Hwanghae Province황해북도黃海北道
KP-07Kangwon Province강원도江原道
KP-08South Hamgyong Province함경남도咸鏡南道
KP-09North Hamgyong Province함경북도咸鏡北道
KP-10Ryanggang Province량강도兩江道
KP-13Rason special city라선특별시羅先特別市
KP-??Nampo special city남포특별시南浦特別市

Second-level divisions

See List of second-level administrative divisions of North Korea for a complete list.
A map of North Korea with second-level divisions

The most common second-level division is the county (Kun; , ), a less urbanized area within a province or directly governed city. The more populous districts within provinces are cities (Si; , ), and the city of Nampho is a special city (T'ŭkkŭpsi; 특급시, 特級市). Some provinces also have two types of districts (Ku, Chigu).

The city centers of the directly governed cities are organized into wards (Kuyŏk, equivalent to South Korean Gu).

Third-level divisions

Rural parts of cities and counties are organized into villages (Ri, , ). The downtown areas within cities are divided into neighborhoods (Tong, , ), and a populous part of a county forms a town (Ŭp, , ). Some counties also have workers' districts (Rodongjagu, 로동자구, 勞動者區).


See also

External links

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