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However, North Korea has maintained its confrontational stance toward much of the outside world, especially wartime enemies South Korea and the United States.

Pyongyang continues to build and develop its nuclear program despite outside pressure to dismantle its atomic facilities in exchange for much-needed aid and international cooperation.

North Korea has a per capita gross domestic product of $1,800 per year, according to the State Department, far below that of its neighbors in Northeast Asia, and its rocky, mountainous terrain and history of natural disasters has long challenged the Kim regime to provide enough food.