The latest version of the FIPS standard is called "Geopolitical Entities and Codes", published in 2010-04. The codes for Kaesong-si and Namp'o-si were removed. This additional evidence has prompted me to remove them from the list of divisions, as well. (I first reported the mergers in the Change history section in 2004.)
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number II-1, dated 2010-02-03, has changes to the listing for North Korea. The update is rather confusing. Throughout the document, deletions from the previous standard are shown in blue strikeout type, and additions are shown in red. In most country listings, this is done in a straightforward way. For North Korea, however, the changes seem to scramble the entries. This is easier shown than described.
|Subdivision Name 1: (McCune-Reischauer)||Subdivision Name 2: (KPS)|
|KP-CHA 02||Chagang-do P’yŏngan-namdo||Phyeongannamto|
|KP-HAB 03||Hamgyŏng-bukto P’yŏngan-bukto||Phyeonganpukto|
|KP-HAN 04||Hamgyŏng-namdo Chagang-do||Jakangto|
|KP-HWB 05||Hwanghae-bukto Hwanghae-namdo||Hwanghainamto|
This seems to say that the name of Chagang-do changed to P'yŏngan-namdo, while the name of Hamgyŏng-namdo changed to Chagang-do. If you
look at the whole table, the provinces appear to be playing musical chairs. This is not plausible. Either the red names should be switched around
relative to the blue names, or we should simply concede that the blue province on a given line is not necessarily the same as the red province on
the same line. The question that remains, however, is this: do the red ISO codes belong to the same province as the blue ISO codes to their left, or
as the red province name to their right? I'm assuming the latter—e.g., that the new code for Chagang-do is
Other changes in the new ISO Newsletter: Kaesŏng-si and Namp'o-si are no longer listed as separate entities, which fits in with the changes for 2003-2004 reported under Change history. The status of P'yŏngyang-si is now chikhalsi (capital city), and of Najin Sŏnbong-si, si (special city). Names of subdivisions are given using a new transliteration, identified as KPS 11080:2002.
There are differing accounts of the Change history since 2000. Source  was my basic reference. Wikipedia (source ) says that North Korea's provincial-level divisions are the nine provinces, two directly governed cities (chik'alshi), and three special administrative regions. The directly governed cities are P'yŏngyang chik'alshi (split in 1946 from P'yŏngan-namdo) and Najin-Sŏnbong chik'alshi (split in 1993 from Hamgyŏng-bukto). The special administrative regions are Shinŭiju T'eukpyŏl Haengjŏnggu (special administrative region, split in 2002 from P'yŏngan-bukto), Kaesŏng Kong-ŏp chigu (industrial region, split in 2002 from Kangwŏn-do - not the same as Kaesŏng chik'alshi), and Kŭmgang-san kwangwang chigu (tourist region, split in 2002 from Kangwŏn-do). The standards have not been listing special administrative regions at the province level, so I don't either.
Wikipedia (source ) gives this list of former directly governed cities. Ch'ŏngjin was a chik'alshi from 1960 to 1967 and from 1977 to 1985, but is now part of Hamgyŏng-bukto. Hamhŭng was a chik'alshi from 1960 to 1967, but is now part of Hamgyŏng-namdo. Kaesŏng was a designated region (chigu) from 1951 to 1955 and a chik'alshi from 1955 to 2003, but is now part of Hwanghae-bukto. Namp'o tŭkkŭpshi (special city) was a chik'alshi from 1980 to 2004, but is now part of P'yŏngan-namdo.
A 2003 map (source ) shows province-level borders around Ch'ongjin and Najin, formerly part of Hamgyong-bukto province. The area around Najin is labeled "Najin-Sŏnbong Free Trade Zone", and adjoins both the Chinese and Russian borders. The city of Najin itself is marked with the symbol for a "metropolitan, province capital". The 2002 CIA World Factbook lists "Najin Sŏnbong-si", but nothing like Ch'ongjin. The 2001 edition doesn't list either one.
Source  says, "In 1991, the D.P.R.K. announced the creation of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the northeast regions of Najin, Chongjin, and Sonbong." Source  says, "In November 2002 the presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) passed laws formally establishing the Mt Geumgang tourist special economic zone (SEZ) and the Kaesong industrial SEZ. These SEZs add to the original Rajin-Sonbong region, established in 1992. ... Kaesong, also originally planned by the Hyundai group is located just north of the De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) which divides North and South Korea. ... A Special Administrative Region (SAR) was declared in September for the Chinese border region of Sinuiju." (Rajin is an alternate romanization of Najin.) The phrase "add to the original Rajin-Sonbong region" probably doesn't mean that the new SEZs became part of the Rajin-Sŏnbong SEZ, because the three are not in geographical proximity.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-4, dated 2002-12-10, shows the creation of Najin Sŏnbong-si.
Change Notice 8 to FIPS PUB 10-4 is dated 2002-06-28. It lists new codes resulting from the splitting of Najin Sŏnbong-si special city from Hamgyong-bukto province.
|Short name||NORTH KOREA|
In 1900, Korea had only recently come out from under Chinese hegemony, and was soon to submit to that of Japan. It became a Japanese protectorate in 1905-12, then a colony on 1910-08-22. At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed to partition Korea at the 38th parallel, with the Soviet Army occupying the north and the U.S. the south. This arrangement was intended to last only until a democratic government could be set up for a united Korea. Instead, the communist north invaded the south in 1950, and the Korean War ensued. It was fought to a standoff. On 1953-07-27, an armistice was signed. North and South Korea were to be separated by a demilitarized zone about a kilometer wide, running near the 38th parallel across the peninsula.
Korean koryo, dynastic name, meaning high serenity.
North Korea is divided into nine do (provinces) and two si (special cities). The final syllable of the name tells which type each division is. After "buk" (north), the -do changes to -to by assimilation. (Nam = south.)
The provinces are further subdivided into 152 gun (counties).
(The included entities ending in -do or -to are all islands.)
See South Korea for provinces of the Japanese colonial period.
KP.HB, FIPS code
KP.KS, ISO code
KAE, FIPS code
KN08, 1993 population 335,000, area 1,309 km.²) merged with Hwanghae-bukto (former HASC code
KP.NP, ISO code
NAM, FIPS code
KN14, 1993 population 731,000, area 753 km.²) merged with P'yŏngan-namdo (former HASC code
During the period of Japanese rule, Japanese names for the cities and provinces were in use. Some Korean phonemes are variously transliterated; for example, the Roman letters b and p are particularly likely to be interchanged. Therefore, -bukto is often spelled -pukto.
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