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North Korea, Land and Resources

North Korea is extremely mountainous and marked by deep, narrow valleys. A complex system of ranges and spurs extends across the country in a generally northeastern to southwestern direction. The most prominent mountain range is the Nangnim-sanmaek, in the north central region. Mount Paektu (2,744 m/9,003 ft), on the Chinese border, is the highest peak. Lowland plains comprise only about one-fifth of the total area and are largely confined to the country’s western coast and to the several broad river valleys of the west. Fertile alluvial soils are found in these river valleys. Most of the soils in the mountainous regions lack organic material and are relatively infertile. Nearly all the major rivers rise in the mountains and flow west to the Yellow Sea. The longest river, the Yalu (Amnok), forms part of the border with China. Other streams include the Taedong, Ch’ong-ch’on, and Chaeryong rivers. Of the major rivers only the Tumen flows to the eastern coast to empty into the East Sea.

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