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North Korea: All you need to know explained in graphics

A visual explainer on North Korea and the recent increase in tensions regarding its nuclear and missile programmes.

Tensions have risen dramatically in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

Since the 1960s, North Korea has been trying to develop nuclear capabilities, much to the dismay of South Korea, a close ally of the United States.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un has steadily increased the number of ballistic missile tests since he came to power after his father Kim Jong-Il passed away in 2011. The country's nuclear programme was launched in the Soviet era with the construction of its first nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in 1965, but it carried out its first successful nuclear test in 2006.

After withdrawing from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 2003, North Korea has gone on to conduct several nuclear tests, most recently in September 2016. Pyongyang has also ground-tested a new rocket engine and test-launched ballistic missiles.

The reclusive state's nuclear and ballistic programmes have invited more than one round of sanctions, the latest by the United Nations Security Council that will ban exports worth $1 billion.

What is the history of the two Koreas

In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the three-year Korean War. Since the signing of the armistice agreement in 1953, North and South Korea have been divided by a 4km wide demilitarised zone stretching 250km.

Seoul, South Korea's capital and largest city, is within close range of this demilitarised zone and could be hit by North Korean artillery in case of hostilities.

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