The national flag of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as the Ramhongsaek Konghwagukgi (Korean: 람홍색공화국기; literally “blue and red-coloured flag of the republic”), consists of a central red panel, bordered both above and below by a narrow white stripe and a broad blue stripe. The central red panel bears a five-pointed red star within a white circle near the hoist.
Similar to the flag of the former East Germany having been banned in the former West Germany and still being banned in Germany even after West and East were reunified, this flag is strictly prohibited under the National Security Act in South Korea due to its association with the ruling North Korean regime, and it is only allowed in extremely exceptional cases such as media coverage, drama and film, and international sports events.
The North Korean national flag is officially defined in article 170 of Chapter VII of the North Korean constitution. According to it:
The national flag of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea consists of a central red panel, bordered both above and below by a narrow white stripe and a broad blue stripe. The central red panel bears a five-pointed red star within a white circle near the hoist.
The ratio of the width to the length is 1:2
The North Korean flag’s prominent motif is a red star, which is a universal symbol of communism and socialism. Despite many changes to the country’s constitution and legal documents, including systemic removal of references to communism in favor of Juche, the constitution is still stated to be socialist in nature and the description of the flag has always remained the same.
The website of the Korean Friendship Association indicates that, on the contrary, the red star represents revolutionary traditions and the red panel is indicative of the patriotism and determination of the Korean people. The white stripes symbolize the unity of the Korean nation and its culture. The blue stripes represent the desire to fight for independence, peace, friendship, and international unity.
The red of the flag symbolises anti-Japanese sentiment, and is the colour of blood shed by the Korean patriots and the invincible might of our people firmly united to support the Republic. The white symbolizes one bloodline, one land, one language, one culture of our monoethnic country, which lived in purity. And blue stands for the gallant visage of our people and symbolises the spirit of the Korean people fighting for world peace and progress.
The colours of the North Korean flag – red, white, and blue – are considered national colours and symbolise respectively: revolutionary traditions; purity, strength, and dignity; and sovereignty, peace, and friendship.
According to Korea expert and scholar Brian Reynolds Myers, in North Korea the flag of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Korean People’s Army Supreme Commander‘s personal standard are treated with more reverence than the North Korean national flag, with the Supreme Commander’s flag ranking highest among the three in terms of reverence.