Hong Yong-Jo converted a penalty to put the North Koreans ahead in the 63rd minute, but Ki Sung-Yeung equalised five minutes later at a neutral venue in Shanghai.
This was the fourth draw between the rivals in 2008 alone, although Korea DPR will be disappointed not to have come away with a victory. They have now taken four points from two games in Group 2, while this was their opponents' first outing.
After a quiet first half, Korea DPR were clearly the better side in the second. Jong Tae-Se set up Hong for a right-footed shot that went wide in the 57th minute, before they deservedly went ahead when Hong made no mistake from the spot.
But Korea Republic quickly got back into the game when Ki, his side's youngest player at 19, scored with a right-footed strike after being set up by Kim Do-Heon.
Belatedly, with the scores level, the South Koreans showed some life. In the 80th minute, Kim Do-Heon sent Kim Dong-Jin away but his dangerous cross from the left was cleared. From the ensuing corner, Ki's header was well saved.