I came across an article talking about the difference between state and country, when they mean nation, like United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The article says that the USA and the UK can be referred to as country while North Korea can only be referred to as state.
The rationale behind that is
country means people with citizen rights + elected government + land
state means only government.
Because in my native language, there is no difference between state and country when they are translated as nation, I am curious to know whether the point the article tries to make is true or not, or to what extent it is true.
The people in Libya are now fighting for their rights. When they say we love Libya, they certainly do not refer to Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
How to distinguish that Libya from the GSPLAJ? According to the article, the former may be called country while the latter may be called state.