South Korea (GPS: 37 00 N, 127 30 E) located in Eastern Asia, the southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. The country’s area measurements are total: 99,720 sq km; land: 96,920 sq km, water: 2,800 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania, slightly larger than Indiana. The total irrigated land is 7,780 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of South Korea: Strategic location on Korea Strait. About 3,000, mostly small and uninhabited islands lie off the western and southern coasts.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Seoul’s GPS coordinates are 37 33 N 126 59 E. Seoul’s local time is 14 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+9.
An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan’s surrender to the US in 1945. After World War II, a democratic government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. In contrast, a communist-style government was installed in the north (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside ROK soldiers to defend South Korea from a DPRK invasion supported by communist China and the Soviet Union. A 1953 armistice split the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. PARK Chung-hee took over leadership of the country in a 1961 coup. During his regime, from 1961 to 1979, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth, with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea in 1979. South Korea held its first free presidential election under a revised democratic constitution in 1987, with former ROK Army general ROH Tae-woo winning a close race. In 1993, KIM Young-sam (1993-98) became the first civilian president of South Korea’s new democratic era.
President KIM Dae-Jung (1998-2003) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 to contribute to South Korean democracy and his “Sunshine” policy of engagement with North Korea. President PARK Geun-Hye, daughter of former ROK President PARK Chung-hee, took office in February 2013 as South Korea’s first female leader. In December 2016, the National Assembly passed an impeachment motion against President PARK over her alleged involvement in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal, immediately suspending her presidential authorities.
The impeachment was upheld in March 2017, triggering an early presidential election in May 2017 won by MOON Jae-in. South Korea hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February 2018, in which North Korea also participated. Discord with North Korea has permeated inter-Korean relations for much of the past decade, highlighted by the North’s attacks on a South Korean ship and island in 2010, the exchange of artillery fire across the DMZ 2015, and multiple nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017. North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics, dispatch of a senior delegation to Seoul, and three inter-Korean summits in 2018 appear to have ushered in a temporary period of respite, buoyed by the historic US-DPRK conferences in 2018 and 2019.
South Korea’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Korea, conventional short form: South Korea, local long form: Taehan-min’guk, local short form: Han’gukabbreviation: ROK, etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the South Korean name “Han’guk” means “land of the Han,” where “han” may have its origins in the native root for “great [leader]” (similar to the title “khan”). Derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; The South Korean name “Han’guk” derives from the long-form, “Taehan-min’guk,” which is itself a derivation from “Daehan-je’guk,” which means “the Great Empire of the Han”; “Han” refers to the “Sam’han” or the “Three Han Kingdoms” (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla from the Three Kingdoms Era, 1st-7th centuries A.D.).
South Korea’s terrain is typically mostly hills and mountains, vast coastal plains in west and south. The country’s mean elevation: 282 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m, highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m.
The general climate in the country; temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter: cold winters.
The total number of border countries is 1, North Korea 237 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. South Korea’s coastline is 2,413 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 12 nautical miles; between 3 nautical miles and 12 nautical miles in the Korea Straitcontiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: not specified. Waterways: 1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 18.1%; arable land 15.3%; permanent crops 2.2%; permanent pasture 0.6%; forest: 63.9%; other: 18% (2011 estimate).
The population in South Korea 51,418,097 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 82.5% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: SEOUL (capital) 9.774 million; Busan (Pusan) 3.216 million; Incheon (Inch’on) 2.685 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.244 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.564 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.536 million (2015), while South Korea has N/A. Their spoken languages are Korean, English (widely taught in junior high, and high school).
Main religions in South Korea are Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24.0%, Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3% (2010 estimate). The nation uses mixed legal system combining European civil law, Anglo-American law, and classical Chinese thought. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Liberation Day, 15 August (1945).
Economic overview for the country: After emerging from the 1950-53 war with North Korea, South Korea emerged as one of the 20th century’s most remarkable financial success stories, becoming a developed, globally-connected, high-technology society decades. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorest countries in the world. In 2004, South Korea’s GDP surpassed one trillion dollars. In the 1960s, under President PARK Chung-hee, the government promoted the import of raw materials and technology, encouraged saving and investment over consumption, kept wages low, and directed resources to export-oriented industries that remain important to the economy to this day. Growth surged under these policies and frequently reached double-digits in the 1960s and 1970s.
Growth gradually moderated in the 1990s as the economy matured, but remained strong enough to propel South Korea into the ranks of the OECD’s advanced economies by 1997. These policies also led to the emergence of family-owned chaebol conglomerates such as Daewoo, Hyundai, and Samsung, which retained their dominant positions even as the government loosened its grip on the economy the political changes of the 1980s and 1990s. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 hit South Korea’s companies hard because of their excessive reliance on short-term borrowing, and GDP ultimately plunged by 7% in 1998. South Korea tackled difficult economic reforms following the crisis, including restructuring some chaebols, increasing labor market flexibility, and opening up to more foreign investment and imports. These steps lead to a relatively rapid economic recovery. South Korea also began expanding its network of free trade agreements to help bolster exports and has since implemented 16 free trade agreements covering 58 countries, including the United States and China, that collectively cover more than three-quarters of global GDP.
In 2017, the election of President MOON Jae-in brought a surge in consumer confidence, in part, because of his successful efforts to increase wages and government spending. These factors combined with an uptick in export growth to drive real GDP growth to more than 3%, despite disruptions in South Korea’s trade with China over deploying a US missile defense system in South Korea. In 2018 and beyond, South Korea will contend with gradually slowing economic growth – in the 2-3% range – not uncommon for advanced economies. This could be partially offset by efforts to address challenges arising from its rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, the chaebols’ continued dominance, and heavy reliance on exports rather than domestic consumption. Socioeconomic problems also persist and include rising inequality, poverty among the elderly, high youth unemployment, long working hours, low worker productivity, and corruption.
Natural resources of South Korea: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential.
Main export partners for South Korea, Asia are China 26%, US 13.3%, Hong Kong 5.8%, Vietnam 5.3%, Japan 4.9% (2015) for semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers, while the main import partners for the country are: China 20.7%, Japan 10.5%, US 10.1%, Germany 4.8%, Saudi Arabia 4.5% (2015) for crude oil/petroleum products, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemical, textiles.
When you visit this country in Asia, consider the natural hazards in South Korea: Occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods, a low-level seismic activity every day in southwestvolcanism: Halla (elevation 1,950 m) is considered historically active although it has not erupted in many centuries, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that South Korea faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution in large cities, Acid rain, water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents, Drift net fishing, Solid waste disposal, Transboundary pollution.
You may also be interested in the countries next to South Korea around its total: 237 km border, like North Korea.