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Coordinates : 36°N 128°E / 36°N 128°E / 36; 128

Republic
Republic
of Korea 대한민국 大韓民國 _DAEHAN MINGUK_

_ Flag Emblem

MOTTO: "홍익인간 (弘益人間) " (Korean ) (de facto _) "Benefit broadly in the human world/Devotion to the Welfare of Humanity"

ANTHEM: Aegukga "애국가 (愛國歌)" (Korean ) (_de facto _) "Patriotic Song"

GOVERNMENT EMBLEM 대한민국정부 상징문양 (Korean) Government Emblem of South Korea
Korea

Area controlled by the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.

Capital and largest city Seoul
Seoul
37°33′N 126°58′E / 37.550°N 126.967°E / 37.550; 126.967

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Korean Korean Sign Language

OFFICIAL SCRIPT Hangul

ETHNIC GROUPS No official statistics

RELIGION

* 56.9% Unregistered * 27.6% Christianity
Christianity
* (19.7% Protestant , 7.9% Catholic ) * 15.5% Korean Buddhism

DEMONYM

* South Korean * Korean

GOVERNMENT Unitary presidential constitutional republic

• PRESIDENT Moon Jae-in

• PRIME MINISTER Lee Nak-yeon

• SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY Chung Sye-kyun

• CHIEF JUSTICE Yang Sung-tae

LEGISLATURE National Assembly

FORMATION

• FIRST KINGDOM c. 7th century BC

• THREE KINGDOMS 18 BC

• NORTH-SOUTH KINGDOMS 698

• GORYEO DYNASTY 918

• JOSEON DYNASTY 1392

• JAPAN-KOREA TREATY August 29, 1910

• DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE March 1, 1919

• PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT April 13, 1919

• INDEPENDENCE FROM JAPAN August 15, 1945

• FIRST REPUBLIC August 15, 1948

• CURRENT CONSTITUTION February 25, 1988

AREA

• TOTAL 100,210 km2 (38,690 sq mi)

• WATER (%) 0.3 (301 km2 / 116 mi2)

POPULATION

• 2017 ESTIMATE 51,446,201 (27th )

• DENSITY 507/km2 (1,313.1/sq mi) (23rd )

GDP (PPP ) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $2.029 trillion (13th )

• PER CAPITA $39,446 (28th )

GDP (NOMINAL) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $1,498 trillion (11th )

• PER CAPITA $29,114 (27th )

GINI (2015) 29.5 low

HDI (2015) 0.901 very high · 18th

CURRENCY South Korean won (₩) (KRW )

TIME ZONE Korea
Korea
Standard Time (UTC +9)

DATE FORMAT

* yyyy년 m월 d일 * yyyy. m. d. (CE )

DRIVES ON THE right

CALLING CODE +82

PATRON SAINT St. Andrew Kim Taegon

ISO 3166 CODE KR

INTERNET TLD

* .kr * .한국

WEBSITE www.korea.net

SOUTH KOREA

"South Korea" in Hangul (top) and Hanja (bottom) scripts.

HANGUL 한국

HANJA 韓國

REVISED ROMANIZATION Hanguk

MCCUNE–REISCHAUER Hanguk

REPUBLIC OF KOREA

HANGUL 대한민국

HANJA 大韓民國

REVISED ROMANIZATION Daehan Min-guk

MCCUNE–REISCHAUER Taehan Min’guk

You may need rendering support to display the Korean text in this article correctly.

SOUTH KOREA ( listen ), officially the REPUBLIC OF KOREA (ROK; listen ), is a sovereign state in East Asia
East Asia
, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula . Officially, its territory consists of the whole Korean Peninsula and its adjacent islands , which are largely mountainous. South Koreans
Koreans
lead a distinctive urban lifestyle, as half of them live in high-rises concentrated in the Seoul
Seoul
Capital Area with 25 million residents. The capital Seoul
Seoul
is the world's sixth leading global city with the fifth largest economy and is the seventh most sustainable city in the world.

The earliest neolithic Korean pottery
Korean pottery
dates to 8000 BC, with three kingdoms flourishing in the 1st century BC. The name _Korea_ is derived from one of them, Goguryeo , which was one of the great powers in East Asia
East Asia
during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula , Manchuria
Manchuria
, and some parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia
Mongolia
under Gwanggaeto the Great . Since the unification of the Korean kingdoms into Later Silla and Balhae
Balhae
in the 7th century, Korea enjoyed over a millennium of relative tranquility under long lasting dynasties . Koreans
Koreans
developed improved versions of many advanced innovations such as the metal movable type printing press , which used to print and publish the Jikji , the world's oldest extant movable metal type printed paper book in 1377.

In the 15th century, Koreans
Koreans
had one of the highest living standards in the world, and Sejong the Great
Sejong the Great
invented Hangul to promote literacy among the general Korean population, enabling anyone to easily learn to read and write and transfer written information rather than spending years learning complicated ancient Chinese. Its rich and vibrant culture left 19 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity , the third largest in the world , along with 12 World Heritage Sites . Annexed into Imperial Japan
Japan
in 1910, Korea
Korea
was divided after its surrender in 1945, but a North Korean invasion led to the Korean War (1950–1953). Peace has since mostly continued with the two agreeing to work peacefully for reunification and the South solidifying peace as a regional power with the world's 10th largest defence budget .

South Korea, along with Taiwan
Taiwan
, Singapore
Singapore
and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
(China) is one of the four high-tech industrialized developed countries often referred to as the Four Asian Economic Dragons . The South Korean economy soared at an annual average of 10% for over 30 years in a period of rapid transformation called the Miracle on the Han River . A long legacy of openness and focus on innovation made it successful. Today, it is the world's seventh largest advanced economy and fifth largest exporter with the G20
G20
's largest budget surplus and highest credit rating of any country in East Asia
East Asia
. It has free trade agreements with 75% of the world economy and is the only G20
G20
nation trading freely with China
China
, the US and the EU simultaneously. Since 1988, its constitution guarantees a liberal democracy with high government transparency and many fundamental rights such as universal healthcare . High personal freedoms led to the rise of a globally influential pop culture such as K-pop and K-drama , a phenomenon called the Korean Wave , known for its distinctive fashionable and trendy style. Home of the UN Green Climate Fund and GGGI , South Korea
Korea
is a leader in low carbon green growth , committed to helping developing countries as a major DAC and Paris Club contributor. It is the world's third least ignorant country in the Index of Ignorance , ranking eighth highest for peaceful tolerance and inclusion of minorities on the Fragile States Index .

South Korea
Korea
is a technologically advanced developed country driven by a highly educated and skilled workforce, having the world's eighth highest median household income , the highest in Asia. Globally, it ranks highly in personal safety , job security , ease of doing business and healthcare quality , with the world's third highest health adjusted life expectancy and fourth most efficient healthcare system. It is the world's largest spender on R&D per GDP , leading the OECD
OECD
in graduates in science and engineering and ranking third in the Youth
Youth
Wellbeing Index. Home of Samsung
Samsung
, LG and Hyundai-Kia , South Korea
Korea
was named the world's most innovative country for 4 consecutive years since 2014 in the Bloomberg Innovation Index , ranking first in business R">_ The name Korea_ is derived from Goguryeo , also known as _Koryŏ_, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
Korea

The name _Korea_ derives from the name _Goryeo_. The name _Goryeo_ itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name. The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo
Goryeo
succeeded Goguryeo, and thus inherited its name, which was pronounced by visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea
Korea
first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
's Hendrick Hamel . Despite the coexistence of the spellings _Corea_ and _Korea_ in 19th century publications, some Koreans
Koreans
believe that Imperial Japan
Japan
, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on _Korea_, making Japan
Japan
appear first alphabetically.

After Goryeo
Goryeo
was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted. The new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon
Gojoseon
(Old Joseon). In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from _Joseon_ to _Daehan Jeguk_ (Korean Empire ). The name _Daehan_, which means "great Han" literally, derives from Samhan (Three Hans). However, the name _Joseon_ was still widely used by Koreans
Koreans
to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule , the two names _Han_ and _Joseon_ coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence , the most notable being the _Provisional Government of the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
_ (대한민국 임시정부/大韓民國臨時政府).

Following the surrender of Japan
Japan
, in 1945, the _ Republic
Republic
of Korea_ (대한민국/大韓民國) was adopted as the legal name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula , the informal term _South Korea_ was coined, becoming increasingly common in the western world . While South Koreans
Koreans
use _Han_ (or _Hanguk_) to refer to the entire country, North Koreans
Koreans
and Koreans
Koreans
in China
China
use the term _Joseon_ as the name of the country.

HISTORY

Main article: History of Korea
Korea

ANCIENT KOREA

_ Seokguram Grotto from the Silla era, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Balhae
Balhae
and Silla , 830 CE The oldest surviving metal movable type book, the Jikji , was printed in 1377, and Goryeo created the world's first metal-based movable type in 1234. The Tripitaka Koreana _ — the Buddhist canon (_ Tripiṭaka _) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored (and still remaining) at Haeinsa , a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
Changdeok Palace , one of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty and a World Heritage Site

The history of Korea
Korea
begins with the founding of Joseon (also known as " Gojoseon
Gojoseon
", or Old Joseon, to differentiate it with the 14th century dynasty) in 2333 BC by Dangun , according to Korea's foundation mythology. Gojoseon
Gojoseon
expanded until it controlled the northern Korean Peninsula and parts of Manchuria
Manchuria
. Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in the 12th century BC, but its existence and role have been controversial in the modern era. In 108 BC, the Han dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the northern Korean peninsula. Three of the commanderies fell or retreated westward within a few decades, but the Lelang commandery remained as a center of cultural and economic exchange with successive Chinese dynasties for four centuries, until it was conquered by Goguryeo in 313.

THREE KINGDOMS OF KOREA

During the period known as the Proto–Three Kingdoms of Korea
Korea
, the states of Buyeo
Buyeo
, Okjeo , Dongye , and Samhan occupied the Korean peninsula and southern Manchuria. From them, Goguryeo , Baekje , and Silla emerged to control the peninsula as the Three Kingdoms of Korea . Goguryeo, the largest and most powerful among them, was a highly militaristic state, and competed with various Chinese dynasties during its 700 years of history. Goguryeo experienced a golden age under Gwanggaeto the Great and his son Jangsu , who both subdued Baekje and Silla during their times, achieving a brief unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea
Korea
and becoming the most dominant power on the Korean Peninsula. In addition to contesting for control of the Korean Peninsula, Goguryeo had many military conflicts with various Chinese dynasties, most notably the Goguryeo–Sui War , in which Goguryeo defeated a huge force said to number over a million men. Baekje was a great maritime power; its nautical skill, which made it the Phoenicia of East Asia, was instrumental in the dissemination of Buddhism throughout East Asia
East Asia
and continental culture to Japan. Baekje was once a great military power on the Korean Peninsula, especially during the time of Geunchogo , but was critically defeated by Gwanggaeto the Great and declined. Silla was the smallest and weakest of the three, but it used cunning diplomatic means to make opportunistic pacts and alliances with the more powerful Korean kingdoms, and eventually Tang China, to its great advantage.

The unification of the Three Kingdoms by Silla in 676 led to the North South States Period , in which much of the Korean Peninsula was controlled by Later Silla , while Balhae
Balhae
controlled the northern parts of Goguryeo. Balhae
Balhae
was founded by a Goguryeo general and formed as a successor state to Goguryeo. During its height, Balhae
Balhae
controlled most of Manchuria
Manchuria
and parts of the Russian Far East, and was called the "Prosperous Country in the East". Later Silla was a golden age of art and culture, as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa , Seokguram , and Emille Bell . Relationships between Korea
Korea
and China
China
remained relatively peaceful during this time. Later Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje , which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia
East Asia
, and during the 8th and 9th centuries dominated the seas of East Asia
East Asia
and the trade between China, Korea
Korea
and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo ; in addition, Silla people made overseas communities in China
China
on the Shandong Peninsula and the mouth of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
. Later Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, and its metropolitan capital of Gyeongju was the fourth largest city in the world. Buddhism flourished during this time, and many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists and contributed to Chinese Buddhism, including: Woncheuk , Wonhyo , Uisang , Musang , and Kim Gyo-gak , a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism. However, Later Silla weakened under internal strife and the revival of Baekje and Goguryeo , which led to the Later Three Kingdoms period in the late 9th century.

UNIFIED DYNASTIES

In 936, the Later Three Kingdoms were united by Wang Geon , a descendant of Goguryeo nobility, who established Goryeo
Goryeo
as the successor state of Goguryeo . Balhae
Balhae
had fallen to the Khitan Empire in 926, and a decade later the last crown prince of Balhae
Balhae
fled south to Goryeo, where he was warmly welcomed and included into the ruling family by Wang Geon, thus unifying the two successor nations of Goguryeo. Like Silla, Goryeo
Goryeo
was a highly cultural state, and invented the metal movable type printing press . After defeating the Khitan Empire, which was the most powerful empire of its time, in the Goryeo–Khitan War , Goryeo
Goryeo
experienced a golden age that lasted a century, during which the Tripitaka Koreana was completed and there were great developments in printing and publishing, promoting learning and dispersing knowledge on philosophy, literature, religion, and science; by 1100, there were 12 universities that produced famous scholars and scientists. However, the Mongol invasions in the 13th century greatly weakened the kingdom. Goryeo
Goryeo
was never conquered by the Mongols, but exhausted after three decades of fighting, the Korean court sent its crown prince to the Yuan capital to swear allegiance to Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
, who accepted, and married one of his daughters to the Korean crown prince. Henceforth, Goryeo continued to rule Korea, though as a tributary ally to the Mongols for the next 86 years. During this period, the two nations became intertwined as all subsequent Korean kings married Mongol princesses, and the last empress of the Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty
was a Korean princess. In the mid-14th century, Goryeo
Goryeo
drove out the Mongols to regain its northern territories, briefly conquered Liaoyang
Liaoyang
, and defeated invasions by the Red Turbans . However, in 1392, General Yi Seong-gye , who had been ordered to attack China, turned his army around and staged a coup.

Yi Seong-gye declared the new name of Korea
Korea
as "Joseon" in reference to Gojoseon, and moved the capital to Hanseong (one of the old names of Seoul
Seoul
). The first 200 years of the Joseon dynasty were marked by peace, and saw great advancements in science and education, as well as the creation of Hangul by Sejong the Great
Sejong the Great
to promote literacy among the common people. The prevailing ideology of the time was Neo- Confucianism , which was epitomized by the seonbi class: nobles who passed up positions of wealth and power to lead lives of study and integrity. Between 1592 and 1598, Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched invasions of Korea
Korea
, but his advance was halted by Korean forces (most notably the Joseon Navy led by Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his renowned "turtle ship ") with assistance from Righteous Army militias formed by Korean civilians, and Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
Chinese troops. Through a series of successful battles of attrition, the Japanese forces were eventually forced to withdraw, and relations between all parties became normalized. However, the Manchus took advantage of Joseon's war-weakened state and invaded in 1627 and 1637, and then went on to conquer the destabilized Ming dynasty. After normalizing relations with the new Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace. Kings Yeongjo and Jeongjo particularly led a new renaissance of the Joseon dynasty during the 18th century. In the 19th century, the royal in-law families gained control of the government, leading to mass corruption and weakening of the state, and severe poverty and peasant rebellions throughout the country. Furthermore, the Joseon government adopted a strict isolationist policy, earning the nickname "the hermit kingdom ", but ultimately failed to protect itself against imperialism and was forced to open its borders. After the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War , Korea
Korea
was occupied by Japan
Japan
(1910–45). At the end of World War II , the Japanese surrendered to Soviet and U.S. forces who occupied the northern and southern halves of Korea, respectively.

MODERN HISTORY

Main article: History of South Korea
Korea
War Memorial of Korea
Korea
, built in remembrance of the Korean War (1950–1953) Between 1962 and 1994, the South Korean economy grew at an average of 10% annually, fueled by annual export growth of 20%, in a period called the Miracle on the Han River President Park Chung-hee played a pivotal in rapidly developing the South Korean economy through export-oriented industrialization President Kim Dae-jung , the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
recipient for advancing democracy and human rights in South Korea
Korea
and East Asia
East Asia
and for reconciliation with North Korea, was sometimes called the " Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
of Asia" Korea was the first chair of the G-20
G-20
during the 2010 Seoul
Seoul
summit

Despite the initial plan of a unified Korea
Korea
in the 1943 Cairo Declaration , escalating Cold War antagonism between the Soviet Union and the United States
United States
eventually led to the establishment of separate governments, each with its own ideology, leading to the division of Korea
Korea
into two political entities in 1948: North Korea
North Korea
and South Korea.

In the South, Syngman Rhee
Syngman Rhee
, an opponent of communism, who had been backed and appointed by the United States
United States
as head of the provisional government, won the first presidential elections of the newly declared Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
in May. In the North, a former anti-Japanese guerrilla and communist activist, Kim Il-sung was appointed premier of the Democratic People's Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
in September.

In October the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
declared Kim Il-sung's government as sovereign over both parts. The UN declared Rhee's government as "a lawful government having effective control and jurisdiction over that part of Korea
Korea
where the UN Temporary Commission on Korea
Korea
was able to observe and consult" and the Government "based on elections which was observed by the Temporary Commission" in addition to a statement that "this is the only such government in Korea." Both leaders began an authoritarian repression of their political opponents inside their region, seeking for a unification of Korea
Korea
under their control. While South Korea's request for military support was denied by the United States, North Korea's military was heavily reinforced by the Soviet Union.

On June 25, 1950, North Korea
North Korea
invaded South Korea, sparking the Korean War , the Cold War's first major conflict, which continued until 1953. At the time, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had boycotted the United Nations (UN), thus forfeiting their veto rights. This allowed the UN to intervene in a civil war when it became apparent that the superior North Korean forces would unify the entire country. The Soviet Union and China
China
backed North Korea, with the later participation of millions of Chinese troops . After an ebb and flow that saw both sides almost pushed to the brink of extinction, and massive losses among Korean civilians in both the north and the south, the war eventually reached a stalemate. The 1953 armistice, never signed by South Korea, split the peninsula along the demilitarized zone near the original demarcation line. No peace treaty was ever signed, resulting in the two countries remaining technically at war. Over 1.2 million people died during the Korean War.

In 1960, a student uprising (the "April 19 Revolution") led to the resignation of the autocratic, corrupt President Syngman Rhee. A period of political instability followed, broken by General Park Chung-hee 's May 16 coup against the weak and ineffectual government the next year. Park took over as president until his assassination in 1979, overseeing rapid export-led economic growth as well as implementing political repression. Park was heavily criticised as a ruthless military dictator, who in 1972 extended his rule by creating a new constitution , which gave the president sweeping (almost dictatorial) powers and permitted him to run for an unlimited number of six-year terms. However, the Korean economy developed significantly during Park's tenure and the government developed the nationwide expressway system , the Seoul
Seoul
subway system , and laid the foundation for economic development during his 17-year tenure.

The years after Park's assassination were marked again by political turmoil, as the previously suppressed opposition leaders all campaigned to run for president in the sudden political void. In 1979 there came the Coup d\'état of December Twelfth led by General Chun Doo-hwan . Following the Coup d'état, Chun Doo-hwan planned to rise to power through several measures. On May 17, Chun Doo-hwan forced the Cabinet to expand martial law to the whole nation, which had previously not applied to the island of Jejudo . The expanded martial law closed universities, banned political activities and further curtailed the press. Chun's assumption of the presidency in the events of May 17, triggered nationwide protests demanding democracy, in particular in the city of Gwangju , to which Chun sent special forces to violently suppress the Gwangju Democratization Movement .

Chun subsequently created the National Defense Emergency Policy Committee and took the presidency according to his political plan. Chun and his government held South Korea
Korea
under a despotic rule until 1987, when a Seoul
Seoul
National University student, Park Jong-chul, was tortured to death. On June 10, the Catholic Priests Association for Justice revealed the incident, igniting the June Democracy Movement around the country. Eventually, Chun's party, the Democratic Justice Party , and its leader, Roh Tae-woo announced the 6.29 Declaration, which included the direct election of the president. Roh went on to win the election by a narrow margin against the two main opposition leaders, Kim Dae-Jung and Kim Young-Sam
Kim Young-Sam
.

In 1988, Seoul
Seoul
hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
. It became a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1996. It was adversely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis . However, the country recovered and continued its economic growth, albeit at a slower pace.

In June 2000, as part of president Kim Dae-jung's " Sunshine Policy " of engagement, a North–South summit took place in Pyongyang
Pyongyang
, the capital of North Korea. Later that year, Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize "for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea
Korea
and in East Asia
East Asia
in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea
Korea
in particular". However, because of discontent among the population for fruitless approaches to the North under the previous administrations and, amid North Korean provocations, a conservative government was elected in 2007 led by President Lee Myung-bak , former mayor of Seoul
Seoul
. More recently, Park Geun-hye won the South Korean presidential election, 2012 . Meanwhile, South Korea
Korea
and Japan
Japan
jointly co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup . However, South Korean and Japanese relations later soured because of conflicting claims of sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks , in what became known as the Liancourt Rocks dispute .

In 2016, President Park Geun-hye's administration was accused of corruption, bribery, and influence-peddling for the involvement of Choi Soon-sil in state affairs. Soon-sil was officially charged in November 2016. Following the scandal, there has been a series of massive demonstrations that started in the first week of November 2016. On December 9, the National Assembly voted to impeach Park, suspending her from office. As a result, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn became the acting President. On March 10, 2017, the Constitutional Court of Korea
Korea
voted to remove President Park from office immediately, ending her tenure as president.

GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of South Korea
Korea
Topography
Topography
of South Korea
Korea

South Korea
Korea
occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula , which extends some 1,100 km (680 mi) from the Asian mainland. This mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Sea of Japan
Japan
to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea .

The country, including all its islands, lies between latitudes 33° and 39°N , and longitudes 124° and 130°E . Its total area is 100,032 square kilometres (38,622.57 sq mi).

South Korea
Korea
can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region of high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains ; a western region of broad coastal plains, river basins , and rolling hills; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River .

South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable . Lowlands , located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area.

About three thousand islands, mostly small and uninhabited, lie off the western and southern coasts of South Korea. Jeju-do
Jeju-do
is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the southern coast of South Korea. It is the country's largest island, with an area of 1,845 square kilometres (712 square miles ). Jeju is also the site of South Korea's highest point: Hallasan
Hallasan
, an extinct volcano , reaches 1,950 metres (6,400 feet) above sea level . The easternmost islands of South Korea
Korea
include Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), while Marado and Socotra Rock are the southernmost islands of South Korea.

South Korea
Korea
has 20 national parks and popular nature places like the Boseong Tea Fields , Suncheon Bay Ecological Park , and the first national park of Jirisan .

CLIMATE

Main article: Climate of South Korea
Korea

SEOUL

CLIMATE CHART (EXPLANATION )

J F M A M J J A S O N D

22 2 −6 24 4 −4 46 10 1 77 18 7 102 23 13 133 27 18 328 29 22 348 30 22 138 26 17 49 20 10 53 12 3 25 4 −3

Average max. and min. temperatures in °C

Precipitation totals in mm

_Source: _

IMPERIAL CONVERSION

J F M A M J J A S O N D

0.9 35 21 0.9 39 25 1.8 50 34 3 64 45 4 73 55 5.2 80 64 13 84 71 14 85 72 5.4 78 62 1.9 67 50 2.1 53 37 1 40 26

Average max. and min. temperatures in °F

Precipitation totals in inches

South Korea
Korea
tends to have a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate , and is affected by the East Asian monsoon , with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called _jangma _ (장마), which begins end of June through the end of July. Winters can be extremely cold with the minimum temperature dropping below −20 °C (−4 °F) in the inland region of the country: in Seoul, the average January temperature range is −7 to 1 °C (19 to 34 °F), and the average August temperature range is 22 to 30 °C (72 to 86 °F). Winter temperatures are higher along the southern coast and considerably lower in the mountainous interior. Summer can be uncomfortably hot and humid, with temperatures exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) in most parts of the country. South Korea
Korea
has four distinct seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring usually lasts from late March to early May, summer from mid-May to early September, autumn from mid-September to early November, and winter from mid-November to mid-March.

Rainfall is concentrated in the summer months of June through September. The southern coast is subject to late summer typhoons that bring strong winds, heavy rains and sometime floods. The average annual precipitation varies from 1,370 millimetres (54 in) in Seoul
Seoul
to 1,470 millimetres (58 in) in Busan .

ENVIRONMENT

Main article: Environment of South Korea
Korea
Jeju Island
Jeju Island
is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of Nature Cheonggyecheon river is a modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea
Korea

During the first 20 years of South Korea's growth surge, little effort was made to preserve the environment. Unchecked industrialization and urban development have resulted in deforestation and the ongoing destruction of wetlands such as the Songdo Tidal Flat. However, there have been recent efforts to balance these problems, including a government run $84 billion five-year green growth project that aims to boost energy efficiency and green technology.

The green-based economic strategy is a comprehensive overhaul of South Korea's economy, utilizing nearly two percent of the national GDP. The greening initiative includes such efforts as a nationwide bike network, solar and wind energy, lowering oil dependent vehicles, backing daylight savings and extensive usage of environmentally friendly technologies such as LEDs in electronics and lighting. The country – already the world's most wired – plans to build a nationwide next-generation network that will be 10 times faster than broadband facilities, in order to reduce energy usage.

The renewable portfolio standard program with renewable energy certificates runs from 2012 to 2022. Quota systems favor large, vertically integrated generators and multinational electric utilities, if only because certificates are generally denominated in units of one megawatt-hour. They are also more difficult to design and implement than a Feed-in tariff . Around 350 residential micro combined heat and power units were installed in 2012.

Seoul's tap water recently became safe to drink, with city officials branding it "Arisu" in a bid to convince the public. Efforts have also been made with afforestation projects. Another multibillion-dollar project was the restoration of Cheonggyecheon , a stream running through downtown Seoul
Seoul
that had earlier been paved over by a motorway. One major challenge is air quality, with acid rain , sulfur oxides, and annual yellow dust storms being particular problems. It is acknowledged that many of these difficulties are a result of South Korea's proximity to China, which is a major air polluter.

South Korea
Korea
is a member of the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol , Antarctic Treaty , Biodiversity Treaty , Kyoto Protocol (forming the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), regarding UNFCCC , with Mexico and Switzerland
Switzerland
), Desertification , Endangered Species , Environmental Modification , Hazardous Wastes , Law of the Sea , Marine Dumping , Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (not into force), Ozone Layer Protection , Ship Pollution , Tropical Timber 83 , Tropical Timber 94 , Wetlands , and Whaling .

GOVERNMENT

Main article: Government of South Korea
Korea

Moon Jae-in President Lee Nak-yeon Prime Minister

Under its current constitution the state is sometimes referred to as the Sixth Republic
Republic
of South Korea
Korea
. Like many democratic states, South Korea
Korea
has a government divided into three branches: executive , judicial , and legislative . The executive and legislative branches operate primarily at the national level, although various ministries in the executive branch also carry out local functions. Local governments are semi-autonomous, and contain executive and legislative bodies of their own. The judicial branch operates at both the national and local levels. South Korea
Korea
is a constitutional democracy. The National Assembly of South Korea
Korea

The South Korean government's structure is determined by the Constitution
Constitution
of the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
. This document has been revised several times since its first promulgation in 1948 at independence. However, it has retained many broad characteristics and with the exception of the short-lived Second Republic
Republic
of South Korea
Korea
, the country has always had a presidential system with an independent chief executive. The first direct election was also held in 1948. Although South Korea
Korea
experienced a series of military dictatorships from the 1960s up until the 1980s, it has since developed into a successful liberal democracy . Today, the CIA World Factbook describes South Korea's democracy as a "fully functioning modern democracy". South Korea
Korea
is ranked 37th on the Corruption Perceptions Index , with moderate control on corruption.

Due to its development and capabilities , political scientists have ranked it among Asia-Pacific's regional powers . Separation of powers and the election system of South Korea
Korea

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Main article: Administrative divisions of South Korea
Korea
See also: Provinces of South Korea
Korea
, Special
Special
cities of South Korea
Korea
, and Provinces of Korea
Korea

The major administrative divisions in South Korea
Korea
are eight PROVINCES, one SPECIAL SELF-GOVERNING PROVINCE, six METROPOLITAN CITIES (self-governing cities that are not part of any province), one SPECIAL CITY and one METROPOLITAN AUTONOMOUS CITY.

MAP NAMEA HANGUL HANJA POPULATION C

Gangwon Seoul
Seoul
Incheon
Incheon
Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
S. Chungcheong N. Chungcheong Sejong Daejeon N. Gyeongsang N. Jeolla Daegu
Daegu
Ulsan Busan S. Gyeongsang Gwangju S. Jeolla Jeju _North Korea_ _Japan_ _Yellow Sea_ Korea
Korea
Strait ( Busan Strait) Korea
Korea
Strait (Tsushima Strait) _Sea of Japan_ _(East Sea)_ SPECIAL CITY (_TEUKBYEOLSI_)A

Seoul
Seoul
서울특별시 서울特別市b 9,989,795

METROPOLITAN CITY (_GWANGYEOKSI_)A

Busan 부산광역시 釜山廣域市 3,509,462

Daegu
Daegu
대구광역시 大邱廣域市 2,484,864

Incheon
Incheon
인천광역시 仁川廣域市 2,935,314

Gwangju 광주광역시 光州廣域市 1,472,285

Daejeon 대전광역시 大田廣域市 1,516,208

Ulsan 울산광역시 蔚山廣域市 1,173,143

METROPOLITAN AUTONOMOUS CITY (_TEUKBYEOL-JACHISI_)A

Sejong 세종특별자치시 世宗特別自治市 230,327

PROVINCE (_DO_)A

Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
경기도 京畿道 12,610,877

Gangwon 강원도 江原道 1,548,603

North Chungcheong 충청북도 忠淸北道 1,586,943

South Chungcheong
South Chungcheong
충청남도 忠淸南道 2,085,844

North Jeolla 전라북도 全羅北道 1,865,900

South Jeolla 전라남도 全羅南道 1,904,314

North Gyeongsang 경상북도 慶尙北道 2,702,385

South Gyeongsang
South Gyeongsang
경상남도 慶尙南道 3,368,792

SPECIAL SELF-GOVERNING PROVINCE (_TEUKBYEOLJACHI-DO_)A

Jeju 제주특별자치도 濟州特別自治道 634,274

a Revised Romanisation ; b See Names of Seoul
Seoul
; c June As of 2016 .

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of South Korea
Korea
See also: Koreans
Koreans

In April 2016, South Korea's population was estimated to be around 50.8 million by National Statistical Office , with continuing decline of working age population and total fertility rate. The country is noted for its population density, which was an estimated 505 per square kilometer in 2015, more than 10 times the global average. Most South Koreans
Koreans
live in urban areas, because of rapid migration from the countryside during the country's quick economic expansion in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The capital city of Seoul
Seoul
is also the country's largest city and chief industrial center. According to the 2005 census, Seoul
Seoul
had a population of 10 million inhabitants. The Seoul
Seoul
National Capital Area has 24.5 million inhabitants (about half of South Korea's entire population) making it the world's second largest metropolitan area. Other major cities include Busan (3.5 million), Incheon
Incheon
(2.5 million), Daegu
Daegu
(2.5 million), Daejeon (1.4 million), Gwangju (1.4 million) and Ulsan (1.1 million).

The population has also been shaped by international migration. After World War II
World War II
and the division of the Korean Peninsula , about four million people from North Korea
North Korea
crossed the border to South Korea. This trend of net entry reversed over the next 40 years because of emigration, especially to the United States
United States
and Canada. South Korea's total population in 1955 was 21.5 million, and has more than doubled, to 50 million, by 2010.

South Korea
Korea
is one of the most ethnically homogeneous societies in the world, with more than 99% of inhabitants having Korean ethnicity.

The percentage of foreign nationals has been growing rapidly. As of 2009 , South Korea
Korea
had 1,106,884 foreign residents, 2.7% of the population; however, more than half of them are ethnic Koreans
Koreans
with a foreign citizenship. For example, migrants from China
China
(PRC) make up 56.5% of foreign nationals, but approximately 70% of the Chinese citizens in Korea
Korea
are _Joseonjok (조선족 in Korean) _, PRC citizens of Korean ethnicity. Regardless of the ethnicity, there are 28,500 US military personnel serving in South Korea, most serving a one-year unaccompanied tour (though approximately 10% serve longer tours accompanied by family), according to the Korea
Korea
National Statistical Office. In addition, about 43,000 English teachers from English-speaking countries
English-speaking countries
reside temporarily in Korea. Currently, South Korea
Korea
has one of the highest rates of growth of foreign born population, with about 30,000 foreign born residents obtaining South Korean citizenship every year since 2010.

South Korea's birthrate was the world's lowest in 2009. If this continues, its population is expected to decrease by 13% to 42.3 million in 2050. South Korea's annual birthrate is approximately 9 births per 1000 people. However, the birthrate has increased by 5.7% in 2010 and Korea
Korea
no longer has the world's lowest birthrate. According to a 2011 report from _ The Chosun Ilbo
The Chosun Ilbo
_, South Korea's total fertility rate (1.23 children born per woman) is higher than those of Taiwan
Taiwan
(1.15) and Japan
Japan
(1.21). The average life expectancy in 2008 was 79.10 years, (which was 34th in the world ) but by 2015 it had increased to around 81. South Korea
Korea
has the steepest decline in working age population of the OECD
OECD
nations. In 2015, National Statistical Office estimated that the population of the country will have reached its peak by 2035.

* v * t * e

Largest cities or towns in South Korea 2015 Population
Population
and Housing Census

RANK NAME PROVINCE POP. RANK NAME PROVINCE POP.

1 Seoul
Seoul
Seoul
Seoul
9,904,312 11 Yongin Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
971,327

2 Busan Busan 3,448,737 12 Seongnam Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
948,757

3 Incheon
Incheon
Incheon
Incheon
2,890,451 13 Bucheon Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
843,794

4 Daegu
Daegu
Daegu
Daegu
2,446,052 14 Cheongju North Chungcheong 833,276

5 Daejeon Daejeon 1,538,394 15 Ansan
Ansan
Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
747,035

6 Gwangju Gwangju 1,502,881 16 Jeonju
Jeonju
North Jeolla 658,172

7 Suwon Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
1,194,313 17 Cheonan South Chungcheong
South Chungcheong
629,062

8 Ulsan Ulsan 1,166,615 18 Namyangju Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
629,061

9 Changwon South Gyeongsang
South Gyeongsang
1,059,241 19 Hwaseong Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
608,725

10 Goyang Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
990,073 20 Anyang Gyeonggi
Gyeonggi
585,177

EDUCATION

Main article: Education in South Korea
Korea
The front of the science library, Daejeon campus of KAIST depicting the statue of Jang Young Sil , a Korean scientist.

A centralized administration in South Korea
Korea
oversees the process for the education of children from kindergarten to the third and final year of high school. The school year is divided into two semesters, the first of which begins in the beginning of March and ends in mid-July, the second of which begins in late August and ends in mid-February. The schedules are not uniformly standardized and vary from school to school. Most South Korean middle schools and high schools have school uniforms, modeled on western-style uniforms. Boys' uniforms usually consists of trousers and white shirts, and girls wear skirts and white shirts (this only applies in middle schools and high schools). The country adopted a new educational program to increase the number of their foreign students through 2010. According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology , the number of scholarships for foreign students in South Korea
Korea
would have (under the program) doubled by that time, and the number of foreign students would have reached 100,000.

South Korea
Korea
is one of the top-performing OECD
OECD
countries in reading literacy, maths and sciences with the average student scoring 542 and has one of the worlds highest-educated labour forces among OECD countries. The country is well known for its high feverish outlook on education, where its national obsession with education has been called "education fever". This obsession with education has catapulted the resource poor nation consistently atop the global education rankings where in 2014 national rankings of students’ math and science scores by the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea
Korea
ranked second place worldwide, after Singapore.

Higher education
Higher education
is a serious issue in South Korea
Korea
society, where it is viewed as one of the fundamental cornerstones of South Korean life. Education is regarded with a high priority for South Korean families as success in education holds a cultural status as well as a necessity to improve one's socioeconomic position in South Korean society. Academic success is often a source of pride for families and within South Korean society at large. South Koreans
Koreans
view education as the main propeller of social mobility for themselves and their family as a gateway to the South Korean middle class. Graduating from a top university is the ultimate marker of prestige, high socioeconomic status, promising marriage prospects, and a respectable career path. An average South Korean child's life revolves around education as pressure to succeed academically is deeply ingrained in South Korean children from an early age. Not having a university degree carries a major cultural stigma as those who lack a formal university education face social prejudice and are often looked down upon by others.

In 2015, the country spent 4.7% of its GDP on all levels of education – roughly equal to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 4.7% also. A strong investment in education, a militant drive for success as well as the passion for excellence has helped the resource poor country rapidly grow its economy over the past 60 years from a war torn wasteland. South Korea’s zeal for education and its students’ desires to get into a prestigious university is one of the highest in the world, as the entrance into a top tier higher educational institution leads to a prestigious, secure and well-paid white collar job with the government, banks, a major South Korean conglomerate such as Samsung
Samsung
, Hyundai
Hyundai
or LG Electronics . With incredible pressure on high school students to secure places at the nation’s best universities, its institutional reputation and alumni networks are strong predictors of future career prospects. The top three universities in South Korea, often referred to as "SKY", are Seoul
Seoul
National University, Korea University and Yonsei University. Intense competition for top grades and academic pressure to be the top student is deeply ingrained in the psyche of South Korean students at a young age. Yet with only so many places at universities and even fewer places at top-tier companies, many young people remain disappointed and are often unwilling to lower their sights with the result of many feeling as underachievers. There is a major cultural taboo in South Korean society attached to those who have not achieved formal university education where those who don't hold university degrees face social prejudice and are often looked down by others as second-class citizens resulting fewer opportunities for employment, improvement of one's socioeconomic position and prospects for marriage.

International reception on the South Korean education system has been divided. It has been praised for various reasons, including its comparatively high test results and its major role in ushering South Korea's economic development creating one of the world's most educated workforces. South Korea's highly enviable academic performance has gotten British education ministers actively remodeling their own curriculum's and exams to try to emulate Korea's militant drive and passion for excellence and high educational achievement. U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
has also praised the country's rigorous school system, where over 80 percent of South Korean high school graduates go on to university. The nation's high university entrance rate has created a highly skilled workforce making South Korea
Korea
among the most highly educated countries in the world with the one of the highest percentage of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Bachelor's degrees are held by 68 percent of South Koreans
Koreans
aged 25–34, the most in the OECD.

The system's rigid and hierarchical structure has been criticized for stifling creativity and innovation; described as intensely and "brutally" competitive, The system is often blamed for the high suicide rate in the country, particularly the growing rates among those aged 10–19. Various media outlets attribute the country's high suicide rate on the nationwide anxiety around the country's college entrance exams, which determine the trajectory of students' entire lives and careers. Former South Korean _hagwon_ teacher Se-Woong Koo wrote that the South Korean education system amounts to child abuse and that it should be "reformed and restructured without delay". The system has also been criticized for producing an excess supply of university graduates creating an overeducated and underemployed labor force; in the first quarter of 2013 alone, nearly 3.3 million South Korean university graduates were jobless, leading many graduates overqualified for jobs requiring less education. Further criticism has been stemmed for causing labor shortages in various skilled blue collar labor and vocational occupations, where many go unfilled as the negative social stigma associated with vocational careers and not having a university degree continues to remain deep-rooted in South Korean society.

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in South Korea
Korea

Religion in South Korea
Korea
(2015 census) Unaffiliated, Sindo , Korean Confucianism , unregistered groups (56.9%) Protestantism (19.7%) Korean Buddhism (15.5%) Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(7.9%)

According to the results of the census of 2015 more than half of the South Korean population (56.9%) declared themselves not affiliated with any religious organizations . Korean shamanism (also known as Sindo or Muism) is the native religion of the Koreans, and it may represent a large part of the unaffiliated. Indeed, according to a 2012 survey, only 15% of the population declared themselves not religious in the sense of "atheism ". Of the people who are affiliated with a religious organization, most are Christians and Buddhists . According to the 2015 census, 27.6% of the population were Christians (19.7% identified themselves as Protestants, 7.9% as Roman Catholics), and 15.5% were Buddhists. Other religions include Islam (130.000 Muslims, mostly migrant workers from Pakistan
Pakistan
and Bangladesh but including some 35,000 Korean Muslims, ) the homegrown sect of Wonbuddhism , and a variety of indigenous religions, including Cheondoism (a Confucianizing religion), Jeungsanism
Jeungsanism
, Daejongism
Daejongism
, Daesun Jinrihoe and others. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, and there is no state religion . Overall, between the 2005 and 2015 censuses there has been a slight decline of Christianity (down from 29% to 27.6%), a sharp decline of Buddhism (down from 22.8% to 15.5%), and a rise of the unaffiliated population (from 47.2% to 56.9%).

Christianity
Christianity
is South Korea's largest organized religion, accounting for more than half of all South Korean adherents of religious organizations. There are approximately 13.5 million Christians in South Korea
Korea
today; about two thirds of them belonging to Protestant churches, and the rest to the Roman Catholic Church. The number of Protestants has been stagnant throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, but increased to a peak level throughout the 2010s. Roman Catholics increased significantly between the 1980s and the 2000s, but declined throughout the 2010s. Christianity, unlike in other East Asian countries, found fertile ground in Korea
Korea
in the 18th century, and by the end of the 18th century it persuaded a large part of the population as the declining monarchy supported it and opened the country to widespread proselytism as part of a project of Westernization. The weakness of Korean Sindo, which, unlike Japanese Shinto
Shinto
and China\'s religious system , never developed into a national religion of high status, combined with the impoverished state of Korean Buddhism (after 500 years of suppression at the hands of the Joseon state, by the 20th century it was virtually extinct) left a free hand to Christian churches. Christianity's similarity to native religious narratives has been studied as another factor that contributed to its success in the peninsula. The Japanese colonization of the first half of the 20th century further strengthened the identification of Christianity
Christianity
with Korean nationalism , as the Japanese coopted native Korean Sindo into the Nipponic Imperial Shinto
Shinto
that they tried to establish in the peninsula. Widespread Christianization of the Koreans
Koreans
took place during State Shinto, after its abolition, and then in the independent South Korea
Korea
as the newly established military government supported Christianity
Christianity
and tried to utterly oust native Sindo.

Among Christian denominations, Presbyterianism is the largest. About nine million people belong to one of the hundred different Presbyterian churches; the biggest ones are the HapDong Presbyterian Church , TongHap Presbyterian Church , the Koshin Presbyterian Church . South Korea
Korea
is also the second-largest missionary-sending nation, after the United States.

Buddhism was introduced to Korea
Korea
in the 4th century. It became soon a dominant religion in the southeastern kingdom of Silla , the region that hitherto hosts the strongest concentration of Buddhists in South Korea. In the other states of the Three Kingdoms Period , Goguryeo and Baekje , it was made the state religion respectively in 372 and 528. It remained the state religion in Later Silla (North South States Period ) and Goryeo
Goryeo
. It was later suppressed throughout much of the subsequent history under the unified kingdom of Joseon (1392–1897), which officially adopted a strict Korean Confucianism . Today, South Korea
Korea
has about 7 million Buddhists, most of them affiliated to the Jogye Order . Most of the National Treasures of South Korea
Korea
are Buddhist artifacts.

HEALTH

Main article: Health in South Korea
Korea
Lee Jong-wook , former director-general of the World Health Organization , who was dedicated to combating tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS , along with eradicating polio

South Korea
Korea
has a universal healthcare system.

Suicide in South Korea
Korea
is a serious and widespread problem. The suicide rate was the highest in the OECD
OECD
in 2012 (29.1 deaths per 100,000 persons).

South Korean hospitals have advanced medical equipment and facilities readily available, ranking 4th for MRI
MRI
units per capita and 6th for CT scanners per capita in the OECD
OECD
. It also had the OECD's second largest number of hospital beds per 1000 people at 9.56 beds.

Life expectancy has been rising rapidly and South Korea
Korea
ranked 9th in the world for life expectancy at 82 years in 2013, ranking 4th in the world at 85 years.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main article: Foreign relations
Foreign relations
of South Korea
Korea
The former Secretary-General of the United Nations (2007–2016), Ban Ki-moon

South Korea
Korea
maintains diplomatic relations with more than 188 countries. The country has also been a member of the United Nations since 1991, when it became a member state at the same time as North Korea. On January 1, 2007, Former South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon served as UN Secretary-General from 2007 to 2016. It has also developed links with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as both a member of _ASEAN Plus three,_ a body of observers, and the East Asia
Asia
Summit (EAS).

In 2010, South Korea
Korea
and the European Union
European Union
concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) to reduce trade barriers. South Korea
Korea
is also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Canada, and another with New Zealand . In November 2009 South Korea
Korea
joined the OECD
OECD
Development Assistance Committee , marking the first time a former aid recipient country joined the group as a donor member. South Korea
Korea
hosted the G-20
G-20
Summit in Seoul
Seoul
in November 2010.

NORTH KOREA

Main article: North Korea–South Korea
Korea
relations

Both North and South Korea
Korea
continue to officially claim sovereignty over the entire peninsula and any outlying islands. Despite mutual animosity, reconciliation efforts have continued since the initial separation between North and South Korea. Political figures such as Kim Koo worked to reconcile the two governments even after the Korean War. With longstanding animosity following the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, North Korea
North Korea
and South Korea
Korea
signed an agreement to pursue peace. On October 4, 2007, Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il signed an eight-point agreement on issues of permanent peace, high-level talks, economic cooperation, renewal of train services, highway and air travel, and a joint Olympic cheering squad.

Despite the Sunshine Policy and efforts at reconciliation, the progress was complicated by North Korean missile tests in 1993 , 1998 , 2006 , 2009 , and 2013. As of early 2009 , relationships between North and South Korea
Korea
were very tense; North Korea
North Korea
had been reported to have deployed missiles, ended its former agreements with South Korea, and threatened South Korea
Korea
and the United States
United States
not to interfere with a satellite launch it had planned. North and South Korea
Korea
are still technically at war (having never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War) and share the world's most heavily fortified border. On May 27, 2009, North Korean media declared that the Armistice is no longer valid because of the South Korean government's pledge to "definitely join" the Proliferation Security Initiative . To further complicate and intensify strains between the two nations, the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010, is affirmed by the South Korean government to have been caused by a North Korean torpedo, which the North denies. President Lee Myung-bak declared in May 2010 that Seoul
Seoul
would cut all trade with North Korea as part of measures primarily aimed at striking back at North Korea diplomatically and financially, except for the joint Kaesong Industrial Project, and humanitarian aid. North Korea
North Korea
initially threatened to sever all ties, to completely abrogate the previous pact of non-aggression, and to expel all South Koreans
Koreans
from a joint industrial zone in Kaesong , but backtracked on its threats and decided to continue its ties with South Korea. Despite the continuing ties, Kaesong industrial zone has seen a large decrease in investment and manpower as a result of this military conflict. In February 2016, the Kaesong complex was closed by Seoul
Seoul
in reaction to North Korea's launch of a rocket earlier in the month unanimously condemned by the United Nations security council.

CHINA

Main articles: China–South Korea
Korea
relations and South Korea–Taiwan relations

Historically, Korea
Korea
had close relations with the dynasties in China, and some Korean kingdoms were members of the Imperial Chinese tributary system . In modern times, before the formation of South Korea, Korean independence fighters worked with Chinese soldiers during the Japanese occupation. However, after World War II
World War II
, the People's Republic
Republic
of China
China
embraced Maoism while South Korea
Korea
sought close relations with the United States. The PRC assisted North Korea with manpower and supplies during the Korean War , and in its aftermath the diplomatic relationship between South Korea
Korea
and the PRC almost completely ceased. Relations thawed gradually and South Korea and the PRC re-established formal diplomatic relations on August 24, 1992. The two countries sought to improve bilateral relations and lifted the forty-year-old trade embargo, and South Korean–Chinese relations have improved steadily since 1992. The Republic
Republic
of Korea broke off official relations with the Republic
Republic
of China
China
(Taiwan) upon gaining official relations with the People's Republic
Republic
of China, which doesn't recognise Taiwan\'s sovereignty .

JAPAN

Main article: Japan–South Korea
Korea
relations See also: History of Japan– Korea
Korea
relations and Japan– Korea
Korea
disputes Liancourt Rocks has become an issue known as the Liancourt Rocks dispute

Although there were no formal diplomatic ties between South Korea
Korea
and Japan
Japan
after the end of World War II, South Korea
Korea
and Japan
Japan
signed the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan
Japan
and the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
in 1965 to establish diplomatic ties. There is heavy anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea
Korea
because of a number of unsettled Japanese-Korean disputes , many of which stem from the period of Japanese occupation after the Japanese annexation of Korea
Korea
. During World War II
World War II
, more than 100,000 Koreans
Koreans
served in the Imperial Japanese Army . Korean women were forced to the war front to serve the Imperial Japanese Army as sexual slaves, called comfort women .

Longstanding issues such as Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes
against Korean civilians, the negationist re-writing of Japanese textbooks relating Japanese atrocities during World War II, the territorial disputes over the Liancourt Rocks , known in South Korea
Korea
as "Dokdo" and in Japan
Japan
as "Takeshima", and visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine , honoring Japanese people (civilians and military) killed during the war continue to trouble Korean-Japanese relations. The Liancourt Rocks were the first Korean territories to be forcibly colonized by Japan
Japan
in 1905. Though it was again returned to Korea along with the rest of its territory in 1951 with the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco, Japan
Japan
does not recant on its claims that the Liancourt Rocks are Japanese territory. In response to then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi 's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, former President Roh Moo-hyun suspended all summit talks between South Korea and Japan
Japan
in 2009.

EUROPEAN UNION

Main article: South Korea– European Union
European Union
relations

The European Union
European Union
(EU) and South Korea
Korea
are important trading partners, having negotiated a free trade agreement for many years since South Korea
Korea
was designated as a priority FTA partner in 2006. The free trade agreement was approved in September 2010, and took effect on July 1, 2011. South Korea
Korea
is the EU's eighth largest trade partner, and the EU has become South Korea's second largest export destination. EU trade with South Korea
Korea
exceeded €65 billion in 2008 and has enjoyed an annual average growth rate of 7.5% between 2004 and 2008.

The EU has been the single largest foreign investor in South Korea since 1962, and accounted for almost 45% of all FDI inflows into Korea in 2006. Nevertheless, EU companies have significant problems accessing and operating in the South Korean market because of stringent standards and testing requirements for products and services often creating barriers to trade. Both in its regular bilateral contacts with South Korea
Korea
and through its FTA with Korea, the EU is seeking to improve this situation.

UNITED STATES

Main article: South Korea– United States
United States
relations President Park Geun-hye at a bilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on May 7, 2013

The United States
United States
engaged in the decolonization of Korea
Korea
(mainly in the South, with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
engaged in North Korea) from Japan after World War II. After three years of military administration by the United States, the South Korean government was established. Upon the onset of the Korean War, U.S. forces were sent to defend against an invasion from North Korea
North Korea
of the South. Following the Armistice, South Korea
Korea
and the U.S. agreed to a "Mutual Defense Treaty", under which an attack on either party in the Pacific area would summon a response from both. In 1967, South Korea
Korea
obliged the mutual defense treaty, by sending a large combat troop contingent to support the United States
United States
in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
. The U.S. Eighth Army , Seventh Air Force , and U.S. Naval Forces Korea
Korea
are stationed in South Korea. The two nations have strong economic, diplomatic, and military ties, although they have at times disagreed with regard to policies towards North Korea, and with regard to some of South Korea's industrial activities that involve usage of rocket or nuclear technology. There had also been strong anti-American sentiment during certain periods, which has largely moderated in the modern day. In 2007, a free trade agreement known as the Republic
Republic
of Korea- United States
United States
Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed between South Korea
Korea
and the United States, but its formal implementation was repeatedly delayed, pending approval by the legislative bodies of the two countries. On October 12, 2011, the U.S. Congress passed the long-stalled trade agreement with South Korea. It went into effect on March 15, 2012.

MILITARY

Main article: Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
Armed Forces

_ This section's FACTUAL ACCURACY MAY BE COMPROMISED DUE TO OUT-OF-DATE INFORMATION. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (March 2012)_

The unresolved tension with North Korea
North Korea
have prompted South Korea
Korea
to allocate 2.6% of its GDP and 15% of all government spending to its military (Government share of GDP: 14.967%), while maintaining compulsory conscription for men. Consequently, South Korea
Korea
has the world's sixth largest number of active troops (650,000 in 2011), the world's second-largest number of reserve troops (3,200,000 in 2011) and the eleventh largest defense budget . The Republic
Republic
of Korea, with both regular and reserve military force numbering 3.7 million regular personnel among a total national population of 50 million people, has the second highest number of soldiers per capita in the world, after the Democratic People's Republic
Republic
of Korea.

The South Korean military consists of the Army (ROKA), the Navy (ROKN), the Air Force (ROKAF), and the Marine Corps (ROKMC), and reserve forces. Many of these forces are concentrated near the Korean Demilitarized Zone . All South Korean males are constitutionally required to serve in the military, typically 21 months. Previously, Koreans
Koreans
of mixed race were exempt from military duty but no exception from 2011. _ ROKN Sejong the Great, a King Sejong the Great_ -class guided-missile destroyer built by Hyundai
Hyundai
Heavy Industries

In addition to male conscription in South Korea's sovereign military, 1,800 Korean males are selected every year to serve 21 months in the KATUSA Program to further augment the United States
United States
Forces Korea (USFK). In 2010, South Korea
Korea
was spending ₩ 1.68 trillion in a cost-sharing agreement with the US to provide budgetary support to the US forces in Korea, on top of the ₩29.6 trillion budget for its own military. The South Korean-developed K2 Black Panther built by Hyundai
Hyundai
Rotem

The South Korean army has 2,500 tanks in operation, including the K1A1 and K2 Black Panther , which form the backbone of the South Korean army's mechanized armor and infantry forces. A sizable arsenal of many artillery systems, including 1,700 self-propelled K55 and K9 Thunder howitzers and 680 helicopters and UAVs
UAVs
of numerous types, are assembled to provide additional fire, reconnaissance, and logistics support. South Korea's smaller but more advanced artillery force and wide range of airborne reconnaissance platforms are pivotal in the counter-battery suppression of North Korea's large artillery force, which operates more than 13,000 artillery systems deployed in various state of fortification and mobility.

The South Korean navy has made its first major transformation into a blue-water navy through the formation of the Strategic Mobile Fleet, which includes a battle group of Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin class destroyers , Dokdo class amphibious assault ship , AIP-driven Type 214 submarines , and King Sejong the Great
Sejong the Great
class destroyers , which is equipped with the latest baseline of Aegis fleet-defense system that allows the ships to track and destroy multiple cruise missiles and ballistic missiles simultaneously, forming an integral part of South Korea's indigenous missile defense umbrella against the North Korean military's missile threat.

The South Korean air force operates 840 aircraft, making it world's ninth largest air force, including several types of advanced fighters like F-15K , heavily modified KF-16C/D , and the indigenous F/A-50 , supported by well-maintained fleets of older fighters such as F-4E and KF-5E/F that still effectively serve the air force alongside the more modern aircraft. In an attempt to gain strength in terms of not just numbers but also modernity, the commissioning of four Boeing 737 AEW"> ROKAF FA-50 , a supersonic combat aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries

From time to time, South Korea
Korea
has sent its troops overseas to assist American forces. It has participated in most major conflicts that the United States
United States
has been involved in the past 50 years. South Korea dispatched 325,517 troops to fight alongside American, Australian, Filipino , New Zealand
New Zealand
and South Vietnamese soldiers in the Vietnam War , with a peak strength of 50,000. In 2004, South Korea
Korea
sent 3,300 troops of the Zaytun Division to help re-building in northern Iraq
Iraq
, and was the third largest contributor in the coalition forces after only the US and Britain. Beginning in 2001, South Korea
Korea
had so far deployed 24,000 troops in the Middle East region to support the War on Terrorism . A further 1,800 were deployed since 2007 to reinforce UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon
Lebanon
. _ ROKS Dokdo , the lead ship of the Dokdo_-class amphibious assault ships built by Hanjin Heavy Industries

The United States
United States
has stationed a substantial contingent of troops in South Korea
Korea
since the Korean War to defend South Korea
Korea
in case of East Asian military crises. There are approximately 28,500 U.S. Military personnel stationed in Korea, most of them serving one year unaccompanied tours. The American troops, which are primarily ground and air units, are assigned to USFK and mainly assigned to the Eighth United States
United States
Army of the US Army
US Army
and Seventh Air Force
Seventh Air Force
of the US Air Force . They are stationed in installations at Osan , Kunsan , Yongsan, Dongducheon , Sungbuk, Camp Humphreys , and Daegu
Daegu
, as well as at Camp Bonifas in the DMZ Joint Security Area . A still functioning UN Command is technically the top of the chain of command of all forces in South Korea, including the US forces and the entire South Korean military – if a sudden escalation of war between North and South Korea
Korea
were to occur the United States
United States
would assume control of the South Korean armed forces in all military and paramilitary moves. However, in September 2006, the Presidents of the United States and the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
agreed that South Korea
Korea
should assume the lead for its own defense. In early 2007, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and ROK Minister of National Defense determined that South Korea
Korea
will assume wartime operational control of its forces on December 1, 2015. USFK will transform into a new joint-warfighting command, provisionally described as Korea
Korea
Command (KORCOM).

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of South Korea
Korea
Graphical depiction of Korea's product exports in 28 color-coded categories

South Korea's mixed economy ranks 11th nominal and 13th purchasing power parity GDP in the world, identifying it as one of the G-20
G-20
major economies . It is a developed country with a high-income economy and is the most industrialized member country of the OECD
OECD
. South Korean brands such as LG Electronics and Samsung
Samsung
are internationally famous.

With its massive investment in education has taken the country from mass illiteracy to a major international technological powerhouse. The country's national economy benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with the one of the highest percentage of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. South Korea's economy was one of the world's fastest-growing from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, and South Korea
Korea
is still one of the fastest-growing developed countries in the 2000s, along with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, the other three Asian Tigers . South Koreans
Koreans
refer to this growth as the Miracle on the Han River . The South Korean economy is heavily dependent on international trade, and in 2014, South Korea
Korea
was the 5th largest exporter and 7th largest importer in the world.

South Korea
Korea
hosted the fifth G20
G20
summit in its capital city, Seoul, in November 2010. The two-day summit was expected to boost South Korea's economy by 31 trillion won, or 4% of South Korea's 2010 GDP, in economic effects, and create over 160,000 jobs in South Korea. It may also help improve the country's sovereign credit rating .

Despite the South Korean economy's high growth potential and apparent structural stability, the country suffers damage to its credit rating in the stock market because of the belligerence of North Korea
North Korea
in times of deep military crises, which has an adverse effect on South Korean financial markets. The International Monetary Fund compliments the resilience of the South Korean economy against various economic crises, citing low state debt and high fiscal reserves that can quickly be mobilized to address financial emergencies. Although it was severely harmed by the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, the South Korean economy managed a rapid recovery and subsequently tripled its GDP.

Furthermore, South Korea
Korea
was one of the few developed countries that were able to avoid a recession during the global financial crisis . Its economic growth rate reached 6.2 percent in 2010 (the fastest growth for eight years after significant growth by 7.2 percent in 2002), a sharp recovery from economic growth rates of 2.3% in 2008 and 0.2% in 2009, when the global financial crisis hit. The unemployment rate in South Korea
Korea
also remained low in 2009, at 3.6%.

The following list includes the largest South Korean companies by revenue in 2013 who are all listed as part of the Fortune Global 500 :

RANK NAME HEADQUARTERS Revenue (Mil. $) Profit (Mil. $) Assets (Mil. $)

01. Samsung
Samsung
Electronics Suwon 208,938 27,245 202,876

02. SK Holdings Seoul
Seoul
102,122 258.2 87,716

03. Hyundai
Hyundai
Motor Seoul
Seoul
79,766 7,804 126,441

04. POSCO Pohang
Pohang
56,520 1,257 80,037

05. LG Electronics Seoul
Seoul
53,118 161.5 33,669

06. Hyundai
Hyundai
Heavy Industries Ulsan 49,507 254.6 50,421

07. Korea
Korea
Electric Power Naju 49,072 54.8 147,391

08. Kia Motors Seoul
Seoul
43,486 3,487 34,289

09. GS Caltex Seoul
Seoul
41,715 341.4 21,119

010. Hanwha Seoul
Seoul
35,379 118.8 107,394

011. Korea
Korea
Gas Daegu
Daegu
34,774 −183.4 41,382

012. Hyundai
Hyundai
Mobis Seoul
Seoul
31,244 3,126 32,629

013. S-Oil Seoul
Seoul
28,467 264.6 11,297

014. Samsung
Samsung
Life Insurance Seoul
Seoul
26,167 832.6 182,855

015. Samsung
Samsung
Ccolor:transparent;">016. Lotte Shopping Seoul
Seoul
25,774 720.3 36,933

017. LG Display Seoul
Seoul
24,697 389.3 20,579

TRANSPORTATION, ENERGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Main articles: Transport in South Korea
Korea
and Energy in South Korea
Korea
Korean developed HEMU 430X high-speed train can travel at over 430 km/h (267 mph) making South Korea
Korea
the world's fourth country after France
France
, Japan
Japan
and China
China
to develop a high-speed train running on conventional rail above 420 km/h. The Korean Developed Daegu Metro Line 3 monorail

South Korea
Korea
has a technologically advanced transport network consisting of high-speed railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services, and air routes that criss-cross the country. Korea Expressway Corporation operates the toll highways and service amenities en route.

Korail provides frequent train services to all major South Korean cities. Two rail lines, Gyeongui and Donghae Bukbu Line , to North Korea
Korea
are now being reconnected. The Korean high-speed rail system, KTX , provides high-speed service along Gyeongbu and Honam Line . Major cities including Seoul, Busan , Incheon
Incheon
, Daegu
Daegu
, Daejeon and Gwangju have urban rapid transit systems. Express bus terminals are available in most cities.

South Korea's largest airport, Incheon
Incheon
International Airport , was completed in 2001. By 2007, it was serving 30 million passengers a year. Other international airports include Gimpo , Busan and Jeju . There are also seven domestic airports, and a large number of heliports . Incheon
Incheon
International Airport Station 's Maglev station The Korean developed Incheon
Incheon
Airport Maglev
Maglev
is the world's second commercially operating maglev

Korean Air
Korean Air
, founded in 1962, served 21,640,000 passengers, including 12,490,000 international passengers in 2008. A second carrier, Asiana Airlines , established in 1988, also serves domestic and international traffic. Combined, South Korean airlines serve 297 international routes. Smaller airlines, such as Jeju Air , provide domestic service with lower fares.

South Korea
Korea
is the world's fifth-largest nuclear power producer and the second-largest in Asia
Asia
as of 2010 . Nuclear power
Nuclear power
in South Korea supplies 45% of electricity production, and research is very active with investigation into a variety of advanced reactors, including a small modular reactor, a liquid-metal fast/transmutation reactor and a high-temperature hydrogen generation design. Fuel production and waste handling technologies have also been developed locally. It is also a member of the ITER
ITER
project.

South Korea
Korea
is an emerging exporter of nuclear reactors , having concluded agreements with the UAE
UAE
to build and maintain four advanced nuclear reactors, with Jordan
Jordan
for a research nuclear reactor, and with Argentina
Argentina
for construction and repair of heavy-water nuclear reactors. As of 2010 , South Korea
Korea
and Turkey
Turkey
are in negotiations regarding construction of two nuclear reactors. South Korea
Korea
is also preparing to bid on construction of a light-water nuclear reactor for Argentina.

South Korea
Korea
is not allowed to enrich uranium or develop traditional uranium enrichment technology on its own, because of US political pressure, unlike most major nuclear powers such as Japan, Germany, and France, competitors of South Korea
Korea
in the international nuclear market. This impediment to South Korea's indigenous nuclear industrial undertaking has sparked occasional diplomatic rows between the two allies. While South Korea
Korea
is successful in exporting its electricity-generating nuclear technology and nuclear reactors, it cannot capitalize on the market for nuclear enrichment facilities and refineries , preventing it from further expanding its export niche. South Korea
Korea
has sought unique technologies such as pyroprocessing to circumvent these obstacles and seek a more advantageous competition. The US has recently been wary of South Korea's burgeoning nuclear program, which South Korea
Korea
insists will be for civilian use only.

South Korea
Korea
is the third highest ranked Asian country in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) after Singapore
Singapore
and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
respectively – an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies. South Korea
Korea
ranked number 10 overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, up from 11 in 2013.

TOURISM

Main article: Tourism in South Korea
Korea

In 2012, 11.1 million foreign tourists visited South Korea, making it the 20th most visited country in the world, up from 8.5 million in 2010. Due to Hallyu, South Korea
Korea
welcomed more than 12 million visitors in 2013 with 6 million tourists coming from China
China
alone. With rising tourist prospects, especially from foreign countries outside of Asia, the South Korean government has set a target of attracting 20 million foreign tourists a year by 2017. Hallyu's positive effects of the nation's entertainment industry are not limited to within its culture industry, according to a study by the Hyundai
Hyundai
Research Institute. The Hyundai
Hyundai
Research Institute reported that the Korean Wave has a direct impact in encouraging direct foreign investment back into the country through demand for products, and the tourism industry. Among Asian countries, China
China
was the most receptive, investing 1.4 billion in South Korea, with much of the investment within its service sector, a sevenfold increase from 2001. According to economist, Han Sang-Wan, shown an analysis that a 1 percent increase of exports of Korean cultural content pushes consumer goods exports up 0.083 percent while a 1 percent increase in Korean pop content exports to a country produces a 0.019 percent bump in tourism.

SOUTH KOREAN NATIONAL PENSION SYSTEM

The South Korean pension system was created to provide benefits to persons reaching old age, families and persons stricken with death of their primary breadwinner, and for the purposes of stabilizing its nations welfare state. South Korea's pensions system structure is primarily based on taxation and is income-related. In 2007 there was a total of 18,367,000 insured individuals with only around 511,000 persons excluded from mandatory contribution. The current pension system is divided into four categories distributing benefits to participants through national, military personnel, governmental, and private school teacher pension schemes. The national pension scheme is the primary welfare system providing allowances to the majority of persons. Eligibility for the national pension scheme is not dependent on income but on age and residence, where those between the ages of 18 to 59 are covered. Any one who is under the age of 18 are dependents of someone who is covered or under a special exclusion where they are allowed to alternate provisions. The national pension scheme is divided into four categories of insured persons – the workplace-based insured, the individually insured, the voluntarily insured, and the voluntarily and continuously insured.

Employees between the ages of 18 to 59 are covered under the workplace-based pension scheme and contribute 4.5% of their gross monthly earnings. The national pension covers employees who work in firms that employ five or more employees, fishermen, farmers, and the self-employed in both rural and urban areas. Employers are also covered under the workplace-based pension scheme and help cover their employees obligated 9% contribution by providing the remaining 4.5%. Anyone who is not employed, of the age of 60 or above, and excluded by article 6 of the National Pension Act but of the ages between 18 and 59, is covered under the individually insured pension scheme. Persons covered by the individually insured pension scheme are in charge of paying the entire 9% contribution themselves. Voluntarily insured persons are not subjected to mandatory coverage but can choose to be. This category comprises retirees who voluntarily choose to have additional benefits, individuals under the age of 27 without income, and individuals whose spouses are covered under a public welfare system, whether military, governmental, or private school teacher pensions. Like the Individually insured persons, they too are in charge of covering the full amount of the contribution. Voluntarily and continuously insured persons consists of individuals 60 years of age who want to fulfill the minimum insured period of 20 years to qualify for old age pension benefits. Excluding the workplace-based insured persons, all the other insured persons personally cover their own 9% contribution.

South Korea's old-age pension scheme covers individuals age 60 or older for the rest of their life as long as they have satisfied the minimum of 20 years of national pension coverage before hand. Individuals with a minimum of 10 years covered under the national pension scheme and who are 60 years of age are able to be covered by under a 'reduced old-age pension' scheme. There also is an 'active old-age pension' scheme that covers individuals age 60 to 65 engaged in activities yielding earned income. Individuals age of 55 and younger than 60 who are not engaged in activities yielding earned income are eligible to be covered under the 'early old-age pension' scheme. Around 60% of all Korean elders, age 65 and over are entitled to a 5% benefit of their past average income at an average of 90,000 Korean Won (KRW). Basic old-age pension schemes covered individuals 65 years of age who earned below an amount set by presidential order. In 2010, that ceiling was 700,00 KRW for a single individual and 1,120,000 for a couple, equivalent to around $600.00 and $960.00.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Main article: History of science and technology in Korea
Korea
See also: List of Korean inventions and discoveries A 3D OLED
OLED
TV made by Korean LG Display , the world's largest LCD
LCD
and OLED
OLED
maker

Scientific and technological development in the South Korea
Korea
at first did not occur largely because of more pressing matters such as the division of Korea
Korea
and the Korean War that occurred right after its independence. It wasn't until the 1960s under the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee where South Korea\'s economy rapidly grew from industrialisation and the Chaebol corporations such as Samsung
Samsung
and LG . Ever since the industrialization of South Korea's economy, South Korea
Korea
has placed its focus on technology-based corporations, which has been supported by infrastructure developments by the government. South Korean corporations Samsung
Samsung
and LG were ranked first and third largest mobile phone companies in the world in the first quarter of 2012, respectively. An estimated 90% of South Koreans
Koreans
own a mobile phone. Aside from placing/receiving calls and text messaging, mobile phones in the country are widely used for watching Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) or viewing websites. Over one million DMB phones have been sold and the three major wireless communications providers SK Telecom , KT , and LG U+ provide coverage in all major cities and other areas. South Korea
Korea
has the fastest Internet download speeds in the world, with an average download speed of 25.3 Mbit/s.

South Korea
Korea
leads the OECD
OECD
in graduates in science and engineering. The country ranks first among the most innovative countries in the Bloomberg Innovation Index . Additionally, South Korea
Korea
today is known as a Launchpad of a mature mobile market, where developers can reap benefits of a market where very few technology constraints exist. There is a growing trend of inventions of new types of media or apps, utilizing the 4G and 5G internet infrastructure in South Korea. South Korea
Korea
has today the infrastructures to meet a density of population and culture that has the capability to create strong local particularity.

CYBER SECURITY

Following cyberattacks in the first half of 2013, whereby government, news-media, television station, and bank websites were compromised, the national government committed to the training of 5,000 new cybersecurity experts by 2017. The South Korean government blamed its northern counterpart for these attacks, as well as incidents that occurred in 2009, 2011 and 2012, but Pyongyang
Pyongyang
denies the accusations.

In late September 2013, a computer-security competition jointly sponsored by the defense ministry and the National Intelligence Service was announced. The winners were announced on September 29, 2013 and shared a total prize pool of 80 million won (US$ 74,000).

AEROSPACE ENGINEERING

Main article: Korea
Korea
Aerospace Research Institute A replica of the Naro-1

South Korea
Korea
has sent up 10 satellites from 1992, all using foreign rockets and overseas launch pads, notably Arirang-1 in 1999, and Arirang-2 in 2006 as part of its space partnership with Russia. Arirang-1 was lost in space in 2008, after nine years in service.

In April 2008, Yi So-yeon became the first Korean to fly in space, aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-12 .

In June 2009, the first spaceport of South Korea, Naro Space Center , was completed at Goheung , Jeollanam-do . The launch of Naro-1 in August 2009 resulted in a failure. The second attempt in June 2010 was also unsuccessful. However the third launch of the Naro 1 in January 2013 was successful. The government plans to develop Naro-2 by the year 2018.

South Korea's efforts to build an indigenous space launch vehicle is marred because of persistent political pressure of the United States, who had for many decades hindered South Korea's indigenous rocket and missile development programs in fear of their possible connection to clandestine military ballistic missile programs, which Korea
Korea
many times insisted did not violate the research and development guidelines stipulated by US- Korea
Korea
agreements on restriction of South Korean rocket technology research and development. South Korea
Korea
has sought the assistance of foreign countries such as Russia
Russia
through MTCR commitments to supplement its restricted domestic rocket technology. The two failed KSLV-I launch vehicles were based on the Universal Rocket Module , the first stage of the Russian Angara rocket , combined with a solid-fueled second stage built by South Korea.

ROBOTICS

Albert HUBO, developed by KAIST , can make expressive gestures with its five separate fingers

Robotics
Robotics
has been included in the list of main national R the _Korean Robot Game Festival_ has been held every year since 2004 to promote science and robot technology.

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Since the 1980s, the Korean government has invested in the development of a domestic biotechnology industry, and the sector is projected to grow to $6.5 billion by 2010. The medical sector accounts for a large part of the production, including production of hepatitis vaccines and antibiotics .

Recently, research and development in genetics and cloning has received increasing attention, with the first successful cloning of a dog, Snuppy (in 2005), and the cloning of two females of an endangered species of wolves by the Seoul
Seoul
National University in 2007.

The rapid growth of the industry has resulted in significant voids in regulation of ethics, as was highlighted by the scientific misconduct case involving Hwang Woo-Suk .

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of South Korea
Korea
See also: Culture of Korea
Korea
_ A musician playing a gayageum _

South Korea
Korea
shares its traditional culture with North Korea
North Korea
, but the two Koreas have developed distinct contemporary forms of culture since the peninsula was divided in 1945. Historically, while the culture of Korea
Korea
has been heavily influenced by that of neighboring China, it has nevertheless managed to develop a unique cultural identity that is distinct from its larger neighbor. Its rich and vibrant culture left 19 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity , the third largest in the world , along with 12 World Heritage Sites . The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism actively encourages the traditional arts, as well as modern forms, through funding and education programs.

The industrialization and urbanization of South Korea
Korea
have brought many changes to the way Korean people live. Changing economics and lifestyles have led to a concentration of population in major cities, especially the capital Seoul, with multi-generational households separating into nuclear family living arrangements. A 2014 Euromonitor study found that South Koreans
Koreans
drink the most alcohol on a weekly basis compared to the rest of the world. South Koreans
Koreans
drink 13.7 shots of liquor per week on average and, of the 44 other countries analyzed, Russia, the Philippines, and Thailand
Thailand
follow.

ART

Main article: Korean art Blue and white porcelain peach-shaped water dropper from Joseon Dynasty in 18th century

Korean art has been highly influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism , which can be seen in the many traditional paintings, sculptures, ceramics and the performing arts. Korean pottery
Korean pottery
and porcelain , such as Joseon 's _baekja _ and buncheong , and Goryeo
Goryeo
's celadon are well known throughout the world. The Korean tea ceremony , pansori , talchum and buchaechum are also notable Korean performing arts.

Post-war modern Korean art started to flourish in the 1960s and 1970s, when South Korean artists took interest in geometrical shapes and intangible subjects. Establishing a harmony between man and nature was also a favorite of this time. Because of social instability, social issues appeared as main subjects in the 1980s. Art was influenced by various international events and exhibits in Korea, and with it brought more diversity. The Olympic Sculpture Garden in 1988, the transposition of the 1993 edition of the Whitney Biennial to Seoul, the creation of the Gwangju Biennale and the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1995 were notable events.

ARCHITECTURE

Main article: Architecture of South Korea
Korea
See also: Korean architecture Namdaemun

Because of South Korea's tumultuous history, construction and destruction has been repeated endlessly, resulting in an interesting melange of architectural styles and designs.

Korean traditional architecture is characterized by its harmony with nature. Ancient architects adopted the bracket system characterized by thatched roofs and heated floors called _ondol _. People of the upper classes built bigger houses with elegantly curved tiled roofs with lifting eaves. Traditional architecture can be seen in the palaces and temples, preserved old houses called _hanok _, and special sites like Hahoe Folk Village , Yangdong Village of Gyeongju and Korean Folk Village . Traditional architecture may also be seen at the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Korea. Bulguksa , a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Western architecture was first introduced to Korea
Korea
at the end of the 19th century. Churches, offices for foreign legislation, schools and university buildings were built in new styles. With the annexation of Korea
Korea
by Japan
Japan
in 1910 the colonial regime intervened in Korea's architectural heritage, and Japanese-style modern architecture was imposed. The anti-Japanese sentiment, and the Korean War, led to the destruction of most buildings constructed during that time.

Korean architecture entered a new phase of development during the post- Korean War reconstruction, incorporating modern architectural trends and styles. Stimulated by the economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, active redevelopment saw new horizons in architectural design. In the aftermath of the 1988 Seoul
Seoul
Olympics, South Korea
Korea
has witnessed a wide variation of styles in its architectural landscape due, in large part, to the opening up of the market to foreign architects. Contemporary architectural efforts have been constantly trying to balance the traditional philosophy of "harmony with nature" and the fast-paced urbanization that the country has been going through in recent years.

CUISINE

Main article: Korean cuisine
Korean cuisine
Bibimbap

Korean cuisine, _hanguk yori_ (한국요리; 韓國料理), or _hansik_ (한식; 韓食), has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals consumed both by the royal family and ordinary Korean citizens have been regulated by a unique culture of etiquette.

Korean cuisine
Korean cuisine
is largely based on rice , noodles , tofu , vegetables, fish and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, _banchan _ (반찬), which accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Every meal is accompanied by numerous banchan. Kimchi (김치), a fermented, usually spicy vegetable dish is commonly served at every meal and is one of the best known Korean dishes. Korean cuisine
Korean cuisine
usually involves heavy seasoning with sesame oil , _doenjang _ (된장), a type of fermented soybean paste , soy sauce , salt, garlic, ginger, and _gochujang _ (고추장), a hot pepper paste. Other well-known dishes are _ Bulgogi _ (불고기), grilled marinated beef, _ Gimbap _ (김밥), and _ Tteokbokki _ (떡볶이), a spicy snack consisting of rice cake seasoned with gochujang or a spicy chili paste.

Soups are also a common part of a Korean meal and are served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal. Soups known as _guk _ (국) are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Similar to guk, _tang_ (탕; 湯) has less water, and is more often served in restaurants. Another type is _jjigae _ (찌개), a stew that is typically heavily seasoned with chili pepper and served boiling hot.

South Korean snack companies, such as Lotte , are famous for making a wide range of Korean or other Asian-inspired snacks. One example is Pepero , a snack similar to Pocky , which originates from Japan. Pepero is manufactured by Lotte Confectionery.

Popular Korean alcoholic beverages include Soju , Makgeolli and Bokbunja ju .

Korea
Korea
is unique among Asian countries in its use of metal chopsticks. Metal chopsticks have been discovered in Goguryeo archaeological sites.

ENTERTAINMENT

Main articles: Korean Wave , Music of South Korea
Korea
, Cinema of South Korea
Korea
, and Korean drama Rain , one of the most popular music artists in South Korea, found international fame by reaching a global audience through his music and films.

In addition to domestic consumption, South Korea
Korea
has a thriving entertainment industry where entertainment including televised dramas, films, and popular music has generated significant financial revenues for the nation's economy. The cultural phenomenon known as _Hallyu _ or the "Korean Wave", has swept many countries across Asia
Asia
making South Korea
Korea
a major soft power as an exporter of popular culture and entertainment, rivaling Western nations such as the United States
United States
and the United Kingdom.

Until the 1990s, trot and traditional Korean folk based ballads dominated South Korean popular music. The emergence of the rap group Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992 marked a turning point for South Korean popular music, also known as K-pop , as the genre modernized itself from incorporating elements of popular musical genres from the West such as Western popular music , classical , hip hop , rhythm and blues , electronic dance , jazz , reggae , country , folk , and rock into its traditional Korean music roots. Western-style pop, hip hop, rhythm and blues, rock, electronic dance oriented acts have become dominant in the South Korean popular music scene, though trot is still enjoyed among older South Koreans. K-pop stars and groups are well known across Asia
Asia
and have found international fame making millions of dollars in export revenue. Many K-pop acts have been able secure a strong overseas following using online social media platforms such as the video sharing website YouTube
YouTube
. South Korean singer PSY became an international sensation when his song " Gangnam Style " topped global music charts in 2012.

Since the success of the film _Shiri _ in 1999, the Korean film industry has begun to gain recognition internationally. Domestic film has a dominant share of the market, partly because of the existence of screen quotas requiring cinemas to show Korean films at least 73 days a year.

South Korean television shows have become popular outside of Korea. Many dramas tend to have a romantic focus, such as _ Princess Hours _, _You\'re Beautiful _, _ Playful Kiss _, _ My Name is Kim Sam Soon _, _Boys Over Flowers _, _ Winter Sonata _, _ Autumn in My Heart _, _Full House _, _City Hunter _, _All About Eve _, _Secret Garden _, _I Can Hear Your Voice _, _Master's Sun_, _ My Love from the Star _, _Healer _, _ Descendants of the Sun _ and _Guardian: The Lonely and Great God _. Historical dramas have included _Faith_, _ Dae Jang Geum _, _The Legend _, _Dong Yi _, _ Moon Embracing the Sun _, and _Sungkyunkwan Scandal _.

HOLIDAYS

Main article: Public holidays in South Korea
Korea

There are many official public holidays in South Korea. Korean New Year's Day, or "Seollal", is celebrated on the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. Korean Independence Day falls on March 1, and commemorates the March 1 Movement of 1919. Memorial Day is celebrated on June 6, and its purpose is to honor the men and women who died in South Korea's independence movement. Constitution
Constitution
Day is on July 17, and it celebrates the promulgation of Constitution
Constitution
of the Republic
Republic
of Korea
Korea
. Liberation Day, on August 15, celebrates Korea's liberation from the Empire of Japan in 1945. Every 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Koreans
Koreans
celebrate the Midautumn Festival , in which Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and eat a variety of traditional Korean foods. On October 1, Armed Forces day is celebrated, honoring the military forces of South Korea. October 3 is National Foundation Day . Hangul Day, on October 9 commemorates the invention of hangul , the native alphabet of the Korean language . There are also unofficial holidays celebrated in Korea, such as Pepero Day , which has been criticized by many people as a marketing scam .

SPORTS

Main article: Sport in South Korea
Korea
Hapkido fight

The martial art taekwondo originated in Korea. In the 1950s and 1960s, modern rules were standardized, with taekwondo becoming an official Olympic sport in 2000. Other Korean martial arts
Korean martial arts
include taekkyeon , hapkido , Tang Soo Do , Kuk Sool Won , kumdo and subak .

Football and baseball have traditionally been regarded as the most popular sports in Korea. Recent polling indicates that a majority, 41% of South Korean sports fans continue to self-identify as football fans, with baseball ranked 2nd at 25% of respondents. However, the polling did not indicate the extent to which respondents follow both sports. The national football team became the first team in the Asian Football Confederation to reach the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
semi-finals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup , jointly hosted by South Korea
Korea
and Japan. The Korea
Korea
Republic
Republic
national team (as it is known) has qualified for every World Cup since Mexico
Mexico
1986 , and has broken out of the group stage twice: first in 2002, and again in 2010 , when it was defeated by eventual semi-finalist Uruguay in the Round of 16. At the 2012 Summer Olympics , South Korea
Korea
won the Bronze Medal for football. Sajik Baseball
Baseball
Stadium in Busan

Baseball
Baseball
was first introduced to Korea
Korea
in 1905 and has since become increasingly popular, with some sources claiming it has surpassed football as the most popular sport in the country. Recent years have been characterized by increasing attendance and ticket prices for professional baseball games. The Korea
Korea
Professional Baseball
Baseball
league, a 10-team circuit, was established in 1982. The South Korea
Korea
national team finished third in the 2006 World Baseball
Baseball
Classic and second in the 2009 tournament . The team's 2009 final game against Japan
Japan
was widely watched in Korea, with a large screen at Gwanghwamun crossing in Seoul
Seoul
broadcasting the game live. In the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
, South Korea
Korea
won the gold medal in baseball. Also in 1982, at the Baseball
Baseball
Worldcup, Korea
Korea
won the gold medal. At the 2010 Asian Games , the Korean National Baseball
Baseball
team won the gold medal. Several Korean players have gone on to play in Major League Baseball
Baseball
.

Basketball
Basketball
is a popular sport in the country as well. South Korea
Korea
has traditionally had one of the top basketball teams in Asia
Asia
and one of the continent's strongest basketball divisions. Seoul
Seoul
hosted the 1967 and 1995 Asian Basketball
Basketball
Championship . The Korea
Korea
national basketball team has won a record number of 23 medals at the event to date.

South Korea
Korea
hosted the Asian Games
Asian Games
in 1986 (Seoul), 2002 (Busan) and 2014 (Incheon). It also hosted the Winter Universiade
Universiade
in 1997, the Asian Winter Games in 1999 and the Summer Universiade
Universiade
in 2003, 2015. In 1988, South Korea
Korea
hosted the Summer Olympics in Seoul
Seoul
, coming fourth with 12 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 11 bronze medals. South Korea
Korea
regularly performs well in archery , shooting , table tennis , badminton , short track speed skating , handball , hockey , freestyle wrestling , Greco-Roman wrestling , baseball , judo , taekwondo , speed skating , figure Skating , and weightlifting . The Seoul
Seoul
Olympic Museum is a museum in Seoul
Seoul
, South Korea, dedicated to the 1988 Summer Olympics. On July 6, 2011 Pyeongchang was chosen by the IOC
IOC
to host the 2018 Winter Olympics .

South Korea
Korea
has won more medals in the Winter Olympics
Winter Olympics
than any other Asian country with a total of 45 medals (23 gold, 14 silver, and 8 bronze). At the 2010 Winter Olympics
Winter Olympics
, South Korea
Korea
ranked fifth in the overall medal rankings. South Korea
Korea
is especially strong in short track speed skating . However, speed skating and figure skating are very popular, too, and ice hockey is an emerging sport with Anyang Halla winning their first ever Asia
Asia
League Ice Hockey
Hockey
title in March 2010.

Seoul
Seoul
hosted a professional triathlon race, which is part of the International Triathlon
Triathlon
Union (ITU) World Championship Series in May 2010. In 2011, the South Korean city of Daegu
Daegu
hosted the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics .

In October 2010, South Korea
Korea
hosted its first Formula One
Formula One
race at the Korea
Korea
International Circuit in Yeongam , about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of Seoul. The Korean Grand Prix was held from 2010 to 2013, but was not placed on the 2014 F1 calendar .

Domestic horse racing events are also followed by South Koreans
Koreans
and Seoul
Seoul
Race Park in Gwacheon , Gyeonggi-do is located closest to Seoul out of the country's three tracks.

Competitive video gaming , also called eSports (sometimes written e-Sports), has become more popular South Korea
Korea
in recent years, particularly among young people. The two most popular games are League of Legends
League of Legends
and StarCraft . The gaming scene of South Korea
Korea
is managed by the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA for short) and has become something of a career for many players. They can make a living out of their activity and top players can even make a significant amount of money with some high end Starcraft II players ending up making six figure salaries.

KOREAN E-SPORTS ASSOCIATION

KOREA PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUE

BASEBALL -------------------------

* KBO League

BASKETBALL -------------------------

* Korean Basketball
Basketball
League * Women\'s Korean Basketball
Basketball
League

FOOTBALL -------------------------

* K League Classic (1st) * K League Challenge (2nd)

VOLLEYBALL -------------------------

* V-League

INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HOST

OLYMPIC GAMES -------------------------

* Seoul
Seoul
Summer 1988 * Pyeongchang Winter 2018

FIFA WORLD CUP -------------------------

* Korea
Korea
vertical-align:top;"> IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN ATHLETICS

-------------------------

* Daegu
Daegu
2011

FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS -------------------------

* Gwangju 2019

ASIAN GAMES -------------------------

* Seoul
Seoul
Summer 1986 * Gangwon Winter 1999 * Busan Summer 2002 * Incheon
Incheon
Summer 2014

AFC ASIAN CUP -------------------------

* Korea
Korea
1960

UNIVERSIADE -------------------------

* Muju/ Jeonju
Jeonju
Winter 1997 * Daegu
Daegu
Summer 2003 * Gwangju Summer 2015

FORMULA ONE -------------------------

* Korean Grand Prix

SEE ALSO

* Index of South Korea-related articles * International rankings of South Korea
Korea
* List of companies of South Korea
Korea
* List of South Korean tourist attractions * Outline of South Korea
Korea

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proper. Yang Ti continued to send his armies against Koguryŏ but again without success, and before long his war-weakened empire crumbled. * ^ Nahm, Andrew C. (2005). _A Panorama of 5000 Years: Korean History_ (Second revised ed.). Seoul: Hollym International Corporation. p. 18. ISBN 093087868X . China, which had been split into many states since the early 3rd century, was reunified by the Sui dynasty at the end of the 6th century. Soon after that, Sui China mobilized a large number of troops and launched war against Koguryŏ. However, the people of Koguryŏ were united and they were able to repel the Chinese aggressors. In 612, Sui troops invaded Korea
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again, but Koguryŏ forces fought bravely and destroyed Sui troops everywhere. General Ŭlchi Mundŏk of Koguryŏ completely wiped out some 300,000 Sui troops which came across the Yalu River in the battles near the Salsu River (now Ch'ŏngch'ŏn River) with his ingenious military tactics. Only 2,700 Sui troops were able to flee from Korea. The Sui dynasty, which wasted so much energy and manpower in aggressive wars against Koguryŏ, fell in 618. * ^ Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. _East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History_. Houghton Mifflin. p. 123. ISBN 9780618133840 . Retrieved September 12, 2016. * ^ Kitagawa, Joseph. _The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture_. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 9781136875908 . Retrieved July 29, 2016. * ^ Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. _East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800_. Cengage Learning. p. 104. ISBN 1111808155 . Retrieved September 12, 2016. * ^ _A Brief History of Korea_. Ewha Womans University Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 9788973006199 . Retrieved November 21, 2016. * ^ Yu, Chai-Shin. _The New History of Korean Civilization_. iUniverse. p. 27. ISBN 9781462055593 . Retrieved November 21, 2016. * ^ Kim, Jinwung. _A History of Korea: From "Land of the Morning Calm" to States in Conflict_. Indiana University Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0253000246 . Retrieved September 12, 2016. * ^ Wells, Kenneth M. _Korea: Outline of a Civilisation_. Brill. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9789004300057 . Retrieved September 12, 2016. * ^ Injae, Lee; Miller, Owen; Jinhoon, Park; Hyun-Hae, Yi. _Korean History in Maps_. Cambridge University Press. pp. 64–65. ISBN 9781107098466 . Retrieved February 24, 2017. * ^ DuBois, Jill. _Korea_. Marshall Cavendish. p. 22. ISBN 9780761417866 . Retrieved July 29, 2016. * ^ Randel, Don Michael. _The Harvard Dictionary of Music_. Harvard University Press. p. 273. ISBN 9780674011632 . Retrieved July 29, 2016. * ^ Hopfner, Jonathan. _Moon Living Abroad in South Korea_. Avalon Travel. p. 21. ISBN 9781612386324 . Retrieved July 29, 2016. * ^ Kim, Djun Kil. _The History of Korea_. ABC-CLIO. p. 47. ISBN 9780313038532 . Retrieved September 30, 2016. * ^ Kitagawa, Joseph. _The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture_. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 9781136875908 . Retrieved July 21, 2016. * ^ Gernet, Jacques. _A History of Chinese Civilization_. Cambridge University Press. p. 291. ISBN 9780521497817 . Retrieved July 21, 2016. * ^ Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather. _Ennins Travels in Tang China_. John Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited. pp. 276–283. ISBN 9780471070535 . Retrieved July 21, 2016. From what Ennin tells us, it seems that commerce between East China, Korea
Korea
and Japan
Japan
was, for the most part, in the hands of men from Silla. Here in the relatively dangerous waters on the eastern fringes of the world, they performed the same functions as did the traders of the placid Mediterranean on the western fringes. This is a historical fact of considerable significance but one which has received virtually no attention in the standard historical compilations of that period or in the modern books based on these sources. . . . While there were limits to the influence of the Koreans
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FURTHER READING

* Breen, Michael (2004). _The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies _. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-32609-2 . * Hart, Dennis (2003). _From Tradition to Consumption: Constructing a Capitalist Culture in South Korea_. Seoul: Author. ISBN 89-88095-44-8 . * Cumings, Bruce (1997). _Korea's place in the sun_. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-31681-5 . * Lew, Yong Ick. _The Making of the First Korean President: Syngman Rhee's Quest for Independence_ (University of Hawai'i Press; 2013); scholarly biography; 576 pages; * Nahm, Andrew C. (1996). _Korea: A history of the Korean people (2nd ed.)_. Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-070-2 . * Yang Sung-chul (1999). _The North and South Korean political systems: A comparative analysis (rev. ed.)_. Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-105-9 . * Yonhap News Agency (2004). _ Korea
Korea
Annual 2004_. Seoul. ISBN 89-7433-070-9 .

EXTERNAL LINKS

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National Statistical Office * Video on South Korea-US Relations from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives * "South Korea". The World Factbook _. Central Intelligence Agency
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* A Country Study: South Korea
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