Korea, South

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Map

Location: 37 00 N, 127 30 E -- Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea, south of North Korea

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Flag

Description: white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field

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Geography

Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea, south of North Korea
Geographic coordinates: 37 00 N, 127 30 E
Map references: Asia
Area:
total area: 98,480 sq km
land area: 98,190 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 238 km
border country: North Korea 238 km
Coastline: 2,413 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm; 3 nm in the Korea Strait
International disputes: Demarcation Line with North Korea; Liancourt Rocks claimed by Japan
Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m
Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 67%
other: 10%
Irrigated land: 13,530 sq km (1989)
Environment:
current issues: air pollution in large cities; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; earthquakes in southwest
international agreements: party to - Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Law of the Sea
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People

Population: 45,482,291 (July 1996 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 5,531,032; female 4,962,915)
15-64 years: 71% (male 16,374,678; female 15,910,846)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,014,649; female 1,688,171) (July 1996 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.02% (1996 est.)
Birth rate: 16.24 births/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Death rate: 5.66 deaths/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1996 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.14 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
all ages: 1.02 male(s)/female (1996 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 8.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1996 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.26 years
male: 69.65 years
female: 77.39 years (1996 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.77 children born/woman (1996 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic divisions: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions: Christianity 48.6%, Buddhism 47.4%, Confucianism 3%, pervasive folk religion (shamanism), Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way) 0.2%
Languages: Korean, English widely taught in high school
Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1995 est.)
total population: 98%
male: 99.3%
female: 96.7%
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Government

Name of country:
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Taehan-min'guk
local short form: none
note: the South Koreans generally use the term "Hanguk" to refer to their country
abbreviation: ROK
Data code: KS
Type of government: republic
Capital: Seoul
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 6 special cities* (gwangyoksi, singular and plural); Cheju-do, Cholla-bukto, Cholla-namdo, Ch'ungch'ong-bukto, Ch'ungch'ong-namdo, Inch'on-gwangyoksi*, Kangwon-do, Kwangju-gwangyoksi*, Kyonggi-do, Kyongsang-bukto, Kyongsang-namdo, Pusan-gwangyoksi*, Soul-t'ukpyolsi*, Taegu-gwangyoksi*, Taejon-gwangyoksi*
Independence: 15 August 1948
National holiday: Independence Day, 15 August (1948)
Constitution: 25 February 1988
Legal system: combines elements of continental European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought
Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President KIM Yong-sam (since 25 February 1993) was elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 18 December 1992 (next to be held NA December 1997); results - KIM Yong-sam (DLP) 41.9%, KIM Tae-chung (DP) 33.8%, CHONG Chu-yong (UPP) 16.3%, other 8%
head of government: Prime Minister YI Su-song (since 15 December 1995) was appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly; Deputy Prime Ministers NA Ung-pae (since 20 December 1995) and KWON O-ki (since 20 December 1995) were appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
cabinet: State Council was appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
Legislative branch: unicameral
National Assembly (Kukhoe): members elected for four-year terms; elections last held 11 April 1996 (next to be held NA 2000); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (299 total) NKP 139, NCNP 79, ULD 50, DP 15, independents 16
Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president subject to the consent of the National Assembly
Political parties and leaders:
majority party: New Korea Party (NKP), KIM Yong-sam, president
opposition: United Liberal Democratic Party (ULD), KIM Chong-p'il, president; Democratic Party (DP), KIM Won-ki, co-chairman and CHANG Ul-pyong, co-chairman; National Congress for New Politics (NCNP), KIM Tae-chung, president
Other political or pressure groups: Korean National Council of Churches; National Democratic Alliance of Korea; National Federation of Student Associations; National Federation of Farmers' Associations; National Council of Labor Unions; Federation of Korean Trade Unions; Korean Veterans' Association; Federation of Korean Industries; Korean Traders Association
International organization participation: AfDB, APEC, AsDB, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, OAS (observer), OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador PAK Kun-u
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600, 524-9273
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle
US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador James T. LANEY
embassy: 82 Sejong-Ro, Chongro-ku, Seoul
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 15550, APO AP 96205-0001
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
FAX: [82] (2) 738-8845
consulate(s): Pusan
Flag: white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field
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Economy

Economic overview: As one of the Four Dragons of East Asia, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth. Three decades ago its GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP per capita is nine times India's, 14 times North Korea's, and already up with the lesser economies of the European Union. This success has been achieved by a unique combination of authoritarian government guidance of what is at bottom an essentially entrepreneurial process. The government has sponsored large-scale adoption of technology and management from Japan and other modern nations; has successfully pushed the development of export industries while encouraging the import of machinery and materials at the expense of consumer goods; and has pushed its labor force to a work effort seldom matched anywhere even in wartime. Real GDP grew by an average 10% in 1986-91, then paused to a "mere" 5% in 1992-93, only to move back up to 8% in 1994 and 9% in 1995. With a much higher standard of living and with a considerable easing of authoritarian controls, the work pace has softened. Growth rates will probably slow down over the medium term because of the exhaustion of former growth opportunities and the need to deal with pollution and the other problems of success.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $590.7 billion (1995 est.)
GDP real growth rate: 9% (1995)
GDP per capita: $13,000 (1995 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 45%
services: 47% (1991 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.3% (1995 est.)
Labor force: 20 million
by occupation: services and other 52%, mining and manufacturing 27%, agriculture, fishing, forestry 21% (1991)
Unemployment rate: 2% (1995 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $69 billion
expenditures: $67 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1995 est.)
Industries: electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing
Industrial production growth rate: 12.2% (1995 est.)
Electricity:
capacity: 28,750,000 kW
production: 165 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 2,899 kWh (1994)
Agriculture: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish catch of 2.9 million metric tons, seventh largest in world
Exports: $125.4 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: electronic and electrical equipment, machinery, steel, automobiles, ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish
partners: US 19%, Japan 14%, EU 13%
Imports: $135.1 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains
partners: Japan 24%, US 22%, EU 13%
External debt: $77 billion (1995 est.)
Economic aid: $NA
Currency: 1 South Korean won (W) = 100 chun (theoretical)
Exchange rates: South Korean won (W) per US$1 - 787.27 (January 1996), 771.27 (1995), 803.45 (1994), 802.67 (1993), 780.65 (1992), 733.35 (1991)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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Transportation

Railways:
total: 3,101 km
standard gauge: 3,081 km 1.435-m gauge (560 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 20 km 0.762-m gauge
Highways:
total: 61,296 km
paved: 51,918 km (including 1,550 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,378 km (1993)
Waterways: 1,609 km; use restricted to small native craft
Pipelines: petroleum products 455 km
Ports: Chinhae, Inch'on, Kunsan, Masan, Mokp'o, Pohang, Pusan, Ulsan, Yosu
Merchant marine:
total: 428 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,076,981 GRT/9,822,089 DWT
ships by type: bulk 124, cargo 122, chemical tanker 21, combination bulk 3, combination ore/oil 1, container 59, liquefied gas tanker 12, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 61, refrigerated cargo 13, short-sea passenger 1, vehicle carrier 10
note: South Korea owns an additional 231 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 10,128,506 DWT operating under the registries of Panama, Liberia, Cyprus, Malta, The Bahamas, and Thailand (1995 est.)
Airports:
total: 105
with paved runways over 3 047 m: 1
with paved runways 2 438 to 3 047 m: 20
with paved runways 1 524 to 2 437 m: 13
with paved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 14
with paved runways under 914 m: 54
with unpaved runways 914 to 1 523 m: 3 (1995 est.)
Heliports: 201 (1995 est.)
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Communications

Telephones: 16.6 million (1993)
Telephone system: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: NA
international: fiber-optic submarine cable to China; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean Region)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 79, FM 46, shortwave 0
Radios: 42 million (1993 est.)
Television broadcast stations: 256 (57 of which are 1 kW or greater) (1987 est.)
Televisions: 9.3 million (1992 est.)
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Defense

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Maritime Police (Coast Guard)
Manpower availability:
males age 15-49: 13,602,115
males fit for military service: 8,706,545
males reach military age (18) annually: 398,322 (1996 est.)
Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $17.4 billion, 3.3% of GNP (1996)
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Korea, South