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Korea, South Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Korea, South
Background:
An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan, and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 14 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South's President KIM Dae-jung and the North's leader KIM Jong Il.
People Korea, South
Population:
49,044,790 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.3% (male 4,714,103/female 4,262,873)
15-64 years: 72.1% (male 18,004,719/female 17,346,594)
65 years and over: 9.6% (male 1,921,803/female 2,794,698) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 35.8 years
male: 34.8 years
female: 36.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.394% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
9.93 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
5.99 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.106 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.038 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.688 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 6.05 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.23 years
male: 73.81 years
female: 80.93 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.28 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
8,300 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups:
homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions:
Christian 26%, Buddhist 26%, Confucianist 1%, no affiliation 46%, other 1%
Languages:
Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 99.2%
female: 96.6% (2002)
Government Korea, South
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Taehan-min'guk
local short form: Han'guk
abbreviation: ROK
Government type:
republic
Capital:
name: Seoul
geographic coordinates: 37 34 N, 127 00 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 7 metropolitan cities (gwangyoksi, singular and plural)
provinces: Cheju-do, Cholla-bukto (North Cholla), Cholla-namdo (South Cholla), Ch'ungch'ong-bukto (North Ch'ungch'ong), Ch'ungch'ong-namdo (South Ch'ungch'ong), Kangwon-do, Kyonggi-do, Kyongsang-bukto (North Kyongsang), Kyongsang-namdo (South Kyongsang)
metropolitan cities: Inch'on-gwangyoksi (Inch'on), Kwangju-gwangyoksi (Kwangju), Pusan-gwangyoksi (Pusan), Soul-t'ukpyolsi (Seoul), Taegu-gwangyoksi (Taegu), Taejon-gwangyoksi (Taejon), Ulsan-gwangyoksi (Ulsan)
Independence:
15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holiday:
Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)
Constitution:
29 October 1987
Legal system:
combines elements of continental European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought
Suffrage:
19 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President ROH Moo-hyun (since 25 February 2003)
head of government: Prime Minister HAN Duck-soo (since 2 April 2007); Deputy Prime Ministers KIM Woo-sik (since 10 February 2006); KWON O-kyu (since 18 July 2006); KIM Shin-il (since 20 September 2006)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 19 December 2002 (next to be held on 19 December 2007); prime minister appointed by president with consent of National Assembly; deputy prime ministers appointed by president on prime minister's recommendation
election results: ROH Moo-hyun elected president; percent of vote - ROH Moo-hyun (MDP) 48.9%; LEE Hoi-chang (GNP) 46.6%; other 4.5%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Kukhoe (299 seats - members elected for four-year terms; 243 in single-seat constituencies, 56 by proportional representation)
elections: last held 15 April 2004 (next to be held in April 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - Uri 51%, GNP 41%, DLP 3%, DP 3%, others 2%; seats by party - Uri 141, GNP 127, DP 12, DLP 9, PFP 5, independents 5
note: percent of vote is for 2004 general election; seats by party reflect results of 2005 and 2006 by-elections; MDP became DP in May 2005; United Liberal Democrats (ULD) merged with GNP in February 2006
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (justices appointed by president with consent of National Assembly); Constitutional Court (justices appointed by president based partly on nominations by National Assembly and Chief Justice of the court)
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Labor Party or DLP [MOON Seong-hyun]; Democratic Party or DP [HAHN Hwa-kap]; Grand National Party or GNP [KANG Jae-sup]; People-First Party or PFP [SHIN Kook-hwan and SIM Dae-pyung]; Uri Party [Chung Sye-kyun]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Federation of Korean Industries; Federation of Korean Trade Unions; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Korean National Council of Churches; Korean Traders Association; Korean Veterans' Association; National Council of Labor Unions; National Democratic Alliance of Korea; National Federation of Farmers' Associations; National Federation of Student Associations
International organization participation:
AfDB, APEC, APT, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA, MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, ONUB, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador LEE Tae-sik
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
FAX: [1] (202) 387-0205
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Alexander VERSHBOW
embassy: 32 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710
mailing address: US Embassy Seoul, Unit 15550, APO AP 96205-5550
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
FAX: [82] (2) 738-8845
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
Communications Korea, South
Telephones - main lines in use:
23.745 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
38.342 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: NA
international: country code - 82; fiber-optic submarine cables - 1 Korea-Russia-Japan, 1 Korea-Japan-Hong Kong, 3 Korea-Japan-China, 1 Korea-Japan-China-Europe, 1 Korea-Japan-China-US-Taiwan, 1 Korea-Japan-China, 1 Korea-Japan-Hong Kong-Taiwan, 1 Korea-Japan; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 3 Inmarsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 61, FM 150, shortwave 2 (2005)
Radios:
47.5 million (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
43 (plus 59 cable operators and 190 relay cable operators) (2005)
Televisions:
15.9 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.kr
Internet hosts:
5.434 million (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
11 (2000)
Internet users:
33.9 million (2005)
Transportation Korea, South
Airports:
107 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 69
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 21
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 20 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 38
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 35 (2006)
Heliports:
540 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 1,482 km; refined products 827 km (2006)
Railways:
total: 3,472 km
standard gauge: 3,472 km 1.435-m gauge (1,361 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 100,279 km
paved: 87,032 km (includes 3,060 km of expressways)
unpaved: 13,247 km (2004)
Waterways:
1,608 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 669 ships (1000 GRT or over) 8,634,188 GRT/13,733,624 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 157, cargo 193, chemical tanker 98, container 81, liquefied gas 22, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 24, petroleum tanker 57, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 6
foreign-owned: 22 (France 12, Japan 1, UK 2, US 7)
registered in other countries: 365 (Belize 4, Cambodia 23, China 2, Cyprus 1, Georgia 1, Honduras 6, Hong Kong 6, Indonesia 1, Liberia 3, Malaysia 1, Malta 6, Marshall Islands 1, Panama 291, Singapore 17, unknown 2) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Inch'on, Masan, P'ohang, Pusan, Ulsan
Military Korea, South
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Republic of Korea Air Force (Han-guk Kong Goon), Marine Corps, National Maritime Police (coast guard) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
20-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 24-28 months, depending on the military branch involved; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; some 4,000 women serve as commissioned and noncommissioned officers, approx. 2.3% of all officers; women, in service since 1950, are admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps (2005)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 20-49: 12,483,677
females age 20-49: 12,014,462 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 20-49: 10,115,817
females age 20-49: 9,721,914 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 344,943
females age 20-49: 312,720 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$21.06 billion FY05 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Korea, South
Disputes - international:
Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limiting Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundary; South Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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