Short for KR on ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, South Korea is a republic. It includes the areas on the peninsula south of the 38th parallel as well as around 3500 small islands off the coast. To the north, South Korea borders on the People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea.
The separation of Korea took place after the end of the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. South Korea is a mountainous country. A narrow strip of lowlands extends to the west and south of the peninsula. South Korea is 99% inhabited by Koreans, a Mongolian people.
The country’s urbanization is well advanced. Since the Second World War, South Korea has made the transition from an agricultural country to an industrial state. Its economic boom is considerable. South Korea’s industry is now the most important economic sector in the country.
The Korean peninsula lies between the Japanese and Yellow Seas. In the south it is separated from the Japanese islands by the Korean Strait. In the north and northwest it borders on China and Russia. After World War II, Korea was divided into a communist state in the north, North Korea, and a capitalist state in the south, South Korea. The demarcation line runs along the 38th parallel.
The Korea Strait in the south, the Yellow Sea in the west and the Sea of Japan in the east border the country. The northern border with North Korea is probably the most strictly guarded border in the world.
The capital is Seoul.
Important data about the country
|Population density:||484 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||0.6% / year|
|Life expectancy:||74 years|
|Form of government:||Presidential Republic|
|Languages:||Korean, English (business language), Japanese (business language)|
|Religions:||Christians 38%, Buddhists 23%, Confucianists 22%, Shamanists 10%|
|Climate:||cool temperate, extra-tropical climate on the south coast|
|Land use:||Arable land 22.0%, forest 66.5%|
|Economic sectors (share of employees):||Agriculture 10.9%, industry 28.1%, services 61%|
|Export goods:||electrical and electronic products, automobiles, textiles, petroleum products|
|Gross domestic product:||$ 605,331 million (2003)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 12,030 / resident (2003)|
South Korea is a mountainous country. It rises steeply to the east from the coastal plain on the Yellow Sea in the west to around 1700 m and then drops directly to the coast of the Sea of Japan. The Taebaek Mountains run parallel to the east coast with the Diamond Mountains in the south.
The highest point is the Chirisan with 1950 m. There are extensive basin landscapes in the mountain regions.
The coastal lowlands in the west and south of the peninsula are 50 to 100 km wide. There are around 3500 small islands in front of the lowlands.
Numerous rivers have their source in the mountains and follow the western roof in a south-westerly direction. At 526 km, the Naktong is the longest river in South Korea. Many of the rivers are dammed. The larger river systems form wide valleys.
South Korea lies in the transition area between a cool, temperate, continental climate with cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers in the north, and an extra-tropical climate on the south coast. The rainy season, under the influence of the monsoons, lasts from April to September, with an average of around 1380 mm of precipitation.
Mixed forests of oak, maple and beech cover two thirds of the country. In the extra-tropical southern parts of the country, bamboo, laurel, palm trees and evergreen oaks dominate the vegetation.
The high standard of living in South Korea differs significantly from that of North Korea. The state has built a qualified social system. Medical care for the population is guaranteed, the infant mortality rate is below 1%. The standard of education is high, there are 30 universities in the country.
South Korea was an agriculturally oriented country until the Second World War. After the Second World War, a fundamental structural change in the economy was brought about through the rapid industrialization of the country with foreign aid. South Korea is one of the Southeast Asian emerging economies.
The most important branch of the economy is industry. The main branches are the chemical industry, electronics, textile, shoe and toy industries as well as iron and steel production. In the 1980’s, shipbuilding and automobile construction as well as the construction and electrical industries developed. Compared to North Korea, the country is poor in raw materials. Hard coal, iron, tungsten, bismuth, molybdenum and other ores are mined. Large titanium ore deposits are so far unused (picture).
The US, China, Japan, Germany and the UK are South Korea’s main trading partners.
Rice is grown on around 65% of the agricultural area, but the harvest is not sufficient for self-sufficiency.
Other crops are barley, wheat, corn, millet, soybeans, potatoes, tobacco, fruit and ginseng. Sericulture is carried out. South Korea is one of the leading fishing countries in the world.
The tourism has become an important economic factor. Around 3.8 million foreign visitors come to the country every year, almost half of them from Japan.
South Korea’s transport network is well developed with over 6,000 km of railways and more than 61,000 km of roads. A high-speed rail link between Seoul and Pusan has been under construction since 1994.
Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC Chr.: Immigration of the Koreans to the Peninsula
Until the end of the 19th century: the isolation of the Korean empires
1904/1905: Korea becomes a Japanese protectorate.
1945: The Japanese colonial era ends with the end of World War II. Soviet troops occupy the north of the country, US units the south. The line of demarcation is the 38th parallel. The Cold War between the USA and the USSR leads to the partition of Korea. Free elections only take place in the south.
August 15, 1948: Constitution of the Republic of Korea in the south
09.09.1948: Proclamation of the People’s Republic of Korea in the north
1950-1953: After troops withdrew from the USA and the USSR:
Korean War. The connections between North and South Korea will be completely broken.
February 1992: Ratification of a reconciliation treaty between the two countries with non-aggression, exchange and cooperation
Mid-June 2000: The heads of state of both countries meet for the first time.