South Korea country profile

Simply Captivating South Korea
Simply Captivating South Korea
Simply Captivating South Korea
Simply Captivating South Korea
Simply Captivating South KoreaSouth Korea is one of the two Koreas that are located in the northernmost regions of Asia. The current state of South Korea came about after numerous wars that included the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, and World War II.

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Simply Captivating South Korea

South Korea is one of the two Koreas that are located in the northernmost regions of Asia. The current state of South Korea came about after numerous wars that included the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, and World War II. The first war saw Korea being liberated from Chinese rule in 1895, while the second war saw the country signing a protectorate treaty with Japan, which made them part of the country till Japan’s 1945 surrender to the U.S. After the country gained its independence from Japan, it saw itself with two sides, a democratic South and a communist North.

In 1950, South Korea sought help from the U.S. and UN troops to defend itself from North Korean attacks that were supported by both Russia and China. When an armistice was signed 3 years later, dividing Korea officially into two with the help of a demilitarized zone, South Korea soon saw itself in an economic boom under the leadership of Park Chung-hee. The country is now a regional power that enjoys a full democracy and astounding economic growth.


South Korea and Its Geographical Statistics


Map References:




Temperate; rainfall in the region is heavier in summertime than in the winter months



Mostly hills and mountainous areas; with wide coastal plains in the south and west areas of the country


Elevation Extremes:

Highest point:



Lowest point:

Sea of Japan

Land Use:

Permanent crops:



Arable land:





Natural Resources:

Graphite, tungsten, coal, lead, molybdenum; with hydropower potential.


Natural Hazards:

Occasional typhoons, low-level seismic activity



International agreements:

Party to Antarctic treaty, climate change, biodiversity, marine dumping, law of the sea and many more


Current Issues:

air pollution in the cities, acid rain, drift net fishing and water pollution






Political Geography

South Korea is located north of Japan and west of both China and Russia. It is also directly south of its northern, communist counterpart, North Korea and directly north of the Korean Strait. It is part of what is called the Korean Peninsula and has the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan to the east. The country has a total land area of 100,032 square kilometers or 38, 662 square miles.

The country is separated into 4 general regions: the eastern, western, southeastern, and southwestern regions. Narrow coastal plains and high mountain ranges make up the eastern region, while river basins, rolling hills, and coastal plains make up the western region. Mountains as well as valleys occupy the southwestern area of the country and the Nakdong River basin dominates the southeastern region.


Landscape and Climate

South Korea is a country that experiences a humid subtropical climate as well as a humid continental climate. Expect precipitation to come strongly during the summer in what is called jangma or the short rainy season. This usually occurs late in June till the end of July. Winters in this country are often extremely cold, and summers are very hot and humid. South Korea enjoys all the four seasons, with spring happening in late March up to early May and summer occurring immediately after spring until early September. Fall occurs immediately after summer and stays before the start of winter, which is usually sometime middle of November and lasts till the onset of spring.

The country has both highly urbanized areas and forested areas. The return of environmental awareness to the country comes at the tail of 20 years of environmental neglect. With a heavily funded green growth project spearheaded by the government, South Korea is well on the way to creating an environmentally sound nation.


Political and Governmental Facts on South Korea


Government Type:



Country Name:

Long form (conventional)

Republic of Korea


Short form (conventional)

South Korea


Long form (local)



Short form (local)






Constitution of July 17, 1948 with amendments made and approved in October of 1987


Administrative Divisions:

9 provinces and 7 metropolitan cities


Executive Body:

Chief of State (president), Head of Government (prime minister), State Council (presidentially approved)


Legislative Body:

Unicameral National Assembly


Judicial Body:

Supreme Court and Constitutional Court






South Korea’s government is divided into the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. Executive and legislative branches of this country are at the national level, while judicial branches of the government operate at both local and national levels. The country is running under what is called a constitutional democracy, with local governments having legislative and executive bodies of their own in what is seen as semi-autonomous governance.

The structure of the government in this country is established with the help of the constitution. With a fully functioning modern democracy, South Korea operates with a presidential system and an independent chief executive at the reins.


South Korea’s Economy


GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

US$1.549 trillion (2011 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange rate)

US$1.164 trillion (2011 est.)

GDP Real Growth Rate

3.6% (2011 est.)

Labor Force:

25.1 million (2011 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

3.4% (2011 est.)


expenditures: $242 billion
revenues: $267.9 billion (2011 est.)

Public Debt:

33.3% of GDP (2011 est.)




South Korea has been enjoying incredible economic growth and stability for four decades. While the country was considered at the same level of some of the poorer regions and countries of Asia and Africa in the 1960s, in early 2000, the country joined the ranks of world economies that had trillions in purchasing power parity. They are now one of the largest economies in the world and a high-income developed country as of today.

The country is highly dependent on international trade and earns revenues from being the sixth largest exporter in the world. Some of the industries that South Korea depends on for its stable economy include electronics, automobile production, chemicals, telecommunications, ship building, and the steel industry.


People and Culture

South Korea is a country that takes pride in being an ethnically homogenous society, with majority of the people within its borders having Korean ethnicity. Also called the single race society, the country is essentially 99% made up of residents with Korean blood. There are a number of foreign nationals living in South Korea; however, majority of these are actually South Koreans with foreign citizenships. The few true foreign nationals in the country are often U.S. servicemen, English teachers from different countries and migrants from China.

Religion in the country is almost non-existent with virtually half of the population stating that they have no religious ties or preferences. For those who do have religions, around 22% of the population is Buddhist, 18% is Protestant, and 11% is Roman Catholic. Other religions like Jehovah’s Witness, Confucianism, Islam, and Cheondoism also have followers in the country, although in smaller numbers.

Korean traditional culture is actually shared by both the North and the South; however, distinct differences have developed over the years due to the division of the two in 1945. With Chinese influences, the country has been able to develop a cultural identity that is similar to yet entirely unique from its neighbors.

Food in the country is also one of the few that is becoming extremely popular worldwide, with traditional foods like kimchi, bibimbap, and bulgogi becoming favorites in cities across the world. Korean cuisine, much like other Asian cuisines, revolves around staples like rice and noodles and dishes made with fish, vegetables, tofu, and a variety of meats. You can also expect meals in South Korea to be heavily seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, fermented soybean paste, ginger, garlic, and hot pepper paste called gochujang.