South Korea 1997South%20Korea

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South Korea
South Korea 


South Korea - Introduction 1997
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Background: At the end of World War II, the US and the Soviet Union agreed that US troops would accept the surrender of Japanese forces south of the 38th parallel and the Soviet Union would do so in the north. In 1948, the UN proposed nationwide elections; after P'yongyang's refusal to allow UN inspectors in the north, elections were held in the south and the Republic of Korea was established. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established the following month in the north. Communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea in 1950. US and other UN forces intervened to defend the South and Chinese forces intervened on behalf of the North. After a bitter three-year war, an armistice was signed in 1953, establishing a military demarcation line near the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved amazing economic growth, with per capita output rising to 13 times the level in the North.

South Korea - Geography 1997
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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 referenceAsia

Total: 98,480 km²
Land: 98,190 km²
Water: 290 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than Indiana

Land boundaries
Total: 238 km
Border countries: (1) North Korea 238 km

Coastline: 2,413 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: not specified
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm; 3 nm in the Korea Strait

Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter

Terrain: mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south

Extremes lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
Extremes highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m

Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 19%
Permanent crops: 2%
Permanent pastures: 1%
Forests and woodland: 65%
Other: 13% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 13,350 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; earthquakes in southwest


South Korea - People 1997
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Population: 45,948,811 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.02% (1997 est.)

Noun: Korean(s)
Adjective: Korean

Ethnic groups: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

Languages: Korean, English widely taught in high school

Religions: Christianity 49%, Buddhism 47%, Confucianism 3%, pervasive folk religion (shamanism), Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way), and other 1%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 23% (male 5,515,667; female 4,925,479)
15-64 years: 71% (male 16,579,117; female 16,096,684)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,067,663; female 1,764,201) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.02% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 16.17 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 5.66 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.33 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution in large cities; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.14 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 8 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 73.6 years
Male: 70.01 years
Female: 77.69 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.78 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 98%
Male: 99.3%
Female: 96.7% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

South Korea - Government 1997
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Country name
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

Government type: 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*

Dependent areas

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

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President KIM Yong-sam (since 25 February 1993)
Head of government: Prime Minister KO Kon (since 4 March 1997); Deputy Prime Ministers KANG Kyong-sik (since 5 March 1997) and KWON O-ki (since 20 December 1995)
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 18 December 1992 (next to be held 18 December 1997); prime minister appointed by the president; deputy prime ministers appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
Election results: KIM Yong-sam elected president; percent of vote - KIM Yong-sam (DLP) 41.9%, KIM Tae-chung (DP) 33.8%, CHONG Chu-yong (UPP) 16.3%, other 8%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Kukhoe (299 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held 11 April 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NKP 139, NCNP 79, ULD 50, DP 15, independents 16; note - the distribution of seats as of December 1996 was NKP 155, NCNP 78, ULD 47, DP 12, independents 7

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president subject to the consent of the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AfDB, APEC, AsDB, BIS (pending member), CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE (partner), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAVEM III, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador PAK Kun-u
In the us chancery: 2,450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 939-5,600
In the us consulates general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
From the us embassy: 82 Sejong-Ro, Chongro-ku, Seoul
From the us mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 15,550, APO AP 96,205-0001
From the us telephone: [82] (2) 397-4,114
From the us FAX: [82] (2) 738-8,845
From the us consulates: Pusan

Flag descriptionflag of South%20Korea: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

South Korea - Economy 1997
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Economy 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 eight times India's, 15 times North Korea's, and already up with the lesser economies of the European Union. This success has been achieved by a unique system of guidance by an authoritarian government of what is essentially an 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, moved back up to 8% in 1994 and 9% in 1995, and about 7% in 1996. 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 6.9% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 8%
Industry: 45%
Services: 47% (1991 est.)

Agriculture products: rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish catch of 2.9 million metric tons, seventh largest in world

Industries: electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing

Industrial production growth rate: 11.9% (1995)

Labor force
Total: 20 million
By occupation servicesandother: 52%
By occupation mining and manufacturing: 27%
By occupation agriculture fishing forestry: 21% (1991)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 1.9% (1996)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $69 billion
Expenditures: $67 billion, including capital expenditures of $17 billion (1995 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $130.9 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: electronic and electrical equipment, machinery, steel, automobiles, ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish
Partners: US 17%, EU 13%, Japan 12%

Total value: $150.2 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodities: machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains
Partners: US 22%, Japan 21%, EU 13%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $93 billion (1996 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: South Korean won (W) per US$1 - 849.88 (January 1997), 804.45 (1996), 771.27 (1995), 803.45 (1994), 802.67 (1993), 780.65 (1992)

South Korea - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 155.89 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 3,563 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

South Korea - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

South Korea - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $17.4 billion (1996)
Percent of gdp: 3.3% (1996)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

South Korea - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 103 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 101
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 18
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 15
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 14
With paved runways under 914 m: 53 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 101
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 18
15-24 to 2437 m: 15
914 to 1523 m: 14
Under 914 m: 53 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 2
914 to 1523 m: 2 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 199 (1996 est.)

Pipelines: petroleum products 455 km; note - additionally, there is a parallel petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) pipeline being completed

Total: 3,081 km
Standard gauge: 3,081 km 1.435-m gauge (560 km electrified) (1996 est.)


Waterways: 1,609 km; use restricted to small native craft

Merchant marine
Total: 461 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,634,127 GRT/10,343,557 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 123, cargo 124, chemical tanker 27, combination bulk 3, combination ore/oil 1, container 71, liquefied gas tanker 13, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 68, refrigerated cargo 17, short-sea passenger 2, vehicle carrier 11
Note: South Korea owns an additional 254 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 12,744,507 DWT operating under the registries of Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, Panama, Singapore, and Thailand (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

South Korea - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: Demarcation Line with North Korea; Liancourt Rocks claimed by Japan

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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