South Korea 2003South%20Korea

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South Korea
South Korea 


South Korea - Introduction 2003
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Background: After World War II a republic was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north. During the Korean War (1950-1953) US and other UN forces intervened to defend South Korea from North Korean attacks supported by the Chinese. 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 20 times the level of North Korea. South Korea has maintained its commitment to democratize its political processes. 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 Chong-il.

South Korea - Geography 2003
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Location: Eastern Asia southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea

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
Territorial sea: 12 NM; between 3 NM and 12 NM in the Korea Strait
Continental shelf: not specified
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM

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 potential
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 17.44%
Permanent crops: 2.05%
Other: 80.51% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 11,590 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest

Note: strategic location on Korea Strait

South Korea - People 2003
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Population: 48,289,037 (July 2003 est.)
Growth rate: 0.66% (2003 est.)
Below poverty line: 4% (2001 est.)

Noun: Korean
Adjective: Korean

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

Languages: Korean English widely taught in junior high and high school

Religions: Christian 49% Buddhist 47% Confucianist 3% Shamanist Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way) and other 1%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 20.6% (male 5,256,451; female 4,703,853)
15-64 years: 71.5% (male 17,527,407; female 16,991,229)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 1,512,157; female 2,297,940) (2003 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age
Total: 33.2 years
Male: 32.2 years
Female: 34.2 years (2002)

Population growth rate: 0.66% (2003 est.)

Birth rate: 12.6 births/1000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate: 6.03 deaths/1000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2003 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
International agreements party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
International agreements signed but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.1 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.12 male/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male/female
Total population: 1.01 male/female (2003 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate
Total: 7.31 deaths/1000 live births
Female: 6.8 deaths/1000 live births (2003 est.)
Male: 7.77 deaths/1000 live births

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 75.36 years
Male: 71.73 years
Female: 79.32 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.56 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
People living with hivaids: 4,000 (2001 est.)
Deaths: 220 (2001 est.)

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: 98.1%
Male: 99.3%
Female: 97% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

South Korea - Government 2003
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Korea
Conventional short form: South Korea
Local short form: none
Note: the South Koreans generally use the term 'Han'guk' to refer to their country
Local long form: Taehan-min'guk
Abbreviation: ROK

Government type: republic

Capital: Seoul

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do singular and plural) and 7 metropolitan 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* Ulsan-gwangyoksi*

Dependent areas

Independence: 15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday: Liberation Day 15 August (1945)

Constitution: 17 July 1948

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 NO Mu-hyun (ROH Moo-hyun) (since 25 February 2003)
Head of government: Prime Minister KO Kun (KOH Kun) (since 27 February 2003); Deputy Prime Ministers KIM Chin-p'yo (KIM Jin-pyo) (since 27 February 2003) and YUN Tok-hong (since 6 March 2003)
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 NA December 2007); prime minister appointed by the president; deputy prime ministers appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
Election results: results of the 19 December 2002 election - NO Muh-hyun elected president, took office 25 February 2003; percent of vote - NO Muh-hyun (MDP) 48.9%; YI Hoe-ch'ang (GNP) 46.6%; other 4.5%

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 13 April 2000 (next to be held NA April 2004)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - GNP 133, MDP 115, ULD 17, other 8; note - the distribution of seats as of April 2003 was: GNP 153, MDP 101, ULD 11, DPP 1, PPR 1, independents 5; one seat vacant

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (justices are appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly)

Political parties and leaders: Democratic People's Party or DPP [leader NA]; Grand National Party or GNP [CH'OE Pyong-ryol chairman]; Millennium Democratic Party or MDP [CHO Sun-hyong chairman]; United Liberal Democrats or ULD [KIM Chong-p'il president]; Uri Party [KIM Kun-t'ae chairman]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador HAN Sung-chu (HAN Sung-joo)
In the us consulates: New York, Tamuning (Guam)
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle
In the us fax: [1] (202) 387-0205
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 939-5,600
In the us chancery: 2,450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas C. HUBBARD
From the us embassy: 82 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710
From the us mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 15,550, APO AP 96,205-5,550
From the us telephone: [82] (2) 397-4,114
From the us fax: [82] (2) 738-8,845

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 2003
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Economy overview: As one of the Four Tigers of East Asia South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and integration into the high-tech modern world economy. Three decades ago GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP per capita is 18 times North Korea's and equal to the lesser economies of the European Union. This success through the late 1980s was achieved by a system of close government/business ties including directed credit import restrictions sponsorship of specific industries and a strong labor effort. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-99 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model including high debt/equity ratios massive foreign borrowing and an undisciplined financial sector. Growth plunged to a negative 6.6% in 1998 then strongly recovered to 10.8% in 1999 and 9.2% in 2000. Growth fell back to 3.3% in 2001 because of the slowing global economy falling exports and the perception that much-needed corporate and financial reforms had stalled. Led by consumer spending and exports growth in 2002 was an impressive 6.2% despite anemic global growth followed by moderate 2.8% growth in 2003. In 2003 the six-day work week was reduced to five days.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 6.3% (2002 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: 4.4%
Industry: 41.6%
Services: 54% (2001 est.)

Agriculture products: rice root crops barley vegetables fruit; cattle pigs chickens milk eggs; fish

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

Industrial production growth rate: 6.5% (2002 est.)

Labor force: 22 million (2001)
By occupation services: 69%
By occupation industry: 21.5%
By occupation agriculture: 9.5% (2001)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3.1% (2002 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 4% (2001 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 2.6%
Highest 10: 24.8% (1998 est.)

Distribution of family income gini index: 31.6 (1993)

Revenues: $118.1 billion
Expenditures: $95.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $22.6 billion (2000)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 2.8% (2002 est.)

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

Exports: $162.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: electronic products machinery and equipment motor vehicles steel ships; textiles clothing footwear; fish
Partners: US 20.4% China 14.7% Japan 9.4% Hong Kong 6.3% (2002)

Imports: $148.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: machinery electronics and electronic equipment oil steel transport equipment textiles organic chemicals grains
Partners: Japan 19.6% US 15.2% China 11.4% Saudi Arabia 5% (2002)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $135.2 billion (yearend 2002 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: South Korean won per US dollar - 1251.09 (2002) 1290.99 (2001) 1130.96 (2000) 1188.82 (1999) 1401.44 (1998)

South Korea - Energy 2003
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 290.7 billion kWh (2001)
By source fossil fuel: 62.4%
By source hydro: 0.8%
By source other: 0.2% (2001)
By source nuclear: 36.6%

Electricity consumption: 270.3 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2001)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas
Production: 0 m³ (2001 est.)
Consumption: 20.92 billion m³ (2001 est.)
Exports: 0 m³ (2001 est.)
Imports: 21.11 billion m³ (2001 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

South Korea - Communication 2003
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 28 million (September 2000)

Telephone system
General assessment: excellent domestic and international services
Domestic: NA
International: fiber-optic submarine cable to China; the Russia-Korea-Japan submarine cable; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean region)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .kr

Internet users: 25.6 million (2002)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

South Korea - Military 2003
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $13,094 million (FY02)
Percent of gdp: 2.8% (FY02)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

South Korea - Transportation 2003
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 102 (2002)
With paved runways total: 69
With paved runways over 3047 m: 3
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 18
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 11
With paved runways under 914 m: 21 (2002)
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 16
With unpaved runways total: 33
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 31 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 69
Over 3047 m: 3
2438 to 3047 m: 18
914 to 1523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 21 (2002)
15-24 to 2437 m: 16

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 33
914 to 1523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 31 (2002)

Heliports: 204 (2002)

Pipelines: gas 1433 km; refined products 827 km (2003)

Total: 3,125 km
Standard gauge: 3,125 km 1.435-m gauge (661 km electrified) (2002)


Note: restricted to small native craft

Merchant marine
Total: 541 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 6,490,521 GRT/10,602,751 DWT
Note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 1, Bulgaria 1, China 1, Greece 1, Japan 1, Malaysia 1, Norway 1, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, UK 1 (2002 est.)
Ships by type: bulk 114, cargo 174, chemical tanker 63, combination bulk 9, container 52, liquefied gas 17, passenger 3, petroleum tanker 69, refrigerated cargo 21, roll on/roll off 6, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 6, vehicle carrier 5

Ports and terminals

South Korea - Transnational issues 2003
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Disputes international: Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; Liancourt Rocks (Take-shima/Tok-do) are disputed with Japan

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

Iberostar Hotels

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