About Korea

The Republic Of Korea is a small country on the far eastern edge of Asia. Although it ranks 109th in the world in terms of land area, the country is a center of economic activity, culture, and arts. Korea was colonized by Japan in the early 20th century and later had to endure the Korean War (1950-53), but it has achieved amazing economic growth in a short period, dubbed “the Miracle on the Han River”.

Today, Korea is an industrial nation standing tall on the world stage. Its semiconductor, automobile, shipbuilding, steel making, and IT industries are on the leading edge in global markets. It hosted the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 2002 Korea-Japan FIFA World Cup. More recently, Korean dramas, movies, and music are attracting many audiences in Asian countries and beyond, creating what is being called the “Korean Wave.” Korea’s new standing in the international community was highlighted in 2010 with the nation becoming the first Asian country to chair the G20 and host the G20 Seoul Summit.

Country NameRepublic of Korea (South Korea)
Capital CitySeoul (10.4 million) (2010)
National FlagTaegeukgi
National FlowerMugunghwa (Rose of Sharon)
Currencywon (US$1 = 1,156.3 won) (2010)
LanguageKorean (Writing system: Hangeul)
Population48.87 million (South Korea) (2010)

* Foreign Residents (including short-term sojourners) : 1.2 million

* Cities by Population: Seoul (10.4 million), Busan (3.6 million), Incheon (2.7 million), Daegu (2.5 million), Daejeon (1.5 million), Gwangju (1.4 million), Ulsan (1.1 million) (2010)

Median Age38 years (2010)
Economically Active Population24.5 million (2010)
Population Increase Rate0.26% (2010)
Life ExpectancyMale, 77 years; female, 83.8 years (2009)
ReligionA 2005 census showed one half of the population practice religion. Among them, 10,726,463 Buddhists, 8,616,438 Protestants, and 5,146,147 Catholics comprise the three dominant religions.
Political SystemRepublic with a president elected to a single 5-year term by direct popular vote. Division of power among the executive, legislature (unicameral National Assembly) and judiciary branches.
PresidentPark Geun-hye since 2013
SuffrageUniversal at 19 years of age
ElectionsPresidential: every 5 years

National Assembly: every 4 years

Local Government: every 4 years

Gross Domestic ProductUS$ 1,014 billion (2010)
Per Capita GNIUS$ 20,759 (2010)

GDP Growth Rate: 6.2% (2010)

Foreign Exchange Reserves: US$ 291.5 billion (2010)

ExportsUS$441.5 billion (2010)
ImportsUS$400.6 billion (2010)
Major Industrial ProductsSemiconductors, automobiles, ships, consumer electronics, mobile telecommunications, equipment, steel, and chemicals.