Dialing code +82
ISO 2 code KR
ISO 3 code KOR
Capital Seoul
Main Language Korean
Currency Won (KRW)
GDP $1.3 trillion 13th
Population 48,422,644 26th


Continent Asia
Location Eastern Asia southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Land 98,480 km2 109th
Terrain Mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
Climate Temperate with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Natural Hazards Mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
Note: Strategic location on Korea Strait

Neighbouring Countries

North Korea


An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53) US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. 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 14 times the level of North Korea. In 1993 KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. 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 Jong Il. In October 2007 a second North-South summit took place between the South's President ROH Moo-hyun and the North Korean leader. Harsh rhetoric and unwillingness by North Korea to engage with President LEE Myung-bak following his February 2008 inauguration has strained inter-Korean relations.
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Life Expectancy 78.72 years 34th
Median Age 37.3 years 48th
Birth Rate 8.93 births/1,000 population 197th
Death Rate 5.94 births/1,000 population 151st
Sex Ratio 0.67 male(s)/female 170th
Literacy 97.9% 60th

48.4 million


Roadways 103029 km 39th
Railways 3381 km 50th
Airports 113 51st
Waterways 1608 km 48th
Heliports 536 1st
Airports paved 3 41st


Currency Won (KRW)
GDP $1.3 trillion 13th
GDP per capita (PPP) $26000 45th