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South Korea

Country in East Asia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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South Korea,[lower-alpha 2] officially the Republic of Korea,[lower-alpha 3] is a country in East Asia. It constitutes the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and borders North Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone.[lower-alpha 4] The country's western border is formed by the Yellow Sea, while its eastern border is defined by the Sea of Japan. South Korea claims to be the sole legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. It has a population of 51.96 million, of which roughly half live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the world. Other major cities include Incheon, Busan, and Daegu.

36°N 128°E

Quick facts: Republic of Korea대한민국 (Korean) Daehan Mi...
Republic of Korea
대한민국 (Korean)
Daehan Minguk (RR)
Anthem: 애국가
Aegukga
"The Patriotic Song"
National seal
Seal_of_South_Korea.svg
Territory controlled by the Republic of Korea in dark green; territory claimed but not controlled in light green
Territory controlled by the Republic of Korea in dark green; territory claimed but not controlled in light green
Capital
and largest city
Seoul
37°33′N 126°58′E
Official languagesKorean (Pyojuneo)
Korean Sign Language[1]
Official scriptHangul
Ethnic groups
(2019)[2]
Religion
(2015)[3][4]
Demonym(s)
GovernmentUnitary presidential constitutional republic
 President
Yoon Suk Yeol
Han Duck-soo
Kim Jin-pyo
Kim Myeong-soo
Yoo Nam-seok
LegislatureNational Assembly
Establishment history
 Gojoseon
2333 BCE (mythological)
57 BCE
668
 Goryeo dynasty
918
 Joseon dynasty
17 July 1392
12 October 1897
22 August 1910
1 March 1919
11 April 1919
2 September 1945
 US administration of Korea south of the 38th parallel
8 September 1945
15 August 1948
25 February 1988
Area
 Total
100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi) (107th)
 Water (%)
0.3
Population
 2023 estimate
51,966,948[5] (28th)
 Density
507/km2 (1,313.1/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
 Total
Increase $2.924 trillion[6] (14th)
 Per capita
Increase $56,706[6] (28th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
 Total
Increase $1.721 trillion[6] (12th)
 Per capita
Increase $33,393[6] (33nd)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 34.5[7]
medium
HDI (2021)Increase 0.925[8]
very high · 19th
CurrencyKorean Republic won (₩) (KRW)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)
Date format
  • yyyy년 m월 d일
  • yyyy. m. d. (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+82
ISO 3166 codeKR
Internet TLD
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The Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic period. Its first kingdom was noted in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea into Silla and Balhae in the late 7th century, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897). The succeeding Korean Empire (1897–1910) was annexed in 1910 into the Empire of Japan. Japanese rule ended following Japan's surrender in World War II, after which Korea was divided into two zones; a northern zone occupied by the Soviet Union and a southern zone occupied by the United States. After negotiations on reunification failed, the southern zone became the Republic of Korea in August 1948 while the northern zone became the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea the following month.

In 1950, a North Korean invasion began the Korean War, which saw extensive American-led United Nations intervention in support of the South, while China intervened to support the North, with Soviet assistance. After the war's end in 1953, the country entered into a military alliance with the U.S., which continues to this date, and its devastated economy began to soar, recording the fastest rise in average GDP per capita in the world between 1980 and 1990. Despite lacking natural resources, the nation rapidly developed to become one of the Four Asian Tigers based on international trade and economic globalization, integrating itself within the world economy with export-oriented industrialization; currently being one of the largest exporting nations in the world, along with having one of the largest foreign-exchange reserves in the world. The June Democratic Struggle led to the end of authoritarian rule in 1987 and the country is now considered among the most advanced democracies in Asia, with the highest level of press freedom on the continent in 2021.

South Korea is a regional power and a developed country, with its economy being ranked as the world's thirteenth-largest by nominal GDP and the fourteenth-largest by GDP (PPP). It ranks nineteenth globally by Human Development Index. In recent years, the country has been facing an aging population and the lowest fertility rate in the world. South Korea's citizens enjoy one of the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and the densest high-speed railway network. The country is the world's ninth-largest exporter and ninth-largest importer. Its armed forces are ranked as one of the world's strongest militaries, with the world's second-largest standing army by military and paramilitary personnel. In the 21st century, South Korea has been renowned for its globally influential pop culture, particularly in music (K-pop), TV dramas (K-dramas) and cinema, a phenomenon referred to as the Korean Wave. It is a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, the G20, the IPEF, and the Paris Club.