Form of Government: Republic
Area: 100 219 sq km
Population: 51 466 201 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 513.54 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 38° - 33° N; long. 126° - 132° E
Capital: Seoul (capital) 9 963 497 inhab. (2018); Seoul 25 514 000 inhab. (2016), metropolitan area
Currency: South Korean won (100 chun)
Human development index: 0.903 (rank: 22)
President: Moon Jae-in (Democratic Party), elected 9 May 2017
Prime Minister: Lee Nak-yeon (Democratic Party), since 31 May 2017
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 13 April 2016: Minjoo Party of Korea (Together Democratic Party, liberal), 123; Saenuri (New Frontier Party, conservative), 122; People's Party, 38; Justice Party, 6; independents, 11
Internet: www.kostat.go.kr (Statistics Korea)
Member of APEC, EBRD, OAS observer, OECD, UN, WTO

Korea, South

Daehan-Minguk
Useful information

International license plate code ROK
International dialling code 0082
Travel vaccinations requirement malaria prophylaxis (low risk confined to some areas for which it is recommended or advised)
Electricity (Voltage) 220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .kr

GMT  +9
DST  not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Seoul 11.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Seoul -4.5/25
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Seoul 7/5
Annual average precipitation (mm) Seoul 1257
Days of rainfall (annual average) Seoul 80

Politics and current affairs

On 18/20 September 2018, President Moon, who supported a dialogue with North Korea during his election campaign, met Kim Il-sung in Pyeongyang, stipulating some measures for improving rapports between the two countries.

Geography.
South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean peninsula with North Korea to the north.
The Sea of Japan (East Sea) lies off its east coast and the Yellow Sea off its west coast. To the south, the Korean Strait separates it from the Japanese archipelago.
The country is predominantly mountainous in the east and centre. The west and south are mainly flat. Many islands lie off its coasts. It has a temperate climate, with mild winters and hot, humid summers.
South Korea claims sovereignty over the Dokdo Islands, disputed by Japan (which calls them the Takeshima Islands).

Government


Formerly (from 1910) under Japanese sovereignty, the area currently known as South Korea was occupied in 1945 by American troops. The country became independent on 15 August 1948, although it continued to claim territorial rights over the whole Korean peninsula.
In 1950, war broke out with North Korea, supported by armed troops from China. On 27 July 1953, the armistice of Panmunjom confirmed that the two Korean states would remain divided by the line of the 38th parallel. Supported by the USA, the government was controlled until 1960 by the authoritarian regime of Rhee Syngman. In 1979, after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee (in office since 1961), there were large popular demonstrations demanding that political freedom should be restored.
The Constitution of 27 October 1987 and the election of Roh Tae-woo as president marked the beginning of the process of restoring democracy to its institutions. In the 1992 elections, for the first time, a civilian, Kim Young-sam was elected.
On 13-15 June 2000, the leaders of the two Koreas met for the first time at Pyeongyang, restoring relations between the two states, which then proceeded to waver between phases of collaboration and considerable tension.
The President of the Republic, who has extensive powers, is elected by direct suffrage for five years and cannot be re-elected immediately. It is the President who appoints the Prime Minister. Legislative power lies in the hands of the National Assembly (300 members elected for four years).


Defence.
Military service is compulsory. The country hosts about 40 US military bases supporting a force of approximately 28 500.


Justice.
The legal system is based on a combination of components of European Continental Civil Law, British Common Law and Chinese notions. The highest court in the land is the Supreme Court, the members of which are appointed by the head of state.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force10.1%2015
Army78.8%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes3 996.4per 100 000 pop.2013
Homicides0.7per 100 000 pop.2016
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Seoul9 963 497inhab.2018
Busan3 440 484inhab.2015
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Seoul (metropolitan area)25 514 000inhab.2016
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2018)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

South Korea has accommodated about one million refugees from North Korea. Many South Koreans (nearly 500 000) live in Japan.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate6.42018
Death rate5.82018
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Korean97.7%2000
Japanese2%2000


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
nonreligious/atheist56%2016
Protestant20%2016


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Korean
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years13%2018
15-29 years18.9%2018


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Economy


Economic situation.
With the effects of the recovery of exports and the increased consumer trust in the new government weakened, the growth rate gradually dropped in 2018-19. The country relies heavily on exports to the US, Europe and China. The concentration of production in major conglomerations (chaebol) harms the vitality of the economy and contributes to the rise in youth unemployment. However, some major conglomerations are at the centre of corruption investigations that have upset the leadership.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)102.8index2016
Balance of trade69 657.3M US$2018
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population27 895 330units2018
Active population, Females42.6%2018
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate3.8%2018
Unemployment rate, Females41.3%2018
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses379 809 000M LCU2017
Revenues403 839 000M LCU2017
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture5%2018
industry25.2%2018
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.2%2017
industry39.6%2017
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation115 243.7BN LCU2018
International reserves403 082.2M US$2018
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture.
Rice is the most commonly grown cereal; fruit and vegetables, soya and sweet potatoes are grown to feed the local population. Tobacco, sesame and peanuts are also common. Another typical crop is ginseng, the root of which is used in the pharmaceutical sector.
Livestock and fishing.
Livestock farming is not important whereas fish farming and fishing contribute to the economy. Busan, Mokpo and Incheon are the main fishing ports.

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land17.22%2015
forests63.45%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley58.751000 t2017
cereals, total5 468.1871000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes614.0331000 t2017
roots and tubers, total945.5471000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages2 390.6971000 t2017
carrots and turnips75.0511000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry7.271000 t2017
peas, dry0.0051000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes237.5881000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed01000 t2017
groundnuts14.911000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ginger4.9721000 t2017
tea2.5051000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops01000 t2017
tobacco28.3961000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton0.011000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hemp tow waste0.0141000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples542.041000 t2017
fruits, total2 917.9621000 t2014
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts1.1161000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits689.1691000 t2017
citrus fruits, nes1.11000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pineapples1.0311000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms26.1031000 t2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley24.7021000 ha2017
maize15.0741000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes24.8521000 ha2017
sweet potatoes23.4381000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages34.0761000 ha2017
carrots and turnips2.371000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry6.371000 ha2017
peas, dry0.0041000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape14.3491000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed01000 ha2017
groundnuts5.191000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ginger2.5731000 ha2017
tea2.2561000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops01000 ha2017
tobacco11.5871000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton0.011000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hemp tow waste0.0091000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples33.4521000 ha2017
kiwi fruit0.4921000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts0.561000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits22.431000 ha2017
citrus fruits, nes0.1921000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pineapples0.0331000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms0.1991000 ha2017
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber5 151 0002017
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle3 428.331000 heads2017
cattle and buffaloes3 428.331000 heads2017
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs11 272.9781000 heads2017
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep1.1531000 heads2017
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats409.2141000 heads2017
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses01000 heads2017
asses and mules01000 heads2017
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds178 0971000 heads2017
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey23.1311000 t2014
Livestock - Silk farming
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
silk, raw0.0031000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter67.7081000 t2014
condensed milk9 450t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
corals0t2015
crustaceans and molluscs767 042t2017
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
The country has insufficient mineral and energy resources to meet its internal demand, especially in terms of the highly developed industrial system. Coal is the most important mineral mined (at Jangseong, Dogye and Hwaseong) but also iron (at Gangwon Province), gold (at Haenam), silver, lead and zinc. A project has recently been under way to reopen the tungsten-molybdenum deposits in Sangdong (south-east of Seoul), inactive since 1993. In 2010, the discovery of a vast ore of rare earth in the Gangwon Province was announced.
Energy and industry.
To reduce its heavy reliance on foreign electrical power, South Korea has opted to produce nuclear power (it has 25 reactors in operation and 4 under construction), which provide about 24% of the national electrical energy requirement.
The most consolidated industrial sectors are metalworking and iron and steel (at Pohang, Kwangyang, Incheon and Janghang), dominated by the giant POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company), and the chemical and petrochemical sector (at Daesan, Incheon, Ulsan and Yeosu). The shipbuilding industry, very developed even if on the decline for many years (construction yards in Changwon, Geoje, Ulsan, and Yeongam), and the automotive industry provide strong exports. The electronics sector is very dynamic and highly diversified, producing radio and television equipment, telecommunications equipment, computers and semiconductors. Other important industries are textiles (at Busan, Masan, Daegu, Daejeon and Incheon), cement and paper.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coal1 2021000 t2018
coal, total1 2021000 t2018
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
copper0.1171000 t2016
iron ore5 6791000 t2016
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bentonite63.81000 t2016
clay81.71000 t2016
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diatomite701000 t2017
dolomite2 5931000 t2016
Mineral resources - Precious metals and stones
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
gold205kg2016
silver6 579kg2016
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal356 274.1M kWh2016
- nuclear154 307M kWh2016
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal74 2431000 kW2016
- nuclear23 0771000 kW2016
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation526 030.1M kWh2016
total installed capacity111 1621000 kW2016
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cadmium5 600t2018
coke, metall.15 9241000 t2016
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bikes2 250no.2005
cars3 661 730no.2018
Industry - Precision and optical instruments
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
watches and clocks250 978no.2015
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
air conditioners4 593 667no.2015
car navigation systems2 414 118no.2015
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen5 0641000 t2016
petrol38 297.41000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
caustic soda2 642.21000 t2016
fertilizers2 3321000 t2018
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets15 231.11000 m²2015
cotton fabrics14.6M m²2015
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley2 0751000 t2014
coconut oil0.71000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes126 614M units2011
cigars and cigarettes126 614M units2011
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemical pulp4371000 t2017
chemi-mechanical pulp5051000 t2017
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement52 0921000 t2018
sheet glass - t1 364.71000 t2007
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production39 017M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production25 221M US$2016
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Trade


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.
The country imports large amounts of energy, as well as steel, semi-finished products, electronic material, chemicals and textiles. The main exports are finished industrial products of various kinds. Its main trading partners are China, Japan and the USA.


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 86 106, electrical and electronic equipment 57 952, machinery and home appliances 55 477, ships and boats 40 992, cars 38 832, iron and steel 35 426, petroleum products 34 815, plastics 31 486, chemicals 30 644, optical and electro-medical appliances 29 024, vehicles and parts thereof 23 091, telecommunications equipment 15 653, computers and accessories 13 859, cosmetics 4 974, synthetic and artificial fibres and yarns 4 550, refined copper 4 428, gold and jewels 4 232, tyres 3 438


Finance and banking.
The Bank of Korea acts as the central bank. There are large privately owned banking groups at the national level, as well as regional institutes and a state-owned development bank. The stock exchange at Busan is one of the most important in Asia.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures89.451% of goods exports2017
fuels6.181% of goods exports2017
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China162 125M US$2018
United States73 044M US$2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China106 488M US$2018
United States59 081M US$2018
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018604 860M US$ -
2017573 694M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018535 202M US$ -
2017478 478M US$ -
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Tourism


Tourism. The main tourist attractions are the mountains, the historical sites and the island of Jeju. Many of the tourists come from Japan.

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures33 354M US$2017
Number of arrivals13 336 000units2017
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Communications


Transport.
The maritime transport network is very important on account of the large size of the merchant fleet, especially in the field of container transport, and the great capacity of South Korean ports (including that of Donghae). The national and international air transport system is highly developed. Nearly 2000 km of high-speed railway lines are active.

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown406 500 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried84 045.21000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers415.751per 1000 pop.2017
Computers576per 1000 pop.2008
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Social and welfare


Education and research.

Primary education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 12. Secondary education, divided into three years of middle school and three years of secondary school, lasts for six years. There are numerous academic institutions and advanced schools of specialization, most of which are private.


Social security.
The national social security system provides retirement pensions, invalidity pensions and pensions for surviving dependents. There is also an insurance plan for the unemployed.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling16.4years2016
Gradautes, percentage47.7%2017
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level164 354units2016
Teachers, secondary level233 461units2016
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending21.9% of total expenses2010
Social protection spending11.1% of GDP2018
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds12per 1000 pop.2016
Physicians2.3per 1000 pop.2017
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV-0.1% of adults2011
Malaria515cases2017
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending4.55% of GDP2017
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking96.68%2016
Access to electricity100%2017
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear6%2018
education6.8%2018
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