Where is Korea, South located?

What countries border Korea, South?

Korea, South Weather

What is the current weather in Korea, South?

Korea, South Facts and Culture

What is Korea, South famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: One should be aware of the pervasive influence of self-reliance on the Korean psyche. It impacts every aspect of Korean... More
  • Family: The family remains an important part of Korean life. The government has constantly encouraged the population to love their family... More
  • Personal Apperance: Traditional clothing is often worn for special occasions or holidays. Women frequently wear the "hanbok," a two-piece, long, colorful dress.... More
  • Recreation: Koreans enjoy traditional sports like tae-kwon-do, a form of martial arts that originated in Korea 2000 years ago as an... More
  • Diet: Spicy pickled cabbage (called Kimch'i) and rice are the mainstays of the diet around which most other dishes revolve. Meals... More
  • Food and Recipes: Families rarely have time to eat daily meals together. Fathers often leave early in the morning and return late at... More
  • Visiting: Koreans do not commonly visit one another unannounced, and arranged social visits are infrequent. Generally, people visit relatives for the... More
  • Dating: Western-style dating is now more common in the South, while parental consent for marriage is essential in both South and... More

Korea, South Facts

What is the capital of Korea, South?

Capital Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, serves as an administrative capital for segments of the South Korean Government
Government Type presidential republic
Currency Won (KRW)
Total Area 38,502 Square Miles
99,720 Square Kilometers
Location Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Language Korean
GDP - real growth rate 2.7%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $36,700.00 (USD)

Korea, South Demographics

What is the population of Korea, South?

Ethnic Groups homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Languages Korean is spoken in both North and South Korea and is written in a phonetic alphabet created and promulgated in the mid-15th century. While the alphabet is called Hangul in South Korea, it is known as Chosongul in North Korea. Although the Korean language is replete with words adapted from Chinese, the North Koreans, unlike the South Koreans, do not use Chinese characters with Chosongul in their newspapers and publications. They prefer to use only Chosongul, which is sufficient for most needs.

There are also some differences in vocabulary between the North and the South, influenced somewhat by politics and also by the contact each country has had with other nations. Russian, Chinese, and English are taught as second languages in the schools.
Nationality Noun Korean(s)
Population 51,835,110
Population Growth Rate 0.18%
Population in Major Urban Areas SEOUL (capital) 9.736 million; Busan (Pusan) 3.372 million; Incheon (Inch'on) 2.622 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.447 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.538 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.503 million
Urban Population 83.200000

Korea, South Government

What type of government does Korea, South have?

Executive Branch chief of state: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister HAN Duck-soo (since 21 May 2022) serves as the principal executive assistant to the president, similar to the role of a vice president

head of government: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022)

cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation

elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 5-year term; election last held on 9 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2027); prime minister appointed by president with consent of the National Assembly

election results:

2022: YOON Suk-yeol elected president; YOON Suk-yeol (PPP) 48.6%, LEE Jae-myung (DP) 47.8%; other 3.6%

2017: MOON Jae-in elected president; MOON Jae-in (DP) 41.1%, HONG Joon-pyo (Liberty Korea Party) 24%, AHN Cheol-soo (PP) 21.4%, YOO Seung-min (Bareun Party) 6.8%, SIM Sang-jung (Justice Party) 6.2%
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal; note - the voting age was lowered from 19 to 18 beginning with the 2020 national election
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of South Korea

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
National Holiday Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)
Constitution history: several previous; latest passed by National Assembly 12 October 1987, approved in referendum 28 October 1987, effective 25 February 1988

amendments: proposed by the president or by majority support of the National Assembly membership; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership, approval in a referendum by more than one half of the votes by more than one half of eligible voters, and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 1987
Independence 15 August 1945 (from Japan)

Korea, South Video

YouTube: Unesco Taekkyeon, a traditional Korean martial art

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Korea, South Geography

What environmental issues does Korea, South have?

Overview Located on a peninsula squarely between China and Japan, Korea is a mountainous and ruggedly beautiful land of diverse geographical features. Seas form three of its boundaries: to the east is the Sea of Japan (or East Sea); to the south, the narrow Korean Straits, and to the west, the Yellow Sea. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) forms the northern boundary, separating the Republic of Korea from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea).

The capital city of Seoul lies some 30 miles south of the DMZ. In addition, there are the regional capitals for various provinces in the country. There are also several important seaports in Korea. Pusan, about 300 miles southeast of Seoul, is Korea's main seaport. Inchon, about 40 miles west of Seoul, is the second most active port. The cities of Pohang, Ulsan, and Chinhae are also key sites in commerce.

Climate Korea's climate is marked by four very distinct seasons. The winters are dry and cold, with snow usually appearing in January. The advent of the cherry blossoms heralds spring—a season that can also be somewhat unpredictable. A brief monsoon season and high temperatures combine to make city life rather humid in the summertime. Autumn is easily the best time of year in Korea, when both the cities and the countryside benefit from clear skies and vibrant fall foliage.

Only 19% of the country is flat enough to be arable, and that land is farmed intensively. In addition, there has been a steady shift away from the farm and into urban areas. Two-thirds of Korea's population now live in its cities.

Border Countries North Korea 238 km
Environment - Current Issues air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
Environment - International Agreements party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Terrain mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south

Korea, South Economy

How big is the Korea, South economy?

Economic Overview South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, has emerged as a global economic powerhouse over the past few decades. This transformation, often called the "Miracle on the Han River," has seen South Korea evolve from a war-torn nation into the world’s 10th-largest economy as of 2023. The nation's economic journey is a testament to strategic planning, innovation, and resilience.

Historical Overview

The Korean War (1950-1953) left South Korea in ruins, with a devastated infrastructure and a weak economy. However, the subsequent decades witnessed remarkable recovery and growth. Under the leadership of Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and 1970s, the country embarked on an ambitious path of industrialization. The government implemented five-year economic plans to develop heavy industries and export-oriented growth.

Economic Structure and Key Industries

Today, South Korea's economy is characterized by a high level of diversification. Key sectors include manufacturing, technology, automotive, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, and services. The chaebols, large family-owned conglomerates like Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, play a crucial role in the economy. These conglomerates have become global leaders in various industries, particularly electronics, automobiles, and heavy machinery.

1. Technology and Innovation:

South Korea is a global leader in technology and innovation, home to some of the world's largest and most advanced electronics companies. Samsung Electronics, for instance, is a leader in semiconductors, smartphones, and home appliances. The nation's research and development (R&D) focus has led to significant advancements in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and 5G technology.

2. Automotive Industry:

The automotive sector is another pillar of the South Korean economy. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai and Kia, is the fifth-largest automaker in the world. South Korean cars are renowned for their quality, innovation, and affordability, making them popular in international markets.

3. Shipbuilding:

South Korea has long been a leader in the shipbuilding industry, producing some of the world's largest and most advanced vessels. Companies like Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering dominate the global market and contribute significantly to the national economy.

Trade and Exports

South Korea's economy is heavily dependent on international trade. The country is the seventh-largest exporter and the ninth-largest importer in the world. Essential export items include semiconductors, automobiles, petrochemicals, ships, and steel. Major trading partners include China, the United States, Japan, and the European Union.

The South Korean government has negotiated numerous free trade agreements (FTAs) to promote exports and secure product markets. Notable contracts include those with the United States (KORUS FTA), the European Union, and China.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite its impressive economic achievements, South Korea faces several challenges. The economy is highly dependent on exports, making it vulnerable to global economic fluctuations. The country also has an aging population, which poses long-term challenges for its labor market and social welfare system.

1. Demographic Challenges:

South Korea has one of the world's lowest birth rates, leading to a rapidly aging population. This demographic shift is expected to pressure the labor force and increase the burden on social security systems.

2. Innovation and Competitiveness:

South Korea must continue to invest in innovation and maintain its competitive edge in technology and manufacturing to sustain its economic growth. This requires ongoing investment in education, R&D, and infrastructure.

3. Income Inequality and Labor Market Issues:

Income inequality and labor market polarization are significant issues. While the chaebols have driven economic growth, they have also contributed to economic disparities. The government needs to address these issues to ensure more inclusive growth.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, South Korea is well-positioned to continue its economic success. The government’s focus on fostering innovation, expanding digital infrastructure, and promoting green growth are key strategies for future development. Additionally, South Korea's strategic location and vigorous trade relationships will continue to support its role as a significant player in the global economy.

In conclusion, South Korea’s economy is a remarkable example of rapid development and resilience. While challenges remain, the country’s commitment to innovation, strategic planning, and global engagement will likely ensure continued prosperity and influence on the world stage.
Industries electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
Currency Name and Code Won (KRW)
Export Partners US 20.4%, China 14.7%, Japan 9.4%, Hong Kong 6.3%, Taiwan 4.1%
Import Partners Japan 19.6%, US 15.2%, China 11.4%, Saudi Arabia 5%

Korea, South News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Korea, South?
Source: Google News

Korea, South Travel Information

What makes Korea, South a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

The Republic of Korea (South Korea or ROK) is a highly developed, stable, democratic republic with powers shared between the president and the legislature. Korea is a modern economy where tourist facilities are widely available. English is rarely spoken outside the main tourist and business centers.

You can find more information about tourism in the ROK through the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) website (in English) or by calling 1-800-868-7567 from the United States and Canada. The KTO also operates a telephone information service within the Republic of Korea, that you can reach by dialing 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country. The KTO telephone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day of the year. The Seoul Global Center (SGC) assists foreigners with an English-speaking help line at (02) 1688-0120. The SGC is open from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.


The crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low. The crimes that occurmost frequently(e.g., pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assault, hotel room and residential crime)occur more often in major metropolitan areas, tourist areas, and crowded markets. Please use caution in all crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts throughout Korea. Exercise caution when traveling alone at night and use only legitimate taxis or public transportation. Reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim by exercising the same type of security precautions you would take when visiting any large city in the United States.

Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only is buying bootleg goods illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law, too.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Persons violating the Republic of Korea’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea can be severe, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and deportation at the end of their sentence. U.S. citizens in the Republic of Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on evidence from urine tests and hair sampling. ROK authorities frequently arrest U.S. citizens on drug charges based on suspicious packages sent through the mail or information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested after accepting international mail packages that contained marijuana-laced items. ROK authorities thoroughly screen international mail for illegal items and substances. See also information on drugs in the section on Special Circumstances under Customs Regulations. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct or using or disseminating child pornography is a crime in the Republic of Korea, but it is also prosecutable in the United States.


Korean is spoken in both North and South Korea and is written in a phonetic alphabet created and promulgated in the mid-15th century. While the alphabet is called Hangul in South Korea, it is known as Chosongul in North Korea. Although the Korean language is replete with words adapted from Chinese, the North Koreans, unlike the South Koreans, do not use Chinese characters with Chosongul in their newspapers and publications. They prefer to use only Chosongul, which is sufficient for most needs.

There are also some differences in vocabulary between the North and the South, influenced somewhat by politics and also by the contact each country has had with other nations. Russian, Chinese, and English are taught as second languages in the schools.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Hospitals in the Republic of Korea are generally well-equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. High quality general and specialty dental care is available in Seoul. Western-style medical facilities are available in major urban areas of Seoul, Busan, Daegu, and a few other large cities. However, not all doctors and staff in these major urban areas are proficient in English. Most clinics in rural areas do not have an English-speaking doctor. A list of hospitals and medical specialists who speak English is available at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Pharmacies are first-rate, and most prescribed medications, except psychotropic medications, can be obtained with a prescription. See information on importing prescription medication in the section on Special Circumstances under Customs Regulations.

ROK ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment, and the ambulance personnel do not have the same level of emergency medical training as do those in the United States. However, ambulances operated by the fire department (dial 119) will respond very quickly and take patients to the nearest hospital.

Safety and Security

When you travel, be alert to any unusual activity around your home, hotel, or business, and report any significant incidents to the local police. For emergency assistance in the Republic of Korea, dial 112 or, from a cell phone, 02-112.

Public Demonstrations: The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. While in recent years there has been a decrease in violence associated with political demonstrations, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. You should avoid demonstrations whenever possible and exercise caution if you find yourself in an area with active demonstrations.

North Korea (DPRK):An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Tensions have occasionally flared up because of provocative acts by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including ballistic missile tests, nuclear tests, and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some of these provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes taking place primarily around isolated islands off the northwest coast of the ROK.

The Republic of Korea maintains a high level of readiness to respond to any military threats from the DPRK. Military training exercises are routinely conducted throughout the Republic of Korea during the year and include civil defense drills, which are normally held four times a year. U.S. citizens should stay informed through local media about upcoming military exercises and civil defense drills that sometimes occur at short notice. The DPRK often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages in connection with these exercises. Please see our Fact Sheet on North Korea.

Emergency Preparedness:The U.S. Embassy in Seoul maintains a page on its website with local information about emergency preparedness. Travelers can stay informed by bookmarking this site and following local current events during their time in Korea.

During the monsoon season from June - August and the typhoon and hurricane season from May - November, heavy rains and flooding sometimes occur in the Republic of Korea.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in the Republic of Korea, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The ROK's roads are well paved, traffic lights are functional, and most drivers comply with basic traffic laws. However, the Republic of Korea has a significantly higher traffic fatality rate than does the United States. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists. You should be aware that motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks, and drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. It is safer to use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.

Some traffic laws in the Republic of Korea differ from traffic laws in the United States. Left-hand turns are generally prohibited except where a green arrow indicates otherwise. You may turn right on a red light after coming to a complete stop. Seat belts are mandatory. Children riding in the front seat of vehicles must wear a seat belt or use an appropriate child car seat. Passengers on motorcycles must wear helmets. If you are a short-term visitor and wish to drive in the Republic of Korea, you must have an international driving permit issued in the United States by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). Otherwise, you must have an ROK driver's license.

In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. Police investigations of traffic accidents usually involve long waits at police stations. Police may take the passport of a foreigner involved in a traffic accident if there is any personal injury or a dispute about the cause of the accident. Criminal charges and heavy penalties are common in accidents involving injury, even if negligence is not proven. If you are arrested due to an accident involving serious injury or death, you may be detained until the conclusion of the police investigation and legal process. When driving in the Republic of Korea, you may wish to carry a disposable camera to document any traffic accidents, even minor ones.

You are considered legally intoxicated in the Republic of Korea when you have a blood-alcohol level of 0.05% or higher. The ROK police actively enforce drunken driving laws and set up DUI checkpoints that are difficult to avoid. All drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer test. Refusal to take the breath-test can result in cancellation of your license. Driving while intoxicated can result in significant fines and license suspension or even cancellation.

For specific information about ROK driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, you can refer to our Road Safety page. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) or call the office at 1-800-868-7567 and contact the national authority responsible for road safety.

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