Republic of Korea (commonly known as “Korea”)
South Korea is located in Asia on the Korean Peninsula; it measures a total of 100,188.1 ㎢ and takes up 45% of the Korean Peninsula, which is a total of of 221,000 ㎢. The total area of the peninsula includes all of the Korean Peninsula and its annexed islands, occupied by both South and North Korea. The Korean Peninsula is slightly larger than Cambodia (181,035 ㎢), and about 2/3 the size of the Philippines (300,000 ㎢), Vietnam (331,210 ㎢), and Japan (377,915 ㎢). The Korean Peninsula, on which South Korea and North Korea are located, neighbors China to the northwest with Amnokgang (River) as its borderline, and China and Russia to the northeast with Dumangang (River) as its borderline. The peninsula is bordered by the Yellow Sea in the west, the East Sea in the east, and the South Sea in the south. The southern and western parts of Korea are plains, while the eastern and the northern parts are mountainous. The highest mountain in Korea is Baekdusan (2,744m). Gaemagowon, which is in the northern part of Korea, is called "the Roof of Korea," and the Taebaek Range located on the east coast is called “Baekdudaegan”. Korea's best- known islands include Jeju Island, Geoje Island, Jin Island and Ulleung Island. Jeju Island and Ulleung Island were formed by volcanic activities. The west coast and the south coast of Korea are rias coasts, and there is a large tidal range. (Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport)
The national flag of Korea is the 'Taegeukgi', which is mostly white with a yin-yang symbol at the center, and 'Geon' , 'Gon' , 'Gam' , and 'Li' (groups of black bars) located at each of the four corners. The white background of the flag represents brightness and pureness, which reflects Koreans’ traditional love of peace. The Yin-yang pattern at the center symbolizes harmony between 'Yin' (blue) and 'Yang' (red), and embodies the truth that all things in the universe are created and exist through interactions between Yin and Yang. The 4 symbols at the corners represent the images of Yin and Yang, changing and interacting with each other. 'Geon' symbolizes 'heaven': 'Gon' symbolizes 'earth': 'Gam' symbolizes 'water': and 'Li' symbolizes 'fire'. Each of these 4 symbols exists in harmony with the Yin-yang in the center. All of these symbols of the Taegukgi reflect the Korean ideal of promoting creation and prosperity while keeping in sync with the Universe. (Source: Ministry of the Interior and Safety).
The national flower of Korea is the Mugunghwa, which has been loved by the Korean people from ancient times. The name of the flower means, "flower that blooms and never falls for eternity." Ancient records show that the Korean people have regarded the Mugunghwa as a flower from heaven since before the Gojoseon Era. The Silla Kingdom even referred to itself as “Geunhwahyang”, meaning “the nation of Mugunghwa”. The neighboring country of China also praised
Korea as "a nation of noblemen where Mugunghwa blooms and falls".
The Mugunghwa has been an important flower throughout Korean history, and the love of this flower is even reflected in the national anthem (written during the late Joseon Era), which includes the verse, "splendid rivers and mountains with endless roads of Mugunghwa." The Korean people's undying love for the Mugunghwa continued through the Japanese occupation, and was official named the national flower after the emancipation. The Mugunghwa grows in regions such as Korea, central China, northern India, and Japan. It is a kind of deciduous broadleaf shrub that sheds its leaves in autumn. It grows up to 3 to 4 meters, and is circular in shape. The Mugunghwa blooms from July to October every year, and blooms into an impressive array of colors and shapes. The flowers bloom at dawn and wither in the evening, but new flowers bloom every day for 100 days. (Source: Ministry of the Interior and Safety).
Korea’s total population is 51,784,669 (as of March 2018, Ministry of the Interior and Safety), making it the world’s 27th most populous country. The population density is 513 people per ㎢ (as of August 8, 2017, Statistics Korea), which is the 23rd largest in the world.
Korea’s GDP is 1,5297 trillion USD, making it the 11th largest economy in the world. The per capita GDP is 29,730 USD. (According to IMF, 2017) The main exports include petroleum products, semiconductors, automobiles, ships and flat panel displays.
Korea is a democratic republic in which the president, as the head of the state, directs and supervises the heads of all central administrative bodies according to the law. The prime minister is given authority from the president to direct and supervise chiefs of each central administrative institute. As shown in the following chart, the central government of Korea (as of July 2017) consists of 18 ministries, 5 special ministries, and 17 services. Among these, the 18 ministries are in charge of the following administrative tasks:
At the top of the governmental hierarchy of Korea is the president; below the president is the prime minister. National administration is carried out by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Education, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Employment and Labor, Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family..
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Please note that information contained within this publication is current as of April 2018; information is subject to change without notice.