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  • Living in Korea
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Korea General Information

Korea Location

World Map

Official Name of Country

Republic of Korea (commonly known as “Korea”)

Geography (Location & Area)

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)

National Flag (Taegeukgi)

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 Government Administration and Home Affairs).

  • Geon
    Geon
    Li
    Li
  • Gam
    Gam
    Gon
    Gon
Taegeukgi
Taegeukgi

National Flower (Mugunghwa)

National Flower

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 Government Administration and Home Affairs).

Population

As of April, 2017, Korea’s total population is 51,722,903, making it the world’s 28th most populous country. The population density is 509 people per ㎢ (as of November 1, 2015), which is the third largest among countries with 10million people or more (Source: Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, CIA, National Statistical Office)

Economy

Korea’s GDP in 2017 was USD 1.4044 trillion, making it the 11th largest economy in the world. The Per capita GDP is USD 27,633 dollars. The main exports include petroleum products, semiconductors, automobiles, ships and flat panel displays. (Source: IMF, Korea Customs Service)

Government Organization

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 can be seen in the following chart, the central government of Korea (as of March 2017) consists of 17 ministries, 5 special ministries, and 16 services. The 17 ministries are in charge of the following administrative tasks:

Government Organization

Government Organization

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..

Ministry of Strategy & Finance
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance is responsible for the following areas: planning of mid-to-long term national development strategy, planning/direction/coordination of economic and financial policies, formulation/execution/evaluation of budgets and funds, domestic currency/foreign currency/national treasury/government accounting/domestic tax system/customs/international financing, management of public offices, and economic collaboration/national assets/private investment/government debt.
Ministry of Science, ICT, & Future Planning
The Ministry of Education manages affairs related to HR development policies, school education, lifelong education and academic affairs.
Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Science and ICT is responsible for affairs concerning establishment, management, coordination, and evaluation of policies on science and ICT; research and development, cooperation in, and promotion of science and ICT; fostering of scientific and technical manpower; research, development, production and utilization of nuclear energy; planning of national informatization, information protection, and information culture; convergence and promotion of broadcasting and telecommunications, and regulation pf radio airwaves; and information and communication industies.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for affairs concerning establishment and implementation of diplomatic policies; multilateral and bilateral economic diplomacy, and international economic cooperation diplomacy; establishment, implementation, management, and coordination of foreign economic-related diplomatic policies; coordination regarding international relations; treaties and other international agreements; cultural cooperation; overseas public relations; establishment of overseas Korean policies; protection and support of Korean nationals abroad; research and analysis on the international situation; and immigration.
Ministry of Unification
The Ministry of Unification is responsible for the following areas: planning of policy related to dialogue/exchange/collaboration between South and North Korea, unification education, and other administrative works related to unification.
Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice is responsible for affairs concerning prosecution; management and implementation of protective disposition and security and observation; enforcement of sentences; protection and probation of juvenile offenders; relief and rehabilitation; reporting of national security offenders; pardon; protection of human rights; notarization; litigation; abandonment and reinstatement of nationality; naturalization; judicial examination and military judicial officer employment examination; research and improvement for training system of legal professionals; investigation of data on legal affairs; legal advices to the President, the Prime Minister, and administrative ministries, and civil, commercial, and criminal suits (including penalty clauses in other laws); administrative litigation and interpretation on the State Compensation Act; immigration policy-related works; and other judicial administrative affairs.
Ministry of National Defense
The Ministry of National Defense is responsible for the following areas: military administration and command related to national defense, and other administrative works related to military affairs.
Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety is responsible for general affairs of the State Council, promulgation of Acts and subordinate statutes and treaties; government organization and prescribed number of public officials; awards and decorations; government innovation; administrative efficiency; e-government; personal information protection; management of government buildings; local autonomy system; office support, finance, and taxation of local governments; support for lagging regions; dispute conciliation between local governments; support for elections and referendums; and national administrative affairs that are not the remit of other central administrative agencies.
Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism manages affairs related to culture, arts, video, advertisements, publishing, periodicals, sports, tourism, promotion of government administrations and government releases.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for the following affairs: 1. Stable supply of food and quality control of agricultural products, 2. Improvement of income and business stability and welfare of farmers, 3. Enhancement of competitiveness of agriculture and fostering of the relevant industry, 4. Development of rural areas and international agricultural trade cooperation, 5. Promotion of food industry, and distribution and price stability of agricultural products.
Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy manages affairs related to commerce, trade, industry, commercial negotiation, coordination and management of commercial negotiation, foreign investments, and R&D policies related to industrial technology and energy and underground resources.
Ministry of Health and Welfare
The Ministry of Health and Welfare is responsible for affairs concerning public health and hygiene; prevention of epidemics; medical administration; pharmaceutical administration; relief of the needy, support for self-sufficiency, social security, population, childbirth, childcare, children, elderly persons and disabled persons.
Ministry of Environment
The Ministry of Environment manages affairs such as the preservation of natural and living environments and the prevention of environmental pollution.
Ministry of Employment and Labor
The Ministry of Employment and Labor is responsible for affairs concerning overall employment policies; employment insurance; development and training of occupational capability, equal employment, work-family balance, labor standards, workers' welfare, industrial relations adjustment, cooperation between labor and management, occupational safety and health, industrial accident compensation insurance, and other affairs.
Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
The Minister of Gender Equality and Family is responsible for affairs concerning the planning and consolidation of policies on women; improvement of women's status, such as promotion of women's rights and interests; establishment, coordination, and support of policies on families and multi-cultural families; and affairs related to fostering, welfare, and protection of children and juveniles for healthy family projects.
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport manages affairs related to the development and coordination of the comprehensive national land management plan; the preservation, use and development of the national land and water resources; construction of cities, roads and houses; coasts, rivers and reclamation; and land, rail, and air transportation.
Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries manages affairs related to marine policies, fisheries, development of fishing villages, distribution of fish, marine transportation, ports, the oceanic environment, ocean surveys, development of marine resources, R&D of marine science and technology and marine safety tribunal.
Ministry of SMEs and Startups
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) is responsible for affairs concerning planning and overall management of policies on SMEs; protection and fostering of SMEs; support of startups and venture companies; cooperation between large companies and SMEs; and protection and support of small business.

Local Administrative Districts

Korea is divided into 17 metropolitan councils and 226 district councils. Among the metropolitan councils, there is 1 special city, 6 metropolitan cities, 1 special self-governing city, 8 provinces, and 1 special selfgoverning province. Local governments consist of 75 cities, 82 guns, and 69 self-governed districts; as of December 31, 2016, there are 3,488 eups, myeons and dongs, which are sub-districts of each local government. Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do, and the surrounding areas are commonly referred as the "Capital area", which includes the cities of Incheon, Bucheon, Anyang, Seongnam, Uijeong-bu, Gwangmyeong, Siheung, Uiwang, Gunpo, Gwacheon, Guri, Migeum, Gwangju, Goyang and Hanam. Roughly 50% of the entire Korean population resides in this area with approximately 10 million people residing in Seoul, 2.9 million in Incheon, and another 12 million in other cities in Gyeonggi-do.
Seventeen local governments
Special City Metropolitan Cities Special Self-Governing City Provinces Special Self-Governing District
  • 1.Seoul Special City
  • 2. Busan Metropolitan City
  • 3. Daegu Metropolitan City
  • 4. Incheon Metropolitan City
  • 5. Gwangju Metropolitan City
  • 6. Daejeon Metropolitan City
  • 7. Ulsan Metropolitan City
  • 8. Sejong Special Self-governing City
  • 9. Gyeonggi-do
  • 10. Gangwon-do
  • 11. Chungcheongbuk-do
  • 12. Chungcheongnam-do
  • 13. Jeollabuk-do
  • 14. Jeollanam-do
  • 15. Gyeongsangbuk-do
  • 16. Gyeongsangnam-do
  • 17. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
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