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Republic of Korea

 Location

    The Korean Peninsula extends southward from the northeast part of the Asian continent between 33 and 43 North Latitude and 124 and 132 degree East Longitude. The standard meridian of the peninsula is 135, nine hours ahead of GMT. The Amnokkang and Tuman-gang Rivers border both China and Russia to the north, and Japan is just across the East Sea. Since 1945, as a by-product of the Cold War, the peninsula has been divided at 38 North Latitude into the capitalist Republic of Korea, or South Korea, and the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea.

 Area and Topography

    The total area of the peninsula is 221,607 km2, similar in size to that of U.K, New Zealand, or Romania. South Korea possesses 99,237 km2 or 45% of the total land mass, and North Korea 122,370 km2, the remaining 55%. About 70% of the land is mountainous, mainly to the north and east. Along the southern and western coasts the mountains descend gradually towards broad coastal plains. Most of the rivers have their tributaries on the north and east sides, and flow into the Yellow and South Seas. Concentrated for the most part off the southern coast are upwards of 3,000 islands of various sizes that provide scenery unparalleled in the world.

 People and Population

    Koreans, like many other Asian peoples, are descendants of Mongolian Tungus stock. They differ from the neighboring Japanese and Chinese, however, in that Koreans are a homogeneous ethnic group with their own language, culture, and customs.
    Korean people are characterized by their generosity, warmth, and kindness, and are renowned as one of the hardest working people in the world.

      Population :
      South Korea - 46.9 million (1997)
      (North Korea - 25 million) (estimated)

      Annual growth rate : 0.90% (1995)

      Urbanization rate : 78.5% (1995)

      Average family size : 3.3 persons (1995)

      Number of foreign residents : 110,028 (1995)

 The National Flag and Flower

    The Korean flag is called t'aegukki. Its design symbolizes the principles of yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle in the center of the flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the positive cosmic forces of yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of yin.
    The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement and balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements : heaven(), earth(), fire(), and water().


    The national flower of Korea is the Mugunghwa or Rose of Sharon. Every year from June to October a profusion of Mugunhwa blossoms grace the entire country. Unlike most flowers, Mugunghwa is remarkably tenacious and is able to withstand both blight and insects. The flower's symbolic significance stems from Mugunghwa's root word, "Mugung," meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the perseverance and determination of the Korean people that has been demonstrated throughout their long history.

     

 Capital and Major Cities

The capital city is Seoul, which is the political, cultural, commercial, financial, and educational center of Korea. Seoul also offers many tourist attractions.
(Populations : 10.3 million as of Dec. 1998)

Korea houses following 6 metropolitan cities and 9 provinces.


(as of '98.12)

City

Population
(1000)

Pusan city

3,843

Taegu city

2,504

Inch'on city

2,498

Kwangju city

1,342

Taejon city

1,346

Ulsan city

1,018

Kyonggi-do

871

Kangwon-do

156

Ch'ungchong-do

3,409

Cholla-do

4,187

Kyongsang-do

5,901

Cheju-do

535

 

 

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