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East Asia/Southeast Asia :: Korea, South Print
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KOREA, SOUTH
  • Introduction :: Korea, South
  • Background field listing

    An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the US in 1945. After World War II, a democratic-based government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a communist-style government was installed in the north (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside ROK soldiers to defend South Korea from a DPRK invasion supported by China and the Soviet Union. A 1953 armistice split the Peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. PARK Chung-hee took over leadership of the country in a 1961 coup. During his regime, from 1961 to 1979, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth, with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea.

    South Korea held its first free presidential election under a revised democratic constitution in 1987, with former ROK Army general ROH Tae-woo winning a close race. In 1993, KIM Young-sam (1993-98) became the first civilian president of South Korea's new democratic era. President KIM Dae-jung (1998-2003) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his contributions to South Korean democracy and his "Sunshine" policy of engagement with North Korea. President PARK Geun-hye, daughter of former ROK President PARK Chung-hee, took office in February 2013 as South Korea's first female leader. In December 2016, the National Assembly passed an impeachment motion against President PARK over her alleged involvement in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal, immediately suspending her presidential authorities. The impeachment was upheld in March 2017, triggering an early presidential election in May 2017 won by MOON Jae-in. South Korea hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February 2018, in which North Korea also participated. Discord with North Korea has permeated inter-Korean relations for much of the past decade, highlighted by the North's attacks on a South Korean ship and island in 2010, the exchange of artillery fire across the DMZ in 2015, and multiple nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017. North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics, dispatch of a senior delegation to Seoul, and the planned April 27 inter-Korean summit at Panmunjom – the first in 11 years and the first-ever to be held at the inter-Korean border – appear to have ushered in a temporary period of respite.

  • Geography :: Korea, South
  • Location field listing
    Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    37 00 N, 127 30 E
    Map references field listing
    Asia
    Area field listing
    total: 99,720 sq km
    land: 96,920 sq km
    water: 2,800 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Indiana
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 237 km
    border countries (1): North Korea 237 km
    Coastline field listing
    2,413 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the Korea Strait
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: not specified
    Climate field listing
    temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter; cold winters
    Terrain field listing
    mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 282 m
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Sea of Japan
    1950 highest point: Halla-san
    Natural resources field listing
    coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 18.1% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 15.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.6% (2011 est.)
    forest: 63.9% (2011 est.)
    other: 18% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    7,780 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    with approximately 70% of the country considered mountainous, the country's population is primarily concentrated in the lowland areas, where density is quite high; Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, which surrounds the capital of Seoul and contains the port of Incheon, is the most densely populated province; Gangwon in the northeast is the least populated
    Natural hazards field listing

    occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest

    volcanism: Halla (1,950 m) is considered historically active although it has not erupted in many centuries

    Environment - current issues field listing
    air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing; transboundary pollution
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    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
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic location on Korea Strait; about 3,000 mostly small and uninhabited islands lie off the western and southern coasts
  • People and Society :: Korea, South
  • Population field listing
    51,418,097 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Korean(s)
    adjective: Korean
    Ethnic groups field listing
    homogeneous
    Languages field listing
    Korean, English (widely taught in elementary, junior high, and high school)
    Religions field listing
    Protestant 19.7%, Buddhist 15.5%, Catholic 7.9%, none 56.9% (2015 est.)

    note: many people practice Confucianism, regardless of their religion or not having a religious affiliation

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 13.03% (male 3,448,627 /female 3,251,786)
    15-24 years: 12.19% (male 3,295,814 /female 2,970,439)
    25-54 years: 45.13% (male 11,986,760 /female 11,220,268)
    55-64 years: 15.09% (male 3,825,127 /female 3,935,700)
    65 years and over: 14.55% (male 3,202,232 /female 4,281,344) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 36.7 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 19 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 17.7 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 5.6 (2015 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 42.3 years
    male: 40.6 years
    female: 44 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.44% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    Birth rate field listing
    8.3 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Death rate field listing
    6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Net migration rate field listing
    2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    Population distribution field listing
    with approximately 70% of the country considered mountainous, the country's population is primarily concentrated in the lowland areas, where density is quite high; Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, which surrounds the capital of Seoul and contains the port of Incheon, is the most densely populated province; Gangwon in the northeast is the least populated
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 81.5% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.3% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    9.963 million SEOUL (capital), 3.467 million Busan, 2.763 million Incheon, 2.221 million Daegu (Taegu), 1.558 million Daejon (Taejon), 1.518 million Gwangju (Kwangju) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.12 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    31 years (2014 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    11 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 82.5 years (2018 est.)
    male: 79.4 years (2018 est.)
    female: 85.8 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    Total fertility rate field listing
    1.27 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    79.6% (2015)

    note: percent of women aged 20-49

    Health expenditures field listing
    7.4% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    Physicians density field listing
    2.33 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    11.5 beds/1,000 population (2015)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 99.7% of population (2012 est.)
    rural: 87.9% of population (2012 est.)
    total: 97.8% of population (2012 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0.3% of population (2012 est.)
    rural: 12.1% of population (2012 est.)
    total: 2.2% of population (2012 est.)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 100% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    4.7% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    0.7% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Education expenditures field listing
    5.1% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 17 years (2013)
    male: 17 years (2013)
    female: 16 years (2013)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 10.4% (2017 est.)
    male: 11.3% (2017 est.)
    female: 9.7% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
  • Government :: Korea, South
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Republic of Korea
    conventional short form: South Korea
    local long form: Taehan-min'guk
    local short form: Han'guk
    abbreviation: ROK
    etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the South Korean name "Han'guk" derives from the long form, "Taehan-min'guk," which is itself a derivation from "Daehan-je'guk," which means "the Great Empire of the Han"; "Han" refers to the "Sam'han" or the "Three Han Kingdoms" (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla from the Three Kingdoms Era, 1st-7th centuries A.D.)
    Government type field listing
    presidential republic
    Capital field listing
    name: Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, is being developed as a new capital
    geographic coordinates: 37 33 N, 126 59 E
    time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing

    9 provinces (do, singular and plural), 6 metropolitan cities (gwangyeoksi, singular and plural), 1 special city (teugbyeolsi), and 1 special self-governing city (teukbyeoljachisi)

    provinces: Chungbuk (North Chungcheong), Chungnam (South Chungcheong), Gangwon, Gyeongbuk (North Gyeongsang), Gyeonggi, Gyeongnam (South Gyeongsang), Jeju, Jeonbuk (North Jeolla), Jeonnam (South Jeolla);

    metropolitan cities: Busan (Pusan), Daegu (Taegu), Daejeon (Taejon), Gwangju (Kwangju), Incheon (Inch'on), Ulsan;

    special city: Seoul;

    special self-governing city: Sejong

    Independence field listing
    15 August 1945 (from Japan)
    National holiday field listing
    Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)
    Constitution field listing
    history: several previous; latest passed by National Assembly 12 October 1987, approved in referendum 28 October 1987, effective 25 February 1988 (2018)
    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; note - an amendment proposed in March 2018 that would change the presidential term to 4 years and increase the term limit to 2 failed in the National Assembly vote in June 2018 (2018)
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    Citizenship field listing
    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
    Suffrage field listing
    19 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President MOON Jae-in (since 10 May 2017); note - President PARK Geun-hye (since 25 February 2013) was impeached by the National Assembly on 9 December 2016; PARK's impeachment was upheld by the Constitutional Court and she was removed from office on 9 March 2017
    head of government: Prime Minister LEE Nak-yon (since 1 June 2017); Deputy Prime Ministers KIM Dong-yeon (since 9 June 2017), KIM Sang-kon (since 4 July 2017)
    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 May 2017 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by president with consent of National Assembly
    election results: MOON Jae-in elected president; percent of vote - MOON Jae-in (DP) 41.1%, HONG Joon-pyo (LKP) 25.5%, AHN Cheol-soo (PP) 21.4%, other 12%
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Kuk Hoe (300 seats statutory, 299 current); 253 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 47 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held on 15 April 2020)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NFP 33.5%, PP 26.7%, MPK 25.5%, JP 7.2%, other 7.1%; seats by party - MPK 123, NFP 122, PP 38, JP 6, independent 11

    note: as of August 2018, seats by party - DP 129, LKP 112, BFP 30, PPDP 14, JP 5, KPP 1, MP 1, independent 7

    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court of South Korea (consists of a chief justice and 13 justices); Constitutional Court (consists of a court head and 8 justices)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly; other justices appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the chief justice and consent of the National Assembly; position of the chief justice is a 6-year non-renewable term; other justices serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 3 by the president, 3 by the National Assembly, and 3 by the Supreme Court chief justice; court head serves until retirement at age 70, while other justices serve 6-year renewable terms with mandatory retirement at age 65
    subordinate courts: High Courts; District Courts; Branch Courts (organized under the District Courts); specialized courts for family and administrative issues
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Bareun Future Party or BFP [PARK Joo-sun] (merger of Bareun Party and People's Party)
    Democratic Party or DP [CHOO Mi-ae] (renamed from Minjoo Party of Korea or MPK in October 2016; formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy or NPAD, which was a merger of the Democratic Party or DP (formerly DUP) [KIM Han-gil] and the New Political Vision Party or NPVP [AHN Cheol-soo] in March 2014)
    Justice Party or JP [LEE Jeong-mi]
    Liberty Korea Party or LKP (formerly the New Frontier Party (NFP) or Saenuri, previously the Grand National Party [HONG Jueen-Pyo])
    Minjung Party or MP (formed from the merger of the New People's Party (formerly the New People's Political Party or NPP) and the People's United Party or PUP)
    Korean Patriots' Party or KPP [CHO Won-jin]
    Parliamentary Group for Peace and Justice [ROH Hoe-chan] (parliamentary group made up of PDP and JP)
    Party for Democracy and Peace or PDP [CHO Bae-sook]
    People's Party or PP [AHN Cheol-soo]
    International organization participation field listing
    ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CICA, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador CHO Yoon-je (since 29 November 2017)
    chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
    FAX: [1] (202) 797-0595
    consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador Harry HARRIS (since 10 July 2018)
    embassy: 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710
    mailing address: US Embassy Seoul, 9600 Seoul Place Washington, D.C., 20521-9600
    telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
    FAX: [82] (2) 725-0152
    Flag description field listing
    white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field; the South Korean national flag is called Taegukki; white is a traditional Korean color and represents peace and purity; the blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin, while the red symbolizes the opposite positive forces of the yang; each trigram (kwae) denotes one of the four universal elements, which together express the principle of movement and harmony
    National symbol(s) field listing
    taegeuk (yin yang symbol), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), Siberian tiger; national colors: red, white, blue, black
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Aegukga" (Patriotic Song)
    lyrics/music: YUN Ch'i-Ho or AN Ch'ang-Ho/AHN Eaktay

    note: adopted 1948, well-known by 1910; both North Korea's and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics

  • Economy :: Korea, South
  • Economy - overview field listing

    After emerging from the 1950-53 war with North Korea, South Korea emerged as one of the 20th century’s most remarkable economic success stories, becoming a developed, globally connected, high-technology society within decades. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorest countries in the world. In 2004, South Korea's GDP surpassed one trillion dollars.

    Beginning in the 1960s under President PARK Chung-hee, the government promoted the import of raw materials and technology, encouraged saving and investment over consumption, kept wages low, and directed resources to export-oriented industries that remain important to the economy to this day. Growth surged under these policies, and frequently reached double-digits in the 1960s and 1970s. Growth gradually moderated in the 1990s as the economy matured, but remained strong enough to propel South Korea into the ranks of the advanced economies of the OECD by 1997. These policies also led to the emergence of family-owned chaebol conglomerates such as Daewoo, Hyundai, and Samsung, which retained their dominant positions even as the government loosened its grip on the economy amid the political changes of the 1980s and 1990s.

    The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 hit South Korea’s companies hard because of their excessive reliance on short-term borrowing, and GDP ultimately plunged by 7% in 1998. South Korea tackled difficult economic reforms following the crisis, including restructuring some chaebols, increasing labor market flexibility, and opening up to more foreign investment and imports. These steps lead to a relatively rapid economic recovery. South Korea also began expanding its network of free trade agreements to help bolster exports, and has since implemented 16 free trade agreements covering 58 countries—including the United State and China—that collectively cover more than three-quarters of global GDP.

    In 2017, the election of President MOON Jae-in brought a surge in consumer confidence, in part, because of his successful efforts to increase wages and government spending. These factors combined with an uptick in export growth to drive real GDP growth to more than 3%, despite disruptions in South Korea’s trade with China over the deployment of a US missile defense system in South Korea.

    In 2018 and beyond, South Korea will contend with gradually slowing economic growth - in the 2-3% range - not uncommon for advanced economies. This could be partially offset by efforts to address challenges arising from its rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, continued dominance of the chaebols, and heavy reliance on exports rather than domestic consumption. Socioeconomic problems also persist, and include rising inequality, poverty among the elderly, high youth unemployment, long working hours, low worker productivity, and corruption.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $2.035 trillion (2017 est.)
    $1.974 trillion (2016 est.)
    $1.918 trillion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 14
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $1.54 trillion (2017 est.) (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    3.1% (2017 est.)
    2.9% (2016 est.)
    2.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $39,500 (2017 est.)
    $38,500 (2016 est.)
    $37,600 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 46
    Gross national saving field listing
    36.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
    36.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    36.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 48.1% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 31.1% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 43.1% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -37.7% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 2.2% (2017 est.)
    industry: 39.3% (2017 est.)
    services: 58.3% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs, fish
    Industries field listing
    electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    4.6% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    Labor force field listing
    27.75 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 70.6% (2017 est.)
    industry: 24.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 70.6% (2017 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    3.7% (2017 est.)
    3.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Population below poverty line field listing
    14.4% (2016 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 48.5% (2015 est.)
    highest 10%: 48.5% (2015 est.)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index field listing
    35.7 (2016 est.)
    35.4 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 357.1 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 335.8 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    23.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    1.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    Public debt field listing
    39.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    39.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    1.9% (2017 est.)
    1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    Central bank discount rate field listing
    1.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
    1.25% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing
    3.48% (31 December 2017 est.)
    3.37% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Stock of narrow money field listing
    $793.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $658.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Stock of broad money field listing
    $793.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $658.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Stock of domestic credit field listing
    $2.986 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.515 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Market value of publicly traded shares field listing
    $1.305 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $1.28 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.269 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Current account balance field listing
    $78.46 billion (2017 est.)
    $99.24 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Exports field listing
    $577.4 billion (2017 est.)
    $512 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Exports - commodities field listing
    semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers
    Exports - partners field listing
    China 25.1%, US 12.2%, Vietnam 8.2%, Hong Kong 6.9%, Japan 4.7% (2017)
    Imports field listing
    $462.1 million (2017 est.)
    $393.1 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    Imports - commodities field listing
    crude oil/petroleum products, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $389.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $371.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Imports - partners field listing
    China 20.5%, Japan 11.5%, US 10.5%, Germany 4.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2017)
    Debt - external field listing
    $384.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $384.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home field listing
    $230.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $180.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad field listing
    $344.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $358 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Exchange rates field listing
    South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar -
    1,130.48 (2017 est.)
    1,160.41 (2016 est.)
    1,160.77 (2015 est.)
    1,130.95 (2014 est.)
    1,052.96 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Korea, South
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    528.1 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    497 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    103 million kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    67.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    21.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    1.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    7.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    2.531 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    NA (1 January 2017 est.)
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    3.114 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    2.63 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    1.343 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    935,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    Natural gas - production field listing
    188 million cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    69.63 billion cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    43.43 billion cu m (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    7.079 billion cu m (1 January 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    601 million Mt (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
  • Communications :: Korea, South
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 26,842,952 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 52 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 63,658,688 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 124 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: excellent domestic and international services featuring rapid incorporation of new technologies (2016)
    domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available with the latter subscribership up to about 120 per 100 persons; rapid assimilation of a full range of telecommunications technologies leading to a boom in e-commerce (2016)
    international: country code - 82; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 66 (2016)
    Broadcast media field listing
    multiple national TV networks with 2 of the 3 largest networks publicly operated; the largest privately owned network, Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), has ties with other commercial TV networks; cable and satellite TV subscription services available; publicly operated radio broadcast networks and many privately owned radio broadcasting networks, each with multiple affiliates, and independent local stations (2017)
    Internet country code field listing
    .kr
    Internet users field listing
    total: 44.153 million (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 89.9% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 21,195,918 (2017 est.)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 41 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
  • Transportation :: Korea, South
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 12 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 348 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 65,482,307 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 11.297 billion mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    HL (2016)
    Airports field listing
    111 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 71 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 4 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 19 (2017)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
    914 to 1,523 m: 13 (2017)
    under 914 m: 23 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 40 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
    under 914 m: 38 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    466 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    3790 km gas, 16 km oil, 889 km refined products (2017)
    Railways field listing
    total: 3,979 km (2016)
    standard gauge: 3,979 km 1.435-m gauge (2,727 km electrified) (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Roadways field listing
    total: 100,428 km (2016)
    paved: 92,795 km (includes 4,193 km of expressways) (2016)
    unpaved: 7,633 km (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Waterways field listing
    1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 1,907 (2017)
    by type: bulk carrier 100, container ship 89, general cargo 394, oil tanker 201, other 1123 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Busan, Incheon, Gunsan, Kwangyang, Mokpo, Pohang, Ulsan, Yeosu
    container port(s) (TEUs): Busan (19,850,000), Kwangyang (2,249,558), Incheon (2,679,504) (2016)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Incheon, Kwangyang, Pyeongtaek, Samcheok, Tongyeong, Yeosu
  • Military and Security :: Korea, South
  • Military expenditures field listing
    2.7% of GDP (2017)
    2.3% of GDP (2016)
    2.3% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    Military branches field listing
    Republic of Korea Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force (2011)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18-35 years of age for compulsory military service, with middle school education required; minimum conscript service obligation - 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps; HIV-positive individuals are exempt from military service (2017)
  • Transnational Issues :: Korea, South
  • Disputes - international field listing
    Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limit Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundarySouth Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954
    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    stateless persons: 197 (2017)