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South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK) and often referred to as Korea, is a presidential republic in East Asia, occupying the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Also known as the "Land of the Morning Calm", it is neighbored by China to the west, Japan to the east and borders North Korea to the north. South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not conducive for growing crops. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, constitute only 30% of the total land area.

Korea is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, first inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic. Following the unification of the Three Korean Kingdoms under Silla in 668 AD, Korea went through the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty as one nation until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910. After liberation and division, South Korea was established in 1948 and has since become one of the two most advanced democracies in Asia. Following the Korean War, the South Korean economy grew significantly, transforming the country into an industrial powerhouse and an influential military power in the world. South Korea has an international outlook with memberships in the United Nations, World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G-20 major economies). It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit, being a visa waiver and major non-NATO ally of the United States.

The current population of South Korea is roughly 48,850,000. Most South Koreans live in urban areas, due to rapid migration from the countryside during the country's quick economic expansion in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Although small, the percentage of non-Koreans has been increasing and these include foreign residents, students, tourists and illegal immigrants.


1 Wikipedia, South Korea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea


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