South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea and often referred to as Korea (Korean: 대한민국, IPA: [tɛː.han.min.ɡuk̚], Hanja: 大韓民國) 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 capital and largest city is Seoul, the second largest metropolitan area in the world.
Korea is one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world, founded in 2333 BC by the legendary Dangun according to Samguk Yusa. The Korean Peninsula was first inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic. Following the unification of theThree Korean Kingdoms under Silla in AD 668, Korea went through the Goryeo and Joseon Dynasty as one nation until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910. After division, South Korea was established in 1948 and has since developed a successful democracy, maintaining a strong alliance with the United States and its allies. South Korea is now working towards a peaceful reunification with North Korea.
South Korea is a major economic power and one of the wealthiest countries in Asia. It had one of the world’s fastest growing economies since the 1960s, now highly developed and the fourth largest in Asia and 13th largest in the world. Forming the G20 industrial nations and the world’s top ten exporters, it is an APEC and OECD member, defined as a High Income Nation by the World Bank and an Advanced Economy by the IMF and CIA. A major non-NATO ally, it has the world’s sixth largest armed forces and the tenth largest defence budget in the world. The Asian Tiger is leading the Next Eleven nations and is still among the world’s fastest growing developed countries. Today, its success story is known as the “Miracle on the Han River”, a role model for many developing countries.
South Korea is leading several key industries in the world, particularly in the fields of science and technology. It has a very advanced and modern infrastructure and is a world leader in information technology such as electronics, semiconductors,LCD displays, computers and mobile phones, led by Samsung and LG. Home of the world’s third largest steel producer, POSCO, it is the world’s largest shipbuilder, the world’s fourth largest oil refiner and one of the world’s top five automobileproducers, headed by Hyundai and Kia. It is also a leading country in biotechnology, construction, engineering, machinery, petrochemicals, robotics and textiles.