Korea, South

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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 United States 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 and is South Korea's first female leader. South Korea held a non-permanent seat (2013-14) on the UN Security Council and will host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. 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, multiple nuclear and missile tests, and the exchange of artillery fire across the DMZ.

Geography

Location

Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea

Geographic coordinates

37.00° N, 127.30° E

Area 109/257

total: 99,720 sq km

land: 96,920 sq km

water: 2,800 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Indiana

Land boundaries

total: 237 km

border countries (1): North Korea 237 km

Coastline

2,413 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the Korea Strait

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: not specified

Climate

temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter; cold winters

Terrain

mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m

highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m

Natural resources

coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential

Land use

agricultural land: 18.1%

arable land 15.3%; permanent crops 2.2%; permanent pasture 0.6%

forest: 63.9%

other: 18% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

7,780 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

69.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 25.47 cu km/yr (26%/12%/62%)

per capita: 548.7 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards

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

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

Environment - current issues

air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing

Environment - international agreements

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

strategic location on Korea Strait

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Korean(s)

adjective: Korean

Ethnic groups

homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

Languages

Korean, English (widely taught in junior high and high school)

Religions

Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24%, Roman Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3% (2010 survey)

Population 28/238

49,115,196 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.69% (male 3,489,464/female 3,232,372)

15-24 years: 13.52% (male 3,518,488/female 3,122,997)

25-54 years: 46.63% (male 11,687,846/female 11,214,687)

55-64 years: 13.14% (male 3,190,093/female 3,264,411)

65 years and over: 13.02% (male 2,662,353/female 3,732,485) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 37.2%

youth dependency ratio: 19.2%

elderly dependency ratio: 18%

potential support ratio: 5.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 40.8 years

male: 39.2 years

female: 42.2 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 186/233

0.14% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 220/224

8.19 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 139/225

6.75 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 92/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 82.5% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.66% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SEOUL (capital) 9.774 million; Busan (Pusan) 3.216 million; Incheon (Inch'on) 2.685 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.244 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.564 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.536 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.13 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.3 (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 143/184

11 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 194/224

total: 3.86 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.05 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 39/224

total population: 80.04 years

male: 76.95 years

female: 83.34 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 220/224

1.25 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

80%

note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2009)

Health expenditures 69/191

7.2% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.14 physicians/1,000 population (2012)

Hospital bed density

10.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99.7% of population

rural: 87.9% of population

total: 97.8% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0.3% of population

rural: 12.1% of population

total: 2.2% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:

urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 139/191

6.3% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 135/138

0.6% (2011)

Education expenditures 75/173

4.9% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 17 years

male: 18 years

female: 16 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 107/134

total: 9.3%

male: 9.8%

female: 9% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

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" means "land of the Han," where "han" refers to a "great [leader]" (similar to the title "khan")

Government type

republic

Capital

name: Seoul

geographic coordinates: 37.33° N, 126.59° E

time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

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

15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)

Constitution

effective 17 July 1948; amended several times, last in 1987 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system combining European civil law, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

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

19 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President PARK Geun-hye (since 25 February 2013)

head of government: Prime Minister HWANG Kyo-ahn (since 18 June 2015); Deputy Prime Ministers YOO Il-ho (since 13 January 2016), LEE Joon-sik (since 13 January 2016)

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 19 December 2012 (next to be held in December 2017); prime minister appointed by president, approved by National Assembly

election results: PARK Geun-Hye elected president; percent of vote - PARK Geun-Hye (NFP) 51.6%, MOON Jae-In (DUP) 48%, other 0.4%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Kuk Hoe (300 seats; 246 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 54 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 11 April 2012 (next to be held in April 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NFP 42.8%, DUP 36.5%, UPP 10.3%, LFP 3.2%, other 7.2%; seats by party - NFP 152, DUP 127, UPP 13, LFP 5, independent 3

note: seats by group as of December 2015 - NFP 156, NPAD 121, Justice Party 5, independent 11; note - 7 seats are vacant

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Justice Party [SIM Sang-jeong]

New Frontier Party (NFP) or Saenuri (formerly Grand National Party) [KIM Moo-sung]

New Politics Alliance for Democracy or NPAD [MOON Jae-in] (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)

Unified Progressive Party or UPP (disbanded in December 2014)

Political pressure groups and leaders

Catholic Priests' Association for Justice

Christian Council of Korea

Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice

Federation of Korean Industries

Federation of Korean Trade Unions

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions

Korean Veterans' Association

Lawyers for a Democratic Society

National Council of Churches in Korea

People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

International organization participation

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

Flag description

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)

taegeuk (yin yang symbol), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon); national colors: red, white, blue, black

National anthem

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

Economy - overview

South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible economic growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion-dollar club of world economies.

A system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, initially made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption.

The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model, including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 7% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. South Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and 2007.

South Korea's export focused economy was hit hard by the 2008 global economic downturn, but quickly rebounded in subsequent years, reaching over 6% growth in 2010. The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments in 2011 and went into effect in March 2012. Between 2012 and 2015, the economy experienced slow growth – 2%-3% per year - due to sluggish domestic consumption and investment. The administration in 2015 faced the challenge of balancing heavy reliance on exports with developing domestic-oriented sectors, such as services.

The South Korean economy's long-term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, dominance of large conglomerates (chaebols), and the heavy reliance on exports, which comprise about half of GDP. In an effort to address the long term challenges and sustain economic growth, the current government has prioritized structural reforms, deregulation, promotion of entrepreneurship and creative industries, and the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 14/230

$1.849 trillion (2015 est.)

$1.801 trillion (2014 est.)

$1.744 trillion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.393 trillion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 112/225

2.7% (2015 est.)

3.3% (2014 est.)

2.9% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 46/230

$36,700 (2015 est.)

$35,700 (2014 est.)

$34,600 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 4/179

35.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

35.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

35.3% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 49%

government consumption: 14.8%

investment in fixed capital: 27.5%

investment in inventories: 0.3%

exports of goods and services: 44.2%

imports of goods and services: -35.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.3%

industry: 38%

services: 59.7% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish

Industries

electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel

Industrial production growth rate 175/202

-1.5% (2015 est.)

Labor force 25/233

26.89 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 5.7%

industry: 24.2%

services: 70.2% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate 30/207

3.5% (2015 est.)

3.5% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

14.6% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 6.8%

highest 10%: 37.8% (Q4 2014)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 120/144

30.2 (2013 est.)

35.8 (2000)

Budget

revenues: $291.3 billion

expenditures: $294.1 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 151/219

20.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 34/220

-0.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 126/176

34.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

34.5% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 64/226

0.7% (2015 est.)

1.3% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 121/156

1.5% (31 December 2014)

2% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 160/184

3.7% (31 December 2015 est.)

4.27% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 10/192

$541.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$532.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 9/193

$1.973 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.754 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 11/191

$2.397 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)

$2.406 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 12/121

$1.263 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.269 trillion (31 December 2013)

$1.193 trillion (28 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance 5/197

$98.4 billion (2015 est.)

$89.22 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 6/224

$535.5 billion (2015 est.)

$621.3 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers

Exports - partners

China 25.4%, US 12.3%, Japan 5.6%, Hong Kong 4.8%, Singapore 4.2% (2014 est.)

Imports 12/223

$430.8 billion (2015 est.)

$528.6 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

crude oil/petroleum products, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemical, textiles

Imports - partners

China 17.1%, Japan 10.2%, US 8.7%, Saudi Arabia 7%, Qatar 4.9%, Germany 4.1% (2014 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 9/170

$368.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$363.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 30/206

$409.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$424.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 30/120

$191.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$182 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 22/105

$293.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$261.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar -

1,129.7 (2015 est.)

1,052.96 (2014 est.)

1,052.96 (2013 est.)

1,126.47 (2012 est.)

1,108.29 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 11/220

522 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - consumption 10/219

482.4 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 158/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 168/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 13/214

94.35 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 108/214

69.6% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 5/214

26.8% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 140/214

1.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 82/212

1.9% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production 154/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 70/214

5,578 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 5/214

2.949 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 153/215

0 bbl

Refined petroleum products - production 7/214

2.697 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 11/212

2.35 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 8/214

1.175 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 6/213

920,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 74/216

322 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 19/215

47.76 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 129/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 7/214

49.08 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 90/212

5.748 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 8/212

688.3 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 12/219

total subscriptions: 29.48 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 60 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 27/217

total: 57.2 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: excellent domestic and international services featuring rapid incorporation of new technologies

domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available with a combined telephone subscribership of roughly 170 per 100 persons; rapid assimilation of a full range of telecommunications technologies leading to a boom in e-commerce

international: country code - 82; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 66 (2011)

Broadcast media

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 (2010)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 96, FM 322, shortwave 1 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

57 (plus 103 cable operators and 119 relay cable operators) (2008)

Internet country code

.kr

Internet hosts 62/232

315,697 (2012)

Internet users 13/217

total: 44.9 million

percent of population: 91.5% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 53/236

111 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 71

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 19

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12

914 to 1,523 m: 13

under 914 m: 23 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 40

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 38 (2013)

Heliports

466 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 2,216 km; oil 16 km; refined products 889 km (2013)

Railways 52/136

total: 3,460 km

standard gauge: 3,460 km 1.435-m gauge (1,422 km electrified) (2014)

Roadways 44/223

total: 104,983 km

paved: 83,199 km (includes 3,779 km of expressways)

unpaved: 21,784 km (2009)

Waterways 50/107

1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)

Merchant marine 14/156

total: 786

by type: bulk carrier 191, cargo 235, carrier 8, chemical tanker 130, container 72, liquefied gas 44, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 55, refrigerated cargo 15, roll on/roll off 10, vehicle carrier 6

foreign-owned: 31 (China 6, France 2, Japan 14, Taiwan 1, US 8)

registered in other countries: 457 (Bahamas 1, Cambodia 10, Ghana 1, Honduras 6, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Kiribati 1, Liberia 2, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 41, North Korea 1, Panama 373, Philippines 1, Russia 1, Singapore 3, Tuvalu 1, unknown 8) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Busan, Incheon, Gunsan, Kwangyang, Mokpo, Pohang, Ulsan, Yeosu

container port(s) (TEUs): Busan (16,163,842), Kwangyang (2,061,958), Incheon (1,924,644)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Incheon, Kwangyang, Pyeongtaek, Samcheok, Tongyeong, Yeosu

Military and Security

Military branches

Republic of Korea Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force (2011)

Military service age and obligation

20-30 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 (2012)

Military expenditures 25/132

2.8% of GDP (2012)

2.77% of GDP (2011)

2.8% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limit Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundary; South Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 204 (2014)