The Korean Peninsula extends southward from the northeast part of the Asian continent between 33 degrees and 43 degrees North Latitude and 124 degrees and 132 degrees East Longitude. The standard meridian of the peninsula is 135 degrees. Local time is nine hours ahead of GMT. The Amnokgang and Dumangang Rivers border both China and Russia to the north, and Japan is just to the east. Since 1945, as a result of the Cold War tension, the peninsula has been divided at the 38th parallel degrees North Latitude into the Republic of Korea, or South Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea.
  Area and Topography
            The total area of the peninsula is 222,154 km2, which is similar in size to that of the U.K., New Zealand, or Romania. South Korea possesses 99,373 km2 or 45% of the total land mass, and North Korea 122,762 km2, the remaining 55%. About 70% of the land is mountainous, with the main concentrations to the north and east. Along the southern and western coasts the mountains descend gradually toward broad coastal plains. Most of the rivers have their tributaries more than 3,000 on the north and east sides and they flow into the Yellow and South Seas. Clustered for the most part on the southern coast, islands of various sizes provide scenery unparalleled throughout the world.

  People and Population
            Koreans, like many other Asian peoples, are descendants of the Mongolian Tungus stock. They are a of homogeneous ethnic group with their own language, culture, and customs.
          Korean people are characterized by their generosity, warmth, and kindness, and are renowned as some of the hardest working people in the world.
Population :
46.1 million (2000)
Annual growth rate :
0.89% (2000)
Urbanization rate :
86.2% (2000)
Average family size :
3.1 persons (2000)
Number of foreign residents :
149,368 (2000)
  The National Flag and Flower
          The Korean flag is called Taegeukgi. Its design symbolizes the principles of yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. Note that 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 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 mugunghwa blossoms graces the entire country.
Unlike most flowers, the 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
  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 : 9.89 million as of 2000)
  *Korea consists of 7 metropolitan cities and 9 provinces.
(As of 2000)

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Last Update: 8 August 2002