South Korea

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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 48.1
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 81%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.5%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 99,260

Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Koreans 99.7 %
Other 0.3 %

Main Cities Population
Seoul 9 762 546
Pusan 3 439 916
Inchon 2 447 714
Daegu 2 306 695
Daejeon 1 438 551
Kwangju 1 413 644

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Seoul (GMT+9 ).

Official language: Korean
Business foreign language: English
It is strongly recommended to be accompanied by an interpreter on the first business trip

Free translation tools

Free English-Korean-English translator of texts and web pages

Babel Fish
Free English-Korean-English translator of texts and web pages

Religious practises : Christians 48.5%
Buddhists 47%
Confucianists 3.2%
Others 1.3%.

Political context

South Korea (official name: Republic of Korea) is a republic state based on parliamentary democracy with a Presidential form of government.
President is the chief of the state as well as head of the government. President is elected by a popular vote for a single five-year term. President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys executive powers which include declaration of war, announcing national referendum, conclude & sign treaties and grant amnesty. President appoints the Prime Minister and the State Council (cabinet) with consent of the parliament. Prime Minister is not required to be a member of parliament and his main role is to assist the President, recommend ministers and supervise the functioning of various ministries. The Prime Minister becomes acting President incase the President dies, resigns or is impeached.
The legislature in South Korea is unicameral. The parliament called National Assembly has 299 seats; out of which 243 members are filled by direct election and remaining 56 are distributed between parties in proportion to their share of the vote to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of the government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. President has the power to veto acts of the legislature, and in turn a supermajority (two-third) of legislators may act to override the veto. The people of South Korea enjoy considerable political rights.
Judiciary in South Korea is largely considered to be independent. The main source of the law in the country is the constitution of 1998. The legal system is a combination of European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought. The judicial language in the county is Korean; English is widely used.
South Korea is ruled by law. The police administration is generally considered well-disciplined and non-corrupt; however laws concerning detention are not clear. Foreign nationals can normally expect impartial trial from country’s judicial system. A certain degree of corruption exists in the country – the government officials are engaged in extortion which has affected politics, business, and daily life.

Major political parties

South Korea has a multi-party system, but parties have little chance of gaining power alone. The major parties in the country are:
- Uri Party – a liberal party which has its support base in the younger generation and is strong in the Jeolla region, the largest party in the country as per the 2004 parliamentary elections;
- GNP (Grand National Party) – a conservative party which its support base in rural areas, and is strong in the Gyeongsang region;
- DLP (Democratic Labor Party) – a democratic socialist party with its support base in farmers, industrial workers, and progressive intellectuals;
- MDP (Millennium Democratic Party) – its political ideology is to the left of GNP and to the right of Uri Party, with its support base in provinces of Jeolla;
- People First Party – it is a center-right conservative party and is based in the central provinces of Chungcheong.

Major political leaders

President: ROH Moo-hyun (since February 2003) – Uri Party
Prime Minister: HAN Duck-soo (since 3 April 2007) –Uri Party

Next political election dates

Presidential: December 2007
National Assembly: April 2008






Number of visitors in South Korea 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 5,818 6,023 6,155
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
- In Seoul: Toksugung Palace, Kyongbokkung Palace
- In Kiongju: Tumuli Park (royal grave)
- In Pusan: Tongdosa (temple)

For more information about tourism in South Korea , check out the following web site(s) :
Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO)


Traditional dishes
The Korean food belongs, without any doubt to the big Asian family, drawing from the same culinary roots: based on rice, soya sauce (kanjang), fermented soya dough, fish brine, etc. with chilli, ginger, sesame and chives flavours.
Tomi Gun: Fish fried with sesame seeds. According to the Korean presentation, every plate is first garnished with lettuce leaves where slices of onion and slices of cucumbers are put, with salt and pepper sprinkled on top. The fried fish is placed on top served with sesame seeds. It will then be served with a mug of rice and a sauce.
Bokum Bahb: Shrimp rice fried (or crab) and small strips of pork
Bulgogi: Korean beef in the barbecue. It is a classic of the Korean food that is served with a mug of white rice, some sesame seeds sauce and a salad of soya shoots.
Grapefruit with ginger: An excellent way to prepare this traditional citrus fruit. In Korea, it is served as dessert and not during lunch.
Kong namulh: Soya roots salad.

Food-related taboos
Culinary taboos vary with the religion.

Last modified on December 2006

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