South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia. It constitutes the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and borders North Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone; though it also claims the land border with China and Russia. The country's western border is formed by the Yellow Sea, while its eastern border is defined by the Sea of Japan. South Korea claims to be the sole legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. It has a population of 51.96 million, of which roughly half live in the Seoul Capital Area, the ninth most populous metropolitan area in the world. Other major cities include Busan, Daegu and Incheon. The Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic period. Its first kingdom was noted in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea into Silla and Balhae in the late 7th century, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897). The succeeding Korean Empire (1897–1910) was annexed in 1910 into the Empire of Japan. Japanese rule ended following Japan's surrender in World War II, after which Korea was divided into two zones: a northern zone occupied by the Soviet Union, and a southern zone occupied by the United States. After negotiations on reunification failed, the southern zone became the Republic of Korea in August 1948, while the northern zone became the communist Democratic People's Republic of Korea the following month. In 1950, a North Korean invasion began the Korean War, which ended in 1953 after extensive fighting involving the American-led United Nations Command and the People's Volunteer Army from China with Soviet assistance. The war left 3 million Koreans dead and the economy in ruins. The authoritarian First Republic of Korea led by Syngman Rhee was overthrown in the April Revolution of 1960. However, the Second Republic was incompetent as it could not control the revolutionary fervor. The May 16 coup of 1961 led by Park Chung Hee put an end to the Second Republic, signaling the start of the Third Republic in 1963. South Korea's devastated economy began to soar under Park's leadership, recording the one of fastest rises in average GDP per capita. Despite lacking natural resources, the nation rapidly developed to become one of the Four Asian Tigers based on international trade and economic globalization, integrating itself within the world economy with export-oriented industrialization. The Fourth Republic was established after the October Restoration of 1972, in which Park wielded absolute power. The Yushin Constitution declared that the president could suspend basic human rights and appoint a third of the parliament. Suppression of the opposition and human rights abuse by the government became more severe in this period. Even after Park's assassination in 1979, the authoritarian rule continued in the Fifth Republic led by Chun Doo-hwan, which violently seized power by two coups and brutally suppressing the Gwangju Uprising. The June Democratic Struggle of 1987 ended authoritarian rule, forming the current Sixth Republic. The country is now considered among the most advanced democracies in Continental and East Asia. South Korea maintains a unitary presidential republic under the 1987 constitution with a unicameral legislature, the National Assembly. It is considered a regional power and a developed country, with its economy ranked as the world's twelfth-largest by nominal GDP and the fourteenth-largest by GDP (PPP). Its citizens enjoy one of the world's fastest Internet connection speeds and densest high-speed railway networks. The country is the world's ninth-largest exporter and ninth-largest importer. Its armed forces are ranked as one of the world's strongest militaries, with the world's second-largest standing army by military and paramilitary personnel. In the 21st century, South Korea has been renowned for its globally influential pop culture, particularly in music, TV dramas and cinema, a phenomenon referred to as the Korean Wave. It is a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, the G20, the IPEF, and the Paris Club.


References

Title Summary
Harry Nilsson {Korean LP} [1978] Korean release of Nilsson Schmilsson .    
Without You/Early in the Morning [1991] This CD from Korea is an unofficial re-issue of Nilsson ...