The Gay and Lesbian Travel Center

 

 

 

Custom Search

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korea, South / 대한민국

Click to enlarge

View Road and Street Map

 

Flag   Weather   Accommodations

 

View Road and Street Map

 

 

 


Background:
An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century - from three predecessor Korean states - until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan, and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a 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 (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 14 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South's President KIM Dae-jung and the North's leader KIM Jong Il. In October 2007, a second North-South summit took place between the South's President ROH Moo-hyun and the North Korean leader. Harsh rhetoric and unwillingness by North Korea to engage with President LEE Myung-bak following his February 2008 inauguration has strained inter-Korean relations.



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

Map references:
Asia

Area:
total: 99,720 sq km
country comparison to the world: 108
land: 96,920 sq km
water: 2,800 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Indiana

Land boundaries:
total: 238 km
border countries: North Korea 238 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:
Current Weather
temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter

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

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:
arable land: 16.58%
permanent crops: 2.01%
other: 81.41% (2005)

Irrigated land:
8,780 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
69.7 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 18.59 cu km/yr (36%/16%/48%)
per capita: 389 cu m/yr (2000)

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

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



Population:
48,636,068 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.2% (male 4,126,324/female 3,768,509)
15-64 years: 72.7% (male 18,039,672/female 17,309,819)
65 years and over: 11.1% (male 2,171,498/female 3,220,246) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 37.9 years
male: 36.5 years
female: 39.1 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.258% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175

Birth rate:
8.72 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 214

Death rate:
6.15 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76

Urbanization:
urban population: 81% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.24 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 203
male: 4.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.81 years
country comparison to the world: 41
male: 75.56 years
female: 82.28 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.22 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
13,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87

Nationality:
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean

Ethnic groups:
homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

Religions:
Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)

Languages:
Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 99.2%
female: 96.6% (2002)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 18 years
female: 15 years (2007)

Education expenditures:
4.6% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 84



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

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) and 7 metropolitan cities (gwangyoksi, singular and plural)
provinces: Cheju-do, Cholla-bukto (North Cholla), Cholla-namdo (South Cholla), Ch'ungch'ong-bukto (North Ch'ungch'ong), Ch'ungch'ong-namdo (South Ch'ungch'ong), Kangwon-do, Kyonggi-do, Kyongsang-bukto (North Kyongsang), Kyongsang-namdo (South Kyongsang)
metropolitan cities: Inch'on-gwangyoksi, Kwangju-gwangyoksi, Pusan-gwangyoksi, Soul-t'ukpyolsi, Taegu-gwangyoksi, Taejon-gwangyoksi, Ulsan-gwangyoksi

Independence:
15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday:
Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)

Constitution:
17 July 1948; note - amended or rewritten many times; current constitution approved on 29 October 1987

Legal system:
combines elements of continental European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:
19 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President LEE Myung-bak (since 25 February 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister CHUNG Un-chan (since 30 September 2009)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held on 19 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2012); prime minister appointed by president with consent of National Assembly
election results: LEE Myung-bak elected president on 19 December 2007; percent of vote - LEE Myung-bak (GNP) 48.7%; CHUNG Dong-young (UNDP) 26.1%); LEE Hoi-chang (independent) 15.1; others 10.1%

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Kukhoe (299 seats; 245 members elected in single-seat constituencies, 54 elected by proportional representation; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 9 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - GNP 172, UDP 83, LFP 20, PPA 8, DLP 5, RKP 1, independents 9

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (justices appointed by the president with consent of National Assembly); Constitutional Court (justices appointed by the president based partly on nominations by National Assembly and Chief Justice of the court)

Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party or DP [CHUNG Sye-kyun] (formerly the United Democratic Party or UDP); Democratic Labor Party or DLP [KANG Ki-kap]; Grand National Party or GNP [AHN Sang-soo]; Liberty Forward Party or LFP [LEE Hoi-chang]; New Progressive Party or NPP [ROH Hoe-chan]; Pro-Park Alliance or PPA [SUH Choung-won]; Renewal Korea Party or RKP [SONG Yong-o]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Federation of Korean Industries; Federation of Korean Trade Unions; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Korean National Council of Churches; Korean Traders Association; Korean Veterans' Association; National Council of Labor Unions; National Democratic Alliance of Korea; National Federation of Farmers' Associations; National Federation of Student Associations

International organization participation:
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, APT, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CICA, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA, MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador HAN Duck-soo
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
FAX: [1] (202) 387-0205
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kathleen STEPHENS
embassy: 32 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710
mailing address: US Embassy Seoul, APO AP 96205-5550
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
FAX: [82] (2) 738-8845

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 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 postive forces of the yang; each trigram (kwae) denotes one of the four universal elements, which together express the principle of movement and harmony



Economy - overview:
Since the 1960s, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. Four decades ago, 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, and currently is among the world's twenty largest economies. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, 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 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4-5% annually between 2003 and 2007. With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 2.2% in 2008 and declined 0.2% in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy. The South Korean economy's long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and overdependence on manufacturing exports to drive economic growth.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.356 trillion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
$1.353 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.324 trillion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$809.7 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
0.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
2.2% (2008 est.)
5.1% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$28,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
$28,000 (2008 est.)
$27,400 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 39.4%
services: 57.6% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
24.4 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 7.2%
industry: 25.1%
services: 67.7% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate:
3.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
3.2% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:
15% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 24.2% (2007)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
31.3 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 104
35.8 (2000)

Investment (gross fixed):
29.3% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28

Budget:
revenues: $199.9 billion
expenditures: $213.7 billion (2009 est.)

Public debt:
23.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
24.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.8% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
4.7% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
1.75% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
3.25% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
7.17% (31 December 2008)

Stock of money:
$73.16 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 21
$92.59 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$473.4 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 11
$541.7 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$937 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 13
$1.061 trillion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$836.5 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 17
$494.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$1.124 trillion (31 December 2007)

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:
-0.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73

Electricity - production:
440 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10

Electricity - consumption:
385.1 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
46,090 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66

Oil - consumption:
2.216 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10

Oil - exports:
800,000 bbl/day
country comparison to the world: 21
note: exports consist of oil derivatives (gasoline, light oil, and diesel), not crude oil (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
2.982 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl
country comparison to the world: 163

Natural gas - production:
499 million cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67

Natural gas - consumption:
34.09 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79

Natural gas - imports:
32.69 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9

Natural gas - proved reserves:
50 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64

Current account balance:
$42.67 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
-$5.778 billion (2008 est.)

Exports:
$373.6 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$432.9 billion (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals

Imports:
$317.5 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$427.3 billion (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$270 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$201.2 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$333.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
$381.1 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$96.19 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
$94.68 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA (31 December 2009)
$74.6 billion (30 June 2008)

Exchange rates:
South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar - 1,296.88 (2009), 1,101.7 (2008), 929.2 (2007), 954.8 (2006), 1,024.1 (2005)



Telephones - main lines in use:
21.325 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 13

Telephones - mobile cellular:
45.607 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 24

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 140 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

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:
301,270 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 54

Internet users:
37.476 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 10



Airports:
116 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 53

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 72
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 22 (2009)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 44
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 42 (2009)

Heliports:
516 (2009)

Pipelines:
gas 1,423 km; refined products 827 km (2009)

Railways:
total: 3,381 km
country comparison to the world: 51
standard gauge: 3,381 km 1.435-m gauge (1,843 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways:
total: 103,029 km
country comparison to the world: 41
paved: 80,642 km (includes 3,367 km of expressways)
unpaved: 22,387 km (2008)

Waterways:
1,608 km; (most navigable only by small craft) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 50

Merchant marine:
total: 812
country comparison to the world: 14
by type: bulk carrier 212, cargo 226, carrier 2, chemical tanker 133, container 80, liquefied gas 33, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 26, petroleum tanker 61, refrigerated cargo 16, roll on/roll off 9, specialized tanker 4, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 31 (China 1, Japan 20, Norway 2, UK 1, US 7)
registered in other countries: 363 (Belize 1, Cambodia 22, China 1, Cyprus 1, Honduras 6, Hong Kong 3, Kiribati 2, Liberia 3, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 10, Mongolia 1, Netherlands 1, Panama 303, Russia 1, Singapore 3, Tuvalu 1, unknown 2) (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Inch'on, P'ohang, Pusan, Ulsan



Military branches:
Republic of Korea Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force (2009)

Military service age and obligation:
20-30 years of age for compulsory military service, with middle school education required; conscript service obligation - less than 22 months (Army, Marines), approx. 24 months (Navy), approx. 25 months (Air Force) (to be reduced to 18 months beginning 2016); 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; some 4,000 women serve as commissioned and noncommissioned officers, approx. 2.3% of all officers; HIV-positive individuals are exempt from military service (2010)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 13,274,442
females age 16-49: 12,542,699 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 10,929,625
females age 16-49: 10,264,608 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 370,645
female: 321,765 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 53



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 Limiting 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
note: the two rocky islets of Tok-do have become a South Korean tourist destination - over 132,000 people visited them in 2009, most by ship but also a substantial number by helicopter

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

2017 Gay Calendars

 

 

Gay DVD Bestsellers

 

 

Home   Hotels   Travel Insurance   Links   Add URL   Link To Us   Advertise   Site Map   Privacy Policy   Disclaimer   Contact Us

 

Lodging Operators - Add Your Hotel Listing     Travel Operators - Add Your Tours & Packages

 

Gay Journey, PO Box 573, McKinney, Texas 75070

 

Last Updated: 08/31/10

 

Copyright  2002-2016 Gay Journey / American Dimensions - All rights reserved