South Korea (Republic of Korea)
The South Korean flag is white with a red 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 • Blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin • 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
Government South Korea is a republic. Executive branch President Lee Myung-bak was elected by popular vote. Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik was appointed by the President. Legislative branch • South Korea has a unicameral National Assembly, or Kukhoe. • They are elected by the citizens of South Korea.
Judicial branch Judges are appointed by the President. Official Language • Korean • English widely taught in junior high and high school
Religion and Ethic Groups Religious Groups Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%) Buddhist 23.2% Other or unknown 1.3% None 49.3% Ethnic Groups homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Economy • South Korea’s economy has grown greatly in the past decades. • It has gone from near the bottom of the world’s economically powerful countries to the top 20. • South Korea has a free market economy.
Major Industry • Electronics • Telecommunications • Automobile production • Chemicals • Shipbuilding • Steel • Natural Resources • Coal • Tungsten • Graphite • Molybdenum • Lead • Hydropower potential
Geography & Climate Geography • mostly hills and mountains • wide coastal plains in west and south Climate • temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Environmental Issues • Air pollution in large cities • Acid rain • Water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents • Drift net fishing
Life Expectancy • Total 79 • Male 75.5 • Female 82 • Literacy Rate • Total 98% • Male 99% • Female 97% • GDP • $28,100 per capita • Population • 48,636,068 • Below Poverty Level • 15%