South Korea. After North Korea tested a nuclear weapon and launched a long-range rocket, South Korea decided in February to close operations at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Zone. As a reason, it was stated that it wanted to prevent North Korea from withdrawing hard currency that could be used for weapons development. According to countryaah, the current population of South Korea is 51,269,196. Kaesong opened in 2004 as a joint project involving over 120 South Korean companies employing 54,000 North Korean workers.
Ahead of the April parliamentary elections, it looked promising for President Park Geun Hye’s conservative government party Saenuri after a split in the Liberal opposition party. But the result was surprisingly a success for the leading liberal group, which received 123 of the 300 seats, a mandate more than Saenuri, which has been the largest party since 2008. The liberal party, which has undergone several name changes, called itself the October Korean Democratic Party.
|Land area||99,720 km²|
|Population density (per km²）||519.8|
|Income per capita||$ 39,500|
|Currency||South Korean won|
|ISO 3166 code||KR|
|Time zone UTC||+ 9|
|Geographic coordinates||37 00 N, 127 30 O|
During the summer, Seoul agreed to a request from the United States to deploy an American anti-robot system in South Korea as protection against North Korea. China objected sharply, claiming that the anti-robot system was as provocative as test blasts. In September, North Korea blasted its fifth and so far most powerful nuclear weapons charge. It prompted Prime Minister Hwang Kyo Ahn to call for a crisis meeting and President Park returned prematurely from a visit to Laos.
In the fall, a scandal was revealed that led to demands for Park to step down. A close friend of hers, Choi Soon Sil, proved for a long time to have had a great influence over political decisions on key issues. According to thereligionfaqs, Choi was accused of embezzlement when she was suspected of having managed large companies to donate money to foundations which she herself controlled. Representatives of Samsung, Hyundai and six other South Korea’s largest companies were forced before a committee of parliamentarians to respond to allegations that they had donated millions of dollars to foundations in exchange for benefits. During weeks of street protests, millions of citizens demanded the president’s resignation. In December, Parliament voted to put Park in charge of state law for corruption.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the 3-letter abbreviation of SKR stands for the nation of South Korea in geography.
Population and society
With a population of just over 50 million people, South Korea is a demographically significant country, with a particularly low (0.3%) and tending to zero population growth rate (this will happen between 2020 and 2025, according to the World Population Prospects). In particular, South Korea is characterized by one of the lowest fertility rates in the world (1.3) and one of the highest life expectancies (81.4 years). The combination of these two factors is causing a progressive aging of the population which will pose significant social and economic problems. As early as 2000, South Korea became one of the technically ‘old’ countries ‘: 12.2% of the population is over 65 years old. If the situation does not change, the percentage of elderly people will increase to 20% of the total population in 2026 and, at this rate, Korea will be one of the oldest countries by 2050.
As elsewhere, immigration in Korea does not seem able to change the trend, as the number of immigrants, despite having grown, remains modest. Many foreigners tend to reside only temporarily in Korea, also due to the unwelcoming social climate created, perhaps, by the country’s great ethnic and cultural homogeneity. For a large section of the Korean population, especially the elderly, the idea of a multi-ethnic or multi-racial nation – such as the United States – still remains distant. Among foreigners, the Chinese constitute the largest community. Emigration, on the other hand, is a well-known phenomenon, which developed above all during the period of Japanese colonization (1910-45); the countries most affected by South Korean emigration were China, the United States,
The population density is among the highest in the world: South Korea is in fact in twentieth place after Bangladesh and Taiwan, with 517.2 people per square kilometer. About 84% of the South Korean population lives in urban areas, with a very strong concentration in the capital: it is the consequence of the industrialization and urbanization processes of the 1960s and 1970s.