Roh Moo Hyun

Korea, Republic of

(pronounced "NOH MOO hee-YUN")

"I solemnly swear to my people that I will defend my country, abide by the Constitution of my country, and devote myself to the realization of reunification of the Korean Peninsula."

The East Asian nation of the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, shares the Korean Peninsula with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is also known as North Korea. Its topography consists of mountainous terrain to the north and east and plains to the south and east. The western and southern coasts are deeply indented with many harbors and islands. The total area is 98,480 sq km (38,023 sq mi).

South Korea's population was estimated at 48.3 million in 2002. Its people are ethnically homogeneous, with the exception of some 20,000 Chinese. Most Koreans live in the south and around Seoul, the capital and largest city of 11.2 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Pusan (4.1 million) and Taegu (2.5 million). South Korea possesses a literacy rate exceeding 98%. The official language is Korean. The primary religions are Christianity (49%) and Buddhism (47%).

The recent entry of South Korea into the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) demonstrates the highly modernized condition of its economy. Its meteoric rise over the past 30 years has made South Korea the world's thirteenth largest economy, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of US $18,000 in 2001. Primary exports are consumer electronics, automobiles, chemicals, ships, and textiles. South Korea's primary trading partners are Japan and the United States. The national currency is the won.


Office of the President
Chong Wa Dae (The Blue House)
1 Sejong-no
Seoul, Republic of Korea

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