The World Factbook (1990)/Korea, South

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency
Korea, South

pages 172–174

Korea, South

World Factbook (1990) Korea, South.jpg

 See regional map VIII


Total area: 98,480 km²; land area: 98,190 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Indiana

Land boundary: 238 km with North Korea

Coastline: 2,413 km

Maritime claims:

Territorial sea: 12 nm (3 nm in the Korea Strait)

Disputes: Demarcation Line with North Korea; Liancourt Rocks claimed by Japan

Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter

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

Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower

Land use: 21% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 1% meadows and pastures; 67% forest and woodland; 10% other; includes 12% irrigated

Environment: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; earthquakes in southwest; air pollution in large cities

Notes: strategic location along the Korea Strait, Sea of Japan, and Yellow Sea


Population: 43,045,098 (July 1990), growth rate 0.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 20 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -1 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 23 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years male, 73 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.6 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Korean(s); adjective—Korean

Ethnic divisions: homogeneous; small Chinese minority (about 20,000)

Religion: strong Confucian tradition; vigorous Christian minority (28% of the total population); Buddhism; pervasive folk religion (Shamanism); Chondokyo (religion of the heavenly way), eclectic religion with nationalist overtones founded in 19th century, claims about 1.5 million adherents

Language: Korean; English widely taught in high school

Literacy: over 90%

Labor force: 16,900,000; 52% services and other; 27% mining and manufacturing; 21% agriculture, fishing, forestry (1987)

Organized labor: about 10% of nonagricultural labor force in government-sanctioned unions


Long-form name: Republic of Korea; abbreviated ROK

Type: republic

Capital: Seoul

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 6 special cities* (jikhalsi, singular and plural); Cheju-do, Chǒlla-bukto, Chǒlla-namdo, Ch’ungch’ǒng-bukto, Ch’ungch’ǒng-namdo, Inch’ǒn-jikhalsi*, Kangwǒn-do, Kwangju-jikhalsi*, Kyǒnggi-do, Kyǒngsang-bukto, Kyǒngsang-namdo, Pusan-jikhalsi*, Sǒul-t’ǔkpyǒlsi*, Taegu-jikhalsi*, Taejǒn-jikhalsi*

Independence: 15 August 1948

Constitution: 25 February 1988

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 15 August (1948)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, deputy prime minister, State Council (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President ROH Tae Woo (since 25 February 1988);

Head of Government—Prime Minister KANG Young Hoon (since 5 December 1988); Deputy Prime Minister CHO Soon (since 5 December 1988)

Political parties and leaders: major party is government's Democratic Justice Party (DJP), Roh Tae Woo, president, and Park Tae Chun, chairman; opposition parties are Peace and Democracy Party (PPD), Kim Dae Jung; Korea Reunification Democratic Party (RPD), Kim Young Sam; New Democratic Republican Party (NDRP), Kim Jong Pil; several smaller parties

Suffrage: universal at age 20

Elections: President—last held on 16 December 1987 (next to be held December 1992); results Roh Tae Woo (DJP) 35.9%, Kim Young Sam (RDP) 27.5%, Kim Dae Jung (PPD) 26.5%, other 10.1%;

National Assembly—last held on 26 April 1988 (next to be held April 1992); results—DJP 34%, RPD 24%, PPD 19%, NDRP 15%, others 8%; seats—(299 total) DJP 125, PPD 71, RPD 59, NDRP 35, others 9

Communists: Communist party activity banned by government

Other political or pressure groups: Korean National Council of Churches; large, potentially volatile student population concentrated in Seoul; Federation of Korean Trade Unions; Korean Veterans' Association; Federation of Korean Industries; Korean Traders Association

Member of: ADB, AfDB, ASPAC, CCC, Colombo Plan, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, IRC, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN Special Fund, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO; official observer status at UN

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Tong-Jin PARK; Chancery at 2320 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 939-5600; there are Korean Consulates General in Agana (Guam), Anchorage, Atlanta, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle; US—Ambassador Donald GREGG; Embassy at 82 Sejong-Ro, Chongro-ku, Seoul (mailing address is APO San Francisco 96301); telephone [82](2) 732-2601 through 2618; there is a US Consulate in Pusan

Flag: 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


Overview: The driving force behind the economy's dynamic growth has been the planned development of an export-oriented economy in a vigorously entrepreneurial society. GNP increased almost 13% in both 1986 and 1987 and 12% in 1988 before slowing to 6.5% in 1989. Such a rapid rate of growth was achieved with an inflation rate of only 3% in the period 1986-87, rising to 7% in 1988 and 5% in 1989. Unemployment is also low, and some labor bottlenecks have appeared in several processing industries. While the South Korean economy is expected to grow at more than 5% annually during the 1990s, labor unrest—which led to substantial wage hikes in 1987-89—threatens to undermine noninflationary growth.

GNP: $200 billion, per capita $4,600; real growth rate 6.5% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 3% (1989)

Budget: revenues $33.6 billion; expenditures $33.6 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (1990)

Exports: $62.3 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—textiles, clothing, electronic and electrical equipment, footwear, machinery, steel, automobiles, ships, fish; partners—US 33%, Japan 21%

Imports: $61.3 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains; partners—Japan 28%, US 25% (1990)

External debt: $30.5 billion (September 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.5% (1989)

Electricity: 20,500,000 kW capacity; 80,000 million kWh produced, 1,850 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing, chemicals, steel, electronics, automobile production, ship building

Agriculture: accounts for 11% of GNP and employs 21% of work force (including fishing and forestry); principal crops—rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; livestock and livestock products—cattle, hogs, chickens, milk, eggs; self-sufficient in food, except for wheat; fish catch of 2.9 million metric tons, seventh-largest in world

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-85), $3.9 billion

Currency: South Korean won (plural—won); 1 South Korean won (W) = 100 chǒn (theoretical)

Exchange rates: South Korean won (W) per US$1— 683.43 (January 1990), 671.46 (1989), 731.47 (1988), 822.57 (1987), 881.45 (1986), 870.02 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 3,106 km operating in 1983; 3,059 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 47 km 0.610-meter narrow gauge, 712 km double track, 418 km electrified; government owned

Highways: 62,936 km total (1982); 13,476 km national highway, 49,460 km provincial and local roads

Inland waterways: 1,609 km; use restricted to small native craft

Pipelines: 294 km refined products

Ports: Pusan, Inchon, Kunsan, Mokpo, Ulsan

Merchant marine: 423 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,006,481 GRT/11,658,104 DWT; includes 2 short-sea passenger, 130 cargo, 41 container, 11 refrigerated cargo, 11 vehicle carrier, 49 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 8 chemical tanker, 10 liquefied gas, 10 combination ore/oil, 143 bulk, 7 combination bulk, 1 multifunction large-load carrier

Civil air: 93 major transport aircraft

Airports: 112 total, 105 usable; 61 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 17 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate domestic and international services; 4,800,000 telephones; stations—79 AM, 46 FM, 256 TV (57 of 1 kW or greater); satellite earth stations—2 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT and 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps

Military manpower: males 15-49, 12,792,426; 8,260,886 fit for military service; 445,320 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 5% of GNP, or $10 billion (1989 est.)