South Korea

Driving Directions South Korea

SOUTH KOREA occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula in eastern Asia. The country is bor­dered in the north by a demilitarized zone, which acts as a buffer between the former South and North Koreas.

The country has a considerable length of coastline bordering the Yellow Sea in the west, the Korea Strait in the south, and Japan’s Sea in the east. Many islands lie off the western and southern coastline, the largest of which is Cheju.

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Most of the country is hilly or mountainous. The most extensive range, the Taebaek-sanmaek Mountains, runs down most of the eastern coast from north to south, but other hilly regions occur centrally and south. The highest peak, Mount Halla-san (1,944 meters or 6,398 feet), is on the volcanic island of Cheju.

Several major rivers, such as the Han and Naktong, rise in the Taebaek-sanmaek Mountains and generally flow westwards or southwards to empty into the Yellow Sea or the Korea Strait.

Flatter land and plains that are quite densely populated constitute about 25 percent of the total land area and occur mainly in the west and south and the river valleys. The country’s capital and largest city are Seoul (Soul).

Coniferous forests of fir, pine, cedar, spruce, and larch occur in the mountainous regions, with deciduous woodlands containing oak, maple, poplar, bamboo, aspen, and laurel, found at lower levels. The forests have been extensively cut and cleared except in the more remote areas. Wildlife species are similar to those in the north, but many have become rare due to habitat loss and hunting.

South Korea’s climate is continental with hot, wet summers, during which most of the yearly rainfall experienced, and cold, dry winters.

About 23 percent of the land is available for agriculture, and most of this is under cultivation. Parcels of land were distributed after the Second World War, but most farms are less than three acres in size.

Rice, cereals (wheat and barley), and a wide variety of vegetables and fruit are grown. Non-food crops include soya beans, hemp, and cotton. Silkworms are raised in some areas. The principal livestock animals are pigs, cattle, goats, and poultry.

Forestry extraction and related activities are negligible in South Korea, but the country has one of the world’s largest deep-sea fisheries. Many species are exploited, and fish processing is a vital subsidiary industry resulting from the massive annual catch.

South Korea is poor in mineral resources compared to North Korea but has small coal reserves, zinc, tungsten, iron ore, graphite, lead, kaolin, silver, and gold, which are exploited. After the Second World War, South Korea concentrated on developing light industries but has turned to massive industrial growth during the 1990s. A wide variety of goods are produced, including ships, vehicles, machinery, iron and steel, electronic equipment and electrical products, textiles, footwear, processed foods, toys, chemicals, and fertilizers. Its people enjoy a reasonably high standard of living brought about by hard work and determination.

Google maps™ South Korea

South Korea (the Republic of Korea) occupies the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. Elongated and irregular in shape, the peninsula separates the Sea of Japan from the Yellow Sea. These seas are known in Korea as the Eastern Sea and the Western Sea, respectively. South Korea is situated on the Eurasian Tectonic Plate.

The Yellow Sea lies to the west of South Korea. It is relatively shallow and has an extensive tidal range. At low tide, large mudflats are exposed. The East China Sea lies to the southwest. The Sea of Japan forms the open body of water to the northeast of South Korea. The waters of the Sea of Japan are deep, and the tidal range is small. All of these seas are extensions of the Pacific Ocean.

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