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An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a democratic-based government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea under the PARK Chung-hee regime achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea's first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. President LEE Myung-bak has pursued a policy of global engagement since taking office in February 2008, highlighted by Seoul's hosting of the G-20 summit in November 2010 and the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2012, as well as the forthcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Serious tensions with North Korea have punctuated inter-Korean relations in recent years, including the North's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March 2010 and its artillery attack on South Korean soldiers and citizens in November 2010.


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Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 50
114 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 71
Over 3,047 m 4
2,438 to 3,047 m 20
1,524 to 2,437 m 12
914 to 1,523 m 13
Under 914 m 22 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 43
914 to 1,523 m 2
Under 914 m 41 (2012)

Heliports
510 (2012)

Pipelines
Gas 2,139 km; refined products 864 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 51
Total 3,381 km
Standard gauge
3,381 km 1.435-m gauge (1,843 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways World Ranking: 41
Total 103,029 km
Paved
80,642 km (includes 3,367 km of expressways)
Unpaved 22,387 km (2008)

Waterways World Ranking: 49
1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 14
Total 786
By type
Bulk carrier 191, cargo 235, carrier 8, chemical tanker 130, container 72, liquefied gas 44, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 55, refrigerated cargo 15, roll on/roll off 10, vehicle carrier 6
Foreign-owned
31 (China 6, France 2, Japan 14, Taiwan 1, US 8)
Registered in other countries
457 (Bahamas 1, Cambodia 10, Ghana 1, Honduras 6, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Kiribati 1, Liberia 2, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 41, North Korea 1, Panama 373, Philippines 1, Russia 1, Singapore 3, Tuvalu 1, unknown 8) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Incheon (Inch'on), Pohang (P'ohang), Busan (Pusan), Ulsan, Yeosu (Yosu)


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  South Korea (Seoul):


  GPS points from South Korea (Seoul)

Nyushitsu-ri Kyongsang-bukto

Adu-do Kyongsang-namdo

Sangun-ni Kangwon-do

Sinmong-ni Cholla-bukto

Naehwan-dong Taegu-gwangyoksi

Chongdal-li Cheju-do

Ungong-ni Cholla-bukto

Sarang-ni Kyonggi-do




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