Backgrounder: Basic facts about Republic of Korea

10:17, May 28, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left Beijing on Friday morning for a three-day visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK). The following are some basic facts about the country:

The ROK, often referred to as South Korea, lies in the south of the Korean Peninsula. The country has a total area of 99,600 square km and a population of 48.7 million, with Seoul as its capital. The country's official language is Korean.

South Korea is a developed country and had one of the world's fastest growing economies from 1960 to 1990. Starting in the 1960s, the country embarked on a road of rapid economic growth, completely transforming it from a farming- and fishing-based economy into one of the world's most high-tech industrial powers.

South Korea's transformation into a developed country during this short time frame was termed the Miracle on the Han River.

Its economy is dominated by large business groups known as Chaebol. These include companies such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia.

The country is a world leader in some key industries, such as shipbuilding, automobile, electronics, iron and steel, and textiles.

Tourism is now developing fast in the country and its scenic spots attract millions of tourists every year.

Relations between South Korea and China have developed rapidly since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992. The two sides declared a strategic cooperative partnership during President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China in 2008.

Trade between the two countries has grown steadily. China is South Korea's largest trading partner, largest export market, largest source of imports, as well as largest overseas investment destination. South Korea is China's third largest trading partner and fourth largest source of foreign direct investment.

According to figures provided by the Chinese Commerce Ministry, the two-way trade between the two countries in the first four months of this year stood at 62.96 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 46.8 percent.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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