South Korea, officially known as the Republic of Korea, country in northeastern Asia that occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea is bounded on the north by North Korea; on the east by the Sea of Japan; on the southeast and south by the Korea Strait, which separates it from Japan; and on the west by the Yellow Sea. It has a total area of about 38,023 sq. mi., including numerous offshore islands in the south and west, the largest of which is Cheju (area, 1829 sq. km/706 sq. mi.). The state of South Korea was established in 1948 following the post-World War II partitioning of the peninsula between the occupying forces of the United States in the south and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in the north. The capital and largest city of South Korea is Seoul.
In contrast to North Korea, South Korea is relatively poor in mineral resources.
The principal resources are coal (mostly anthracite), iron ore, and graphite. Other minerals include gold, silver, copper, lead, tungsten, zinc, and uranium. Reserves of natural gas have been discovered offshore. These minute resources are not as depended upon by the people of South Korea as in the North. The north is heavy in mining these resources because they have a large surplus of them, and the north is not; they have moved on and found other economical niches.
The population of South Korea (1995 estimate) is about 45,182,000 people. The country's estimated population density of 1188 per sq mi is one of the highest in the world. The majority of the population lives in the southern and western coastal areas. The annual rate of increase has dropped steadily from more than 3 percent in the late 1950s to 0.8...