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South Korea.

Published Article
Department of State publication. Background notes series
Publication Date
April 1991
PMID: 12178031


Background notes and statistics on South Korea are provided in the document. 98,500 sq. km. of diversified terrain are encompassed by the country, with a 1988 population of 43 million growing at the annual rate of 1%. The work force totals 17 million. South Korea claims a population comprised of Koreans with a small Chinese minority, 4 religious beliefs, and native Korean-speakers. 6 years of education are compulsory, with the country overall enjoying 98% literacy. The infant mortality rate is 6/1,000, while life expectancy is 67-73 years. 1990 estimated GNP was $224 billion, and was growing at the estimated rate of 9%. Per capita GNP was $5,500, while a 9% increase was reported in the consumer price index for 1990. Agriculture accounts for 9% of GNP, mining and manufacturing for 35%; 1990 international trade deficit totalled $5 billion. Additional data are provided on South Korea's people, government, economy, international affiliations, history, political conditions, principal government officials, foreign relations, and bilateral relations with the United States. South Korea has enjoyed remarkable economic growth over the past 25 years, and has grown to become a middle-ranking industrial power. Korea's bilateral trade surpluses with the United States of nearly $10 billion in 1987 and 1988 declined decisively in 1989 due to a variety of factors. Surplus remained, however, approximately $4 billion in 1990. Whether or not these declines are indicative of structural, lasting trends is not yet discernible. Long-term growth prospects remain good, Korea's ability to adapt to a more open democratic system playing an important role.

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