Map of South Korea

After World War II, a republic was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north. During the Korean War (1950-1953), US and other UN forces intervened to defend South Korea from North Korean attacks supported by the Chinese. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the Peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 20 times the level of North Korea. South Korea has maintained its commitment to democratize its political processes. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South's President KIM Dae-jung and the North's leader KIM Chong-il (or KIM Jong-il).

North Korea and South Korea dispute the name of the sea bordered by China, Japan, North Korea, Russia and South Korea. While Japan, as the map depicts, calls it the Sea of Japan, South Korea and North Korea maintain that its name is the East Sea and East Sea of Korea, respectively.