South Korea

South Korea
South Korea is a country in East Asia, in the southern part of the Korean peninsula. The capital city is Seoul. The official name of South Korea is the Republic of Korea (Hangul (native Korean script): 대한민국; Hanja (Chinese characters in Korean): 大''國).
The history of South Korea begins after the Japanese occupation of Korea. Prior to the end of World War II and the surrender of Japan, control of the Korean peninsula fell under the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet government administered Korea north of the 38th Parallel, and the U.S. military administered Korea south of the 38th Parallel. This was done against the wishes of the Korean people; to this day, the bitter feelings permeate among countless Koreans.
Because the country was divided by two distinct governments of the Cold War, the northern half advocated Communism, while the southern half supported Democracy. Therefore, in August 15, 1948, Syngman Rhee was elected as the first president of the Republic of Korea. Meanwhile, on September 9, 1948, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established under Kim Il-Sung
On June 25, 1950, North Korea started the Korean War. America and dozens of other nations, under the umbrella of the UN, helped the South Koreans, and China helped the North Koreans. The war finally ended in 1953, but there was never any real peace treaty. The land between North Korea and South Korea became the Demilitarized Zone. No-one can go into the Demilitarized Zone, so the wildlife is well preserved. There are hundreds of thousands of North and South Korean soldiers and weapons on each side of the Demilitarized Zone, including to this day an American military presence.
Due to significant South Korean political and popular pressure, the US forces began withdrawing it's forces beginning in 2006. Currently the number is down from 35,000 to just over 26,000. More decreases are planned in the future as the US hands over more and more of the security responsibility for defending the South to the Military of the ROK. Although every South Korean Military leader has lobbied for a continued US Military presence, the government of President Roh Moo Hyun has repeatedly asked for South Korean Military autonomy. As a result, there is reduced popular and political support for defending South Korea in the US as more and more citizens are reluctant to spend tax dollars defending South Korea.
In addition, due to the recent thaw in relations between North and South Korea as well as beetween North Korea and the US (due to the recent dismantling of the North Korean nuclear facility), there is a growing atmosphere of progress between the two Koreas.
The political system of South Korea has changed a lot. Here we will talk about the South Korean political system of today. Korea is a republic. The people elect the president. The president is the head of the government. He is also head of state. One person can be president for only five years. Together with parliament, the president chooses who will be prime minister. He also chooses who will be in the cabinet.
The South Korean parliament is the National Assembly or "Gukhoe" (국회). People elect the National Assembly every four years. There are 299 people on the National Assembly. 243 are elected by regional vote and the remainder are elected by proportional representation.
The highest court is the Supreme Court. The president chooses who will be on the Supreme Court. The National Assembly can vote "yes" or "no" on the president's choice.
There are several important political parties in South Korea today. Some of these parties are the Grand National Party, Hannara Party, Woori Party, and Millennium Democratic Party. There are also many small parties. the Grand National Party is considered right of center while the Woori Party is considered far left.
Cities and provinces.
South Korea has 1 Special City ("Teukbyeolsi"; 특별시; 特別市), 6 Metropolitan Cities ("Gwangyeoksi"; '역시; $域市), and 9 Provinces ("do"; 도; '). The names below are given in English, Revised Romanization, Hangul, and Hanja.
In South Korea, 19.7% of people are Protestant, 6.6% are Catholic, 23.2% are Buddhist, 1.3% are other or unknown and 49.3% have no religion.

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