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Introduction

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South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world.

The Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic period. Its first kingdom was noted in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea into Silla and Balhae in 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations, with the latter becoming the Republic of Korea. In 1950, a North Korean invasion led to the Korean War and after its end in 1953, the country's economy began to soar, recording the fastest rise in average GDP per capita in the world between 1980 and 1990. Authoritarian rule ended in 1987 and the country is now the most advanced democracy in Asia with the highest level of press freedom in the continent. South Korea is a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, the G20 and the Paris Club.

Selected article

Iris is a South Korean espionage television drama series broadcast by KBS in 2009. With a budget in excess of 20 billion won (17 million USD), it, along with its spin-off Athena: Goddess of War, share the record for the most expensive Korean dramas ever produced. Premiering in October 2009, the series was a critical and commercial success, with an average viewership of over 30% in addition to ranking as the top program consistently every week after its debut. The series also took home many of the highest honors at the 2009 KBS Drama Acting Awards, including Lee Byung-hun winning the top recognition, the Daesang Award. The plot revolves around two friends from the 707th Special Mission Battalion recruited into a secret South Korean black ops agency known as the National Security Service. Of the pair, recruit Kim Hyun-jun begins to uncover evidence that his foggy past may not be so irrelevant to his joining of the secret organization after all. As the two friends find their loyalties tested and forge new, unlikely alliances, the journey takes them from their home country to Hungary, Japan, and China where they find themselves at the center of an international conspiracy.

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Geography of South Korea
Credit: original taken from NASA's Visible Earth

South Korea is located in East Asia, on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula jutting out from the far east of the Asian land mass. The only country with a land border to South Korea is North Korea, lying to the north with 238 kilometres (148 mi) of border running along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has 2,413 kilometres (1,499 mi) of coast line along three seas; to the west is the Yellow Sea, to the south is the East China Sea, and to the east is the East Sea. Geographically, South Korea's land mass is approximately 100,032 square kilometres (38,623 sq mi). 290 square kilometres (110 sq mi) of South Korea are occupied by water. The approximate coordinates are 37° North, 127° 30 East. Notable islands include Jeju Island (Jejudo), Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo), and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo).

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Selected biography

Mo Tae-Bum during the 500 m speed skating competition at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

Mo Tae-bum (Hangul: 모태범, Hanja: 牟太釩 born 15 February 1989) is a South Korean speed skater. He is the 2010 Olympic Champion and the 2012 World Champion in 500 m. He started speedskating while in the third grade. Prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Mo won two distances at the 2006 World Junior Speed Skating Championships. He has competed on the national level since 2004 and has competed internationally since 2005. He won two Junior World Championships in 2006, but did not win any other events until 2009. In 2009 he won gold in the 1000 m and 1500 m events at the Winter Universiade. The international community gave him little attention before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, but he became the first Korean to win a gold medal in a long track speed skating event as well as earning the silver medal in the 1000 m race. This was a large upset, as he was ranked fourteenth in the world in the 500 m race. Lee Myung-bak congratulated Mo for his achievements in speed skating following these wins. Mo currently attends the Korea National Sport University, and lives with his parents in Pocheon province.

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Flag of South Korea.svg Hello, South Korea. Please accept this invitation to join WikiProject South Korea. If you're interested in participating, please consider adding your name to our participant list and join our active discussions on how to improve coverage of South Korea on Wikipedia.

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