South Korea is a sovereign state in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighboured by China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. With an estimated population of 50 million, it covers a total area 98,480 square kilometres which includes partially forested mountain ranges separated by deep, narrow valleys. Its main exports are wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles and computers. Korea was one nation under the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule. Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers in 1945 and three years later the country split in two, beginning decades of conflict between North and South. The current president of The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is Park Geun-hye. She is the first woman to be elected as President in South Korea.
Apec predicts crisis recovery
THE growth of Apec forum members' economies will be hit by stock and currency market instability but a strong recovery is expected, the forum's Economic Outlook says.
Overall growth should fall moderately to 3.1 per cent next year from 3.4 per cent last year.
Thailand and South Korea have revised growth forecasts downward following the recent turmoil.
Korea will fall from 6.7 per cent to 5 per cent while Thailand will dip from 6.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
Apec Economic Committee Task Force member Soogil Young said: 'We expect a strong performance [by Apec economies] in the medium term. The recent problems highlight the danger of contagion and the need for co-operation.' The medium-term outlook remains good for Hong Kong, with real gross domestic product expected to grow an average 5 per cent a year to 2000. Inflation is expected to hover at about 8 per cent.
The report states: 'The current period of instability does not alter the fundamentally bright long-term growth prospects for the region.' Speculative behaviour may have aggravated the instability but the crisis also reflects macroeconomic imbalances and policy deficiencies.
'There is clearly a need to strengthen financial sectors in the Apec region with increased reliance on markets and enhanced prudential and regulatory arrangements,' the report says.
'The spillover effects that have accompanied the current crisis illustrate both the increased economic interdependence in the region and the desirability of a high degree of transparency regarding economic and financial policies to enable markets to differentiate between economies and their respective prospects.'