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.
Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Mainland office on Taiwan affairs meets media
The mainland's Taiwan affairs office holds its regular press conference in Beijing. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's (left) timetable to negotiate a peace deal with the mainland in 10 years has stirred up much debate on the island. But the mainland seems to be keeping a low profile, saying more mutual trust and exchanges are needed to create a favourable environment for Ma's wish to come true.
HK government seeks stay of ruling on helper abode
The government applies to the Court of First Instance for a stay of the recent ruling that declared unconstitutional a provision of the Immigration Ordinance that bars domestic helpers from applying for permanent identity cards. At the same time, lawyers for the plaintiff, Evangeline Banao Vallejos, will ask the court to grant her permanent residency or send her case to the Immigration Department for reconsideration in light of the judgment in her favour. The court will also hear a judicial review mounted by Josephine Gutierrez, a Filipino domestic helper since 1991, and her son, Joseph, who was born in Hong Kong in 1996 and now lives here on a student visa.
EU leaders fine-tune strategy on debt
Leaders of the 27 members of the European Union meet again in Brussels to finalise a 'comprehensive strategy' to resolve the euro zone's sovereign debt problems, after reaching broad agreement on strengthening banks on Sunday, in what could prove to be a make-or-break moment in the crisis. As part of the rescue plan, officials are trying to work out a proposal for slashing the debt burden of Greece. It appears Greek bondholders will be asked or forced to take losses of up to 60 per cent on their Greek debt, a decision many of Europe's biggest banks will resist strongly.
Guangzhou tests response to attack on power plant
Guangzhou will hold an air raid drill tomorrow to practise the rescue work needed if a thermal power plant were hit by an air attack. Neighbouring Foshan will send relief workers to participate in the drill.
Australian CPI figures may influence rates decision
Australia releases third-quarter consumer price index data, giving the Reserve Bank one last chance to see whether it has scope to cut rates next week. Rates have been on hold since a rise in November last year.
South Koreans vote for Seoul's next mayor
Millions of South Koreans elect the mayor of Seoul in a crucial vote seen as a barometer of support for the leading parties and presidential hopefuls ahead of next year's national elections. Both main parties have been hit by internal strife and falling support and have thrown all their resources at winning the prestigious mayoralty as part of efforts to rebuild their image. Next year, Asia's fourth-largest economy will hold parliamentary and presidential elections in the same year for the first time in two decades. Opinion polls show the ruling Grand National Party and the opposition running neck and neck at the national level and in the Seoul race, between the opposition's Park Won-soon (left) and the GNP's Na Kyung-won.