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.
US soldier shot by police after Seoul car chase
Agence France-Presse in Seoul
A US soldier was shot and injured by South Korean police after a dramatic car chase through Seoul early yesterday.
The unnamed 23-year-old Private First Class was shot in the shoulder shortly after midnight, Yonhap news agency said.
The agency and several other news outlets cited police in Yongsan district near the huge US military base in central Seoul. Media reports said police approached two soldiers in the Itaewon entertainment district after receiving complaints that the pair were apparently threatening passers-by with an air gun.
They reportedly fled, crashing into several other cars in a high-speed escape which continued for about 10 kilometres before the pair turned into a dead-end street.
The soldiers reportedly tried to ram their car into a police officer, prompting him to fire three shots at the car. They eventually fled to the US base.
The wounded soldier, who was driving the vehicle, was treated at the base and was said to be in stable condition. The Seoul police officer reportedly suffered a minor injury.
Video from another car - shown on a local TV station last night - showed the soldiers' vehicle driving at high speed past police officers. While fleeing, the servicemen damaged other cars, prompting officers from other stations to rush to the scene.
Police said they identified the soldiers with their vehicle licence plate number and called them to appear before officers for questioning by Monday.
"So far, no one has been reported shot by the American soldiers and an investigation is currently under way," said an officer at Yongsan Police Station.