South Korea vs. United Kingdom


South KoreaUnited Kingdom

An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the US in 1945. After World War II, a democratic government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a communist-style government was installed in the north (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside ROK soldiers to defend South Korea from a DPRK invasion supported by communist China and the Soviet Union. A 1953 armistice split the Peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. PARK Chung-hee took over leadership of the country in a 1961 coup. During his regime, from 1961 to 1979, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth, with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea in 1979.

South Korea held its first free presidential election under a revised democratic constitution in 1987, with former ROK Army general ROH Tae-woo winning a close race. In 1993, KIM Young-sam (1993-98) became the first civilian president of South Korea's new democratic era. President KIM Dae-jung (1998-2003) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his contributions to South Korean democracy and his "Sunshine" policy of engagement with North Korea. President PARK Geun-hye, daughter of former ROK President PARK Chung-hee, took office in February 2013 as South Korea's first female leader. In December 2016, the National Assembly passed an impeachment motion against President PARK over her alleged involvement in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal, immediately suspending her presidential authorities. The impeachment was upheld in March 2017, triggering an early presidential election in May 2017 won by MOON Jae-in. South Korea hosted the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February 2018, in which North Korea also participated. Discord with North Korea has permeated inter-Korean relations for much of the past decade, highlighted by the North's attacks on a South Korean ship and island in 2010, the exchange of artillery fire across the DMZ in 2015, and multiple nuclear and missile tests in 2016 and 2017. North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics, dispatch of a senior delegation to Seoul, and three inter-Korean summits in 2018 appear to have ushered in a temporary period of respite, buoyed by the historic US-DPRK summits in 2018 and 2019.


The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic's withdrawal from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1998.

The UK has been an active member of the EU since its accession in 1973, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. However, motivated in part by frustration at a remote bureaucracy in Brussels and massive migration into the country, UK citizens on 23 June 2016 narrowly voted to leave the EU. The UK is scheduled to depart the EU on 31 January 2020, but negotiations on the future EU-UK economic and security relationship will continue throughout 2020 and potentially beyond.


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Western Europe, islands - including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland - between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea; northwest of France
Geographic coordinates
37 00 N, 127 30 E
54 00 N, 2 00 W
Map references
total: 99,720 sq km
land: 96,920 sq km
water: 2,800 sq km
total: 243,610 sq km
land: 241,930 sq km
water: 1,680 sq km

note 1: the percentage area breakdown of the four UK countries is: England 53%, Scotland 32%, Wales 9%, and Northern Ireland 6%

note 2: includes Rockall and the Shetland Islands, which are part of Scotland

Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Indiana
twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oregon
Land boundaries
total: 237 km
border countries (1): North Korea 237 km
total: 499 km
border countries (1): Ireland 499 km
2,413 km
12,429 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the Korea Strait
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter; cold winters
temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 282 m
lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m
mean elevation: 162 m
lowest point: The Fens -4 m
highest point: Ben Nevis 1,345 m
Natural resources
coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
Land use
agricultural land: 18.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 15.3% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0.6% (2011 est.)
forest: 63.9% (2011 est.)
other: 18% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 71% (2011 est.)
arable land: 25.1% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.2% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 45.7% (2011 est.)
forest: 11.9% (2011 est.)
other: 17.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
7,780 sq km (2012)
950 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest

volcanism: Halla (1,950 m) is considered historically active although it has not erupted in many centuries

winter windstorms; floods
Environment - current issues
air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing; solid waste disposal; transboundary pollution
air pollution improved but remains a concern, particularly in the London region; soil pollution from pesticides and heavy metals; decline in marine and coastal habitats brought on by pressures from housing, tourism, and industry
Environment - international agreements
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
strategic location on Korea Strait; about 3,000 mostly small and uninhabited islands lie off the western and southern coasts
lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel (the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel); because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters
Population distribution
with approximately 70% of the country considered mountainous, the country's population is primarily concentrated in the lowland areas, where density is quite high; Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, which surrounds the capital of Seoul and contains the port of Incheon, is the most densely populated province; Gangwon in the northeast is the least populated
the core of the population lies in and around London, with significant clusters found in central Britain around Manchester and Liverpool, in the Scotish lowlands between Endinburgh and Glasgow, southern Wales in and around Cardiff, and far eastern Northern Ireland centered on Belfast


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
51,835,110 (July 2020 est.)
65,761,117 United Kingdom (July 2020 est.)
constituent countries by percentage of total population:
England 84%
Scotland 8%
Wales 5%
Northern Ireland 3%
Age structure
0-14 years: 12.77% (male 3,401,815/female 3,219,589)
15-24 years: 11.18% (male 3,030,027/female 2,764,860)
25-54 years: 44.66% (male 12,043,626/female 11,106,927)
55-64 years: 15.47% (male 3,927,496/female 4,089,033)
65 years and over: 15.92% (male 3,572,855/female 4,678,882) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 17.63% (male 5,943,435/female 5,651,780)
15-24 years: 11.49% (male 3,860,435/female 3,692,398)
25-54 years: 39.67% (male 13,339,965/female 12,747,598)
55-64 years: 12.73% (male 4,139,378/female 4,234,701)
65 years and over: 18.48% (male 5,470,116/female 6,681,311) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 43.2 years
male: 41.6 years
female: 45 years (2020 est.)
total: 40.6 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 41.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
0.39% (2020 est.)
0.49% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
8.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
11.9 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
6.8 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
9.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
2.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 100.5 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 99.2 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 4.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 82.6 years
male: 79.4 years
female: 85.9 years (2020 est.)
total population: 81.1 years
male: 78.8 years
female: 83.5 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.29 children born/woman (2020 est.)
1.86 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
noun: Briton(s), British (collective plural)
adjective: British
Ethnic groups
white 87.2%, black/African/Caribbean/black British 3%, Asian/Asian British: Indian 2.3%, Asian/Asian British: Pakistani 1.9%, mixed 2%, other 3.7% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
Protestant 19.7%, Buddhist 15.5%, Catholic 7.9%, none 56.9% (2015 est.)

note: many people also carry on at least some Confucian traditions and practices

Christian (includes Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim 4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, unspecified 7.2%, none 25.7% (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
Korean, English (widely taught in elementary, junior high, and high school)

note: the following are recognized regional languages: Scots (about 30% of the population of Scotland), Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 speakers in Scotland), Welsh (about 20% of the population of Wales), Irish (about 10% of the population of Northern Ireland), Cornish (some 2,000 to 3,000 people in Cornwall) (2012 est.)

Major infectious diseases
respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)
note: a novel coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in South Korea; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; the US Department of State has issued a Travel Advisory recommending avoiding all international travel due to COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against all international travel and published additional guidance at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/ ; as of 10 November 2020, South Korea has reported 27,427 confirmed cases of COVID19 with 478 deaths
respiratory diseases: Covid-19 (see note) (2020)
note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout the UK; as of 10 November 2020, the UK has reported a total of 1,171,445 cases of COVID-19 or 17,256 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 1 million population with 720 cumulative deaths per 1 million population; individuals arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days and may be contacted to verify compliance; new arrivals will be required to provide UK officials with contact and travel information prior to arrival; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in the UK to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2018)
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 18 years (2018)
Education expenditures
5.3% of GDP (2015)
5.5% of GDP (2016)
urban population: 81.4% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.3% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 83.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.89% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
9.963 million SEOUL (capital), 3.465 million Busan, 2.801 million Incheon, 2.199 million Daegu (Taegu), 1.566 million Daejon (Taejon), 1.522 million Gwangju (Kwangju) (2020)
9.304 million LONDON (capital), 2.730 million Manchester, 2.607 million Birmingham, 1.889 million West Yorkshire, 1.663 million Glasgow, 928,000 Southampton/Portsmouth (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
11 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
7 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Health expenditures
7.6% (2017)
9.6% (2017)
Physicians density
2.36 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
2.79 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
12.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)
2.5 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
4.7% (2016)
27.8% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth
31 years (2014 est.)
28.8 years (2017 est.)

note: data represent England and Wales only

Contraceptive prevalence rate
82.3% (2018)

note: percent of women aged 20-49

Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 39.5
youth dependency ratio: 17.5
elderly dependency ratio: 22
potential support ratio: 4.5 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 57.1
youth dependency ratio: 27.8
elderly dependency ratio: 29.3
potential support ratio: 3.4 (2020 est.)


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Country name
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Taehan-min'guk
local short form: Han'guk
abbreviation: ROK
etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the South Korean name "Han'guk" derives from the long form, "Taehan-min'guk," which is itself a derivation from "Daehan-je'guk," which means "the Great Empire of the Han"; "Han" refers to the "Sam'han" or the "Three Han Kingdoms" (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla from the Three Kingdoms Era, 1st-7th centuries A.D.)
conventional long form: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; note - the island of Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales
conventional short form: United Kingdom
abbreviation: UK
etymology: self-descriptive country name; the designation "Great Britain," in the sense of "Larger Britain," dates back to medieval times and was used to distinguish the island from "Little Britain," or Brittany in modern France; the name Ireland derives from the Gaelic "Eriu," the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land)
Government type
presidential republic
parliamentary constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
name: Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, is serving as an administrative capital for segments of the South Korean Government
geographic coordinates: 37 33 N, 126 59 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the name originates from the Korean word meaning "capital city" and which is believed to be derived from Seorabeol, the name of the capital of the ancient Korean Kingdom of Silla
name: London
geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 0 05 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

note: the time statements apply to the United Kingdom proper, not to its crown dependencies or overseas territories

etymology: the name derives from the Roman settlement of Londinium, established on the current site of London around A.D. 43; the original meaning of the name is uncertain

Administrative divisions

9 provinces (do, singular and plural), 6 metropolitan cities (gwangyeoksi, singular and plural), 1 special city (teugbyeolsi), and 1 special self-governing city (teukbyeoljachisi)

provinces: Chungbuk (North Chungcheong), Chungnam (South Chungcheong), Gangwon, Gyeongbuk (North Gyeongsang), Gyeonggi, Gyeongnam (South Gyeongsang), Jeju, Jeonbuk (North Jeolla), Jeonnam (South Jeolla)

metropolitan cities: Busan (Pusan), Daegu (Taegu), Daejeon (Taejon), Gwangju (Kwangju), Incheon (Inch'on), Ulsan

special city: Seoul

special self-governing city: Sejong

England: 26 two-tier counties, 32 London boroughs and 1 City of London or Greater London, 36 metropolitan districts, 56 unitary authorities (including 4 single-tier counties*);

two-tier counties: Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Worcestershire

London boroughs and City of London or Greater London: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, City of London, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster

metropolitan districts: Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Doncaster, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees, Knowlsey, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, St. Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton

unitary authorities: Bath and North East Somerset; Bedford; Blackburn with Darwen; Blackpool; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Bracknell Forest; Brighton and Hove; City of Bristol; Central Bedfordshire; Cheshire East; Cheshire West and Chester; Cornwall; Darlington; Derby; Dorset; Durham County*; East Riding of Yorkshire; Halton; Hartlepool; Herefordshire*; Isle of Wight*; Isles of Scilly; City of Kingston upon Hull; Leicester; Luton; Medway; Middlesbrough; Milton Keynes; North East Lincolnshire; North Lincolnshire; North Somerset; Northumberland*; Nottingham; Peterborough; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Reading; Redcar and Cleveland; Rutland; Shropshire; Slough; South Gloucestershire; Southampton; Southend-on-Sea; Stockton-on-Tees; Stoke-on-Trent; Swindon; Telford and Wrekin; Thurrock; Torbay; Warrington; West Berkshire; Wiltshire; Windsor and Maidenhead; Wokingham; York

Northern Ireland: 5 borough councils, 4 district councils, 2 city councils;

borough councils: Antrim and Newtownabbey; Ards and North Down; Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon; Causeway Coast and Glens; Mid and East Antrim

district councils: Derry City and Strabane; Fermanagh and Omagh; Mid Ulster; Newry, Murne, and Down

city councils: Belfast; Lisburn and Castlereagh

Scotland: 32 council areas;

council areas: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, City of Edinburgh, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Shetland Islands, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, The Scottish Borders, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian

Wales: 22 unitary authorities;

unitary authorities: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, The Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen, Wrexham

15 August 1945 (from Japan)
no official date of independence: 927 (minor English kingdoms unite); 3 March 1284 (enactment of the Statute of Rhuddlan uniting England and Wales); 1536 (Act of Union formally incorporates England and Wales); 1 May 1707 (Acts of Union formally unite England, Scotland, and Wales as Great Britain); 1 January 1801 (Acts of Union formally unite Great Britain and Ireland as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); 6 December 1921 (Anglo-Irish Treaty formalizes partition of Ireland; six counties remain part of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland); 12 April 1927 (Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act establishes current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
National holiday
Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)
the UK does not celebrate one particular national holiday
history: several previous; latest passed by National Assembly 12 October 1987, approved in referendum 28 October 1987, effective 25 February 1988
amendments: proposed by the president or by majority support of the National Assembly membership; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly membership, approval in a referendum by more than one half of the votes by more than one half of eligible voters, and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 1987
history: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice
amendments: proposed as a bill for an Act of Parliament by the government, by the House of Commons, or by the House of Lords; passage requires agreement by both houses and by the monarch (Royal Assent); note - additions include the Human Rights Act of 1998, the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, and the House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Act 2015
Legal system
18years of age; universal; note - the voting age was lowered from 19 to 18 beginning with the 2020 national election
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President MOON Jae-in (since 10 May 2017); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister CHUNG Sye-kyun (since 14 January 2020) serves as the principal executive assistant to the president, similar to the role of a vice president
head of government: President MOON Jae-in (since 10 May 2017)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 5-year term; election last held on 9 May 2017 (next to be held in March 2022); prime minister appointed by president with consent of National Assembly
election results: MOON Jae-in elected president; percent of vote - MOON Jae-in (DP) 41.1%, HONG Joon-pyo (LKP) 25.5%, AHN Cheol-soo (PP) 21.4%, other 12%
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)
head of government: Prime Minister Boris JOHNSON (Conservative) (since 24 July 2019)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually becomes the prime minister; election last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held by 2 May 2024)

note: in addition to serving as the UK head of state, the British sovereign is the constitutional monarch for 15 additional Commonwealth countries (these 16 states are each referred to as a Commonwealth realm)

Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly or Kuk Hoe (300 seats statutory); 253 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 47 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 15 April 2020 (next to be held in April 2024)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DP/TCP 180, UFP/FKP 103, JP 6, ODP 3, PP 3, independent 5; composition - men 249, women 51, percent of women 17%
description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
House of Lords (membership not fixed; as of December 2019, 796 lords were eligible to participate in the work of the House of Lords - 679 life peers, 91 hereditary peers, and 26 clergy; members are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister and non-party political members recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission); note - House of Lords total does not include ineligible members or members on leave of absence
House of Commons (650 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority popular vote to serve 5-year terms unless the House is dissolved earlier)
House of Lords - no elections; note - in 1999, as provided by the House of Lords Act, elections were held in the House of Lords to determine the 92 hereditary peers who would remain; elections held only as vacancies in the hereditary peerage arise)
House of Commons - last held on 12 December 2019 (next to be held by 2 May 2024)
election results:
House of Lords - composition - men 579, women 217, percent of women 27.3%
House of Commons - percent of vote by party - Conservative 43.6%, Labor 32.1%, Lib Dems 11.6%, SNP 3.9%, Greens 2.7%, Brexit Party 2.0%, other 4.1%; seats by party - Conservative 365, Labor 202, SNP 48, Lib Dems 11, DUP 8, Sinn Fein 7, Plaid Cymru 4, other 9; composition - men 430, women 220, percent of women 34%; total Parliament percent of women 30.2%
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of a chief justice and 13 justices); Constitutional Court (consists of a court head and 8 justices)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly; other justices appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the chief justice and consent of the National Assembly; position of the chief justice is a 6-year nonrenewable term; other justices serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 3 by the president, 3 by the National Assembly, and 3 by the Supreme Court chief justice; court head serves until retirement at age 70, while other justices serve 6-year renewable terms with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: High Courts; District Courts; Branch Courts (organized under the District Courts); specialized courts for family and administrative issues
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of 12 justices, including the court president and deputy president); note - the Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and implemented in 2009, replacing the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom
judge selection and term of office: judge candidates selected by an independent committee of several judicial commissions, followed by their recommendations to the prime minister, and appointed by the monarch; justices serve for life
subordinate courts: England and Wales: Court of Appeal (civil and criminal divisions); High Court; Crown Court; County Courts; Magistrates' Courts; Scotland: Court of Sessions; Sheriff Courts; High Court of Justiciary; tribunals; Northern Ireland: Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland; High Court; county courts; magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals
Political parties and leaders
Bareun Mirae Party or BMP [SOHN Hak-kyu] (merger of Bareun Party and People's Party)
Democratic Party or DP [LEE Hae-chan] (renamed from Minjoo Party of Korea or MPK in October 2016; formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy or NPAD, which was a merger of the Democratic Party or DP (formerly DUP) [KIM Han-gil] and the New Political Vision Party or NPVP [AHN Cheol-soo] in March 2014)
Justice Party or JP [SIM Sang-jung]
Minjung Party or MP (formed from the merger of the New People's Party (formerly the New People's Political Party or NPP) and the People's United Party or PUP)
Open Democratic Pary or ODP [LEE Keun-shik] (formed in early 2020)
Our Republic Party [CHO Won-jin and HONG Moon-jong] (formerly Korean Patriots' Party or KPP)
Party for Democracy and Peace or PDP [CHUNG Dong-young]
People Party or PP [AHN Cheol-soo] (formed in February 2020)
Together Citizens' Party [WOO Hee-jong, ChOI Bae-geun] (formed in early 2020 in alliance with the Democratic Party)
United Future Party or UFP (formed in early 2020 by the merger of Liberty Korea Party, New Conservative Party, Onward for Future 4.0, and several other minor parties; it has a sister relationship with the Future Korea Party
Alliance Party (Northern Ireland) [Naomi LONG] 
Brexit Party [Nigel FARAGE]
Conservative and Unionist Party [Boris JOHNSON]
Democratic Unionist Party or DUP (Northern Ireland) [Arlene FOSTER]
Green Party of England and Wales or Greens [Sian BERRY and Jonathan BARTLEY]
Labor (Labour) Party [Sir Keir STARMER]
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) [Ed Davey]
Party of Wales (Plaid Cymru) [Adam PRICE]
Scottish National Party or SNP [Nicola STURGEON]
Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland) [Mary Lou MCDONALD]
Social Democratic and Labor Party or SDLP (Northern Ireland) [Colum EASTWOOD]
Ulster Unionist Party or UUP (Northern Ireland) [Robin SWANN]
UK Independence Party or UKIP [Pat MOUNTAIN, interim leader]
International organization participation
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CICA, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, C, CBSS (observer), CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMISS, UNRWA, UN Security Council (permanent), UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador LEE Soo-hyuck (since 6 January 2020)
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
FAX: [1] (202) 797-0595
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Ambassador Karen Elizabeth PIERCE (since 8 April 2020)
chancery: 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-6500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-7870
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Orlando (FL), San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Harry HARRIS (since 10 July 2018)
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
embassy: 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03141
mailing address: US Embassy Seoul, 9600 Seoul Place Washington, D.C., 20521-9600
FAX: [82] (2) 725-0152
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert Wood "Woody" JOHNSON IV (since 29 August 2017)
telephone: [44] 20-7499-9000

33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US or SW8 5DB (driving/GPS postcode)

mailing address: PSC 801, Box 40, FPO AE 09498-4040
FAX: [44] 20-7891-3151
consulate(s) general: Belfast, Edinburgh
Flag description
white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field; the South Korean national flag is called Taegukki; white is a traditional Korean color and represents peace and purity; the blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin, while the red symbolizes the opposite positive forces of the yang; each trigram (kwae) denotes one of the four universal elements, which together express the principle of movement and harmony
blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland); properly known as the Union Flag, but commonly called the Union Jack; the design and colors (especially the Blue Ensign) have been the basis for a number of other flags including other Commonwealth countries and their constituent states or provinces, and British overseas territories
National anthem
name: "Aegukga" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: YUN Ch'i-Ho or AN Ch'ang-Ho/AHN Eaktay

note: adopted 1948, well-known by 1910; both North Korea's and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics

name: God Save the Queen
lyrics/music: unknown

note: in use since 1745; by tradition, the song serves as both the national and royal anthem of the UK; it is known as either "God Save the Queen" or "God Save the King," depending on the gender of the reigning monarch; it also serves as the royal anthem of many Commonwealth nations

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)
taegeuk (yin yang symbol), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), Siberian tiger; national colors: red, white, blue, black
lion (Britain in general); lion, Tudor rose, oak (England); lion, unicorn, thistle (Scotland); dragon, daffodil, leek (Wales); shamrock, flax (Northern Ireland); national colors: red, white, blue (Britain in general); red, white (England); blue, white (Scotland); red, white, green (Wales)
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of South Korea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the United Kingdom
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Economy - overview

After emerging from the 1950-53 war with North Korea, South Korea emerged as one of the 20th century’s most remarkable economic success stories, becoming a developed, globally connected, high-technology society within decades. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorest countries in the world. In 2004, South Korea's GDP surpassed one trillion dollars.

Beginning in the 1960s under President PARK Chung-hee, the government promoted the import of raw materials and technology, encouraged saving and investment over consumption, kept wages low, and directed resources to export-oriented industries that remain important to the economy to this day. Growth surged under these policies, and frequently reached double-digits in the 1960s and 1970s. Growth gradually moderated in the 1990s as the economy matured, but remained strong enough to propel South Korea into the ranks of the advanced economies of the OECD by 1997. These policies also led to the emergence of family-owned chaebol conglomerates such as Daewoo, Hyundai, and Samsung, which retained their dominant positions even as the government loosened its grip on the economy amid the political changes of the 1980s and 1990s.

The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 hit South Korea’s companies hard because of their excessive reliance on short-term borrowing, and GDP ultimately plunged by 7% in 1998. South Korea tackled difficult economic reforms following the crisis, including restructuring some chaebols, increasing labor market flexibility, and opening up to more foreign investment and imports. These steps lead to a relatively rapid economic recovery. South Korea also began expanding its network of free trade agreements to help bolster exports, and has since implemented 16 free trade agreements covering 58 countries—including the United State and China—that collectively cover more than three-quarters of global GDP.

In 2017, the election of President MOON Jae-in brought a surge in consumer confidence, in part, because of his successful efforts to increase wages and government spending. These factors combined with an uptick in export growth to drive real GDP growth to more than 3%, despite disruptions in South Korea’s trade with China over the deployment of a US missile defense system in South Korea.

In 2018 and beyond, South Korea will contend with gradually slowing economic growth - in the 2-3% range - not uncommon for advanced economies. This could be partially offset by efforts to address challenges arising from its rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, continued dominance of the chaebols, and heavy reliance on exports rather than domestic consumption. Socioeconomic problems also persist, and include rising inequality, poverty among the elderly, high youth unemployment, long working hours, low worker productivity, and corruption.

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining; the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output.


In 2008, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Falling home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded the UK’s economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in 2010 the then CAMERON-led coalition government (between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) initiated an austerity program, which has continued under the Conservative government. However, the deficit still remains one of the highest in the G7, standing at 3.6% of GDP as of 2017, and the UK has pledged to lower its corporation tax from 20% to 17% by 2020. The UK had a debt burden of 90.4% GDP at the end of 2017.


The UK economy has begun to slow since the referendum vote to leave the EU in June 2016. A sustained depreciation of the British pound has increased consumer and producer prices, weighing on consumer spending without spurring a meaningful increase in exports. The UK has an extensive trade relationship with other EU members through its single market membership, and economic observers have warned the exit will jeopardize its position as the central location for European financial services. The UK is slated to leave the EU at the end of January 2020.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$2.035 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.974 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.918 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$2.925 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.877 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.827 trillion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
2.04% (2019 est.)
2.91% (2018 est.)
3.16% (2017 est.)
1.26% (2019 est.)
1.25% (2018 est.)
1.74% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$39,500 (2017 est.)
$38,500 (2016 est.)
$37,600 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$44,300 (2017 est.)
$43,800 (2016 est.)
$43,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 2.2% (2017 est.)
industry: 39.3% (2017 est.)
services: 58.3% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 20.2% (2017 est.)
services: 79.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
14.4% (2016 est.)
15% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 6.8%
highest 10%: 48.5% (2015 est.)
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 31.1% (2012)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1.9% (2017 est.)
1% (2016 est.)
2.7% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2016 est.)
Labor force
26.839 million (2020 est.)
16.033 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 4.8%
industry: 24.6%
services: 70.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 1.3%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.5% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate
3.76% (2019 est.)
3.85% (2018 est.)
3.17% (2019 est.)
2.51% (2018 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
35.7 (2016 est.)
35.4 (2015 est.)
32.4 (2012)
33.4 (2010)
revenues: 357.1 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 335.8 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 1.028 trillion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 1.079 trillion (2017 est.)
electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, other consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate
4.6% (2017 est.)
3.4% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs, fish
cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish; milk, eggs
$577.4 billion (2017 est.)
$512 billion (2016 est.)
$441.2 billion (2017 est.)
$407.3 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers
manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners
China 25.1%, US 12.2%, Vietnam 8.2%, Hong Kong 6.9%, Japan 4.7% (2017)
US 13.2%, Germany 10.5%, France 7.4%, Netherlands 6.2%, Ireland 5.6%, China 4.8%, Switzerland 4.5% (2017)
$457.5 billion (2017 est.)
$393.1 billion (2016 est.)
$615.9 billion (2017 est.)
$591 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
crude oil/petroleum products, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles
manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Imports - partners
China 20.5%, Japan 11.5%, US 10.5%, Germany 4.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2017)
Germany 13.7%, US 9.5%, China 9.3%, Netherlands 8%, France 5.4%, Belgium 5% (2017)
Debt - external
$384.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$384.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$8.126 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$8.642 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Exchange rates
South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar -
1,130.48 (2017 est.)
1,160.41 (2016 est.)
1,160.77 (2015 est.)
1,130.95 (2014 est.)
1,052.96 (2013 est.)
British pounds (GBP) per US dollar -
0.7836 (2017 est.)
0.738 (2016 est.)
0.738 (2015 est.)
0.607 (2014 est.)
0.6391 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
6 April - 5 April
Public debt
39.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
39.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
87.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
87.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$389.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$371.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$150.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$129.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance
$59.971 billion (2019 est.)
$77.467 billion (2018 est.)
-$121.921 billion (2019 est.)
-$104.927 billion (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$1.54 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.628 trillion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$230.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$180.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.078 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.858 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$344.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$358 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.11 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.611 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$1.305 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.28 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.269 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.019 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$2.903 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.107 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate
1.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
1.25% (31 December 2016 est.)
0.25% (31 December 2016)
0.5% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
3.48% (31 December 2017 est.)
3.37% (31 December 2016 est.)
4.38% (31 December 2017 est.)
4.44% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$2.986 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.515 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.22 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.785 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$793.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$658.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$96.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$793.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$658.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$110.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$96.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
23.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
39.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
1.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-1.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 10.2%
male: 10.6%
female: 10% (2018 est.)
total: 11.3%
male: 12.2%
female: 10.3% (2018 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 48.1% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 31.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 43.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -37.7% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 65.8% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 18.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 17.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 30.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -31.5% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
36.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
36.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
13.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
12% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.3% of GDP (2015 est.)


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Electricity - production
526 billion kWh (2016 est.)
318.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
507.6 billion kWh (2016 est.)
309.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
2.153 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
19.7 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
1 million bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
3.057 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
907,100 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
710,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
NA (1 January 2017 est.)
2.069 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
7.079 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
176 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
339.8 million cu m (2017 est.)
42.11 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
45.28 billion cu m (2017 est.)
79.17 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
11.27 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
48.65 billion cu m (2017 est.)
47 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
111.2 million kW (2016 est.)
97.06 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
70% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
50% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
21% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
9% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
8% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
39% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
3.302 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
1.29 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
2.584 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
1.584 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
1.396 million bbl/day (2017 est.)
613,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
908,800 bbl/day (2017 est.)
907,500 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
778.4 million Mt (2017 est.)
424 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 24,924,607
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48.27 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 31,160,866
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 47.62 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 69,445,005
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 134.49 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 76,920,618
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117.55 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
Internet users
total: 49,309,955
percent of population: 95.9% (July 2018 est.)
total: 61,784,878
percent of population: 94.9% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services featuring rapid incorporation of new technologies; ranked 2nd out of 34 Asian telecom companies; exceedingly high mobile and mobile broadband penetration and very high fixed broadband penetration; highest number of broadband per capita; strong support from govt., savvy population has catapulted the nation into one of the world's most active telecommunication markets; 5G services live for enterprise customers in 2019, all 3 mobile operators offer 5G networks; slower growth predicted over the next five years to 2023 due to saturation and maturity of market; Chinese telecommunications company Huawei has partnered with other MNOs in South Korea (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 48 per 100 and mobile-cellular services 135 per 100 persons; rapid assimilation of a full range of telecommunications technologies leading to a boom in e-commerce (2019)
international: country code - 82; landing points for EAC-C2C, FEA, SeaMeWe-3, TPE, APCN-2, APG, FLAG North Asia Loop/REACH North Asia Loop, KJCN, NCP, and SJC2 submarine cables providing links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia and US; satellite earth stations - 66 (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: technologically advanced domestic and international system; one of the largest mobile and telecom markets in Europe for revenue and subscribers; will complete the switch to fiber by 2033; mobile penetration above the EU average; govt. to invest in fiber infrastructure and 5G technologies; operators expanded the reach of 5G services; FttP provided to over a million customers; super-fast broadband available to about 95% of customers (2020)
domestic: equal mix of buried cables, microwave radio relay, and fiber-optic systems; fixed-line 48 per 100 and mobile-cellular 118 per 100 (2019)
international: country code - 44; Landing points for the GTT Atlantic, Scotland-Northern Ireland -1, & -2, Lanis 1,-2, &-3, Sirius North, BT-MT-1, SHEFA-2, BT Highlands and Islands Submarine Cable System, Northern Lights, FARICE-1, Celtic Norse, Tampnet Offshore FOC Network, England Cable, CC-2, E-LLan, Sirius South, ESAT -1 & -2, Rockabill, Geo-Eirgrid, UK-Netherlands-14, Circle North & South, Ulysses2, Conceto, Farland North, Pan European Crossing, Solas, Swansea-Bream, GTT Express, Tata TGN-Atlantic & -Western Europe, Apollo, EIG, Glo-1, TAT-14, Yellow, Celtic, FLAG Atlantic-1, FEA, Isle of Scilly Cable, UK-Channel Islands-8 and SeaMeWe-3 submarine cables providing links throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia, and US; satellite earth stations - 10 Intelsat (7 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Eutelsat; at least 8 large international switching centers (2018)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 21,285,858
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 41 (2018 est.)
total: 26,586,110
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 41 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
multiple national TV networks with 2 of the 3 largest networks publicly operated; the largest privately owned network, Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), has ties with other commercial TV networks; cable and satellite TV subscription services available; publicly operated radio broadcast networks and many privately owned radio broadcasting networks, each with multiple affiliates, and independent local stations
public service broadcaster, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world; BBC operates multiple TV networks with regional and local TV service; a mixed system of public and commercial TV broadcasters along with satellite and cable systems provide access to hundreds of TV stations throughout the world; BBC operates multiple national, regional, and local radio networks with multiple transmission sites; a large number of commercial radio stations, as well as satellite radio services are available (2018)


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
total: 3,979 km (2016)
standard gauge: 3,979 km 1.435-m gauge (2,727 km electrified) (2016)
total: 16,837 km (2015)
standard gauge: 16,534 km 1.435-m gauge (5,357 km electrified) (2015)
broad gauge: 303 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland) (2015)
total: 100,428 km (2016)
paved: 92,795 km (includes 4,193 km of expressways) (2016)
unpaved: 7,633 km (2016)
total: 394,428 km (2009)
paved: 394,428 km (includes 3,519 km of expressways) (2009)
1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2009)
3790 km gas, 16 km oil, 889 km refined products (2017)
502 km condensate, 9 km condensate/gas, 28603 km gas, 59 km liquid petroleum gas, 5256 km oil, 175 km oil/gas/water, 4919 km refined products, 255 km water (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Busan, Incheon, Gunsan, Kwangyang, Mokpo, Pohang, Ulsan, Yeosu
container port(s) (TEUs): Busan (20,493,000), Incheon (3,050,000), Kwangyang (2,230,000) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Incheon, Kwangyang, Pyeongtaek, Samcheok, Tongyeong, Yeosu
major seaport(s): Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)
oil terminal(s): Fawley Marine terminal, Liverpool Bay terminal (England); Braefoot Bay terminal, Finnart oil terminal, Hound Point terminal (Scotland)
container port(s) (TEUs): Felixstowe (3,849,700), London (2,431,000), Southampton (2,040,000) (2017)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Isle of Grain, Milford Haven, Teesside
Merchant marine
total: 1,880
by type: bulk carrier 83, container ship 86, general cargo 368, oil tanker 187, other 1,156 (2019)
total: 1,426
by type: bulk carrier 143, container ship 108, general cargo 125, oil tanker 137, other 913 (2019)
total: 111 (2013)
total: 460 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 71 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 4 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 19 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 13 (2017)
under 914 m: 23 (2017)
total: 271 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 7 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 89 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 80 (2013)
under 914 m: 66 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 40 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
under 914 m: 38 (2013)
total: 189 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 26 (2013)
under 914 m: 160 (2013)
466 (2013)
9 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 14 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 424
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 88,157,579 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 11,929,560,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 20 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 794
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 165,388,610 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 6,198,370,000 mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
HL (2016)
G (2016)


South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Military branches
Armed Forces of the Republic of Korea: Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), Navy (ROKN, includes Marine Corps, ROKMC), Air Force (ROKAF); Military reserves include Mobilization Reserve Forces (First Combat Forces) and Homeland Defense Forces (Regional Combat Forces); Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries: Korea Coast Guard (2019)
British Army, Royal Navy (includes Royal Marines), Royal Air Force (2019)
Military service age and obligation
18-28 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum conscript service obligation varies by service- 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, are able to serve in all branches (2019)
note:  South Korea intends to reduce the length of military service to 18 – 22 months by 2022
slight variations by service, but generally 16-36 years of age for enlisted (with parental consent under 18) and 18-29 for officers; minimum length of service 4 years; women serve in military services including ground combat roles (2019)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
2.7% of GDP (2019)
2.6% of GDP (2018)
2.4% of GDP (2017)
2.5% of GDP (2016)
2.5% of GDP (2015)
2.14% of GDP (est) (2019 est.)
2.13% of GDP (2018)
2.11% of GDP (2017)
2.11% of GDP (2016)
2.05% of GDP (2015)

Transnational Issues

South KoreaUnited Kingdom
Disputes - international

Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limit Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundary; South Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954

in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement between the UK and Spain; the Government of Gibraltar insisted on equal participation in talks between the two countries; Spain disapproved of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Mauritius and Seychelles claim the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory); in 2001, the former inhabitants of the archipelago, evicted 1967 - 1973, were granted UK citizenship and the right of return, followed by Orders in Council in 2004 that banned rehabitation, a High Court ruling reversed the ban, a Court of Appeal refusal to hear the case, and a Law Lords' decision in 2008 denied the right of return; in addition, the UK created the world's largest marine protection area around the Chagos islands prohibiting the extraction of any natural resources therein; UK rejects sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, which still claims the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Refugees and internally displaced persons
stateless persons: 197 (2019)
refugees (country of origin): 19,744 (Iran), 13,755 (Eritrea), 10,575 (Sudan), 10,389 (Syria), 9,513 (Afghanistan), 8,164 (Pakistan), 5,522 (Sri Lanka) (2019)
stateless persons: 161 (2019)

Source: CIA Factbook