South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People Republic of China (Mainland China) to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China (Taiwan) to the south. South Korea lies in a humid continental and humid subtropical climate region with a predominantly mountainous terrain. Its territory covers a total area of 99,392 square kilometers and has a population of almost 50 million. The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 10,421,782. Archaeological findings show that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by the Lower Paleolithic period. Korean history begins with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary Dan-gun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Silla 668 AD, Korea went through the Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty as one nation until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Korea was annexed by Japan. After liberation and occupation by Soviet and U.S. forces at the end of World War II, the nation was divided into North and South Korea. The latter was established in 1948 as a democracy, though political turmoil, and periods of military rule and martial law, were to characterize much of the period until the foundation of the Sixth Republic in 1987. After the invasion of South Korea by forces from the North on 25 June 1950, the resulting war between the two Koreas ended with an Armistice Agreement, but the border between the two nations is the most heavily fortified in the world. After the war, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country had transformed into a major economy, a full democracy, and a regional power in East Asia. South Korea is a presidential republic consisting of sixteen administrative divisions and is a developed country with a very high standard of living. It is Asia's fourth largest economy and the world's 15th (nominal) or 12th (purchasing power parity) largest economy. The economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the United Nations, WTO, OECD and G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.
Wikipedia, "South Korea",2018.07.07,<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korea>,2018.07.10
Healthcare Personnel: Over 91,000 physicians
In South Korea, only authorized healthcare professionals can provide health services. The Medical Law stipulates that only doctors, dentists, nurses, oriental medical doctors, and midwives licensed by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (MIHWAF) can provide health services. Nurse's aides, acupuncturists, and massage therapists are described as quasi-medical professionals. As of 2007, there were 91,400 physicians, 23,114 dentists, 16,663 oriental medical doctors, 57,176 pharmacists, 8,587 midwives, and 235, 687 nurses in South Korea. A major problem concerning healthcare resources in South Korea is regional disparities in medical services. Most private medical facilities are located in urban areas, and around 90% of physicians are concentrated in cities while 80% of the population lives in urban areas.
Healthcare Delivery System: Korean patients have freedom of choice
Korean patients can go to any doctor or any medical institution, including hospitals, which they choose. The referral arrangement system is divided into two steps. The patient can go to any medical practitioner office except specialized general hospitals. If the patient wants to go to a secondary hospital, he/she has to present a referral slip issued by the medical practitioner who diagnosed him/her first. There are some exceptions: in the case of childbirth, emergency medical care, dental care, rehabilitation, family medicine services, and hemophiliac disease, the patient can go to any hospital without a referral slip.
Reference: Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs Annual Report 2006, 2007, 2008.
Three Arms of Healthcare Security
South Korea's healthcare security system has three arms: the National Health Insurance Program, the Medical Aid Program, and Long-term Care Insurance Program.
1. National Health Insurance Program
The first health insurance law in South Korea, the Medical Insurance Act, came into force in December 1963. From July 1977, all companies with more than 500 employees were required to provide a health insurance program and separate health insurance societies were established. In January 1979, the insurance coverage requirement was expanded to companies with more than 300 employees, public servants, and private school employees. In January 1988, self-employed people in rural areas were included under this system. The year 1989 is the most important year in the history of South Korean National Health Insurance Program. In July, the health insurance program for urban areas was expanded to include the self-employed. It took 12 years from the establishment of the Medical Insurance Act to achieve universal health insurance coverage for all citizens. About ten years later, in 2000, all health insurance societies were integrated into a single insurer, the National Health Insurance Program.
2. Medical Aid Program
Around 3.7% of the total population is covered under the Medical Aid Program. As of 2006, the number of people enrolled under the Medical Aid Program is 1,828,627 (3.7%) out of the total national population of 49,238,227. The number of people enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program is 28,445,033 (57.7%) Employee Insured and 18,964,567 (38.6%) Self-employed. The Medical Aid Program was established in 1979 for low-income households after the promulgation of the Medical Aid Act in 1977. Under this program, the Government pays all medical expenses for patients who are unable to pay for healthcare. After 2004, the Medical Aid Program was expanded to cover patients with rare, intractable, and chronic diseases as well as children under the age of 18. The Medical Aid Program is jointly funded by the central and local governments. The MIHWFA sets and annually modifies the criteria for beneficiaries. Local governments select the beneficiaries based on the conditions set by the Ministry. Recently the Government has faced financial difficulty in providing the needed medical services for low-income people and changed the system so that the National Health Insurance Program provides partial funding for the Medical Aid Program.
3. Long-term Care Insurance Program
Recently life expectancy in South Korea has increased sharply, rising more than eight years over the past 20 years. Traditionally, taking care of elderly people had been a major family burden in South Korea. To solve this problem, the Government introduced a Long-term Care Insurance Program in July 2008 in several locations around the country as a pilot implementation study. It is a social insurance system and currently covers 3.8% of elderly Koreans. Elderly people with serious limitations in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) are qualified to apply for the program. For example, those aged 65 years or older, or those aged less than 65 years old but suffer from an age-related disabling condition such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, or paralysis due to stroke, can apply for the program. If they are qualified as a beneficiary, they receive medical treatment services including baths, laundry, and nursing care. Long-term Care Insurance Program is funded by long-term care insurance contributions paid by the insured, government subsidies, and co-payments by beneficiaries. The Government finances 20% of total long-term care insurance, which is based on a co-payment system. Users of the services pay 15% (in-home services)–20% (institution services) of the expenses for care services. The national government hopes to expand the program to include coverage of elderly people with less serious limitations in performing ADLs.
The South Korean Health Care System
National Health Insurance Corporation (www.nhic.or.kr)
There are two kinds of school systems in Korea. The undergraduate program in medical schools in Korea comprises two years of premedical studies followed by four years of the standard medical program(2+4). The graduate program consist four years of undergraduate studies and four years of the standard medical program(4+4). During the first two years of premedical studies, students take all prerequisite coursework in physics, chemistry, biology, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, etc. with other non-medical students, rather than medical subjects. During the four years of the standard medical program, students are required first to take basic medical science courses including anatomy, physiology, parasitology, preventive medicine, and pathology. Upon completion of the basic coursework, they take clinical courses in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, dermatology, and other specialty areas. In the third year of the standard medical program, students enter clinical rotations. Prior to graduating, they sit the national qualification examination for doctors to become a general practitioner after graduation. There are 40 medical schools in South Korea with over 3000 students graduating from the medical schools annually with the appropriate qualifications to practice medicine.
After completing one year of internship and 4 years of residency and passing the qualifying examination for medical specialties administered by KMA, one receives a medical specialist certificate. A certified medical specialist may choose to work as a clinical specialist (generally referred to as "Fellow") for experiences in more specialized research and clinical studies. Although becoming a medical specialist requires at least 11 years, the specialists accounted for 70.3% in 2008 according to the Korea Health care Industry Report 2009.
Reference : KHIDI [Internet]. c2009. Highly Qualified Medical Professionals; 2009. Available from:
South Korea has a market-oriented economy with technologically advanced transportation network consisting of high-speed railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services, and air routes that criss-cross the country. Korea Expressway Corporation operates the toll highways and service amenities en route. Korail provides frequent train service to all major South Korean cities. Two rail lines, Gyeongui and Donghae Bukbu Line, to North Korea are now being reconnected. The Korean high-speed rail system, KTX, provides high-speed service along Gyeongbu and Honam Line. Major cities including Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangjuhave subway systems. Express bus terminals are available in most cities. Construction of South Korea's largest airport, Incheon International Airport, was completed in 2001. By 2007, the airport was serving 30 million passengers a year. Other international airports include Gimpo, Busan and Jeju. There are also seven domestic airports, and a large number of heliports.
Korean Air, founded in 1962, served 21,640,000 passengers, including 12,490,000 international passengers in 2008. A second carrier,Asiana Airlines, established in 1988, also serves domestic and international traffic. Combined, South Korean airlines serve 297 international routes.Smaller airliners, such as Jeju Air, provide domestic service with lower fares. South Korea is the world's fifth largest nuclear power producer and the second-largest in Asia as of 2010. Nuclear power in South Korea supplies 45% of electricity production and research is very active with investigation into a variety of advanced reactors, including a small modular reactor, a liquid-metal fast/transmutation reactor and a high-temperature hydrogen generation design. Fuel production and waste handling technologies have also been developed locally. It is also a member of the ITER project.
South Korea is an emerging exporter of nuclear reactors, having concluded agreements with the UAE to build and maintain four advanced nuclear reactors,with Jordan for a research nuclear reactor,and with Argentina for construction and repair of heavy-water nuclear reactors. As of 2010, South Korea andTurkey are in negotiations regarding construction of two nuclear reactors. South Korea is also preparing to bid on construction of a light-water nuclear reactor for Argentina. South Korea is not allowed to enrich uranium or develop traditional uranium enrichment technology on its own due to US political pressure, unlike most major nuclear powers such as Japan, Germany, and France, competitors of South Korea in the international nuclear market, providing a noticeable impediment to South Korea's indigenous nuclear industrial undertaking that has sparked occasional diplomatic rows between the two allies. While South Korea is successful in exporting its electricity-generating nuclear technology and nuclear reactors, it cannot capitalize on themarket for nuclear enrichment facilities and refineries, preventing Korea from further expanding its export niche. South Korea has sought unique technologies such as pyroprocessing technology to circumvent these obstacles and seek a more advantageous competition. The US has recently been wary of South Korea's burgeoning nuclear program which South Korea insists will only be for civilian use.
For the rail tickets: http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfIndex_eng.do
For Seoul and near cities subway information: http://www.seoulmetro.co.kr/eng/
For Daegu subway information: http://www.dtro.or.kr/
For Busan subway information: http://www.humetro.busan.kr/english/main/
South Korea shares its traditional culture with North Korea, but the two Koreas have developed distinct contemporary forms of culture since the peninsula was divided in 1945. Historically, while the culture of Korea has been heavily influenced by that of neighbouring China, it has nevertheless managed to develop a unique and distinct cultural identity from its larger neighbour. The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism actively encourages the traditional arts, as well as modern forms, through funding and education programs. The industrialization and urbanization of South Korea have brought many changes to the way Korean people live. Changing economics and lifestyles have led to a concentration of population in major cities, especially the capital Seoul, with multi-generational households separating into nuclear family living arrangements.
Korean art has been highly influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism, which can be seen in the many traditional paintings, sculptures, ceramics and the performing arts. Korean pottery and porcelain, such as Joseon's baekja and buncheong, andGoryeo's celadon are well known throughout the world. The Korean tea ceremony, pansori, talchum and buchaechum are also notable Korean performing arts. Post-war modern Korean art started to flourish in the 1960s and 1970s, when South Korean Artists took interest in geometrical shapes and intangible subjects. Establishing a harmony between man and nature was also a favorite of this time. Due to social instability, social issues appeared as main subjects in the 1980s. Art was influenced by various international events and exhibits in Korea, and with it brought more diversity. The Olympic Sculpture Garden in 1988, the transposition of the 1993 edition of the Whitney Biennial to Seoul, the creation of the Gwangju Biennale and the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1995 were notable events.
Reference : "Korea South A "Spy" Guide vol.1, 45P"
Due to South Korea's tumultuous history, construction and destruction has been repeated endlessly, resulting in an interesting melange of architectural styles and designs.Korean traditional architecture is characterized by its harmony with nature. Ancient architects adopted the bracket system and is characterized by thatched roofs and heated floors called ondol. People of the upper classes built bigger houses with elegantly curved tiled roofs with lifting eaves. Traditional architecture can be seen in the palaces and temples, preserved old houses called hanok, and special sites like Hahoe Folk Village, Yangdong Village of Gyeongju and Korean Folk Village. Traditional architecture may also be seen at the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Korea.
Bulguksa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Western architecture was first introduced to Korea at the end of the 19th century. Churches, offices for foreign legislation, schools and university buildings were built in new styles. With annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 the colonial regime intervened in Korea's architectural heritage and Japanese-style modern architecture was imposed. The anti-Japanese sentiment, and the Korean War, led to the destruction of most buildings constructed during that time. Korean architecture entered a new phase of development during the post-Korean War reconstruction, incorporating modern architectural trends and styles. Stimulated by the economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, active redevelopment saw new horizons in architectural design. In the aftermath of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has witnessed a wide variation of styles in its architectural landscape due, in large part, to the opening up of the market to foreign architects. Contemporary architectural efforts have been constantly trying to balance the traditional philosophy of "harmony with nature" and the fast-paced urbanization that the country has been going through in recent years.
Reference : https://hisour.com/architecture-of-south-korea-31461/ 13 July, 2018
Korean cuisine, hanguk yori, or hansik, has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals consumed both by the royal family and ordinary Korean citizens have been regulated by a unique culture of etiquette. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, fish and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, banchan, which accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Every meal is accompanied by numerous banchan. Kimchi, a fermented, usually spicy vegetable dish is commonly served at every meal and is one of the best known Korean dishes. Korean cuisine usually involves heavy seasoning with sesame oil, doenjang, a type of fermented soybean paste, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang, a hot pepper paste. Soups are also a common part of a Korean meal and are served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal. Soups known as guk are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Similar to guk, tang has less water, and is more often served in restaurants. Another type is jjigae, a stew that is typically heavily seasoned with chili pepper and served boiling hot.)
Reference : "Korea South A "Spy" Guide vol.1, 47P"
Contemporary music, film and television
In addition to domestic consumption, South Korean mainstream culture, including televised drama, films, and popular music, also generates significant exports to various parts of the world. This phenomenon, often called "Hallyu" or the "Korean Wave", has swept many countries in Asia and other parts of the world. Until the 1990s, trot and ballads dominated Korean popular music. The emergence of the rap group Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992 marked a turning point for Korean popular music, also known as K-Pop, as the group incorporated elements of popular musical genres of rap, rock, and techno into its music. Hip hop, dance and ballad oriented acts have become dominant in the Korean popular music scene, though trot is still popular among older Koreans. Many K-Pop stars and groups are also well known abroad, especially in Asia. Since the success of the film Shiri in 1999, Korean film has begun to gain recognition internationally. Domestic film has a dominant share of the market, partly due to the existence of screen quotas requiring cinemas to show Korean films at least 73 days a year.
Reference : "Countries and Territories of the World, 920p."
Korean television shows, especially the short form dramatic mini-series called "dramas", have also become popular outside of Korea, becoming another driving trend for wider recognition. The trend has caused some Korean actors to become better known abroad. The dramas are popular mostly in Asia. The stories have tended to have a romance focus, such as You're Beautiful, My Name is Kim Sam Soon, Boys over Flowers, Winter Sonata, Autumn Fairy Tale,Full House, All About Eve. Historical/fantasy dramas have included Dae Jang Geum, The Legend, Goong, and Sungkyunkwan Scandal.
Reference : Centre of Foreign Languages and Cultures-About Korea(http://www1.uic.edu.hk/en/v25-cflc/courses/korean)
South Korean corporations Samsung and LG were ranked second and third largest mobile phone companies in the world in the first quarter of 2010, respectively. An estimated 90% of South Koreans own a mobile phone. Aside from placing/receiving calls and text messaging, mobile phones in the country are widely used for watching Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) or viewing websites. Over one million DMB phones have been sold and the three major wireless communications providers SK Telecom, KT, and LG Telecom provide coverage in all major cities and other areas. Wide access to broadband has let online games become a significant part of Korean culture in recent years. StarCraft, a real-time strategy game, is by far the most popular televised computer game in South Korea. Game tournaments, recorded in places like the COEX Mall are often broadcast live on TV stations such as MBCGame and Ongamenet. Professional StarCraft players can command considerable salaries in South Korea as members of pro-gaming teams that are sponsored primarily by cell phone providers
. PC games are usually played in PC bangs which are basically internet cafes dedicated to online games such as Aion, Lineage II, Sudden Attack, Kart Rider, Maple Story, Mabinogi, World of WarCraft, and StarCraft 2 (the long awaited sequel to the original starcraft which sold over 4.5 million copies in South Korea).
Reference : "Korea South A "Spy" Guide vol.1, 47P"
South Korea tends to have a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate, and is affected by the East Asian monsoon, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called jangma.
Reference : "worldincoming.com(http://www.worldincoming.com/information/asia-2/south-korea/planning-a-trip/)"