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Korea South Government - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

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.)

Government type

presidential republic


name: Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, serves 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

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: Chungcheongbuk-do (North Chungcheong), Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong), Gangwon-do, Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang), Gyeonggi-do, Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang), Jeju-do (Jeju), Jeollabuk-do (North Jeolla), Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla)

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

special city: Seoul

special self-governing city: Sejong


15 August 1945 (from Japan)

National holiday

Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)


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

Legal system

mixed legal system combining European civil law, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


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


18 years of age; universal; note - the voting age was lowered from 19 to 18 beginning with the 2020 national election

Executive branch

chief of state: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister HAN Duck-soo (since 21 May 2022) serves as the principal executive assistant to the president, similar to the role of a vice president

head of government: President YOON Suk Yeol (since 10 May 2022)

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 March 2022 (next to be held in March 2027); prime minister appointed by president with consent of the National Assembly

election results:
: YOON Suk-yeol elected president; YOON Suk-yeol (PPP) 48.6%, LEE Jae-myung (DP) 47.8%; other 3.6%

2017: MOON Jae-in elected president; MOON Jae-in (DP) 41.1%, HONG Joon-pyo (Liberty Korea Party) 24%, AHN Cheol-soo (PP) 21.4%, YOO Seung-min (Bareun Party) 6.8%, SIM Sang-jung (Justice Party) 6.2%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Gukhoe (300 seats statutory, current 295; 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 on 10 April 2024)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - DPK/Platform Party 49.9%, United Future Party 41.5%, JP 1.7%; seats by party - DPK/Platform Party 180, United Future Party (now PPP) 103, JP 6, ODP 3, PP 3, independent 5; composition as of April 2022 - men 242, women 57, percent of women 19.1%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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

Political parties and leaders

Basic Income Party [SHIN Ji-hye] 
Democratic Party of Korea or DPK [LEE Jae-myung] (renamed from Minjoo Party of Korea or MPK in October 2016); includes the former Open Democratic Party [CHOI Kong-wook], which merged with the DP in January 2022 and the Together Citizens' Party or Platform Party [WOO Hee-jong, CHOI Bae-geun], which merged with the DP in May 2022)
Hope of Korea [Yang Hyang-ja]
Justice Party or JP [LEE Jeong-mi]
People Power Party or PPP [HAN Dong-hoon] (renamed from United Future Party in September 2020, formerly Liberty Korea Party)
Transition Korea [CHO Jung-hun]

note: the DPK is South Korea’s largest party and its main progressive party; the People Power Party (PPP) is a conservative grouping and is South Korea’s second-largest party

International organization participation

ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CABEI, 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, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNOOSA, UNWTO, UPU, Wassenaar Arrangement, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador CHO Hyundong (since 19 April 2023)

chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600

FAX: [1] (202) 797-0595

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas (TX), Hagatna (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Philip S. GOLDBERG (since 29 July 2022)

embassy: 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul

mailing address: 9600 Seoul Place, Washington, DC  20521-9600

telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114

FAX: [82] (2) 397-4101

email address and website:

consulate(s): Busan

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

National symbol(s)

taegeuk (yin yang symbol), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), Siberian tiger; national colors: red, white, blue, black

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

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 16 (14 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes (n); Changdeokgung Palace Complex (c); Jongmyo Shrine (c); Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple (c); Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (c); Gyeongju Historic Areas (c); Namhansanseong (c); Baekje Historic Areas (c); Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea (c); Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (c)

NOTE: The information regarding Korea South on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea South 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea South 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.