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South Korea: On The Edge? Essay

1383 words - 6 pages

A developing country is defined as a country whose average per capita GNP is a fraction of that in more industrialized countries (8). With an average per capita of $16000 (US dollars), South Korea fits into this category, but is very close to achieving the title of a developed country (6).Korea won independence from Japan on August 15, 1945, after the end of World War II (4). The United States encouraged the south to start it's own independent government, and the Soviet Union encouraged the north to do the same (1). In 1950, the south declared its independence (2). Soon after, the north attacked, starting a war that lasted for three years, ending with a cease-fire agreement, and two ...view middle of the document...

The current population of South Korea is forty five million people (4). After many years of rapid population growth, the government initiated family planning campaigns and programs, and currently the population growth is 0.89% (3). Another problem in the past was life expectancy (3). Today, life expectancy is 74 years, 22 years longer than it was 45 years ago (3). Infant mortality rate is also much lower than it was in the past, at 7.7 deaths per 1000 live births (2). The government has also set up programs to keep its citizens in good health (2). In the mid-1980's AIDS was recognized as a problem, when 22 cases were discovered (3). Laws were created to test many people in the country, and it has worked effectively (2). There are only approximately 3800 people in South Korea with the virus (1). The government also discovered that mental health was a problem, and a law was passed that each hospital include a separate mental health wing (4). Education is very important to Koreans (1). The country has a ninety-eight percent literacy rate, and most middle and high school students learn English (3). Only thirty percent of students attend college, because entrance exams are very difficult (4).There are many different religions in South Korea. Confucianism was the way of life in Korea for a very long time (1). It is a system of ethics created in China around 500 BC (1). It is a system of devotion and respect between five different pairings, ruler and subject, father and son, husband and wife, old and young, and friends (1). Only three percent of the country's population are Confucianist today, but many Koreans continue to follow the rules of the religion (3). Almost fifty percent of the population follows Christianity, while almost another 50 percent follow Buddhism (3). There are many other religions in the country, but the three mentioned above are the most common (3).South Korea has many traditional items and shows (1). In many cities you can find drum dances (where dancers have drums hanging from their necks, mask dances, monk dances, and spirit-cleansing dances (1). There are many traditional statues in South Korea also (1). Seoul has many art sculpture parks where people can visit and observe works modern artists put on display (1). A traditional food of South Korea is gimchi, which is grated vegetables that is mixed in with chilli, garlic, and ginger (1). If a person visits a Korean restaurant, gimchi will probably come with the meal (1). Pancakes are a popular meal that is purchased on the street (1). Two different kinds of pancakes are pajeon (green onion pancakes), and bindaetteok (a pancake made with bean sprouts and pork) (1).South Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula, which it shares with North Korea (1). It is neighbored by North Korea to the north, China to the west across the Yellow Sea, and Japan to the...

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