South Korea/Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Taehan-min'guk
local short form: none
note: the South Koreans generally use the term "Han-guk" to refer to their country
abbreviation: ROK

Data code: KS

Government type: republic

Capital: Seoul

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (do, singular and plural) and 6 special cities* (gwangyoksi, singular and plural); Cheju-do, Cholla-bukto, Cholla-namdo, Ch'ungch'ong-bukto, Ch'ungch'ong-namdo, Inch'on-gwangyoksi*, Kangwon-do, Kwangju-gwangyoksi*, Kyonggi-do, Kyongsang-bukto, Kyongsang-namdo, Pusan-gwangyoksi*, Soul-t'ukpyolsi*, Taegu-gwangyoksi*, Taejon-gwangyoksi*

Independence: 15 August 1945, date of liberation from Japanese colonial rule

National holiday: Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)

Constitution: 25 February 1988

Legal system: combines elements of continental European civil law systems, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought

Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President KIM Dae-jung (since 25 February 1998)
head of government: Prime Minister PAK Tae-chun (since 10 January 2000)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 18 December 1997 (next to be held by 18 December 2002); prime minister appointed by the president; deputy prime ministers appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
election results: KIM Dae-jung elected president; percent of vote - KIM Dae-jung (NCNP) 40.3% (with ULD partnership), YI Hoe-chang (GNP) 38.7%, YI In-che (NPP) 19.2%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Kukhoe (299 seats - starting with the April 2000 election the number of seats will be reduced to 273; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 11 April 1996 (next to be held 13 April 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NKP 139, NCNP 79, ULD 50, DP 15, independents 16; note - the distribution of seats as of January 2000 was as follows: GNP 130, MDP (former NCNP) 103, ULD 55, independents 11

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, justices are appointed by the president subject to the consent of the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Grand National Party or GNP [YI Hoe-chang, president]; Millennium Democratic Party or MDP [KIM Dae-jung, president]; United Liberal Democrats or ULD [KIM Chong-p'il, honorary chairman]
note: subsequent to the legislative election of April 1996 the following parties disbanded - New Korea Party or NKP and Democratic Party or DP; on 20 January 2000, the National Congress for New Politics or NCNP was renamed the Millennium Democratic Party or MDP

Political pressure groups and leaders: Federation of Korean Industries; Federation of Korean Trade Unions; Korean Confederation of Trade Unions; Korean National Council of Churches; Korean Traders Association; Korean Veterans' Association; National Council of Labor Unions; National Democratic Alliance of Korea; National Federation of Farmers' Associations; National Federation of Student Associations

International organization participation: AfDB, APEC, AsDB, BIS, CCC, CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA (observer), IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNU, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador YI Hong-ku
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
FAX: [1] (202) 387-0205
consulate(s) general: Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle
consulate(s): Agana (Guam)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen W. BOSWORTH
embassy: 82 Sejong-Ro, Chongro-ku, Seoul
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 15550, APO AP 96205-0001
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
FAX: [82] (2) 738-8845

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