Is Korea A Country?

A map showing North Korea and South Korea's location on the Korean Peninsula.
A map showing North Korea and South Korea's location on the Korean Peninsula.

A country is defined as a region in political geography that has a distinct national identity and government. The definition of a country also encompasses independent sovereign states and former sovereign states. The United Nations further stipulates that a country should be able to exercise independent legal jurisdiction. It is agreed upon that there are 195 countries in the world, 193 of which are UN members. 

Korea And The Korean Peninsula

Korea was once a single political entity that governed the Korean peninsula which covered an area of about 84,610 square miles and a coastline length that measures 5255 miles. Korea was bordered to the northeast by Russia, and to the North and West by China.

Founding Of South Korea And North Korea

Korea was divided in 1945 (after the end of WWII) when the Empire of Japan ended its 35-year rule over the peninsula. The US and the Soviet Union took up the respective southern and northern halves with the boundary set by the 38th parallel. Efforts during the Cold War to bring about a unified Korean state failed. Elections (supervised by the UN) were carried out in the southern half in 1948 resulting in a win for Syngman Rhee while in the North Kim II-Sung was selected as the leader. The result was the formation of the North and South Koreas, both of which claimed sovereignty over the whole of Korea.

The Korean War

The Korean War began in1950 when North Korea with the help of the Soviets attacked South Korea. The UN then intervened by sending a US-led military to protect South Korea. North Korea had managed to overrun 90% of South Korea and the US launched a counter attack.The North Korean forces were soon driven from the south with South Korean troops managing to cross the 38 parallel boundaries for the first time on October 1st. Despite numerous warnings from China about crossing the boundary, South Korea under Syngman continued its push to the north with the intent of retaking the whole of the North and unifying the country under his rule with the help of the US. China later intervened as it had promised and launched a counterattack that drove South Korea and US-led forces back to the south. In1951 after what seemed like a stalemate both sides began to consider an armistice.The armistice was signed in 1953 with the new border reflecting the land that was currently held by both nations.

North Korea (D.P.R.K)

North Korea occupies an area totaling 46,540 square miles which is home to a population of about 25,368,620. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as it is officially known was founded on September 9th, 1948 with Kim II-Sung as the appointed leader. The capital of the nation is Pyongyang and is also the largest city in the state.North Korea has a closed and centralized economy with a GDP of $40 billion.

South Korea

The Republic of South Korea as it is formally known occupies are area totaling 38,375 square miles has a population of 51.4 million people. The state was founded on August 15, 1948, and became a member of the UN on September 19, 1991.The capital of the state, Seoul is the largest city and is home to 10 million people. South Korea is a developed country with a GDP of $2,138 trillion which makes it one of the G-20 economies of the world.


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