South Korea (/ˈsaʊθ kɒˌriə/ ( listen)), officially the Republic of Korea (ROK, Korean: 대한민국, pronounced [tɛːhanminɡuk̚] ( listen)) and sometimes referred to simply as Korea, is a country in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. Its capital is Seoul. South Korea lies in a temperate climate region with a predominantly mountainous terrain. Its territory covers a total area of 99,392 square kilometers and has a population of 50 million.
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.
After the invasion of South Korea by forces from the North on 25 June 1950, the resulting war between the two Koreas ended in an uneasy cease-fire, and the border between the two nations is currently the most heavily fortified in the world. After the war, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was 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.