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South Korea, or the Republic of Korea as it is officially known, is located in the Korean Peninsula, in East Asia. It is bordered by North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in the north, the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Korea Strait in the southeast. The capital is Seoul, where almost half of the country's total population resides.
South Korea boasts of having the 12th largest economy in the world. Its technological infrastructure is highly advanced, with some of the highest proportions of broadband Internet users. The country is also a leader in shipbuilding; its ship trade has exported an approximate value of 15.09 billion USD in 2004 alone.
Like the US, the government of South Korea is headed by a president and is divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judiciary. Local governments wield a considerable measure of autonomy and will have their own executive and legislative bodies. South Korea also has a strong military force, which is grouped according to five divisions: Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC), and the reserves.
In fact, South Korea has the eighth largest company of soldiers in active duty in the world, as well as the second biggest Marine Corps, next only to the United States. Its military is quite advanced and even uses the Aegis Combat System, only one of six nations to do so.
Part of the reason why South Korea's military is so strong is due to necessity. Its close neighbor, North Korea, is seen as an occasionally volatile Communist country with nuclear capabilities. No less than 28,000 US troops are stationed in the region.
South Korea's climate is temperate. Its geography includes coastal plains, mountainous regions, and river basins, as well as around 3,000 small and uninhabited islands. The national sport is Taekwondo.
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