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Introduction on the Republic of Korea

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General Information

General Information
Country Name Republic of Korea Capital Seoul
Area 100,339.4 km2 (ranks 107th globally) Population 51,780,579 (Statistics Korea, 2020)
Language Korean Currency Won (KRW)
Time Difference GMT + 9 hours* Religion Protestantism, Buddhism, Catholicism, etc.
※ 16:00 in Korea = 02:00 in US (-13 hours), = 15:00 in China (-1 hour), = 16:00 in Japan (-0 hour)

Public Holidays

Public Holidays : Name,Date,Remarks
Name Date Remarks
Sinjeong (New Year’s Day) January 1
Seollal (Lunar New Year) January 1 (Lunar calendar) The first day of the Korean lunar calendar when Koreans exchange greetings and words of encouragement
Samiljeol March 1 Commemorate the March 1 Independence Movement in 1919
Buddha’s Birthday April 8 (Lunar calendar) Also called Seokga Tansinil in Korean
Children’s Day May 5
Memorial Day August 15
Gwangbokjeol August 15 Celebrate both the national liberation in 1945 and the establishment of the government of the Republic of Korea in 1948.
Chuseok August 15 (Lunar calendar) A major holiday in Korea that is also called hangawi, meaning the great middle of autumn.
Gaecheonjeol October 3 Celebrate the foundation of the first Korean kingdom of the Dangun Joseon
Hangul Day October 9 Commemorate the invention of Hangul, the unique alphabet of the Korean language
Christmas December 25
※ The substitute holiday system applies to Lunar New Year’s Day, Children’s Day, and Chuseok.

Weather

Korea has a temperate climate with four relatively distinct seasons. Climate change, caused by global warming, has been prolonging summer compared to the other three seasons.
In January, the coldest month of the year, the temperature can drop to as low as -17 degrees Celsius, whereas it can reach 39 degrees in August (as of 2018), the hottest month of the year. Humidity rises to 85 percent in summer, notably increasing the heat index. Summer usually begins with a rainy season (known as jangma in Korea), and 50 to 60 percent of the annual precipitation falls during the summer months.
Fine and ultrafine dust has increasingly become an issue in Korea, with its concentration being higher from fall to spring and lower in the summer.

Central Administrative Agencies and Local Governments

Central Administrative Agencies
Central administrative agencies are liable for providing public services for the entire nation. These agencies are headed by the President. The Prime Minister assists the President while supervising ministries. Ministers direct and oversee their ministries while executing matters as prescribed by related laws. Korea’s central administrative agencies consist of eighteen bu (ministries), five cheo (agencies), seventeen cheong (administrations), two won (boards), four sil (offices), and six commissions (total: 52 agencies as of 2019). The National Human Rights Commission, one of the six commissions, is an independent agency.
Local Governments
Local governments are classified into two categories according to the Local Autonomy Act: upper level local autonomy (17; special metropolitan cities, metropolitan cities, do (provinces), metropolitan autonomous cities, and special self-governing provinces) and lower level local autonomy (226; si, gun, and gu) (as of 2019).
Each local government consists of local officials appointed or dismissed by the head of the local government who is elected by residents through direct elections, and executive organizations composed of public officials appointed or dismissed by the President or Ministers on the recommendation of the head of the local government. The local government also runs a local council elected by residents through direct elections. Local councils are responsible for legislation, amendment and repeal of local ordinances, deliberation and determination of budgets, approval for settlement of accounts, audit and inspection of administrative affairs, and acceptance and handling of petitions, etc. Local governments cover local finances through local tax revenues and non-tax income, including service charges and user fees, local subsidies from the central government, national subsidies, and local taxes.