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A Guide to South Korea
A Guide to South Korea
South Korea's climate is temperate with cold winters and hot summers. Winters rarely go below freezing, with an average January temperature in Seoul in the low 20s, and July temperatures in the high 30s. The country is home to more than seven million Christians, and a large percentage of those belong to the largest Christian denominations. There are also small numbers of Buddhists and independent Christians.
The Moon administration is following in the footsteps of the Lee and Roh administrations in trying to broaden its international relationships. While avoiding conflict with China and the United States, the South Korean government has sought to build strong relations with ASEAN countries and other emerging markets. However, these relationship-building efforts are limited to non-controversial areas, such as nontraditional security issues like climate change. By attempting to improve relations with these countries, South Korea hopes to insulate itself from the risks of trade friction, while advancing its role as a middle power.
In terms of democracy, South Korea is a liberal democracy with a presidential republican system. The president is elected by direct popular vote, and the legislature and judiciary share powers. The constitution has undergone five major revisions since 1948. The most recent of these, the Sixth Republic, began in 1988. The president is elected to serve as head of state and appoints a prime minister with the approval of the National Assembly. He also presides over the State Council, which is composed of the prime ministers and deputy chief ministers.
The climate of South Korea is influenced by its proximity to the main Asian landmass. This causes summer and winter temperature extremes, and establishes the northeast Asian monsoons that influence precipitation patterns. The northern and southern regions of the peninsula experience a wider annual temperature range. Coastal regions are warmer and drier than the interior parts of the peninsula.
Economic freedom in South Korea is high, with an overall score of 74.6. This makes the country the 19th-freest economy in the world, and the fifth-most free in the Asia-Pacific region. The country also has a thriving financial sector, which has a competitive environment. However, start-up financing is difficult, and the government has become more interventionist in economic policy.
The public transport system in South Korea is good. While taxis are a viable option, the bus network is equally good. The main city, Seoul, has an extensive subway system. There are green buses that run between specific neighborhoods, while blue buses cover longer distances. There are also red buses that go on express routes.
Most South Koreans live in urban areas. A large number of people moved from the countryside during the rapid economic growth of the 1970s and 1980s. The country's largest city, Seoul, is the main industrial centre and has a population of 10.3 million. This makes it one of the most populated single cities in the world. Other major cities include Busan and Incheon, both of which have around a million inhabitants.
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