South Korea is located at 37 00 N, 127 30 E, and it is located on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea (Coutsoukis 2005).
Obviously, the only nation that South Korea borders is North Korea; together they make up one of the easternmost portions of the main Asian continent. The terrain is comprised of primarily hills and mountains, but with some coastal plains in the west and southern parts of the country. South Korea’s land area is 98,190 sq km, and its official waters take up an area of 290 sq km. All of its waters go along its coastline which stretches 2,413 km from east to west.Generally, South Korea experiences a temperate climate, but with moderate to heavy rainfalls in the summer relative to the light rainfalls of the winter. Since it is located in the northern hemisphere, South Korea is subject to the same seasonal shifts as North America of Europe, but its low latitude, though suggesting that its seasons should be more mild, actually is responsible for a wide range of temperatures from winter to summer. Additionally, South Korea experiences the occasional natural disasters that the nation is subject to due to its specific location: sporadic typhoons bring high winds and floods, while low-level seismic activity is common in the southwest.
Since the terrain varies from low coastal plains in the south and west to moderate mountain ranges in the north, the elevation extremes are relatively far apart for such a small nation; the lowest point is near the Sea of Japan, which is at 0 meters above sea level, and the highest point is Halla-san, which rests at 1,950 m above sea level (Coutsoukis 2005). Judging from the variety of the land, it should not be surprising that the natural resources extracted from it are equally varied; they include “coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential.” (Coutsoukis 2005).
Approximately twenty percent of the land area consists of arable land, but only three percent of this land is taken up by permanent crops or pastures. The remaining land area is mostly forested, with a small portion being taken up by cities and villages.Again, being situated in the northern hemisphere, South Korea is subject to many of the same weather-related trends as North America and Europe: the hottest moth of the year is usually August, and the coldest is usually January. However, its location near the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan afford it more drastic temperature variations with respect to other portions of the world not shielded by warm ocean currents. So, South Korea is essentially characterized by a temperate monsoon climate. Basically, winter is cold because of the cold Siberian air mass that moves in from the northwest; summer tends to be hot because of the maritime pacific high (Adams 2005). This means that the highest temperatures in the summer usually reach about 25 degrees Celsius, while the winter temperatures can reach as low as 4 or 5 degrees below zero Celsius.
The political structure and philosophy of South Korea is a unique interplay of four major forces: first, and most obvious, the individual native customs and beliefs of the Korean people; second, Confusion notions and ideals; third, Western European and U.S. political models; and fourth, Marxist philosophy. The internal notions of governance have been greatly influenced by these three outside ideologies and come together to form the current South Korean form of government. To understand the modern South Korean government is to recognize it as a conglomeration of philosophies that appear on the surface to be contradictory, but arose out of several periods of economic and political strife. Fundamentally, South Korea is a small nation of extremes in many respects; these extremes are topographical, environmental, temperate, and governmental.