Korean Peninsula

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Korean Peninsula
Korean: 조선반도 (Hanja: 朝鮮半島; MR: Chosŏn Pando) in North Korea, Korean: 한반도 (Hanja: 韓半島; RR: Han Bando) in South Korea
Peninsulas of Asia
Satellite image of the Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula shown in Dark Green
Countries North Korea, South Korea
Borders on China, Russia, Sea of Japan, East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Korea Strait
Highest point Paektu Mountain
 - elevation 2,744 m (9,003 ft)
Lowest point sea level
Length 1,100 km (684 mi), north to south
Area 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi)
Population 74,461,933 (2012[1])
Density 337 / km2 (873 / sq mi)
Topographic map of the Korean Peninsula

The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles (1,100 km) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the East Sea to the east, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.


Until the end of World War II, Korea was a single political entity whose territory roughly coincided with the Korean Peninsula. Since the Armistice Agreement ended the Korean War in 1953, the northern division of the peninsula has been governed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, while the southern portion has been governed by the Republic of Korea.

The northern boundaries for the Korean Peninsula are commonly (and tacitly) taken to coincide with today's political borders between North Korea and its northern neighbors, China (1,416 km (880 mi) along the provinces of Jilin and Liaoning) and Russia (19 km (12 mi)). These borders are formed naturally by the rivers Yalu/Amnok and Tumen/Tuman/Duman. Taking this definition, the Korean Peninsula (including its islands) has an area of 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi).

The peninsula's names in Chosonmal, Chinese and Japanese all have the same origin, that being Joseon, the old name of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty and Gojoseon even longer before that. In North Korea's Chosonmal, the peninsula is called Chosŏn Pando (Chosongul: 조선반도 / Hanja: 朝鮮半島), while in China it is called Cháoxiǎn Bàndǎo (朝鲜半岛/朝鮮半島) and in Japan it is Chōsenhantō (Kanji: 朝鮮半島 / Hiragana: ちょうせんはんとう). In South Korea, meanwhile it is called Han Bando (Hangeul: 한반도 / Hanja: 韓半島), referring to the Samhan. They both use "Korea" as part of their official English names, which is a name that comes from the Goryeo (or Koryŏ, in North Korea) dynasty (고려/高麗). The Korean Peninsula is sometimes referred to in older English historical books as the Sino-Russian Peninsula or Silla/Sila.[citation needed]

Summarized comparison of the two countries on the Korean Peninsula

Indicator North Korea South Korea
Capital Pyongyang Seoul
Official languages Korean
Official scripts Chosŏn'gŭl Hangul
Government Juche Hereditary single-party state under a totalitarian dictatorship Constitutional liberal democracy
Formal declaration 9 September 1948 15 August 1948
Area (km2) 120,540 100,210
Population (2014/2013 est.) 24,851,627 50,219,669
GDP total (billion $, 2011/2014 est.) 40 1755
GDP/capita (thousand $, 2011/2014 est.) 1.8 34.777
Currency North Korean won (₩) (KPW) South Korean won (₩) (KRW)
Calling code +850 +82
Internet TLD .kp .kr
Drives on the right right
Active military personnel 1,106,000 639,000
Military expenditure (billion $, 2010/2012) 10 30

See also



Further reading

  • KOIS (Korea Overseas Information Service) (2003). Handbook of Korea, 11th ed. Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-212-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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