Foundations for Global Water Security and Resilience:
Knowledge, Technology and Policy
South Korea is located in North-east Asia, and neighbouring countries include Japan to the east and China to the west. Therefore, Korea is a very valuable piece of land and an international hub of Asia. Also, many international events have been held here including the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, the G20 Seoul Summit 2010, the APEC Summit 2005, the 2002 FIFA Football World Cup, and the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, while the city of PyeongChang hosted 2018 Olympic Winter Games. It is also the country of the “Korean Wave,” which recently is influential all over the world as Korean pop culture has been greatly gaining its popularity overseas.
Since their settlement in prehistoric times on the land now known as the Korean Peninsula, the Korean people have developed a wealth of unique cultural traditions related to the way they dress, eat, and behave at home. These traditions reflect the natural environment of their homeland, a terrain predominately covered by hills and mountains, bound by the sea on three sides and marked by four distinct seasons.
The Korean Peninsula (lat. 33˚ - 43˚; long. 124˚ - 132˚) lies in the middle of Northeast Asia, flanked by China to its west and Japan to its east. The peninsula is 950km long longitudinally and 540km wide latitudinally. The total area of South Korea is 100,364 k㎡. Excluding the northern end, which is joined to the Asian continent, the peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides, with flat land and mountains accounting for 30% and 70% of the entire territory, respectively. Mountains over 1,000m above sea level make up only 15% of the mountainous areas, while mountains lower than 500m account for 65%.
The Taebaeksan Mountain Range forms the backbone of the peninsula, with the eastern part of the range rising higher than the western part. Rivers, both small and large, originate from the high mountainous areas in the east and flow toward the West and South Seas, forming plains suitable for grain cultivation.
Since the earliest settlements on the Korean Peninsula and in southeastern Manchuria during prehistoric times, the people of Korea have developed a distinctive culture based on their unique artistic sensibility. The geographical conditions of the peninsula provided Koreans with opportunities to receive both continental and maritime cultures and ample resources, which in turn enabled them to form unique cultures of interest to and value for the rest of humanity, both then and now. Korea’s vibrant cultural legacy, comprising music, art, literature, dance, architecture, clothing and cuisine, offers a delightful combination of tradition and modernity, and is now appreciated in many parts of the world.
A term now widely used to refer to the popularity of Korean entertainment and culture across Asia and other parts of the world, Hallyu or the “Korean Wave” first appeared during the mid-1990s after Korea entered into diplomatic relations with China in 1992 and Korean TV dramas and pop music gained great popularity in Chinese-speaking communities. The ‘Korean Wave’ craze has expanded to Korean traditional culture, food, literature and language, creating more and more enthusiasts. A great majority of Hallyu-related organiations are K-Pop fan clubs, but there are also various communities of people who are interested in Korean dramas, food, tourism, and more. As of December 2017, a total of 73.12 million people in 92 countries joined these organisations across Asia, Oceania, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Republic of Korea ranked 7th overall in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. The country has shown great performances at international competitions with top 10 finishes including 8th at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and 5th at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Korea has also produced one of the best athletes in the world. Kim Yuna continued to break world records in figure skating, a field which used to be dominated by Western athletes. Choo Shin-soo is also an active player in US Major League Baseball, while golfer Park In-bee made the country proud by winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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