The Korean Peninsula extends southward from the northeast part of the Asian continent between 33 degrees and 43 degrees North Latitude and 124 degrees and 132 degrees East Longitude. The standard meridian of the peninsula is 135 degrees. Local time is nine hours ahead of GMT. The Amnokgang and Dumangang Rivers border both China and Russia to the north, and Japan is just across the East Sea. Since 1945, as a result of the Cold War tension, the peninsula has been divided at the 38th parallel degrees North Latitude into the Republic of Korea, or South Korea, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea.
The total area of the peninsula is 222,154 km2, which is similar in size to that of the U.K., New Zealand, or Romania. South Korea possesses 99,373 km2 or 45% of the total land mass, and North Korea 122,762 km2, the remaining 55%. About 70% of the land is mountainous, with the main concentrations to the north and east. Along the southern and western coasts the mountains descend gradually toward broad coastal plains. Most of the rivers have their tributaries on the north and east sides more than 3,000 and flow into the Yellow and South Seas. Clustered for the most part on the southern coast, islands are of various sizes provide scenery unparalleled throughout the world.
Koreans, like many other Asian peoples, are descendants of the Mongolian Tungus stock. They differ from the neighbouring Japanese and Chinese, however, in that Koreans are a homogeneous ethnic group with their own language, culture, and customs. Korean people are characterized by their generosity, warmth, and kindness, and are renowned as some of the hardest working people in the world.
The capital city is Seoul, which is the political, cultural, commercial, financial, and educational centre of Korea. Seoul also offers many of South Korea’s major tourist attractions and has a population of just under ten million. The total population of South Korea is just over forty six million.