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South Korea

South Korea (About this sound listen), officially the Republic of Korea (ROK; About this sound listen), is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.[11] Officially, its territory consists of the whole Korean Peninsula and its adjacent islands,[12] which are largely mountainous. South Koreans lead a distinctive urban lifestyle, as half of them live in high-rises[13] concentrated in the Seoul Capital Area with 25 million residents[14] and the world's sixth leading global city[15] with the fourth largest economy[16] and seventh most sustainable city in the world.[17]

The earliest neolithic Korean pottery dates to 8000 BC,[18] with three kingdoms flourishing in the 1st century BC. The name Korea is derived from one of them, Goguryeo, also known as Koryŏ, which was a Han Chinese tributary state kingdom in East Asia that sent yearly tribute to the Emperor of China,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26] ruling most of the Korean Peninsula and a small portion of Siberia[27] and Inner Mongolia[28] under Gwanggaeto the Great.[29] Since their unification into Later Silla and Balhae in the 7th century, Korea enjoyed over a millennium of relative tranquility under long lasting dynasties.[30] Under Sejong the Great in the 15th century, Koreans had one of the highest living standards in the world along with the Han Chinese and Japanese[31] and developed improved versions many advanced innovations such as the metal movable type printing press in 1377 A.D. which was developed based on the previous Han Chinese Porcelain movable type printing press, used to print and publish the Jikji, the world's oldest extant movable metal type printed paper book using the 8,000 year old traditional ancient Chinese writing system.[32] Additionally, in 1443 Hangul was invented by the Korean King Sejong the Great as an easier alternative to the complex and difficult to learn ancient Chinese writing system which was usually reserved for elite academic scholars preparing for the imperial examinations of China. Hangul enabled anyone in the general Korean population to easily learn to read and write and transfer written information rather than spending years learning complicated ancient Chinese.[33] Its rich and vibrant culture left 19 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity, the third largest in the world, along with 12 World Heritage Sites. Annexed into Imperial Japan in 1910, Korea was divided after its surrender in 1945, but a North Korean invasion led to the Korean War (1950–1953). Peace has since mostly continued with the two agreeing to work peacefully for reunification and the South solidifying peace as a regional power with the world's 10th largest defence budget.

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