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Political Status: Independent republic established on August 15, 1948; present constitution approved in a national referendum on October 27, 1987, effective February 25, 1988.

Area: 38,309 sq. mi. (99,221 sq. km.).

Population: 49,697,009 (2012E—UN); 48,860,500 (2012—US Census).

Major Urban Centers (2005E): SEOUL (9,572,000), Pusan (3,566,000), Taegu (2,625,000), Inchon (2,567,000), Taejon (1,467,000), Kwangju (1,451,000), Ulsan (928,000).

Official Language: Korean.

Monetary Unit: Won (market rate October 3, 2011: 1178.05 won = $1US).

President: LEE Myung Bak (Grand National Party); elected on December 19, 2007, and sworn in for a five-year term on February 25, 2008, succeeding ROH Moo Hyun (previously Uri Party; initially Millennium Democratic Party).

Prime Minister: KIM Hwang Sik (nonparty); nominated by the president on September 16, 2010, and confirmed by the National Assembly on October 1, succeeding CHUNG Un Chan (Grand ...

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