: 100,210 km2
About South Korea
The Korean peninsula is located between China, Japan, and Russia. It has been subject to foreign invasions throughout recorded history. Korea was ruled by the Chinese for several hundred years in the early centuries AD . During this time, China established a lasting influence on Korean culture, especially through its language. In 1876 the Kanghwa Treaty opened Korea to Japan and to the West. After many wars, Korea was taken over by Japan, which brutally ruled it from 1910 to 1945. During this period, Koreans were treated terribly by the Japanese. Women were kidnapped and used as sex slaves, and many innocent people were horribly murdered. Many Koreans still mistrust the Japanese because of this. After World War II (1939–45), the peninsula was divided by the Soviets and the Americans. The thirty-eighth parallel became the line separating the zones. Eventually, the line separated two distinct countries: North Korea and South Korea. They have fought one war (1950–53) and have been preparing for another ever since. The border is one of the most heavily armed borders in the world. The United States has maintained troops in South Korea for about fifty years in case of an attack by North Korea. The two countries are still technically at war with each other. South Korea's government has an elected legislature and a strong executive branch.