Forgotten World (136): South Korea

It’s time for another week of postings in my long-running series called Forgotten World – a look at parts of the world that hardly feature in our media or thoughts. You can check the previous 135 entries here.
The Republic of Korea – otherwise known as South Korea – was proclaimed in August 1948 and received UN-backed support from the US after it was invaded by the North two years later. The Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace agreement leaving South Korea technically at war for more than fifty years. The following four decades were marked by authoritarian rule, while government-sponsored schemes encouraged the growth of family-owned industrial conglomerates, known as “chaebol”, which helped to create one of the world’s major economies. A multi-party political system was restored in 1987.
Today South Korea is a nation of 49 million with the 13th largest economy in the world and still among the world’s fastest growing developed countries. It has a very advanced and modern infrastructure and is a world leader in information technology such as electronics, semiconductors, LCD displays, computers and mobile phones. It is defined as a High Income Nation by the World Bank and an Advanced Economy by the IMF and CIA. A major non-NATO ally, it has the world’s sixth largest armed forces and one of the ten largest defence budgets in the world.