Cheon Bong Kim
The Korean peninsula extends due south of Manchuria. It stands like a rabbit between the Yellow Sea and the East Sea. It is located between China, Japan, and the Soviet Union ( C. B. Kim, 1989, p. 3). It is approximately 1,000 kilometers long, north to south, and 216 kilometers wide at its narrowest point. It is separated from China's Shantung Peninsula to the west by a 190-kilometer expanse of the Yellow Sea. The shortest distance between Korea and Japan is 206 kilometers. To the east is the East Sea and to the south is the Pacific Ocean. The Amnokkang (Yalu) and the Tumangang (Tumen) rivers separate the peninsula from Manchuria and Siberia to the north. The peninsula and all of its associated islands lie between 124°11'E and 131°53'E, and between 33°06'N and 43°01'N. The peninsula's area is 221,487 square kilometers, or about 86,500 square miles. The land is presently divided into two parts--Communist North Korea and free South Korea (the Republic of Korea). The Republic of Korea's administrative control covers 99,177 square kilometers, or about 45 percent of the total ( H. E. Kim, 1985, p. 14).
Korea is characterized by hills and mountains, which account for nearly 80 percent of its territory. Low hills are predominant in the south and west and gradually yield to higher mountains in the east and north. Thus the western and southern slopes are gradual and meet with plains, low hills, and winding river basins, while the eastern slopes plunge directly into the nearby East Sea.
The population of the Republic of Korea in 1988 was about 42,593,000 (males, 21,476,000; females, 21,117,000), and the population of North Korea in 1987 was about 21,390,000. The rate of population growth has been declining in recent years from a high in 1961 of 2.9 percent to 1.53 percent in 1985 and