Korea has four distinct seasons, with each offering unique and beautiful landscapes. In the spring, forsythia, cherry blossom, azalea and many other flowers are in full bloom; in the summer, people travel in numbers to the coasts to enjoy their vacation on the beach; in the fall, the mountains put on a fascinating coat of crimson leaves; and in the winter, the land is covered with snow.
The capital of Korea is Seoul, and the government is led by Park Geun-hye, elected in 2013 as the first woman president of the country.
The Korean economy is driven by the manufacturing and exports including ships, automobiles, mobile phones, PCs, TVs, and other electronics to countries all around the world. Korea has enjoyed rapid economic growth thanks in large part to its export-focused strategy. In 2012, Korea’s GDP was USD$1.16 trillion based on IMB statistics. Today, the nation boasts the 15th largest economy in the world. Recently, Korean dramas and movies are also widely exported thanks to the popularity of Korean pop culture. K-pop stars are also active on the world stage.
The Korean population reached 51.03 million as of May 2013 (based on the statistics of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration), with a large proportion living in major metropolitan areas. To disperse the population to regions outside the metropolitan cities, the Korean government is relocating many government organizations to locations outside of Seoul, with the process set to be completed in 2014.
The Korean flag is called "Taegeukgi" in Korean. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle in the center of the Korean flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement, balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements: heaven, earth, fire, and water.
The national flower of Korea is the mugunghwa , rose of sharon. Every year from July to October, a profusion of mugunghwa blossoms graces the entire country. Unlike most flowers, the mugunghwa is remarkably tenacious and able to withstand both blight and insects. The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning immortality. This word accurately reflects the enduring nature of Korean culture, and the determination and perseverance of the Korean people.