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| NATIONAL OLYMPIC
The Republic of Korea often referred as the "Land of the Morning Calm" occupies southern region of the Korean Peninsula in Noth-East Asia. The mountainous region is flanked by the East Sea to its east and the Yellow Sea to the west.
There are a series of islands surrounding the country including Jeju-do, Ulleung-do and Dok-do(Liancourt Rocks). The largest of these, Jeju-do is 7,845 sq km and is located 100 km away from the southern coast.
The Southeastern region is washed by the Nakdong River, the largest in the Republic of Korea which flows from the Taebaek Mountains to the Korean Strait, passing through major cities including Daegu and Busan.
The capital is Seoul. Korea's industrial base shifted from agriculture to manufacturing since 1960s and is now shifting to service industries. A global force in a number of significant industries, such as automobiles, petrochemicals, electronics, shipbuilding, textiles, and steel, is becoming the world's 12th largest trading partner.
Since 2004, Korean-made semi-conductors, automobiles, and wireless telecom devices have accounted for over 30% of the country's total trade volume. Exports of IT products have risen every year since 1998 and reached USD 82.5 billion, or 29.5% of total exports, in 2005. Major IT Exports items include memory ships, mobile phones, LCD monitors, PCs, and satellite broadcasting receivers. Korea's semi-conductor industry, in particular, has achieved tremendous growth over the past two decades and is the third largest in the world.
The geography of Korea - a peninsula jutting out from the world's largest continent - has contributed greatly to the development of uniquely Korean characteristics. The foundation for the country's culture and arts is the Korean identity: a combination of traits associated with continental and island peoples.
Throughout many millennia, Korea has interacted with the predominant continental cultures of Asia despite its peripheral location in the northeast. Remarkably, while accommodating major religions and traditions of other Asian regions, the country has developed a truly distinct culture in many aspects, which some people call the “centrality of the Korean culture.”
Under this topographical influence, the Korean people came to develop a peace-loving yet dynamic character that has created a contemplative yet vibrant, optimistic yet sentimental culture.
Temperature in the winter ranges from -7C to 1C in the capital Seoul with the summer bringing a range of 22C to 29C.
Although winter temperatures are less harsh along the southern coast than in the capital, they are subject to typhoons in the late summer.
Annual precipitation levels vary by around 4 inches, with an average of 58 inches in Busan to the south and 54 inches in Seoul to the north.
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Koreans have always enjoyed a variety of sporting activities and games. The impressive national economic growth in recent years has given people increased leisure to indulge their passion in sports.
On a national level, the most noteworthy accomplishments include the successful hosting of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and co-hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Japan. Daegu has been selected as the host city for the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, one of the top three world sports events along with the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.
Korean athletes have done well in sports like baseball, golf, archery, shooting, table tennis, ski jump, short track skating, figure skating and swimming in a number of global sports competitions.
Korea has recently produced many world-class athletes namely Choi Kyung-ju, Park Se-ri and Kim Mi-hyun in golf, Park Tae-hwan in swimming, Kim Yu-Na in figure skating.
Also in times past, old records, show that Koreans engaged in numerous traditional sports and games, such as kite flying, tug-of-war, and other native games called geune, jegichagi, neolttwigi as well as taekwondo and ssireum.
Among the traditional sports that have been revived in modern times, the martial art of taekwondo is the best known and the only officially acknowledged sport to have originated in Korea and be practiced widely around the world.
Another important aspect of the Government's sport policies involves promoting exchanges with North Korea. The Korean Government has long pursued participation in sporting events with North Korea, believing that sport is one of the most effective means of reconciling a divided people.
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