South Korea is located in East Asia on the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It has an estimated 51.4 million population across 38,750 square miles of territory. Seoul is the capital city, with a population of 10 million people.
South Korea is considered a developed country and a very strong economy (11th largest in the world), ranking 22nd in the world’s Human Development Index. It is a regional power and a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, primarily focusing export production on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals, and robotics. South Korea has multiple organisational memberships, including the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, the WT), G20 and OECD. It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.
The Legislative Branch
The legislative branch of the South Korean government is composed of the National Assembly of South Korea, which consists of 300 members who are elected from single-member constituencies (though 56 are elected using proportional representation. National Assembly members serve for four years at a time; the assembly deliberates and passes legislation, and is also responsible for the budget and other administrative procedures. It also retains the power to impeach (or recommend the removal of) high officials. National Assembly sessions either meet regularly (once a year for 100 days) or extraordinarily (for 30 days).
The Executive Branch
The president is head of the executive branch and is elected directly by the people, the only elected member of the national executive. The president serves a single five-year term, with additional terms not permitted; he is head of government and of state, and is commander in chief of the South Korean armed forces, with the power to declare war and propose legislation to the National Assembly. The President can veto bills in the Assembly unless overridden by a two-thirds majority, but does not have the power to dissolve the National Assembly as a safeguard.
The president is aided by the Prime Minister of South Korea and the Presidential Secretariat. The president appoints the Prime Minister – he or she has the power can appoint or dismiss Cabinet ministers. The Prime Minister is assisted by the Prime Minister's Office. If the president is unable to fulfill his duties, the Prime Minister assumes his powers.
The State Council is the highest body for policy deliberation and resolution in the executive branch. The Cabinet is made up of between 15 and 30 members, and currently includes the President, the Prime Minister, the Vice Prime Minister, and cabinet-level ministers of 17 ministries. The President is constitutionally the chairperson of the Cabinet, with the Prime Minister as the vice chairperson.
The Korean political system is a presidential system infused with certain aspects of a parliamentary cabinet system; similarly, the Cabinet of the Republic of Korea is a combination of both systems, performing policy resolutions along with policy consultations to the President.
The Judicial Branch
The judicial branch of the South Korean government is composed of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, regional appellate courts, and local district, branch, municipal, and specialized courts. Every court in the branch is under the jurisdiction of the national judiciary. Judges must pass a rigorous training system which includes a two-year program followed by a two-year apprenticeship. Judicial training is provided by the Judicial Research and Training Institute for those who have already passed the National Judicial Examination.
The Supreme Court is the head of the judicial branch and is the final court of appeal in South Korean law. It consists of fourteen Justices, including one Chief Justice who has power over all court administration, and can recommend various pieces of court-related legislation to the National Assembly. All Justices serve for six-year terms and must be at least 40 years old, and have been practicing law for at least 15 years. Any justices, with the exception of the Chief Justice, can be reappointed.
Appellate courts are below the Supreme Court, which are stationed in five of the country's major cities; these are composed of a panel of three judges. Below the appellate courts are district courts, and below these are branch and municipal courts, stationed all over the country.