Poised strategically in the northeastern part of the Asian continent, the Korean Peninsula thrusts in a southerly direction for about 1,000 kilometers. To the north are regions of China and Russia, while the Chinese mainland lies directly to the west. To the east, the peninsula faces the islands of Japan. The closest point from Korea to China is China's Shantung Peninsula which lies 190 kilometers. The closest point in Japan is the island of Honshu which lies in 180 kilometers from Korea's southern port of Pusan. With its north-south elongation, Korea separates the Yellow Sea from the East Sea. The Korean Peninsula and all of its associated islands lie between 124 degrees, 11 minutes, and 00 seconds E and 131 degrees, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds E and between 33 degrees, 06 minutes, and 40 seconds N and 43 degrees, 00 minutes, and 39 seconds N. The land boundary between China and Korea is largely formed by two rivers: the Amnokkang River (Yalu River in Chinese) and the Tumangang River (Tumen River in Chinese). The last 16 kilometers of the Tumangang River also serve as a boundary with Russia. The Amnokkang River flowing southwest empties into the Yellow Sea; the Tumangang River first flows northeast and then southeast, emptying into the East Sea. The Peninsula, contiguous to the two continental powers of China and Russia and adjacent to oceanic Japan, long acted as a land bridge over which continental cultures were transmitted to Japan. The peninsular location brought not only the advantage of easy access to adjacent cultures but also the disadvantage of furnishing a target for aggressive neighbors.


The area of Korea is 221,607 square kilometers (about 85,563 sq. miles). At present, the land is divided into two parts: the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The administrative area of the Republic of Korea is 99,237 square kilometers or about 45 percent of the whole of Korea. South Korea is slightly larger than Hungary or Portugal, and a little smaller than Iceland.

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