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Coastlines and Islands of Korea
The entire coastline of the Korean peninsula proper is about 17,000 kms including its adjacent islands. The west coast is marked by numerous indentations and irregularities, and abounds in islands. On the other hand, the east coast is mostly steep and has only a few islands. The south coast is even more irregular than the west and is considered a most unusual coastline formations in the world. The east coast has a relatively few good harbors, while the west and the south have them in abundance. However, harbors on the west Coast are handicapped by big differences in tides. The gap in tides reaches as much as 33 feet at Inchon, while on the east coast near Wonsan, the difference is only a foot.
The major ports along the east coast include Unggi, Chongjin, Songjin and Wonsan in North Korea, Mukho and Pohang in the South. Mukho, located halfway between Wonsan and Pusan, serves as a base for fisheries. Pohang, which is one of the largest ports on the east coast, houses a large integrated iron and steel mill. Chinnampo in North Korea and Inchon and Kunsan in South Korea are the ports located on the west coast. Chinnampo, the largest port on the west coast of North Korea, has been the center of trade with China. Inchon, which has become famous since it served as the staging area for the allied amphibious landing during the Korean War, is important as a gateway to Seoul, due to its proximity. Major ports along the south coast are Ulsan, Pusan, Chinhae, Masan, Yosu and Mokpo. Pusan is the oldest and the largest port city in Korea. Ulsan is well known for its industrial complex. Chinhae is important for its naval base, and Yosu is primarily a fishing port.