South Korea is a mostly homogeneous nation with a population of 50 million, situated in a geopolitically sensitive area with China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea (and beyond, Russia) to the north. Although technically occupying a peninsula, with North Korea cutting off all land access to the main Eurasian continent. For the past 60 years, South Korea has effectively been an island nation. In 1953, the year of the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War (technically a cease-fire, and not a peace treaty - North Korea still claims to have won the war), South Korea's per capita income stood at US$67. In 1997, the Asian financial crisis required a US$55 billion International Monetary Fund bailout to avert sovereign default.