The number of divorces between international couples surged 30 percent to 11,255 last year, accounting for nearly 10 percent of marriage breakups in South Korea.
Meanwhile, the total number of divorces dropped 6.1 percent to 116,500, the lowest level in 11 years, the National Statistical Office said.
Last year, 11,255 interracial couples got divorced, as the number of international marriages rose.
Nearly 83 percent of those couples divorced less than five years after their marriage - a sharp increase from 15.9 percent in 2002.
Marriages between Korean husbands and foreign wives had a higher divorce rate than those where the husband was foreign, indicating that marriages between Korean men in rural areas and women from other Asian countries are difficult to sustain.
More Chinese wives divorced their Korean spouses than those of any other country, with 5,398 cases, accounting for 67.8 percent of divorces among international couples. Vietnamese wives placed second with 1,078, followed by Filippinas with 268 and Japanese with 205.
Among foreign men who divorced their Korean spouses, Japanese husbands ranked No. 1, with 1,556 or 47.3 percent of total interracial divorces, followed by Chinese husbands with 1,041 and North American husbands with 238.
Most of the divorced international couples did not have children. Nearly 90 percent of divorces between Korean husbands and foriegn wives did not involve children, while 79.4 percent of divorces between Korean wives and foreign husbands did not involve children.
Meanwhile, the total number of divorces in Korea declined for a fifth consecutive year last year to 116,500, the lowest since 1998 when the country saw 116,300 divorces.
The fall came as the government in July last year started to require couples to have a cooling-off period before deciding to get divorced.
Nearly 1 percent of married couples broke up last year.
Divorces were most prevalent among men aged between 40 and 44 and women aged between 35 and 39.
Divorces among older couples continued to rise.
Men aged over 55 saw 13.7 percent more divorces in 2008 from the previous year, while women aged between 50 and 54 saw 17.7 percent more divorces during that period.
Accordingly, breakups among couples who had been together longer than 20 years accounted for 23.1 percent in 2008, up from 20.1 percent in 2007.
The average age of those getting divorced also inched up. The average age of men who filed for divorce was 44 years and 4 months, up from 43 years and 3 months a year earlier. The average divorce age for women rose 1 year to 40 years 6 months over the same period.
The most common reason for divorce was personality differences, with 47.8 percent, followed by economic problems with 14.2 percent. Adultery, family feuds, physical or mental abuse were also cited. -The Korea Herald/ANN