Two second-half strikes proved enough to hand Hong Myung-Bo's side victory and ensure they sit top of Group B with just one game remaining
Arsenal's Chu-Young Park put the Asian side in front early in the second half only to see Innocent Emeghara level minutes later.
However, the game was eventually settled midway through the second period by a magnificent volley from Bo-Kyung Kim.
Both sides went into the contest looking for their first win of the tournament after draws against Mexico and Gabon respectively. Chu-Young lead the line for the Koreans, who made no changes to their starting eleven, while Patjim Kasami and Amir Abrashi replaced Xavier Hochstrasser and the suspended Olivier Buff for the Swiss.
And it was Chu-Young who had the game's first real chance, as his header from a far post corner was brilliantly turned away by Diego Benaglio.
The Koreans dominated a half of few chances, with Chu-Young at the forefront of most of their attacks. The former Monaco man almost benefited from a defensive lapse as a through ball deflected into his path off the legs of Fabian Schaer but Benaglio showed good reactions again to deny the striker from close range.
In spite of some attractive and well constructed play, the Koreans were unable to break the stalemate before the interval but just eleven minutes into the second half they deservedly took the lead as Park powered home a diving header from Tae-Hee Nam's pinpoint cross.
Hong Myung Bo's men were not ahead for long however, as the Swiss responded magnificently to going behind. First Kasami forced Jung Sung-Ryong into a near post stop, before Emeghara headed home a magnificent delivery from Ricardo Rodriguez to level the scores.
South Korea appeared determined not to let the win slip away from them, and just minutes later they were in front once more as Kim latched on to a deflected cross from Ja-Cheol Koo to power a superb left-footed volley into the top corner.
Switzerland looked to respond yet again, but it was the Koreans who came closest as they looked to seal the victory. Sunderland's Ji-Dong Won, who had earlier replaced Chu-Young, had an effort cleared off the line before Kim smashed a left footed effort against the crossbar.
In spite of the best efforts of the Swiss to grab a leveller, the Koreans were increasingly proficient on the counter and they should have added a third when Koo brushed an effort against the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Wasted opportunities from Emeghara and Amir Mehmedi summed up a frustrating evening for Switzerland, as South Korea held out to seal a win that leaves them top of Group B, while the Swiss need to convincingly beat Mexico in order to stand any chance of qualification.