South Korea: 5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

5 Architectural Marvels in Seoul

In the aftermath of the 1950 Korean War, which saw Seoul all but brought to ruins, the city underwent a huge renovation program that focused on practicality and the rebuilding of the city as quickly as possible. Fast-forward to today and the vibrant capital of South Korea boasts an eye-catching cityscape that features a veritable cornucopia of contemporary architectural designs. Here’s our list of five of the most impressive buildings to see in this UNESCO Creative City.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Credit: TwilightShow / iStock

At the heart of the Dongdaemun fashion district is a neo-futuristic landmark designed by the award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. Its mushroom-like exterior is instantly recognizable for its undulating shapes made from a combination of aluminum, concrete, steel, and stone. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza functions as a cultural center and has five exhibition halls. Among its most popular attractions is a design market and food court. This was Korea’s most Instagram-tagged location in 2015 and it is a major venue for the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week. The surrounding park offers the chance to see the masterpiece at varying angles.

Ewha Womans University

Credit: pius99 / iStock

View the Ewha Campus Complex from above and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is an urban park. Arrive at ground level and you’ll soon realize that it is in fact an underground faculty building. A wide, valley-like promenade provides access to this ingenious construction by French architect Dominique Perrault. He created a tranquil education space that, despite its subterranean setting, is airy and bathed in natural light reflected in interior mirror panels. The park, which is also the campus roof, is used as a recreation area by students.

Lotte World Tower

Credit: sayun uranan / Shutterstock.com

The world’s fifth tallest building reaches a height of 1,821 feet in Seoul’s Songpa-gu district. Its tapered shape is purposely designed to appear smooth against the city’s mountainous backdrop, while the pale-hued glass is a reference to Korean ceramics. In spite of its size and thinness, the Lotte World Tower can withstand winds speeds of 178 miles per hour and magnitude-9.0 earthquakes. Occupying the 123 floors are retail units, offices, private residences, and a luxury hotel. Visitors can ride a double-decker elevator to the top-floor Seoul Sky observation deck.

Samsung Jong-no Tower

Credit: ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com

Rising above downtown Seoul is the 433-feet-tall Samsung Jong-no Tower, inaugurated in 1999 by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. This 33-floor office block is unique in that floors 23 through 30 have been removed, leaving an empty space topped by what at night resembles a UFO. Anyone familiar with Viñoly’s work will know that removing floors is a recurring theme: check out the 432 Park Avenue skyscraper in Manhattan. At one time there was a restaurant located on the floating upper floors, which granted fortunate diners unprecedented views of Seoul’s skyline.

Some Sevit – Seoul Floating Islands

Credit: dumpling123 / iStock

Indian students’ arrests puts focus on underbelly of China medical colleges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Indian students’ arrests puts focus on underbelly of China medical colleges

The agents often become incommunicado after extracting lakhs from the families and a commission from the college, leaving students confused and stranded in a foreign country with no grasp of the local language and without family or peer backup.

WORLD Updated: Jun 24, 2019 15:50 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Chinese medical colleges,Indian students,MBBS
More than 21,000 Indian students are studying MBBS across 100 Chinese universities. And the number is increasing.(FILE PHOTO.)

The recent arrest, expulsion, and deportation of Indian students studying in medical colleges in China for drug abuse has raised dual concerns about the quality of campus life here and the lack of information available to foreign students about Chinese law.

It also puts the focus on the soft underbelly of Chinese medical colleges where a nexus of interests between a few India-based agents and some university officials has misled students, promising them top facilities but delivering less.

The agents often become incommunicado after extracting lakhs from the families and a commission from the college, leaving students confused and stranded in a foreign country with no grasp of the local language and without family or peer back-up.

It becomes more difficult for “first generational learners” who have moved to China from smaller cities in India and find themselves in a world that is entirely foreign in terms of lifestyle, language, culture and even teaching methodology in colleges.

Several cases of depression, in fact, have been reported among Indian students who have not been able to adjust to life in China.

More than 21,000 Indian students are studying MBBS across 100 Chinese universities. And the number is increasing.

On an average, at least 3000 to 3500 Indian students annually enroll at medical colleges, attracted by less rigorous admission procedures and cheaper tuition fees.

The facilities at some Chinese colleges are also said to be better than Indian universities.

Involvement in drug-related cases, however, is becoming the big worry for families as it attracts strict penalties from authorities here; the numbers aren’t big but the trend is worrying.

A few Indian students were recently deported for using drugs in one university; in another case, passports of a few more were seized by the police and they were expelled from the college.

In May, 15 foreign students were arrested on drug-related charges at the Dalian Medical University; three were Indian.

According to Chinese law, if deported, the student cannot return to China to finish the MBBS degree, adding a hefty financial loss to the mental anguish and stress on them and their families.

The Chinese education ministry didn’t respond to a list of questions sent by HT on the problems faced by Indian students in China.

The email to the ministry mentioned specific issues faced by them.

The ministry remained silent to the question whether its officials had ever looked into the problems faced by the large number of Indian students coming to China to study.

Sources told HT that for many students the world of a Chinese college could well be different from the one promised by agents in India.

Easy availability of drugs is just one of the problems.

The quality of teachers in certain colleges is questionable with many professors unable to teach in English. As a result, the quality of education suffers. Students complain that many professors teach only through power-point presentations, which aren’t backed by discussions and they, the students, are often left to fend for themselves.

At some places, the shocking practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors teaching MBBS courses has been reported.

At some others, students get little clinical exposure and a few medical colleges don’t even have attached hospitals where they can complete their mandatory medical attachment or internship.

In one case, a batch of Indian students was flown to Moscow this year to complete their internship at a Russian medical college.

In certain cases, students were promised better facilities like single or double-room accommodation but later made to share one room with a number of students.

For many Indian students, sourcing vegetarian or Indian food becomes a chore though they are promised easy access to Indian food by agents.

Recently, the Indian embassy released an official notification from the Chinese education ministry, a list of 45 Universities in China that are authorized to give admission to foreign students (including Indian students) to undertake MBBS degree course (in the English language) in China for the year 2019.

These 45 colleges are different from the 214, which also offer MBBS but in the Chinese language.

Many Indian students, however, are grappling with some problem or the other at nearly all colleges, HT has learned.

Indian students in China (All-time high): 23198

Indian students studying medicine: 21000+

Number of Indian students in China is fourth after South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan.

Number of foreign students in China: 492185

Source: Education Ministry, the Indian Embassy.

First Published: Jun 23, 2019 17:32 IST

North Korea: KCNA Commentary on LKP’s “North Wind” Farce in South Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NORTH KOREA’S KCNA NEWS)

 

KCNA Commentary on LKP’s “North Wind” Farce in South Korea

Date: 15/05/2019 | Source: Uriminzokkiri (En) | Read original version at source


Pyongyang, May 14 (KCNA) — The conservative group of south Korea has again kicked off the farce of “north wind.”

As already reported, the public campaign for petitioning for the dissolution of the “Liberal Korea Party” (LKP) began in south Korea on April 22 and the number of petitioners has exceeded 1.8 million.

Exasperated by this, LKP is talking about “wire-pulling by the north” to tide over the crisis.

The floor leader and others of LKP say they doubt whether “the north is behind the public petition campaign” and exclusion of LKP from discussion on selection of fast track issues among major reform bills at the “National Assembly” is just a deed done at “the beck and call of the north.”

At first, LKP asserted that the petitioning campaign doesn’t represent “public opinion,” witnessing the explosive increase of petitioners. It then doggedly insisted on “fabrication.” At last, it is going helter-skelter under the signboard of “coloring theory.”

It is going so paranoid that it dares brand a million and hundreds of thousands of people, the ruling party and other opposition parties as “followers of the north” who are “acting under north’s manipulation.”

It clearly shows the twisted viewpoint of the group of traitors, which regards the people as hordes of pigs and dogs.

It also sheds light on the true colors of a pack of traitors who make no scruple of labeling all the “people” as the “enemy” and doing harm to the compatriots for their political interests.

Such farce of LKP to tide over its political crisis is no longer workable.

LKP should be well aware that its “north wind racket” aimed at grabbing “power” is pushing the pent-up public indignation to violent eruption and bringing a strong head wind only.

It is well evidenced by the recent inauguration of the preparatory committee of the “civil constitutional court for the dissolution of LKP” in Seoul and mounting public criticism in south Korea. South Koreans say that they are increasingly disgusted with the conservative party talking about north’s deed and north’s manipulation whenever it opens mouth, adding that LKP is pouring scorn on the public and they would not allow it to go with impunity.

The on-line public petition campaign for dissolution of LKP, the biggest one that has ever been observed in south Korea, is just the one LKP invited of its own accord as it always neglects the public and finds its way out in confrontation with the compatriots in the north.

Funeral bells are tolling for LKP whose desperate efforts only throw it deeper into pitfall of isolation and destruction. -0-

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South Korea Hunting For Iran Oil Replacement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

South Korea Hunting for Iran Oil Replacement

Friday, 26 April, 2019 – 10:30
FILE PHOTO: South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy’s main factory is seen in Ulsan, about 410 km (256 miles) southeast of Seoul, February 25, 2009. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
South Korea is looking for a replacement for Tehran’s oil which it will no longer have access to after May, now that the United States intends to tighten sanctions on Iranian exports. The country is the biggest buyer of Iran’s condensate.

SK Incheon Petrochem Co Ltd, Hyundai Oilbank Corp and Hanwha Total Petrochemical are set to once again scan the world for alternative, but more expensive, condensate supplies and snap up heavy naphtha oil products for their processing units, known as splitters, industry sources and analysts said.

In 2018 South Korea bought and tested up to 23 different types of condensate from 15 countries as a potential substitutes for Iranian condensate, at a cost of about $9 billion, government and trade data analysed by Thomson Reuters showed.

This year South Korean refiners did not have to look hard as they made full use of the Iranian oil volumes allowed under the US waivers by importing only Iranian condensate. However, those waivers will expire on the 1st of May.

The country is set to import about 249,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian South Pars condensate by the end of April, 70 percent of the total volume of condensate it imported last year, the data showed, much more than it needs in the first half of 2019.

The country’s condensate demand has also fallen in the first half of this year as refiners cut runs at splitters on poor naphtha margins and as Hanwha Total shut a splitter for maintenance, the sources said, according to Reuters.

SK and Hanwha Total may replace condensates by buying more heavy naphtha, a raw material for petrochemicals. Low naphtha prices could help repeat a spike in imports that happened in late 2018.

Hanwha Total, which operates two condensate splitters, last year raised its monthly average imports of heavy naphtha to 400,000 tonnes from 250,000 tonnes in the absence of Iranian condensate.

Israel: South Korea firm to invest $10m in anti-cancer drug

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

South Korea firm to invest $10m in Weizmann scientists’ anti-cancer drug

An additional $2m will be invested by another Korean concern in a company that aims to make the use of ultrasounds easier, also set up by Weizmann’s Yeda technology transfer arm

Yeda CEO Gil Granot-Mayer (left to right) BioLeaders CEO, Dr. Young-Chul Park and Weizmann Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Mordechai Sheves (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

Yeda CEO Gil Granot-Mayer (left to right) BioLeaders CEO, Dr. Young-Chul Park and Weizmann Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer Prof. Mordechai Sheves (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

An anti-cancer therapy that has been developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Technology will get a $10 million investment from a South Korean biopharmaceutical company that is traded on the Korea Stock Exchange. This is the Korean firm’s first investment in an Israeli venture, the Weizmann Institute said in a statement.

The institute said that two South Korean concerns have committed to investing a total of $12 million in two spin off companies set up by Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The Korean group BioLeaders Corporation, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical firm, has signed a Letter of Intent with Yeda for the incorporation of a jointly owned company that will be set up in the coming months to develop the anti-cancer drug.

The drug will be based on the research of Weizmann Institute professors Varda Rotter and Moshe Oren, both of the Molecular Cell Biology Department.

Rotter and Oren were among the first to discover the function of the p53 protein – called the “guardian of the genome.” This protein is mutated or dysfunctional in over two-thirds of all cancers; such malfunctions can cause the cancer to spread faster. The two researchers recently developed a peptide — a small piece of protein — that can restore proper p53 function. The peptide they developed targets the malformed p53, and enters the cell and binds to the protein.

In mice carrying human tumors that were treated with the peptide, the tumors shrank and, in some cases, disappeared altogether, with no significant side effects, the statement said.

The investment is planned to be completed in the coming months, and the company is expected to establish operations and recruit staff in its headquarters in the Kiryat Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, near the Weizmann Institute of Science, the statement said.

On-Sight CEO Dr. Yoram Eshel, left, and Yozma Group Asia’s Managing Partner, Mr. Wonjae Lee (Weizmann Institute of Technology)

A second sum, of $2 million, will be invested by Yozma Group Asia, a VC fund, in On-Sight Medical Inc., jointly owned by Yeda, New York University (NYU) Medical School and other parties.

On-Sight Medical is developing a program that will allow untrained users to operate ultrasound equipment and interpret the results. Today’s ultrasound machines are compact and economical, but they still require highly trained and experienced technicians. The developers of the new program hope not only to make up for the lack of qualified ultrasound technicians and radiologists, but also to facilitate the use of ultrasound technology in ambulances, general practitioners’ offices and even in-home care, the statement said.

The initiative won first place last year in the Echovation Challenge of the American Society of Echocardiography.

The first application of On-Sight Medical’s technology will be in emergency rooms, where waiting for the technician can waste crucial time, the statement said. Based on a mixture of artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms for geometric recognitions, the program was developed by the team of Prof. Yaron Lipman of the Weizmann Institute’s Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department together with Achi Ludomirsky, MD, a pediatric cardiology expert at NYU School of Medicine, Itay Kezurer, and Dr. Yoram Eshel, the company’s CEO. Yeda also participated in the current round of investment in the company.

The agreements with the two Korean entities were signed this week in ceremony held at the Weizmann Institute attended by the representatives of the two organizations and those of the Weizmann Institute. Yeda and Yozma Group Asia signed a cooperation agreement in 2016.

Yozma Group Asia, stemming from the original Yozma fund founded in Israel in the 1990s by Yigal Erlich, who was at the time the Chief Scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, was founded in 2014 as a venture capital fund based on the “Israeli model.” The Yozma Group Asia invests in Korean startups as well as works to develop strong ties with Israel’s high-tech industry. Yozma Group Asia is also an investor in BioLeaders.

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South Korea Legalizes Medical Marijuana, First Country In Asia To Do So

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS DAILY NEWS)

 

South Korea became the first country in East Asia to legalize medical cannabis, marking a significant milestone in the global industry and a potential turning point in how the drug is perceived in traditionally conservative societies.

The country’s National Assembly voted to approve amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs to pave the way for non-hallucinogenic dosages of medical cannabis prescriptions.

Medical marijuana will still be tightly restricted, but the law’s approval by the central government is seen as a breakthrough in a country many believed would be last – not among the first – to approve any use of cannabis, even if it is just low-THC, or CBD, to start.

To receive medical cannabis, patients would be required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Center, a government body established to facilitate patient access to rare medicines in the country.

Approval would be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Patients would also need to receive a prescription from a medical practitioner.

South Korea’s cannabis law overcame a major obstacle in July when it won the support of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which said at the time it would permit Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet and Sativex for conditions including epilepsy, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related treatments.

On Nov. 23 the ministry said a series of amended laws passed in a National Assembly session will expand the treatment opportunities for patients with rare diseases.

A number of other countries had been vying to join Israel as the first countries in Asia to allow medical cannabis, including Thailand and Malaysia.

“South Korea legalizing medical cannabis, even if it will be tightly controlled with limited product selection, represents a significant breakthrough for the global cannabis industry,” said Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a venture capital firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis space.

“The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated. Now it’s a matter of when other Asian countries follow South Korea, not if.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

To sign up for our weekly international marijuana business newsletter, click here.

Korea, North: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This Communist Hell Hole

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Korea, North

Introduction An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist domination. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic “self-reliance” as a check against excessive Soviet or Communist Chinese influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang’s control. KIM’s son, the current ruler KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father’s successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM’s death in 1994. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population while continuing to expend resources to maintain an army of approximately 1 million. North Korea’s history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, and long-range missile development – as well as its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and massive conventional armed forces – are of major concern to the international community. In December 2002, following revelations that the DPRK was pursuing a nuclear weapons program based on enriched uranium in violation of a 1994 agreement with the US to freeze and ultimately dismantle its existing plutonium-based program, North Korea expelled monitors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In January 2003, it declared its withdrawal from the international Non-Proliferation Treaty. In mid-2003 Pyongyang announced it had completed the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel rods (to extract weapons-grade plutonium) and was developing a “nuclear deterrent.” Beginning in August 2003, North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the US have participated in the Six-Party Talks aimed at resolving the stalemate over the DPRK’s nuclear programs. North Korea pulled out of the talks in November 2005. It test-fired ballistic missiles in July 2006 and conducted a nuclear test in October 2006. North Korea returned to the Six-Party Talks in December 2006 and subsequently signed two agreements on denuclearization. The 13 February 2007 Initial Actions Agreement shut down the North’s nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in July 2007. In the 3 October 2007 Second Phase Actions Agreement, Pyongyang pledged to disable those facilities and provide a correct and complete declaration of its nuclear programs. Under the supervision of US nuclear experts, North Korean personnel completed a number of agreed-upon disablement actions at the three core facilities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex by the end of 2007. North Korea also began the discharge of spent fuel rods in December 2007, but it did not provide a declaration of its nuclear programs by the end of the year.
History Formation

In the aftermath of the Japanese occupation of Korea, which ended with Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, the Soviet Union accepted the surrender of Japanese forces and controlled the area north of the 38th parallel, with the United States controlling the area south of this parallel. Virtually all Koreans welcomed liberation from Japanese imperial rule, yet objected to the re-imposition of foreign rule upon their country. The Soviets and Americans disagreed on the implementation of Joint Trusteeship over Korea, with each establishing its socio-economic system upon its jurisdiction, leading, in 1948, to the establishment of ideologically opposed governments.[11] The United States and the Soviet Union then withdrew their forces from Korea. Growing tensions and border skirmishes between north and south led to a civil war, known as the Korean War.

On June 25, 1950, the (North) Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th parallel, with the war aim of peninsular reunification under their political system. The war continued until July 27, 1953, when the United Nations Command, the Korean People’s Army, and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army signed the Korean War Armistice Agreement.[12] Since that time the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has separated the North and South.

Economic evolution

In the aftermath of the Korean War and throughout the 1960s, the country’s state-controlled economy grew at a significant rate. It was considered the second most industrialized nation in Asia, after Japan.[citation needed] During the 1970s, the expansion of North Korea’s economy, with the accompanying rise in living standards, came to an end, and a few decades later went into reverse. The country struggled throughout the 1990s, largely due to the loss of strategic trade arrangements with the USSR,[13] and strained relations with China following China’s normalization with South Korea in 1992.[14] In addition, North Korea experienced record-breaking floods in 1995 and 1996, followed by several years of equally severe drought, beginning in 1997.[15] This situation, compounded by the existence of only 18 percent arable land[16] and an inability to import goods necessary to sustain industry,[17] led to an immense famine and left North Korea in economic shambles. Large numbers of North Koreans illegally entered the People’s Republic of China in search of food. Faced with a country in decay, Kim Jong-il adopted a “Military-First” policy to reinforce the regime.[18]

Although private property is still formally prohibited, the volume of private trade with China grows year by year. The collapse of the system of state allowances has also contributed to the growth of a multi-sector market economy.[19] Collapse of large state-owned enterprises released a huge amount of workers who engage in cross-border trade with China.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Korea Bay and the Sea of Japan, between China and South Korea
Geographic coordinates: 40 00 N, 127 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 120,540 sq km
land: 120,410 sq km
water: 130 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Mississippi
Land boundaries: total: 1,673 km
border countries: China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km
Coastline: 2,495 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
note: military boundary line 50 nm in the Sea of Japan and the exclusive economic zone limit in the Yellow Sea where all foreign vessels and aircraft without permission are banned
Climate: temperate with rainfall concentrated in summer
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; coastal plains wide in west, discontinuous in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m
Natural resources: coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 22.4%
permanent crops: 1.66%
other: 75.94% (2005)
Irrigated land: 14,600 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 77.1 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 9.02 cu km/yr (20%/25%/55%)
per capita: 401 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall
Environment – current issues: water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography – note: strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
Politics North Korea is a self-described Juche (self-reliance) state.[20] Government is organized as a dictatorship, with a pronounced cult of personality organized around Kim Il-sung (the founder of North Korea and the country’s first and only president) and his son and heir, Kim Jong-il. Following Kim Il-sung’s death in 1994, he was not replaced but instead received the designation of “Eternal President”, and was entombed in the vast Kumsusan Memorial Palace in central Pyongyang.

Although the active position of president has been abolished in deference to the memory of Kim Il-sung,[21] the de facto head of state is Kim Jong-il, who is Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea. The legislature of North Korea is the Supreme People’s Assembly, currently led by President Kim Yong-nam. The other senior government figure is Premier Kim Yong-il.

North Korea is a single-party state. The governing party is the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a coalition of the Workers’ Party of North Korea and two other smaller parties, the North Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party. These parties nominate all candidates for office and hold all seats in the Supreme People’s Assembly.

Human rights

Multiple international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation.[22] North Koreans have been referred to as “some of the world’s most brutalized people”, due to the severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms.[23] North Korean defectors have testified to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder, medical experimentation, forced labour, and forced abortions.

The system changed slightly at the end of 1990s, when population growth became very low. In many cases, where capital punishment was de facto, it replaced by less severe punishments. Bribery became prevalent throughout the country. For example, just listening to South Korean radio could result in capital punishment. However, many North Koreans wear clothes of South Korean origin, listen to Southern music, watch South Korean videotapes and even receive Southern broadcasts, although they are still prohibited; in most cases punishment is nothing more than a pecuniary fine, and many such problems are normally solved “unofficially”, through bribery.

People Population: 23,479,089 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.9% (male 2,733,352/female 2,654,186)
15-64 years: 68.2% (male 7,931,484/female 8,083,626)
65 years and over: 8.8% (male 751,401/female 1,325,040) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 32.7 years
male: 31.2 years
female: 34.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.732% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.61 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.29 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.57 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 21.86 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 23.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.2 years
male: 69.45 years
female: 75.08 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups: racially homogeneous; there is a small Chinese community and a few ethnic Japanese
Religions: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way)
note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom
Languages: Korean
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99%

Korea, South: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This Asian Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Korea, South

Introduction An independent Korean state or collection of states has existed almost continuously for several millennia. Between its initial unification in the 7th century – from three predecessor Korean states – until the 20th century, Korea existed as a single independent country. In 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War, Korea became a protectorate of imperial Japan, and in 1910 it was annexed as a colony. Korea regained its independence following Japan’s surrender to the United States in 1945. After World War II, a Republic of Korea (ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a Communist-style government was installed in the north (the DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside soldiers from the ROK to defend South Korea from DPRK attacks supported by China and the Soviet Union. An armistice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. Thereafter, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth with per capita income rising to roughly 14 times the level of North Korea. In 1993, KIM Young-sam became South Korea’s first civilian president following 32 years of military rule. South Korea today is a fully functioning modern democracy. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place between the South’s President KIM Dae-jung and the North’s leader KIM Jong Il. In October 2007, a second North-South summit took place between the South’s President ROH Moo-hyun and the North Korean leader.
History Archeological findings indicate that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by humans as early in the Lower Paleolithic period.

Korea began with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by Dangun.[11] Gojoseon expanded until it controlled much of the northern Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria. After numerous wars with the Chinese Han Dynasty, Gojoseon disintegrated, leading to the Proto-Three Kingdoms of Korea period.

In the early centuries of the Common Era, Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye, and the Samhan confederacy occupied the peninsula and southern Manchuria. Of the various small states, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla grew to control the peninsula as the Three Kingdoms.

Introduction of Buddhism and other influences from China had profound effects on Korea, which later passed on, combined with Korean advances, to Japan.

The unification of the Three Kingdoms by Silla in 676 led to the North-South States period, in which the much of the Korean peninsula was controlled by Unified Silla, while Balhae succeeded the northern parts of Goguryeo. In Unified Silla, poetry and art was encouraged, and Buddhist culture flourished. Relationships between Korea and China remained relatively peaceful during this time. However, Unified Silla weakened under internal strife, and surrendered to Goryeo in 935. Balhae, Silla’s neighbor to the north, was formed as a successor state to Goguryeo. During its height, Balhae controlled most of Manchuria and parts of Russia. It fell to the Khitan in 926.

After the North-South Period, successor states fought for control during the Later Three Kingdoms period. The peninsula was soon united by Wang Geon of Goryeo. Like Silla, Goryeo was a highly cultural state and created the Jikji in 1377, using the world’s oldest movable metal printing press.[16][dead link]

The Mongol invasions in the 13th century greatly weakened Goryeo. However, Goryeo continued to rule Korea as a tributary ally to the Mongols. After the fall of the Mognolian Empire (Yuan Dynasty), Goryeo continued its rule. After severe political strife and continued invasions, Goryeo was replaced by the Joseon Dynasty in 1388 following a rebellion by General Yi Seong-gye.

General Yi declared the new name of Korea as Joseon in reference to Gojoseon, and moved the capital to Seoul. The first 200 years of the Joseon Dynasty was marked by relative peace and saw the creation of hangul by King Sejong the Great in the 14 century and the rise and influence of Confucianism.

In the latter of the 16th century, Joseon was invaded by a newly unified Japan. During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), centuries of peace had left the dynasty unprepared, and the lack of technology and poor leadership from the Joseon government and generals led to the destruction of much of the Korean peninsula. However, continued Korean dominance at sea led by Admiral Yi, the rise of local militias, and the intervention of Ming China put Japan under great pressure to retreat in 1598.

Today, Admiral Yi is celebrated as one of Korea’s foremost heroes and his turtle ships, used with great success against the Japanese, are considered the world’s first ironclad warships, although lack of hard evidence of iron plating sparks much debate.

During the last years of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea’s isolationist policy earned it the name the “Hermit Kingdom”, primarily for protection against Western imperialism. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan and despite widespread resistance, remained under occupation until the end of World War II in 1945. the two countris are divied by the d.n.v.

After division

In the aftermath of World War II, Soviet Union and United States troops controlled the northern and southern halves of the country respectively. The two Cold War rivals established governments sympathetic to their own ideologies, leading to Korea’s division into two political entities: North Korea and South Korea.

Despite the initial plan of a unified Korea in the 1943 Cairo Declaration, escalating Cold War antagonism eventually led to the establishment of two separate governments: the communist North and the capitalist South. In the North, a former anti-Japanese guerilla and communist activist, Kim Il-sung[17] and in the South, freshly shipped from America, Syngman Rhee were installed as presidents.[18]

On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded the South leading to the Korean War. The Soviet boycott of the United Nations at the time, and therefore, no veto, allowed the UN to intervene when it became apparent that the superior communist forces would easily take over the entire country. The Soviet Union and China backed North Korea, with the participation of millions of Chinese troops. After huge advances on both sides, the war eventually reached a stalemate. The 1953 armistice, never signed by South Korea, split the peninsula along the demilitarized zone near the original demarcation line. No peace treaty was ever signed, and the two countries are still technically at war.[19]

In 1960, a student uprising led to the resignation of the autocratic and corrupt President Syngman Rhee. A period of profound civil unrest and general political instability followed, broken by General Park Chung-hee’s military coup (the “5.16 coup d’état”) against the weak and ineffectual government the next year. Park took over as president until his assassination in 1979, overseeing rapid export-led economic growth as well as severe political repression. Park is heavily criticized as a ruthless military dictator, although the Korean economy developed significantly during his tenure.

The years after Park’s assassination were marked by, again, considerable political turmoil as the previously repressed opposition leaders all campaigned to run for president in the sudden political void. In 1980, there was a coup d’état, by General Chun Doo-hwan against the transitional government of Choi Gyu Ha, the interim president and a former prime minister under Park. Chun assumed the presidency. His seizure of power triggered nationwide protest demanding democracy, in particular the city of Gwangju, in Jeollanam-do where Chun sent in special forces to violently suppress the city, in what is now known as the Gwangju Massacre. Until 1987, he and his government held Korea under despotic rule when Park Jong Chul — a student attending Seoul National University — was tortured to death.[20] The Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice revealed that Park was tortured, igniting huge demonstrations around the country. The demonstrations snowballed when another student from Yonsei University, Lee Han Yeol, was killed by a police-fired tear gas bomb while he was demonstrating against the military government. The period of resistance is called the Resistance of June when all joined the national movement. Eventually, Chun’s party, the Democratic Justice Party, and its leader, Roh Tae-woo announced the June 29th Declaration, which included the direct election of the president.[21]

In 1988, Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, a cause of both national and international celebration in contrast to great turmoil of the past. In 1996, South Korea became a member of the OECD, a testament to further economic growth. As with many of its Asian neighbors, South Korea suffered the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, but the country was able to re-emerge and continue its growth towards a major economic power after a swift recovery.[22]

In June 2000, as part of South Korean president Kim Dae-jung’s Sunshine Policy of engagement, a North-South summit took place in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea. That year, Former President Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize “for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular.”[23]

In 2004, South Korea joined the “trillion dollar club” of world economies.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Geographic coordinates: 37 00 N, 127 30 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 98,480 sq km
land: 98,190 sq km
water: 290 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Indiana
Land boundaries: total: 238 km
border countries: North Korea 238 km
Coastline: 2,413 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the Korea Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate: temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter
Terrain: mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m
Natural resources: coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential
Land use: arable land: 16.58%
permanent crops: 2.01%
other: 81.41% (2005)
Irrigated land: 8,780 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 69.7 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 18.59 cu km/yr (36%/16%/48%)
per capita: 389 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest
Environment – current issues: air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic location on Korea Strait
Politics In its foreign relations, South Korea has main strategic interests in North Korea and the neighboring nations of China, Japan, and Russia, as well as its main ally, the United States.

United States

The United States of America was the primary driver in the establishment and initial sustainment of the South Korean government before and after the Korean War. The two nations have enjoyed both strong economic and diplomatic ties after the Korean War, although they have often been at odds with regard to their policies towards North Korea during former president Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun’s terms. There was a spike of anti-American sentiment, although US-Korea relations have steadily improved since the election of current president Lee Myung Bak.[25] In April 2007, Korea concluded a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, but that agreement still awaits ratification by the legislatures of both countries.

China

Historically, Korea had relatively close relations with China. Before the formation of South Korea, Korean independence fighters also worked with Chinese soldiers during the period of Japanese occupation. However, after World War II, the Chinese embraced communism while South Korea became a representative democracy with the help of the United Nations and the United States. The People’s Republic of China assisted North Korea with manpower and supplies during the Korean War, and in its aftermath the diplomatic relationship between South Korea and China almost completely ceased. Relations thawed gradually however, and South Korea and China established formal diplomatic relations on August 24, 1992. The two countries sought to improve bilateral relations and lifted the forty-year old trade embargo, and[26] Korea-China relations have improved steadily since 1992.

Japan

Although there were no formal diplomatic ties between South Korea and Japan after the Korean War, South Korea and Japan signed the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea in 1965 to establish diplomatic ties. There is still heavy anti-Japanese sentiment in South Korea due to a number of unsettled Japanese-Korean disputes, many of which stem from the period of Japanese occupation. During World War II, more than 100,000 Koreans were forced to serve in the Imperial Japanese Army.[28] Longstanding issues such as Japanese war crimes against Korean civilians, the visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring Japanese soldiers killed at war, including class A war criminals like Hideki Tojo, the re-writing of Japanese textbooks to overlook Japanese aggression during World War II, and the territorial disputes over Liancourt Rocks continue to trouble Korean-Japanese relations. In response to then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, President Roh Moo-hyun suspended all summit talks between South Korea and Japan.[29] Presently, South Korea and Japan’s political relations are unstable but thawing progressively, and the newly-elected President of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak, held a summit meeting with Yasuo Fukuda, the current Prime Minister of Japan.

North Korea

Both North and South Korea continue to officially claim sovereignty over the entire peninsula and any outlying islands. With longstanding animosity following the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, North Korea and South Korea signed an agreement to pursue peace.[30] On October 4, 2007, Roh Moo-Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il signed an eight-point peace agreement on issues of permanent peace, high-level talks, economic cooperation, renewal of train services, highway and air travel, and a joint Olympic cheering squad.

Despite the Sunshine Policy and efforts at reconciliation, the progress was complicated by North Korean missile tests in 1993, 1998, and again in 2006. Recently, North Korea agreed to temporarily suspend its pursuit of a nuclear weapons program for economic and diplomatic support, although some Korean and American officials criticized the North for not being fully cooperative in its temporary suspension of a nuclear weapons program.

Other nations

South Korea maintains diplomatic relations with approximately 170 countries. The country has also been a member of the United Nations since 1991, when it became a member state at the same time as North Korea. On January 1, 2007, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon assumed the post of UN Secretary-General. It has also developed links with Association of Southeast Asian Nations as both a member of ASEAN Plus three, a body of observers, and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

There is an ongoing effort at negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, the second largest importer of Korean goods. South Korea is also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Canada.

People Population: 49,232,844 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 17.7% (male 4,579,018/female 4,157,631)
15-64 years: 72.3% (male 18,150,771/female 17,464,610)
65 years and over: 9.9% (male 1,997,032/female 2,883,782) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 36.4 years
male: 35.3 years
female: 37.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.371% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.83 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.12 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.42 years
male: 74 years
female: 81.1 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.29 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 8,300 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: less than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups: homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)
Religions: Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)
Languages: Korean, English widely taught in junior high and high school
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 99.2%
female: 96.6%

Former South Korean President Given 8 More Years in Jail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Former South Korean President Given 8 More Years in Jail

Friday, 20 July, 2018 – 09:30
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye is shown on her way to a court appearance. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Disgraced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye was sentenced to eight more years in prison on Friday after a court found her guilty on charges of causing loss of government funds and interfering in a 2016 parliamentary election.

She now faces the prospect of more than three decades behind bars. She’s already serving a 24-year prison term over a massive corruption scandal that led to her removal from office last year.

Seoul Central District Court found her guilty of causing substantial losses to state coffers by unlawfully receiving about 3 billion won ($2.6 million) from chiefs of the National Intelligence Service during her presidency and sentenced her to six years in prison.

However, she was found not guilty of bribery charges related to the money transfers. The court said it was unclear whether the spy chiefs sought or received favors in return.

The court separately sentenced Park to two years in prison for breaking election laws by meddling in her party candidate’s nomination while attempting to win more spots for her loyalists ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2016.

“Park’s private use of the funds weakened the principles of executing government funds, and barred the country’s chief spy agency from using the funds for its core duty of protecting the country and the people,” presiding judge Seong Chang-ho said as he delivered the verdict.

“However, the defendant has shifted blame to her assistants and refused to appear in court,” Seong said.

As the judge handed down the verdict, Park’s supporters attending the trial reportedly shouted “Release the innocent president,” and “Is this a law?”

All sentences must be served consecutively, a court spokeswoman said.

Park became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office last year when the Constitutional Court ordered her out over a scandal that exposed a web of corruption between political leaders and the country’s powerful conglomerates, or chaebol.

Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. It was immediately unclear whether Park would appeal.

North Korea Is Quickly Upgrading Nuclear Research Facility: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘HILL’ NEWSPAPER)

 

Satellite images show North Korea upgrading nuclear research facility: report

Satellite images from last week show that North Korea is making numerous improvements to the infrastructure at a nuclear research facility, according to a new study.

The images, obtained by North Korea analysis outlet 38 North, come just weeks after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement that called for a denuclearized Korean peninsula.

The satellite photos indicate that North Korea is quickly progressing on several adjustments to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.

The improvements include a new cooling water pump house, multiple new buildings, completed construction on a cooling water reservoir and an apparently active Radio chemical Laboratory. It is unclear whether the reactor is still in operation, the report said.

38 North notes that North Korean nuclear officials are expected to proceed with “business as usual” until Kim orders official changes to procedure.

The agreement between Trump and Kim, signed at the historic summit in Singapore earlier this month, commits the U.S. to “security guarantees” in exchange for a denuclearized Korean peninsula. Critics said that the deal was unspecific and gave too much to North Korea without securing anything for the U.S. in return.

Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders, North Korea claimed to have destroyed its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site.