Return to homeTravel Docs: http://www.traveldocs.com/kr/index.htm 3600 BC In 2012 South
Korean archaeologist Cho Mi-soon said that the nation’s
archeological agency has found the remains of a farming field from
the Neolithic period on South Korea's east coast and that the site
may date to about this time.
2333 BC Go-Chosun (Kojoson) refers to the Korean
Empire founded by Tangun in 2333 BC that succeeded the first
kingdoms of Hwan Gook (7,197 BC) and Bae Dal (3,898 BC) (also known
as Gu Ri). The people of Go-Chosun were referred to by the Chinese
as "the eastern bowmen." Chosun means "The Land of the Morning
(www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chosun)(Econ, 3/31/07, SR
400 BC Korean farmers about this time brought rice
(Econ, 12/19/09, p.66)
400 BC- 250 AD The Yayoi culture is identified by
its pottery. Mongoloid people from Korea entered Japan and mixed
with the older Jomon populations.
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.34,38)
171BC There was a major wave of migration to Japan
from the Korean Peninsula. The migration of other peoples from
mainland Asia around this time brought metal tools, rice and new
farming techniques. Computer modeling in 2011 showed that the
migration also had significant impact on linguistic development.
c100BC The Shilla Dynasty began in southeastern
Korea and grew to become a top-heavy feudal system that covered most
of South Korea for almost 900 years.
(SFEM, 6/20/99, p.6)
37BCE-448CE The Koguryo kingdom straddled what is now North Korea
and part of South Korea and the northeastern Chinese region of
Manchuria. It spread Buddhism throughout the region.
37BC-668CE The Koguryo kingdom (Gaogouli in
Chinese) flourished during this time. At its height the territory
stretched from central Manchuria to south of Seoul, Korea. It was
later taught to be one of Korea’s three founding kingdoms.
(Econ, 3/31/07, SR p.8)
49 The Puyo tribe, living along
the Sungari River in Manchuria, had their chief recognized as a wang
(king) by the Chinese. Koguryo developed into a state during the
long reign of Taejo that began four years later.
227-248 King Tongchon ruled Korea during this
(AM, 7/05, p.13)
244 The Chinese state of Wei
sent a force of 20,000 and took the Koguryo capital while the Puyo
made an alliance by supplying the Chinese troops.
250-710CE The Japanese Kofun period. Mongoloid
people from Korea continued to enter Japan and mixed with the older
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.38)
300-400CE Historian Egami Namio in 1948 proposed
the "horserider" thesis that cited equestrian goods and foreign
culture elements as evidence that the ancestors of the Japanese
imperial line had migrated from Korea about this time and conquered
the northern part of Kyushu.
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.36)
500-700CE Chronicles of the 8th century record the
peaceful arrival of immigrants from Korea in the 6th and 7th
(AM, Mar/Apr 97 p.38)
538-552 Introduction of Buddhism to Japan from
(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 214)
578 Prince Shotuku brought a
family from Korea to Osaka and had them build a Buddhist temple. The
temple took 15 years to build and the Kongo family became
established as the premier temple builders in Japan.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R46)
615 Yang Di (Yangdi), a Chinese
Sui emperor, announced a 4th attempt to conquer Korea. In response
to peasant rebellions in the north, Yangdi moved to the eastern city
(ON, 5/06, p.1)
727 Houei-tch’ao, a Korean
pilgrim, visited the great Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.
(WSJ, 12/20/01, p.A13)
c800-900 Peasant uprisings led to the
establishment of 2 rival states.
(SFEM, 6/20/99, p.6)
900-1000 The Korean rice wine Makgeolli, once
known as "farmer drink", dates back at least this time. Its
popularity waned in the early 1960s when the government restricted
the use of rice for making alcohol in order to combat rice
shortages. In 2012 South Korea's Baesangmyun Brewery announced that
a brewery in Chicago will open to produce the drink.
918-1392 During Korea's Age of Enlightenment, the
period of the Goryeo Dynasty, the Buddhist aristocracy commissioned
many works of art to further the Buddhist ideal.
(SFC, 10/14/03, p.D1)
935 The last Shilla king
surrendered his throne.
(SFEM, 6/20/99, p.6)
940 Mount Paektu, a volcano
straddling the border between North Korea and China, erupted about
this time and covered a swath of North-East Asia in ashes. The
millennium eruption is believed to have occurred between 930 and 940
(Econ, 10/26/13, p.48)(AP, 9/3/14)
1162-1227 Genghis Khan was born in the Hentiyn
Nuruu mountains north of Ulan Bator. His given name was Temujin,
"the ironsmith." He seized control over 5 million square miles that
covered China, Iran, Iraq, Burma, Vietnam, and most of Korea and
Russia. "In Search of Genghis Khan" is a book by Tim Severin. He was
succeeded by his son Ogedai, who was succeeded by Guyuk. Ogedai
ignored numerous pleas from his brother Chaghatai to cut down on his
drinking and died of alcoholism as did Guyuk.
(SFC, 4/14/96, T-10)(WUD, 1994, p. 591)(WSJ,
1281 Aug 14, During the second
Mongol attempt to conquer Japan, Kublai Khan's invading fleet
disappeared in typhoon off of Japan. A Mongol army of 45,000 from
Korea had joined an armada with 120,000 men from southern China
landing at Hakozaki Bay. The typhoon destroyed their fleet leaving
them to death or slavery.
(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 214)(EWH, 4th ed.,
1310 In Korea a hanging silk
scroll was painted with an image of Avalokiteshvara.
(SFC, 10/14/03, p.D1)
1329 In Korea a foundry was
used to print books with metal type.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R14)
1377 In Korea Jikjisimgyeong, a
Buddhist scripture, was printed with the world’s first movable metal
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1392 The Chosun Dynasty (Joseon
Dynasty) was established. In 2005 Yi Ku (73), the son of Korea's
last crown prince, died alone of a heart attack in Japan. He was the
last member of the Chosun dynasty that ruled Korea from 1392 until
(SFC, 5/9/01, p.C18)(AP, 7/24/05)(AP, 4/14/11)
1392-1910 The Choson Dynasty ruled over Korea.
[the article is about pojagi, Korean wrapping cloth]
(Hem., Oct. '95, p.72)(WSJ, 8/13/96, p.A9)
1394 Seoul, Korea, was founded.
The city celebrated its 600th anniversary in 1994.
1398 In South Korea a wooden
structure at the top of the Namdaemun gate formed part of a wall
that encircled the Seoul. The two-tiered wooden structure was
renovated in the 1960s, when it was declared South Korea's top
national treasure. In 2008 a fire destroyed the 610-year-old
1441 In Korea King Sejong
called for better water management in his agricultural based economy
and Yeong-sil Jang responded with the first rain gauge.
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1446 Oct 9, The Korean alphabet
known as hangul, created under the aegis of King Sejong, was first
published. This day was later made a national holiday.
(AP, 10/9/07)(Econ, 10/10/15, p.40)
1495 In Korea King Yonsan-gun
succeeded King Songjong. His reign was noted for his unscrupulous
suppression of the literati. In 2005 the South Korean film industry
produced “The King and the Clown." It was based on the 15th century
monarch and a troupe of entertainers invited to his court.
1506 King Chungjong
(r.1506-1544) began his rule in Korea. He restored Confucian rule
with the support of officials who had deposed King Yongsan-gun.
1562 In Korea Im Kkok-chong, a
righteous outlaw who rose up against the greedy officials and
distributed it to the poor, was caught and beheaded. His chivalry
and revolutionary ideas captured the admiration of the people and
inspired the popular novel: “Hong Kil-tong chon, the Tale of Hong
Kil-Tong," written in the early 17th century by the scholar Ho Kyun.
1584 Yulgok (b.1536), a Korean
Confucian scholar, died. South Korea later celebrated his memory on
a 5,000-won note. His mother appeared on a 50,000-won note.
(Econ, 10/26/13, SR p.9)
1591 Korean Admiral Yi Sun Sin
(1545-1598) developed his ironclad "turtle ships." They were
characterized by multiple canons and a fully covered deck designed
to deflect cannon fire and keep enemy combatants from boarding.
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1592 May 23, Toyotomi
Hideyoshi sent an army to invade Korea after Korea refused to help
him invade China. The initial Imjin invasion was followed by a brief
truce in 1596, and a second invasion in 1597. The conflict ended in
1598 with the withdrawal of the Japanese forces from the Korean
Peninsula after a military stalemate in Korea's southern coastal
(Jap. Enc., BLDM,
1592 Korea defenders led by
Gen. Jeong Mun-bu scored a victory over an invading Japanese army at
Bukgwan. A monument with a description of the fight was raised a
century later. During the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 a Japanese
general shipped the monument to Japan where it was set in the
Yasukuni shrine. It was recognized by a South Korean in 1978 and in
2005 Shinto priests agreed to return it to Seoul.
(Econ, 10/15/05, p.46)
1592-1598 Korean Adm. Yi Sun Sin (1545-1598)
employed his ironclad "turtle ships" to fight off an invasion
by Japan. Hundreds of Japanese vessels were sunk during the
prolonged Japanese invasion.
1597 Oct 26, Korea’s Admiral Yi
Sun-shin (Yi Sun sin), with a fleet of 13 ships, beat back the
Japanese Navy, with a fleet of hundreds of ships, at the Battle of
Myeongnyang. In 2014 the South Korean film “Roaring Currents," a
depiction of the battle, was released and became the country’s most
popular film of all time.
1676 Jeong Seon (d.1759),
Korean landscape painter, was born.
1735 Lady Hyegyong was born in
Korea. At age 9-10 she married Crown Prince Sado (~10), who was
murdered by his father, King Yongjo, in 1762. Hyegyônggung Hong Ssi
later authored her memoir “Hanjungnok."
1791-1888 In Korea 124 Catholics were executed
during this period under the Joseon Dynasty, which tried to shut off
the Korean Peninsula off from Western influence. They were canonized
as saints in 1984 during a visit by Pope John Paul II.
(Econ, 7/26/14, p.A7)
1808 Yi Eung-nok, Korean court
painter, was born.
(SFC, 3/11/03, p.D1)
1846 In Korea Kim Tae-gon (25),
the country’s first Catholic priest, was beheaded for attempting to
help foreign missionaries enter the country. He was canonized in
(SFC, 8/13/14, p.A7)
1866 Aug 31, In Korea the US
trade ship USS General Sherman ignored demands to turn back on the
Taedong River, took hostages and fired on civilians. A 4-day battle
followed in which all of the crew were killed.
1866 French troops took away
hundreds of Korean manuscripts and set fire to 5,000 more when they
raided a royal library on an island off Korea's west coast. In 2011
the first batch of the looted Korean royal books were returned home.
1871 Jun 1, Korea’s Yongdu
Fortress fired at a US fleet as it sailed up the Ganghwa Straits,
which leads to the Han river. Some 650 Marines launched the first US
invasion of Korea following a failed attempt by diplomats to open
the Hermit Kingdom to trade. In the end, the Americans won the
battle militarily, but lost diplomatically.
1875 Mar 26, Syngman Rhee,
President of South Korea (1948-60), was born. [see Apr 26]
1875 Apr 26, Syngman Rhee,
Pres. of South Korea (1948-60), was born. [see Mar 26]
(HN, 4/26/98)(MC, 4/26/02)
1882 The US and Korea signed
the Chemulpo Treaty, which pledged perpetual peace and friendship
between the President of the US and King Kojong (1852-1919) of
Chosen and their respective people.
1894 Jul 23, Japanese troops
took over the Korean imperial palace in Seoul.
(AP, 7/23/97)(HN, 7/23/98)
1894 Jul 25, Japanese forces
sank the British steamer Kowshing which was bringing Chinese
reinforcements to Korea.
1894 Aug 1, The First
Sino-Japanese War erupted, the result of a dispute over control of
Korea; Japan's army routed the Chinese.
1895 Apr 17, China and Japan
signed the peace treaty of Shimonoseki. This followed a war over
control of the Korean peninsula.
(HN, 4/17/98)(Econ, 1/15/05, Survey p.4)
1895 Apr 23, Russia, France,
and Germany forced Japan to return the Liaodong peninsula to China.
1895 May 8, China ceded Taiwan
to Japan under the Apr 17 Treaty of Shimonoseki. This followed a war
over control of the Korean peninsula.
(HN, 5/8/98)(Econ, 1/15/05, Survey p.4)
1898 Isabella Bird Bishop
(1831-1904), English explorer, writer, and natural historian,
published her 2-volume work “Korea and Her Neighbors."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Bird)(Econ, 10/26/13, SR
1901 Nov 25, Japanese Prince
Ito arrived in Russia to seek concessions in Korea.
1902 Mar 20, France and Russia
acknowledged the Anglo-Japanese alliance, but asserted their right
to protect their interests in China and Korea.
1904 Jan 5, American Marines
arrived in Seoul, Korea to guard U.S. legation there.
1904 Jan 6, A Japanese railway
in Korea refused to transport Russian troops.
1904 Feb 4, Russia offered
Korea to Japan and defended its right to occupy Manchuria.
1904 Feb 9, Japanese troops
landed near Seoul, Korea, after disabling two Russian cruisers.
1904 Feb 23, Japan guaranteed
Korean sovereignty in exchange for military assistance.
1904 Mar 15, Three hundred
Russians were killed as the Japanese shelled Port Arthur in Korea.
1904 Mar 24, Vice Adm. Tojo
sank seven Russian ships as the Japanese strengthened their blockade
of Port Arthur.
1904 Aug 6, The Japanese army
in Korea surrounded a Russian army retreating to Manchuria.
1904 Sep 19, Gen. Nogi
assaulted Port Arthur: 16,000 Japanese casualties.
1904 Nov 28, The pivotal
capture by the Japanese of 203 Meter Hill overlooking Port Arthur
occurred during the bloodiest battle of the Russo-Japanese War of
1904-05. The battle of November 28-December 5, 1904, resulted in
Japanese forces taking the strategic 203 Meter Hill, allowing them
to bombard and sink the Russian fleet in the harbor at Port
Arthur. Russia surrendered the city of Port Arthur to Japan on
January 1, 1905.
1904 Dec 5, Japanese destroyed
Russian fleet at Port Arthur in Korea.
1904 Dec 16, Japanese warships
quit Port Arthur in order to cut off the Russian Baltic fleet’s
1905 Feb 22, Japan 1st claimed
the volcanic islets they called Takeshima, located between Japan and
Korea, where they are known as Tokdo (Dokdo). Japan illegally
incorporated Dokdo as its territory through an administrative
measure of one of its prefectures.
(Econ, 3/26/05, p.42)(Econ, 4/9/05, p.14)
1905 May 29, The Russian
ship Dmitrii Donskoi was scuttled off an eastern Korean island after
the Battle of Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese war. In 2018 a
South Korean company claimed to have found the sunken warship. The
company speculated about 200 tons of gold bars and coins worth 150
trillion won ($132 billion) would still likely be aboard the ship.
1905 Jul 29, US Secretary of
War William Howard Taft, under the approval of Pres. Theodore
Roosevelt, and PM of Japan Katsura Taro signed the Taft-Katsura
Agreement, which reinforced American and Japanese influence and
spelled doom for Korean sovereignty. Japan agreed not to interfere
in the ongoing US rape of the Philippines in return for the US
agreement not to interfere with Japan’s forthcoming rape of Korea.
1905 Japan imposed protectorate
status on Korea. Hirobumi Ito was installed in Seoul as resident
general and took charge of all governmental affairs. Japan named
Durham White Stevens as the foreign advisor to Kojong.
(AH, 10/07, p.56)
1907 In Korea some dozen
civilian leaders started a national campaign to raise money to ease
the national debt to Japan, which was its colonial ruler. About
1/6th of the total debt was donated.
(SFC, 1/7/98, p.A8)
1907 In Korea the Righteous
Army under the command of Yi In-yeong massed 10,000 troops to
liberate Seoul and defeat the Japanese. The Army came within 12 km
of Seoul but could not withstand the Japanese counter-offensive. The
Righteous Army was no match for two infantry divisions of 20,000
Japanese soldiers backed by warships moored near Inchon. The doomed
revolt ultimately left some 14,000 Koreans dead as well as 160
1908 Mar 23, In San Francisco
Durham White Stevens (56), Japan’s foreign advisor to Korea, was
shot by a Korean nationalist. Stevens died 2 days later from
internal injuries. Chang In Hwan and Chun Myung Un had attacked
Stevens as he approached the ferry landing. Chun was released from
prison in June, 1908, and fled the country. Chang was convicted of
2nd degree manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was
paroled after 10 years.
(AH, 10/07, p.54-58)
1908 George Trumbull Ladd,
president of Yale Univ., authored “In Korea with Marquis Ito." Ladd
endorsed Japan’s protectorate status over Korea whose people he
described as hopelessly corrupt and incompetent.
(AH, 10/07, p.57)
1909 Oct 26, Hirobumi Ito
(b.1841), Japan’s resident general in Seoul, was gunned down in
Harbin in Russian-controlled Manchuria by Korean nationalist Chang
Ahn Gun (aka Ahn Jung-geun).
1909 In the Kando convention
Japan gave China a chunk of Korean Manchuria in return for
(Econ, 3/31/07, SR p.8)
1910 Jun 24, The Japanese army
1910 Aug 22, Japan annexed
Korea following 5 years as a protectorate and ruled for 35 years.
(WSJ, 10/14/95, p.A-1)(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p.
1910 The Chosun Dynasty ended
when the Japanese deposed the royal family after a 518-year reign.
King Sunjong was the final ruler. The occupational force allowed the
monarchy to retain its ceremonial court for several years.
(SFC, 5/9/01, p.C18)
1910-1945 Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula.
(SFC, 4/22/98, p.A11)
1918 Nov 9, Choi Hong Hi
(d.2002), one of the founders of the South Korean Army (1946), was
born in North Korea. He developed the tae kwon do (to kick with the
foot, to strike with the fist, art) martial arts style in the 1940s
and named it in 1955.
(SFC, 7/2/02, p.A17)
1919 Mar 1, The Korean
coalition proclaimed their independence from Japan. 33 Koreans
gathered in a local restaurant to read a declaration of independence
that ignited a series of demonstrations against Japanese occupation.
The March 1st movement led millions of Koreans to take to the
streets to protest against Japanese rule. Thousands were killed and
many ended up in Keijo’s Seodaemun prison.
(SSFC, 2/24/13, p.M3)(Econ, 8/15/15, p.34)
1923 Sep, In Japan an orgy of
opportunistic anti-Korean slaughter followed the Sep 1 Great Kanto
(Econ, 12/22/12, p.59)
1925 Korea’s first communist
party was founded.
(Econ, 10/3/15, p.42)
1937 Korean guerrillas
allegedly led by Kim Il Sung clashed with Japanese colonizer in the
Battle of Bocheonbo.
(WSJ, 1/14/03, p.A10)
1938 Samsung began as a small
noodle business. By 2011 it had swelled into a network of 83
companies accounting for 13% of South Korea’s exports.
(Econ, 10/1/11, p.14)
1943 Nov 20, US Marines began
landing on Tarawa and Makin atolls in the Gilbert Islands,
encountering fierce resistance from Japanese forces but emerging
victorious three days later. The US 2nd marine division invaded the
tiny isle of Betio on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilberts. It was the first
seriously opposed landing experienced by the Americans in WWII.
After 3 days 1,027 US Marine and Navy personnel were killed. Of some
4,800 Japanese and Korean laborers on Betio, 146 survived, including
17 Japanese troops. In 2006 John Wukovits authored “One Square Mile
1943 Slave laborers at the
Japanese NKK Corp. went on strike. Kim Kyung Suk (16) of Korea was
hanged from a ceiling by company employees and beaten with wooden
and bamboo swords for leading the strike against the steel giant.
Suk filed suit in 1991 and was awarded $33,900 in compensation in
(SFC, 4/8/99, p.C3)
1940s The Korean government of
Syngman Rhee fought a guerrilla war with indigenous left wing
elements in the late 1940s.
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)
1945 Aug 8, The Soviet Union
declared war against Japan. 1.5 million Soviet troops launched a
massive surprise attack (August Storm) against Japanese occupation
forces in northern China and Korea. Within days, Tokyo's million-man
army in the region had collapsed in one of the greatest military
defeats in history.
(SFC, 9/9/96, p.A19)(AP, 8/8/97)(AP, 8/6/05)
1945 Aug 15, Korea was
liberated after nearly 40 years of Japanese colonial rule, but
it soon faced the tragic division of the North and South along the
1945 Aug 24, A blast aboard a
Japanese Navy transport carrying 4,000 Koreans home killed at least
524 Koreans and 25 Japanese crew members in Maizuru port in Kyoto.
In 2001 a Japanese court awarded $375,000 to 15 Korean survivors of
(SFC, 8/24/01, p.A16)
1945 Sep 8, Korea was
partitioned by the Soviet Union and the United States. The US
invaded Japanese-held Korea.
(HN, 9/8/98)(MC, 9/8/01)
1945 Sep 9, The Japanese in S.
Korea, Taiwan, China and Indochina surrendered to Allies.
1945 Dec 27, Foreign ministers
from the former Allied nations of the United States, the Soviet
Union, and Great Britain agreed to divide Korea into two separate
occupation zones and to govern the nation for five years.
1946 Choi Hong Hi (1918-2002),
helped found the South Korean Army. He developed the tae kwon do (to
kick with the foot, to strike with the fist, art) martial arts style
in the 1940s and named it in 1955.
(SFC, 7/2/02, p.A17)
1948 Jul 20, Syngman Rhee
(b.1875) was elected president of South Korea. He served to 1960.
(HN, 4/26/98)(MC, 4/26/02)(MC, 7/20/02)
1948 Aug 15, The Republic of
Korea (South Korea) declared independence.
(AP, 8/15/97)(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.16)
1948 Dec 8, UN approved the
recognition of South Korea.
1948 South Korea adopted
legislation to punish anyone praising North Korea with up to seven
years in prison.
(Econ, 1/17/15, p.39)
1948 Some 14,000 people were
killed during a government crackdown on a leftist uprising. Fighting
between leftist guerrillas and government forces took place on the
southern island of Jeju and estimates of those killed ranged from
several to 50 thousand.
(SFC, 8/29/01, p.A9)
1948 South Korean Shin Kyuk-Ho
founded Lotte Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. He expanded Lotte to his home
country with the establishment of Lotte Confectionery in Seoul on
April 3, 1967 and built the company into a sprawling giant that by
2017 had dozens of units focused on food, retail and hotels in South
Korea and Japan.
1949 Jun 28, The last U.S.
combat troops were called home from Korea, leaving only 500
(HN, 6/28/98)(WSJ, 5/26/00, p.W8)
1949 Jun 29, US troops withdrew
from Korea after WW II. [see Jun 28]
1949 Oct 6, China and Korea
established diplomatic relations. Korea became one of the first
groups of countries having diplomatic relations with new China.
1950 Jan 12, Sec. of State Dean
Acheson in a speech placed South Korea and Formosa outside the US
defense perimeter in Asia. Japan, Okinawa, Philippines, and the
Aleutians were inside the perimeter to be defended.
1950 Mar 1, Kim Soo-im
(b.1911), a former US-employed assistant and lover to provost
marshal Col. John E. Baird, was arrested by South Korean police,
joining thousands of others ensnared in President Syngman Rhee's
roundups of leftists — workers and writers, teachers, peasants and
others with suspect politics. She was soon tried and executed in
June by South Korea as an alleged spy.
1950 Jun 25, The Korean War
started as forces from the communist North invaded the South. It
lasted till 1953. A Truman administration statement that Korea was
“outside the US defense perimeter" in the Pacific was said to have
invited the attack. Gen. McArthur led a UN expeditionary force in
response to North Korea’s attack on South Korea. The Chinese entered
the war and the UN forces were pushed into a Christmas retreat. 2.5
million people were killed. No peace treaty was ever signed. About
1.7 million Americans were involved and there was an estimated 3 mil
casualties including 150,000 (54,246) Americans and over 1 mil
Chinese. In 1990 North Korean officials revealed that Stalin
knew about and encouraged North Korea’s aggression as did Mao
(NG, Aug., 1974, p.255)(WSJ, 8/8/95, p. A15)(SFC,
4/8/96, p.A-9)(SFEM, 11/10/96, p.12)(SFC, 2/17/96, p.A26)(AP,
6/25/97)(WSJ, 7/21/97, p.A22)
1950 Jun 26, President Truman
authorized the US Air Force and Navy to enter the Korean conflict.
1950 Jun 27, North Koreans
troop reached Seoul. UN Security Council called on members for
troops to aid South Korea.
(HN, 6/27/98)(MC, 6/27/02)
1950 Jun 28, The South Korean
government blew up the Han River Bridge, the southern escape route
for many Seoul residents, just hours before the North Koreans
(SFEC, 6/25/00, p.A13)
1950 Jun-1950 Jul, The South
Korean government of Syngman Rhee arrested tens of thousands due to
fear that leftists would collaborate with the North Koreans sweeping
down the peninsula. Rhee ordered the murders of thousands of
political opponents and some of their mass graves were not found
until the late 1990s. In 2009 a government commission said South
Korean soldiers and police executed nearly 5,000 citizens during the
early months of the 1950-53 Korean War, fearing they could
collaborate with invading North Korean troops.
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)(WSJ, 6/5/00, p.A32)(AP,
1950 Jul 20, US planes strafed
refugees south of Yusong.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.A12)
1950 Jul 23, American soldiers
ordered villagers from Chu Gok Ri and warned them of approaching
North Koreans. The villagers fled to Im Ke Ri.
(SFC, 1/12/01, p.A8)
1950 Jul 24-1950 Jul 27, US
orders in the 25th Infantry Division were issued to treat civilians
in the Korea battle zone as enemy.
(SFC, 1/12/01, p.A8)
1950 Jul 25, Top staff officers
of the US 8th Army, Muccio's representative Harold J. Noble and
South Korean officials met and decided on a policy of air-dropping
leaflets telling South Korean civilians not to head south toward US
defense lines, and of shooting them if they did approach US lines
despite warning shots. This information was in a letter from
ambassador John J. Muccio to US Sec. of State Dean Rusk. The letter
was declassified in 1982 .
1950 Jul 25, American soldiers
ordered villagers away from Im Ke Ri and sent them on the road to
(SFC, 1/12/01, p.A8)
1950 Jul 26-1950 Jul 29, US
troops killed up to 300 South Korean refugees trapped under a bridge
at No Gun Ri. The villagers had gathered there to avoid strafing
from US planes which killed some 100. US troops feared the refugees
included infiltrators from North Korea. The killings were not made
public until 1999. On Jan 11, 2001 the US Army admitted that
civilians were massacred and Pres. Clinton offered his regrets. The
US Army blamed the "fog of war" in apology and acknowledgement. In
2007 the Army acknowledged it had found, but did not divulge, that a
high-level document said the US military had a policy of shooting
approaching civilians in South Korea.
(SFC, 9/30/99, p.A1,16)(WSJ, 6/5/00, p.A32)(SSFC,
12/30/01, p.D2)(AP, 4/13/07)
1950 Jul 29, After 3 days of US
fire into underpasses, the 2nd Battalion pulled away. Koreans said
300 were left dead at the bridge at No Gun Ri.
(SFC, 1/12/01, p.A8)
1950 Jul, The US Army lost
2,834 soldiers with 2,486 wounded in July.
(WSJ, 10/6/99, p.A22)
1950 Jul, Some 1800 political
prisoners were executed over 3 days at Taejon (Daejeon). The
executions were ordered to prevent the release of the prisoners by
advancing North Korean military. Later evidence indicated that South
Korean executioners killed between 3,000 and 7,000 at Daejeon.
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)(AP, 5/19/08)
1950 Aug 3, In South Korea Maj.
Gen'l. Hobart R. Gay ordered the demolition of the Waegwan Bridge
over the Naktong River to prevent enemy crossings. The bridge was
filled with refugees. 25 miles down river the 650-foot long
Tuksong-dong bridge was also destroyed as refugees crossed.
(SFC, 10/14/99, p.A6)
1950 Aug 10, Some 200-300
prisoners were killed by South Korean police near Dokchon.
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)
1950 Aug 18-1950 Aug 25, The
Battles of the Bowling Alley took place during the Korean War in a
narrow valley north of Tabu-dong, Korea on the Taegu-Sangju road.
There the U.S. Army‘s 27th Infantry Division and the Republic of
Korea‘s (ROK) 1st Infantry Division faced off against a determined
effort by the North Korean People‘s Army‘s 1st and 13th Infantry
Divisions to break through that segment of the Pusan perimeter. It
was part of the overall effort of the ROK forces and the U.S. Eighth
Army to stop the North Korean advance.
1950 Aug 20, South Korean
police and soldiers killed 210 people on the southern island of
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)
1950 Aug 31, Three North Korean
divisions opened an assault on UN lines on the Naktong River in a
push to take Pusan.
(SSFC, 11/7/04, Par p.4)
1950 Sep 1, In South Korea the
USS DeHaven received an order from its Shore Fire Control Party to
open fire on a large group of refugee personnel located on Pohang
beach. Witnesses said 100 to 200 civilians were killed in the Navy
1950 Sep 1, US Company C, 1st
Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, was almost completely
annihilated as North Korean divisions opened an assault on UN lines
on the Naktong River. Only Company C and other elements of the 2nd
Infantry Division stood in the path.
(SSFC, 11/7/04, Par p.4)
1950 Sep 10, In South Korea 43
American war planes dropped 93 napalm canisters over Wolmi to clear
out its eastern slope for UN troops. Village residents later said
dozens of people were killed.
(SSFC, 8/3/08, p.A16)
1950 Sep 15, During the Korean
conflict, United Nations forces landed at Inchon in the south and
began their drive toward Seoul. Considered the greatest amphibious
attack in history, it was the zenith of General Douglas MacArthur's
career. The newly organized X Corps under the command of General
Douglas MacArthur launched an amphibious invasion of Korea’s western
coast at Inchon, the port of the Korean capital, Seoul. After two
days of naval bombardment, U.S. Marines seized the offshore island
of Wolmi-do and proceeded inland against surprisingly light
resistance. By September 26, American forces had captured Seoul.
(AP, 9/15/97)(HN, 9/15/99)(HNPD, 9//99)
1950 Sep 15, US troop landed on
Wolmi-Do island off of Seoul.
1950 Sep 23, US Mustangs
accidentally bombed British troops on Hill 282 in Korea. 17 were
1950 Sep 26, General Douglas
MacArthur's American X Corps, fresh from the Inchon landing, linked
up with the U.S. Eighth Army after its breakout from the Pusan
Perimeter. United Nations troops recaptured the South Korean capital
of Seoul from the North Koreans. [see Sep 27]
(AP, 9/26/97)(HN, 9/26/99)
1950 Sep 27, U.S. Army and
Marine troops liberated Seoul, South Korea.
1950 Sep 29, General Douglas
MacArthur officially returned Seoul, South Korea, to President
1950 Sep 30, U.N. forces
crossed the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea as they
pursued the retreating North Korean Army.
1950 Oct 2, Mao Tse Tung sent a
telegram to Stalin. China intervened in Korea.
1950 Oct 7, The United Nations
General Assembly passed a resolution to establish a unified and
1950 Oct 14, Chinese Communist
Forces began to infiltrate the North Korean Army.
1950 Oct 14, Rev. Sun Young
Moon was liberated from Hung Nam prison (Korea).
1950 Oct 15, President Harry
Truman met with General Douglas MacArthur at Wake Island to discuss
U.N. progress in the Korean War.
1950 cOct 18, US forces drove
north across the 38th parallel into the Peoples Republic of North
(SFEC, 12/15/96, zone 1 p.5)
1950 Oct 18, The First Turkish
Brigade arrived in Korea to assist the U.N. forces fighting there.
1950 Oct 19, United Nations
forces entered the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
(AP, 10/19/97)(HN, 10/19/98)
1950 Oct 21, North Korean
Premier Kim Il-sung established a new capital at Sinuiju on the Yalu
River opposite the Chinese City of Antung.
1950 Oct 25, Chinese Communist
Forces launched their first phase offensive across the Yalu River
into North Korea.
1950 Oct 26, A reconnaissance
platoon for a South Korean division reached the Yalu River. They
were the only elements of the U.N. force to reach the river before
the Chinese offensive pushed the whole army down into South Korea.
1950 Oct 30, The First Marine
Division was ordered to replace the entire South Korean I Corps at
the Chosin Reservoir area.
1950 Oct 30, Gen'l. Douglas
McArthur ordered a combined Marine and Army outfit to cross the 38th
parallel and "mop up" remaining North Korean soldiers. 12,000
Marines found themselves surrounded by 8 Chinese divisions. The
marines lost 4,000 men and the Chinese lost 37,500. Joseph Owen
later authored "Colder Than Hell: A Marine Rifle Company at the
Chosin Reservoir," a first person account of the fighting. In 1999
Martin Russ published "Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign." The
novel "The Marines of Autumn" by Michael Brady was based on this
(WSJ, 8/6/99, p.W7)(WSJ, 5/26/00, p.W8)
1950 Nov 1, USSR Communist
forces introduced the MiG-15 to the Korean War.
1950 Nov 18, South Korea Pres.
Syngman Rhee was forced to end mass executions.
1950 Nov 20, U.S. troops pushed
to Yalu River within five miles of Manchuria.
1950 Nov 24, UN troops began an
assault with the intent to end the Korean War by Christmas.
1950 Nov 26, China entered the
Korean conflict, launching a counter-offensive across the Yalu River
against soldiers from the United Nations, the United States and
South Korea. North Korean and Chinese troops halted the UN
(WSJ, 6/24/96, C1)(AP, 11/26/97)(HN,
1950 Nov 27, East of the Chosin
River, Chinese forces annihilated an American task force. Col.
Barber (d.2002 at 82) and 220 soldiers in Fox Company withstood a
5-day assault to protect an escape pass.
(HN, 11/27/98)(SFC, 4/23/02, p.A18)
1950 Nov 28, In Korea, 200,000
Communist troops launched attack on UN forces.
1950 Nov 28, During the Korean
War private first-class Hector A. Cafferata Jr. (1929-2016) held off
an enemy regiment single-handedly and safeguarded his comrades from
a live grenade during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. In 1952 Pres.
Harry S. Truman awarded him a Medal of Honor.
(SSFC, 4/17/16, p.C2)
1950 Nov 30, President Truman
declared that the U.S. would use the A-bomb to get peace in Korea.
1950 Nov, Inexperienced but
well trained and eager to show their mettle, the first Turkish
troops arrived in Korea just in time to face the Chinese onslaught.
1950 Dec 5, Pyongyang in Korea
fell to the invading Chinese army.
1950 Dec 16, President Truman
proclaimed a state of National Emergency (as Chinese communists
invaded deeper into South Korea) in order to fight "Communist
(AP, 12/16/97)(HN, 12/16/98)
1950 Dec 28, Chinese troops
crossed the 38th Parallel into South Korea.
1950 The US put forward its
“uniting for peace" resolution to the UN to overcome the Soviet veto
on military intervention in Korea.
(Econ, 7/31/04, p.40)
1950-1951 In late 1950 and early 1951, in
Namyangju, 16 miles northeast of Seoul, South Korea, the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission estimated in 2008 that police and a local
militia slaughtered more than 460 people, including at least 23
children under the age of 10.
1950-1953 The Korean War started on Jun 25, 1950.
2.5 million people were killed with over 2 million of them
civilians. No peace treaty was ever signed. About 1.7 million
Americans were involved and there was an estimated 3 mil casualties
including 150,000 (54,246) Americans and over 1 mil Chinese. In 1999
W.D. Ehrhart and Philip K. Jason edited "Retrieving Bones: Stories
and Poems of the Korean War."
(NG, Aug., 1974, H. E. Kim, p.255)(SFC, 4/8/96,
p.A-9)(WSJ, 8/8/95, p. A15) (SFEM, 11/10/96, p.12)(SFC, 2/17/96,
p.A26)(SFEC, 8/29/99, BR p.3)(WSJ, 10/6/99, p.A22)
1950-1953 The United Nations employed 39,000
ground forces that joined with the United States in the Korean War.
Michael Haas, a commando of the Korean War, later authored "In the
double Shadow." James Brady later authored his memoir "The Coldest
War" and novel "The Marines of Autumn."
(HNQ, 4/14/00)(WSJ, 5/26/00, p.W8)
1951 Jan 4, During the Korean
conflict, North Korean and Communist Chinese forces captured the
city of Seoul. UN forces abandoned Seoul, Korea to the Communists.
(AP, 1/4/98)(HN, 1/4/99)
1951 Jan 5, Inchon, South
Korea, the sight of General Douglas MacArthur's amphibious flanking
maneuver, was abandoned by United Nations force to the advancing
1951 Jan 14, The US Army’s X
Corps under Major Gen. Edward Almond ordered the methodical
destruction of dwellings and other buildings forward of front lines
in South Korea and recommended the use of air power.
(SSFC, 8/3/08, p.A16)
1951 Jan 15, American bombing
and strafing killed Korean refugees at Yong-in.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.A13)
1951 Jan 17, China refused a
cease-fire in Korea.
1951 Jan 19, In South Korea
American pilots summarized their air strikes at Sansong as
“excellent results." An investigative commission later found that
the attack, which killed at least 51 villagers and no enemy troops,
was indiscriminate and unjustified.
(SSFC, 8/3/08, p.A16)(AP, 8/3/08)
1951 Jan 20, American bombing
and strafing killed about 300 Korean refugees at Youngchoon. Korean
witnesses later said 300 people were trapped and suffocated in
Gokgyegul. On May 20, 2008, a South Korean Truth and Reconciliation
Commission identified 3 US attacks of indiscriminant use of napalm
that killed at least 228 civilians. The 1st at Wolmi on Sep 10,
1950, a 2nd at Sansong on Jan 19, 1951 and a 3rd at Tanyang on Jan
20, 1951, where at least 167 villagers were killed.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.A13)(SFC, 1/13/01,
p.A12)(http://tinyurl.com/5crkh9)(SSFC, 8/3/08, p.A16)
1951 Jan 21, Communist troops
forced the UN army out of Inchon, Korea after a 12-hour attack.
1951 Jan 25, The U.S. Eighth
Army in Korea launched Operation Thunderbolt, a counter attack to
push the Chinese Army north of the Han River.
1951 Feb 1, The UN condemned
the People's Republic of China as aggressor in Korea.
1951 Feb 13, At the Battle of
Chipyong-ni, in Korea, U.N. troops contained the Chinese forces'
offensive in a two-day battle.
1951 Feb 21, The U. S. Eighth
Army launched Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese
forces north of the Han River in Korea.
1951 Mar 7, U.N. forces in
Korea under General Matthew Ridgeway launched Operation Ripper, an
offensive to straighten out the U.N. front lines against the
1951 Mar 12, Communist troops
were driven out of Seoul.
1951 Apr 22-25, The Battle of
Imjin River in the Korean War. The 1st Battalion of the "Glorious"
Gloucestershire Regiment made a remarkable last ditch stand to allow
the British 29th Brigade to withdraw in the face of the oncoming
1951 Apr 25, After a three day
fight against Chinese Communist Forces, the Gloucestershire Regiment
was annihilated on "Gloucester Hill," in Korea.
1951 May 16, Chinese Communist
Forces launched a second step, fifth-phase offensive [in Korea] and
gained up to 20 miles of territory.
1951 May 18, US General Collins
predicted the use of atom bomb in Korea.
1951 May 19, UN began a counter
offensive in Korea.
1951 May 21, The U.S. Eighth
Army counterattacked to drive the Communist Chinese and North
Koreans out of South Korea.
1951 Sep 13, In Korea, U.S.
Army troops began their assault in Heartbreak Ridge. The month-long
struggle would cost 3,700 casualties.
1951 Sep 13, Lt. Daniel J.
Marini led 40 marines to capture Hill 712 in Korea near Imjin River.
He received a Silver Star in 1997.
(SFC, 1/9/97, p.A18)
1951 Sep 13, American Lt. Alvin
Earl Crane was shot down while on a reconnaissance flight over North
Korea. His remains were returned by North Korea in 1990, but
positive identification by DNA only took place in 2005.
(SSFC, 5/14/06, p.B6)
1951 Sep, Some 90 US Marines
were killed taking a North Korea ridge called Hill 749. [see Sep 13]
(SSFC, 5/25/03, Par p.5)
1951 Nov 12, The U.S. Eighth
Army in Korea was ordered to cease offensive operations and begin an
1951 Nov 25, A truce line
between U.N. troops and North Korea was mapped out at the peace
talks in Panmunjom, Korea.
1951 Nov 27, Cease-fire and
demarcation zone accord was signed in Panmunjom, Korea.
1951-1952 Francis Gabreski (d.2002 at 83), US
fighter pilot, shot down 6½ MiGs during the Korean War. During WW II
he was credited with 37½ kills. He later authored the autobiography:
"Gabby: A Fighter Pilot’s Life."
(SFC, 2/2/02, p.A18)
1952 Mar 18, There was a
Communist offensive in Korea.
1952 Mar 22, US Navy pilot
Kenneth Schechter (d.2013) was among a group of pilots ordered to
bomb North Korean rail and truck lines. Schechter’s plane was hit
and he was blinded, but managed to make a landing guided by group
leader Lt. Howard Thayer.
(SFC, 12/25/13, p.D2)
1952 Mar 27, Elements of the
U.S. Eighth Army reached the 38th parallel in Korea, the original
dividing line between the two Koreas.
1952 Apr 28, War with Japan
officially ended as a treaty that had been signed by the United
States and 47 other countries took effect. Japan regained
independence. The government immediately revoked Japanese
nationality from ethnic Koreans, called zainichi. Those loyal to
north Korea were called Soren and those loyal to South Korea were
(AP, 4/28/00)(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 216)(Econ,
1952 Jun 23, The US Air Force
bombed power plants on Yalu River, Korea.
1952 Oct 8, The Chinese began
an offensive in Korea.
1952 Dec 14, Eighty-four Korean
Communist prisoners interned on Pongam Island were killed during a
riot after attempting to escape.
1953 Jan 5, In South Korea the
Changgyeong ferry sank as it was cruising from Yeosu to Busan.
1953 Feb 17, Baseball star and
pilot Ted Williams was uninjured as his plane was shot down in
1953 Mar 10, North Korean
gunners at Wonsan fired on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by
firing 998 rounds at the enemy position.
1953 Apr 20, Operation Little
Switch began in Korea, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of
1953 Apr 27, US General Mark W.
Clark issued Operation Moolah to coincide with Operation Little
Switch, an exchange of sick and wounded POWs between the Communist
and UN forces in North and South Korea. The US set up Operation
Moolah to award $100,000 to the first pilot to defect in a Russian
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Moolah)(Econ, 5/16/15, p.79)
1953 Jun 7, Pres. Eisenhower
announced that proposals for a Korean truce are acceptable to the US
and appealed to South Korea to accept terms to stop the war.
(SFC, 6/6/03, p.E2)
1953 Jul 14, There was a
Communist offensive in Korea.
1953 Jul 25, A truce ended the
Korean War. S.L.A. Marshall later authored "The River and the
Gauntlet," a description of the slaughter the war brought to both
sides. Clay Blair later authored "Forgotten War," and Roy Appelman
wrote "East of Chosin" and "Disaster in Korea."
(SFEC, 5/16/99, Z1 p.4)(WSJ, 8/6/99, p.W7)
1953 Jul 27,
An armistice ending fighting in the three-year Korean War was signed
by representatives of the United Nations, Korea and China in
Panmunjom. Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison represented the UN and Gen.
Nam Il represented North Korea. General Mark Clark, commander of the
UN forces, added his signature to the armistice agreement. Armistice
negotiations had begun in July 1951, when the outlook for reunifying
North and South Korea became bleak, and fighting continued. The
cease-fire provided for an exchange of prisoners of war and
established a 2 ½ mile wide demilitarized zone and a demarcation
line at the 38th parallel. Not all aspects of the agreement,
however, were finalized—the UN Commission for the Unification and
Rehabilitation of Korea was not suspended until 1977. N. Korea
measures 46,540 sq. miles, its population in 1974 was ~15 million
people. 33,651 Americans had died and 8,000 were still missing in
(NG, 8/74, p.255)(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(WSJ,
6/24/96, C1)(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(HNPD, 7/27/98)(HN, 7/27/98)(SFEC,
5/9/99, p.T10)(SFEC, 6/25/00, Par p.5)(SFC, 7/25/03, p.E6)
1953 Aug 5, Operation "Big
Switch" was under way as prisoners taken during the Korean conflict
were exchanged at Panmunjom.
1953 Aug 8, The United States
and South Korea initialed a mutual security pact.
1953 Sep 21, North Korean pilot
Lieutenant No Kum Sok defected and landed his aircraft at Kimpo
airfield outside Seoul. He collected a reward while denying any
knowledge of a bounty. American scientists were able to examine the
Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, powered by a jet engine superior to
those then used in American fighter planes. It first saw combat in
Korea during November 1950, where its performance shifted the
balance of air power to Russian-backed North Korea.
1953 South Korea passed a law
(Econ, 5/23/15, p.32)
1954 Jan 20, Over 22,000
anti-Communist prisoners were turned over to the UN forces in Korea.
1954 Sep 8, SEATO (Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization), was created by the Southeast Asia
Collective Defense Treaty, in response to events in Korea and
Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos). SEATO formed to stop
communist spread in Southeast Asia. [see Sep 18]
(HNQ, 4/2/01)(MC, 9/8/01)
1956 South Korea opened its
first stock exchange.
(Econ, 7/16/11, p.76)
1958 May 15, In South Korea the
Yoido Full Gospel Church was founded by David Yonggi Cho and his
mother-in-law, Choi Ja-shil, both Assemblies of God pastors. Their
first worship service was held in the home of Choi Ja-shil. Apart
from the two pastors, only Choi Ja-shil's three daughters and one
elderly woman, who had come in to escape from the rain, attended the
first service. By 2007 Yoido counted some 830,000 members and its
church in Seoul was the largest in the world.
1958 In South Korea Cho Yong-gi
founded Yoido Full Gospel Church. By 2011 it ranked as the world’s
largest Christian congregation with over one million members.
(Econ, 10/15/11, p.51)
1958 The Goldstar electronics
firm was founded in South Korea. It later became known as LG
(Econ, 1/24/09, p.70)
1959 Sep 17, Typhoon Sara
killed 2,000 in Japan & Korea. 840 people were left dead or
missing in South Korea. [see Japan Sep 27]
(MC, 9/17/01)(SFC, 9/3/02, p.A3)
1959 Lucky Goldstar of South
Korea, later known as LG Electronics, produced the country’s first
(Econ, 1/24/09, p.56)
1960 Apr 27, South Korean pres
Syngman Rhee resigned. The government of Syngman Rhee was toppled.
Parliament began investigations of alleged summary executions during
the 1950-1953 war.
(SFC, 4/21/00, p.A19)(MC, 4/27/02)
1960 South Korea’s population
was about 25 million.
(Econ, 7/17/10, SR p.10)
1960-2009 South Korea’s fertility rate fell during
this period form 6 children per woman to 1.15.
(Econ, 12/17/11, p.78)
1961 May 15, 36 Unification
church couples were wed in Korea.
1961 In South Korea Pres. Park
Chung Hee (1917-1979) led a military coup that overthrew Premier
John M. Chang. The military seized power and investigations into
wartime summary executions ceased. This began a 26-year
dictatorship. The junta marched many racketeers through Seoul
wearing dunce caps with slogans such as “I am a corrupt swine."
(SFC,12/15/97, p.B2)(SFC, 4/21/00,
p.A19)(www.encarta.msn.com)(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.13)
1961 The per capita GDP of
South Korea was $91.
(Econ, 12/6/14, p.44)
1962 Mar 16, South Korea’s
Supreme Council passed the Political Activities Purification Law,
which essentially barred political participation by any civilians
associated with the two previous governments. In protest, the SCNR's
puppet president resigned, and Park Chung Hee named himself acting
1963 Oct 15, In South Korea
Park Chung-hee was elected president as the candidate of the newly
created Democratic Republican Party. He narrowly defeated former
President Yun, the candidate of the Civil Rule Party, by just over
156,000 votes—a margin of 1.5 percent.
1964-1973 South Korea deployed more than 300,000
military personnel to help the US effort in South Vietnam against
1965 Jul 19, Syngman Rhee
(b.1875), the first president of the Provisional Government of the
Republic of Korea (1948-60), died.
1965 The government of Japan
signed a peace treaty with South Korea that covered reparation
claims of South Korean women used as sex slaves. Japan paid $500
million to South Korea in compensation for wartime excesses and
colonial era claims.
(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 216)(SFC, 4/22/98,
p.A11)(Econ, 11/9/13, p.48)
1965 South Korea banned the use
of Chinese hair in its wig industry. By the late 1960s wigs made up
roughly 10 percent of the country’s total exports by revenue.
(Econ 7/29/17, p.33)
1965 Japan’s recognition of
South Korea enabled Koreans in Japan to become South Korean. Koreans
who did not became North Korean by default and went to Japan’s North
(Econ, 6/15/13, p.38)
1965 Charles Robert Jenkins
deserted his US Army post at the Korean DMZ and took up residence in
North Korea where he married Hitomi Soga, a Japanese woman kidnapped
by North Korea in the 1970s. In 2004 Jenkins reunited with his wife
in Indonesia and in September turned himself in to US military
authorities in Japan. [see Sep 1, 1965]
(SFC, 11/2/02, p.A5)(SSFC, 5/23/04, p.A18)(WSJ,
7/12/04, p.A1)(AP, 9/1/04)
1965-1973 Some 300,000 South Korean troops fought
alongside US forces in Vietnam. In 1998 South Vietnam expressed to
Hanoi its regret for its participation in the war.
(WSJ, 12/16/98, p.A1)
1966 South Korean Gen. Choi
Hong Hi (1918-2002) founded the Int’l. Taekwon-do Federation. Tae
kwan do, a form of self defense that engages the mind and body,
combined a Korean martial art, taek kyon, with the Japanese
discipline of karate.
(SFC, 7/2/02, p.A17)
1966 In South Korea the Korean
Productivity Center purchased the country’s first computer.
(LSA, Spring, 2009, p.17)
1967 Jan 19, North Korean
artillery batteries fired on and sank ROKN PCE-56 off the north
Korean east coast killing 39 South Korean sailors.
1967 Dec 29, Jirisan became
South Korea’s first and largest national park. It was home to the
highest peak on the South Korean mainland.
1967 Shin Kyuk-ho took his
Lotte enterprise home to South Korea from Japan, as dictator Park
Chung-hee offered tax breaks and perks. He had founded Lotte in
post-war Japan as a chewing gum business. In 2015 it was South
Korea’s fifth largest chaebol, but controlling companies remained in
(Econ, 8/15/15, p.58)
1968 Jan 21, A group of 31
North Korean commandos trudged undetected for about 40 miles from
the border to the presidential Blue House of South Korean President
Park Chung-hee in downtown Seoul. South Korean security forces
repelled the assault. 28 North Koreans and 34 South Koreans were
(SFC, 9/19/96, p.A8)(AP, 12/25/03)
1968 Apr, The South Korean
Silmido Unit was forged of misfits to "blast Kim Il Sung's palace in
Pyongyang and cut his throat."
1968 Richard Hooker authored
his Korean War novel "M*A*S*H*."
(SFEC, 8/29/99, BR p.3)
1968 In South Korea Park
Tae-joon (1927-2011) founded POSCO to manufacture steel. By 2008 it
was the world’s 4th largest steelmaker. It was started by the state
using $120 million in war reparations from Japan. It was privatized
after South Korea’s 1997 financial crises.
(Econ, 8/30/08, p.62)(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.9)(AP,
1968-1969 The US Pentagon admitted in 1999 that it
had helped South Korea obtain Agent Orange to defoliate areas along
the demilitarized zone. Soldiers applied it by hand. In 2000 1,890
South Korean soldiers and farmers had registered as victims. They
sought $4.3 billion from Dow Chemical and Monsanto and $1 billion
for the US government.
(SFC, 11/17/99, p.A18)
1969 South Korea’s Samsung
Electronics was formed and began making transistor radios. By 2011
it had evolved into the world’s leading manufacturer of televisions
and much else.
(Econ, 10/1/11, p.75)
1970 Apr, North Korea
intercepted a South Korean fishing trawler. Most of the crew were
later repatriated but Lee Jae-geun, owner of the trawler, was held
for three decades before he escaped home.
(Econ, 10/26/13, SR p.3)
1970 Oct 21, In South Korea 777
Unification church couples were wed.
1971 Apr 27, In South Korea Kim
Dae-jung, a serious challenger to Park's dictatorship, nearly
defeated Park in the presidential election. After the stunning
election outcome, Park revised the constitution to guarantee himself
victory in future elections.
1971 Aug 23, South
Korea's Silmido Unit, organized in 1968 to kill North Korea's Kim Il
Sung, rebelled and murdered 18 of its 24 trainers. A film titled
"Silmido" was released Dec 24, 2003.
1971 The Korea Advanced
Institute for Science and Technology was founded in Daejeon, South
(WSJ, 5/1/07, p.A1)
1971 The Unification Church of
Rev. Sun Myung Moon (51) of South Korea counted some 500 members in
the US. Missionaries from South Korea and Japan had begun arriving
in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
1971 South Korea’s President
Park Chung-hee gave nearly every village 335 bags of cement. After a
year those thought successful were given more cement plus steel rods
in return for pooling savings into local banks. This was later said
to have been the beginning of the saemaul (new village) movement
that modernized the countryside.
(Econ, 12/6/14, p.44)
1971-1975 In South Korea Kim Jong-pil, the founder
of South Korea's spy agency, served as prime minister under dictator
boss Park Chung-hee.
1972 Jul 4, Lee Hu-rak
(1924-2009), South Korean President Park Chung-hee’s top
intelligence officer, helped broker a joint statement in which the
two Koreas agreed to work toward peacefully reunifying their divided
peninsula. The July 4 joint communique was hailed as the first major
accord between the Koreas on unification since the Korean War ended
with a fragile truce in 1953.
1972 Dec 28, A North Korean
navy ship seized 25 South Korean fishermen aboard two boats. In 2013
Jeon Wook-Pyo, one of the 25, escaped and made it back to South
1972 Hyundai began work on a
shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. It grew to become the largest in the
(Econ, 10/26/13, SR p.3)
1973 Aug 8, Secret agents of
the Korean Central Intelligence Agency kidnapped Kim Dae-jung from a
Tokyo hotel, just days before he was to launch a coalition of
Japan-based South Korean organizations to work for their country's
democratization. Conservative politician Kim Jong Pil (b.1926), the
father of the secret police agency, led the kidnapping and near
assassination of politician Kim Dae Jung (b.1925). In 2007 a
fact-finding panel of the National Intelligence Service said it
cannot rule out the possibility that former President Park Chung-hee
may have directly ordered the kidnapping of Kim, then his main
1973 In South Korea the
government imported live bullfrogs as a meat supplement. The frogs
thrived but did not catch on with diners. In 1997 a bullfrog
eradication program was established.
(WSJ, 9/10/97, p.A14)
1973 Chung Ju-yung (1915-2001),
North Korea-born founder of Hyundai (1947), founded Hyundai Heavy
Industries, a South Korean ship builder. It grew to become the
world’s largest ship builder.
1974 Aug 15, South Korean
President Park Chung-hee escaped an assassination attempt in which
his wife was killed by a North Korean sympathizer. Park’s daughter
took over as 1st lady.
(AP, 8/15/97)(Econ, 5/21/05, p.44)(Econ,
1974 A South Korean ship sank
off the southeast coast in stormy weather, killing 159 sailors and
coast guard personnel.
1975 Feb 8, 1800 Unification
church couples were wed in Korea.
1975 Aug, North Korea seized 33
South Korean fisherman near their maritime border. In 2006 Choi
Uk-il, one of the 33, escaped to China and returned home to South
1976 Aug 18, Two U.S. Army
officers were killed in Korea's demilitarized zone as a group of
North Korean soldiers wielding axes and metal pikes attacked U.S.
and South Korean soldiers. Major Arthur G. Bonifas was attacked and
beaten to death by North Korean soldiers as he attempted to cut down
a poplar tree in the DMZ.
(SFEC, 6/25/00, p.T8)(AP, 8/18/02)
1978 Jan, South Korean actress
Choi Eun Hee (b.1928), while visiting Hong Kong, was kidnapped to
North Korea. Two weeks later her husband, Shin Sang Ok, prominent
South Korean producer and director, was searching for her in Hong
Kong when he was knocked out with chloroform and shipped to North
Korea. In 1986 Sang-Ok (d.2006) and his wife, while on a promotional
trip, fled to a US embassy in Vienna.
(http://tinyurl.com/bnoq)(Econ, 4/29/06, p.90)
1978 Apr 20, A South Korean Air
Lines Boeing 707 crash-landed in northwestern Russia. Flight 902 was
fired on by a Soviet interceptor after entering Soviet airspace. 107
passengers and crew survived after the plane made an emergency
landing on a frozen lake and 2 passengers were killed.
1978 Dec 31, John McFall
(1918-2006), an 11-term California Democrat, resigned from the US
House of Representatives. In October the House had reprimanded him
and 2 other California Democratic colleagues, Edward Roybal and
Charles Wilson, for the questionable handling of money donated by
South Korean businessman Tongsun Park.
(SFC, 3/15/06, p.B7)
1978 Seoul's Cheonggye River
disappeared beneath a new 4-lane elevated Highway. In 2004 Mayor Lee
Myung Bak, former head of Hyundai Engineering and Construction,
began a drive to tear down the highway and uncover the stream.
(WSJ, 1/7/04, p.A11)
1978 The US military buried an
estimated 250 drums of Agent Orange herbicide and other chemicals at
the Camp Carroll base in South Korea. In 2011 the US military
acknowledged the burial.
1979 Aug, In South Korea nearly
200 women at a bankrupt wig factory were fired and then beaten by
police for refusing to leave. Kim Young-sam (1927-2015) sheltered
the women in the headquarters of his opposition New Democratic Party
(Econ, 11/28/15, p.37)
1979 Oct 26, South Korean
President Park Chung-hee was shot to death by the head of the Korean
Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Jae-kyu. Choi Kyu-hah (1918-2006)
became acting president after the assassination of President Park
Chung-hee. The void created by Park's death was filled by Maj. Gen.
Chun Doo-hwan, a Park protege and commander of the powerful Defense
Security Command. Chun staged an internal coup to take control of
the military, then persuaded the new president, Choi Kyuh-hah, to
impose martial law and name Chun chief of the KCIA. Choi was forced
to resign 8 months later following a military coup.
(AP, 10/26/97)(WSJ, 11/26/97, p.B1)(AP, 10/22/06)
1979 Dec 25, In Tong-du-cheon,
Korea, two US soldiers, David Medina and Reinaldo Roa, approached an
MP station under cover of darkness. Medina and Roa had earlier been
arrested for beating up an elderly Korean store owner. They tossed a
hand-grenade through the front door and several MPs were injured by
shrapnel and other debris. In the ensuing confusion, the suspects
escaped. Roa and Medina were later caught after they bragged about
1980 May 18, In the South
Korean city of Kwangju (Gwangju), townspeople and students began a
nine-day uprising against Chun Doo-hwan, who had seized power in a
coup. The region was the home of opposition leader Kim
(AP, 5/18/00)(SSFC, 11/30/03, p.C10)(Econ 5/6/17,
1980 May 27, South Korean
paratroopers ended a people's uprising in Gwangju in which some
2,000 people were killed. South Koreans simply called it 5.18, by
the starting date.
1980 Aug 27, In South Korea
Chun Doo-hwan (b.1931) had the military junta name him president,
1980 Sep 17, South Korea
opposition leader Kim Dae-jung was sentenced to death. In 1981 the
sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.
1980 South Korea outlawed
private, out-of-school tutoring driving the industry underground. In
2000 the ban was declared unbconstitutional.
(Econ, 10/26/13, SR p.12)
1981 Jan 23, Under
international pressure, opposition leader Kim Dae-jung’s death
sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in Seoul.
1982 May 18, The Rev. Sun Myung
Moon (1920-2012), South Korean founder of the Unification Church,
was convicted of tax evasion. Moon had moved to America in 1971. He
claimed to be the second coming of Jesus Christ and that his purpose
was "to unite Christianity and bring families back to God." "Moonies
in America" [by Shupe et al] is a book critical of the Unification
Church. Moon served 13 months in prison.
(SFC, 10/31/96, p.A1,8)(AP, 5/18/07)(Economist,
1982 Oct 14, Some 6,000
Unification church couples were wed in Korea.
1982 Choi Jung-hwa, a South
Korean taekwondo master, hired two agents to shoot South Korean
President Chun Doo-hwan during a visit to Canada. The plot, however,
was detected and Choi went into hiding in Eastern Europe and North
Korea. In 1991, he surrendered to Canadian authorities and was
sentenced to six years in prison, but was released after one year
for good behavior. In 2008 he returned to South Korea.
1983 Sep 1, The KAL flight 007
was downed by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet
airspace. 269 people were killed aboard the Korean Air Lines Boeing
747 including sixty-one Americans, among them Georgia Representative
Larry McDonald. The order was given by Soviet Gen’l. Anatoly
Kornukov who held that the plane was part of a hostile US operation.
In 2005 the History Channel featured a TV documentary on the
(SFC, 5/29/96, A3)(AP, 9/1/97)(WSJ, 1/23/98,
1983 Sep 6, The USSR admitted
to shooting down KAL 007 on Sep 1.
1983 Sep 12, The USSR vetoed a
UN resolution deploring its shooting down of South Korea’s KAL
flight 007 plane.
1983 Oct 9, The president of
South Korea, Chun Doo Hwan, with his cabinet and other top officials
were scheduled to lay a wreath on a monument in Rangoon, Burma, when
a bomb exploded. Hwan had not yet arrived so escaped injury, but 17
Koreans, including the deputy prime minister and two other cabinet
members, and two Burmese were killed. North Korea was blamed. In the
“Rangoon Massacre" a terrorist attack plotted by North Korea killed
17 South Korean officials on a visit to Burma.
(WSJ, 9/9/96, p.A18)(HN, 10/9/98)
1984 In South Korea Yoon
Jeong-Hun (58) was arrested on charges of collecting military
secrets for North Korea while studying at a medical college in
Seoul. Yoon, who was born to Korean parents in Osaka, Japan, was
sentenced to seven years in jail in the same year. He was paroled in
1988. In 2011 an appeals court cleared him of espionage charges,
saying his confession was made under torture by military
1984 Pope John Paul II visited
South Korea and canonized over 100 martyrs executed from 1791-1888
during the Joseon Dynasty.
(SFC, 8/13/14, p.A7)
1986 Hyundai, a South Korean
auto maker, entered the US market with low cost cars.
(Econ, 6/23/07, p.72)
1987 Apr 14, In South Korea
displaced residents of Sanggyedong protested against the government
of dictator Chun Doo-hwan for demolishing their houses in Seoul.
1987 Jun, In South Korea
millions flooded the streets of Seoul and other big cities to
protest over the death of a student at the hands of torturers under
Chun Doo-hwan (b.1931).
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chun_Doo-hwan)(Econ 5/6/17, p.35)
1987 Jul 10, In South Korea
Chun Doo-hwan resigned as head of the Democratic Justice Party,
remaining its Honorary Chairman but giving official political party
control for the upcoming election to Roh.
1987 Aug 29, In South Korea 33
followers of a cult were found bound, gagged and murdered in a
factory in Yongin. Authorities said the tourist souvenir factory was
owned by Park Soon Ja (48), the cult leader who was called
"Benevolent Mother" by her followers.
(AP, 8/30/87)(Econ, 6/14/14, p.36)
1987 Nov 21, In South Korea
riot police stood guard to prevent violence by rival supporters as
presidential candidates traded charges of corruption and cruelty.
1987 Nov 29, A Korean Air
jetliner, Flight 858, disappeared off Burma over the Indian Ocean,
with the loss of all 115 people aboard. North Korean spies had
planted a time-bomb on the South Korean Air jet a day earlier and
got off in Abu Dhabi. Kim Hyon-hui and her accomplice were arrested
two days later in Bahrain, where they tried to kill themselves by
taking cyanide. The man died, but Kim recovered and was extradited
to Seoul. She was convicted of the bombing and was sentenced to
death. Even while on trial, she won admirers for her classic good
looks. She was eventually pardoned and became a best-selling author,
writing books about her time as a spy.
(WSJ, 9/9/96, p.A18)(AP, 11/29/97)(AP, 7/20/10)
1987 Dec 16, In South Korea
fellow opposition leaders Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung split the
opposition vote in the country’s first democratic elections. This
allowed Chun Doo-hwan’s handpicked former army general Roh Tae-woo
to win with 37% of the vote.
p.C4)(Econ 5/6/17, p.36)
1987 Lim Kook-Jae (33), a South
Korean fisherman, was abducted in the Yellow Sea. In 2008 he died at
one of the North's political camps in the northeastern port of
Chongjin after failed attempts to escape.
1987 In South Korea Lee Kun-hee
took the helm of Samsung following the death of his father, founder
of the company. By 2015 annual revenues were over $300 billion.
(Econ, 5/23/15, p.51)
1988 Sep 17, South Korea opened
the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul. Closing ceremonies for the summer
Olympics were held on October 2. North Korea refused to participate.
Cuba and Nicaragua stayed away in solidarity.
1988 Sep 18, The Soviet Union
won the first gold medal of the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South
Korea, in the women's air rifle event, while U.S. divers picked up
silver and bronze medals in women's platform.
1988 Sep 19, Swimmer Janet
Evans gave the United States its first gold medal of the Summer
Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, by winning the 400-meter individual
1988 Sep 20, Greg Louganis of
the United States won the gold medal in springboard diving at the
Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, a day after he injured his
head on the board in the preliminary round.
1988 Sep 24, Canadian sprinter
Ben Johnson won the men's 100-meter dash in 9.79 seconds at the
Seoul Summer Olympics. He was disqualified three days later for
using anabolic steroids.
(AP, 9/24/98)(Econ, 8/2/08, SR p.15)
1988 Sep 29, Florence Griffith
Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee of the U.S. won their second gold
medals of the Seoul Olympics, in the 200-meter and the long jump,
1988 Oct 2, The Summer Olympic
Games concluded in Seoul, South Korea. The USSR won 55 gold medals,
E. Germany won 37, and the US won 36.
(SFC, 7/14/96, Par p.4)(HN, 10/2/98)
1988 Oct 2, An Olympic scandal
involved American boxer Roy Jones, who was robbed of a gold medal at
the Olympic Games in Seoul, when he lost a split decision to South
Korea's Park Si-Hun despite outpunching his opponent 86-32. Three
judges who voted for the Korean were later suspended.
1988 In South Korea Elena
Shushunova (1969-2018), a Soviet gymnast, won the women's all-around
gold medal at the Seoul Olympics.
1988 South Korea summoned the
nation’s big bosses for an inquiry into the corporate funding of a
foundation run by Dictator Chun Doo-hwan.
(Econ, 12/10/16, p.64)
1988 South Korea saw the
formation of a National Headquarters for Labor Law Reform.
1988 South Korea introduced its
National Pension Scheme.
(Econ, 4/16/15, p.14)
1989 Feb 27, President Bush
warned of what he called the "fool's gold" of trade protectionism as
he addressed South Korea's National Assembly before returning home.
1989 Jul 27, Eighty people were
killed when a Korean Air DC-10 crashed in Libya.
1989 A report from Seoul
National University estimated that 48,000 buildings housing 720,000
people were destroyed during the five years preceding the 1988
Olympic Games in Seoul.
1989 In South Korea the
National Council of Regional and Industrial Trade Unions formed. The
nationwide May Day rally was the first one since 1945.
1989 In South Korea some
400,000 workers downed their tools in strikes that lasted months.
1989 Humax, a maker of digital
set top boxes, was founded in South Korea. By 2011 annual revenues
exceeded $865 million.
(Econ, 5/14/11, p.82)
1991 Apr 19, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived in South Korea for talks with President
1991 May 1, In South Korea
former student Park Seung-hee (19) set herself on fire at
Chunnam University to challenge continuing police violence under
Pres. Roh Tae-woo.
(http://tinyurl.com/ycf7d5wr)(Econ 5/6/17, p.37)
1991 Sep 17, The U.N. General
Assembly opened its 46th session, welcoming new members Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, North and South Korea, the Marshall Islands and
1991 Dec 13, North Korea and
South Korea signed a non-aggression agreement aimed at eventual
1991 Kim Hak Soon became the
1st Korean to publicly acknowledge her WW II past as a sexual slave,
(SFC, 12/8/00, p.D7)
1991 The US withdrew its
nuclear weapons from South Korea. 950 had been placed there after
the Korean War.
(Econ, 9/9/17, p.35)
1992 Jan 5, President Bush
arrived in Seoul, South Korea, on the third stop of a 12-day tour
focusing on international trade issues.
1992 In South Korea Chung Ju
Yung, founder of Hyundai Group, formed his own political party and
ran against Kim Young Sam.
(WSJ, 8/27/96, p.A11)
1992 In South Korea Kim Young
Sam won the presidency, the first democratically elected civilian in
(WSJ, 8/27/96, p.A1)
1992 The two Koreas agreed in a
pact to continue talks to demarcate the sea border while respecting
the Northern Limit Line (NLL) until a new border is set.
1992 A South Korean sex worker
was killed by an American soldier. In 2017 filmmaker Gina Kim
brought the murder to life in "Bloodless," a 12-minute piece that
won the award for best VR story at this year's Venice Film Festival.
1993 Feb 25, Kim Young-sam
(1927-2015) began serving as the 7th president of South Korea and
continued to 1998.
(Econ, 11/28/15, p.37)
1993 Jul 26, A Boeing 737-500
crashed in South Korea and 68 people were killed.
1993 Oct 10, In South Korea the
Seohae ferry sank killing 292 people.
1994 Mar 19, Talks between
North Korea and South Korea collapsed, imperiling a U.S.-brokered
deal to resolve the North Korean nuclear dispute.
1994 Jun 11, The United States,
South Korea and Japan agreed to seek punitive steps against North
Korea over its nuclear program.
1994 Jun 18, The presidents of
North Korea and South Korea agreed to hold a historic summit. Plans
were disrupted by the death of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung on
1994 Jun 28, North and South
Korea set July 25-27 as the dates for a historic summit. The summit
was derailed by the death of North Korean President Kim Il Sung on
1994 Aug 30, South Korea’s May
18 Memorial Foundation was created by people who believed it
important to keep the ideas and memories of the May 18, 1980,
Democratic Uprising in Gwangju alive and remembered.
1994 Oct 21, Thirty-two people
were killed when a section of bridge collapsed in Seoul, South
1994 Nov 29, Seoul, Korea,
celebrated the 600th anniversary of its founding.
1994 A Korean Airbus crashed
but no one was killed.
(SFC, 11/13/01, p.A10)
1995 Apr 28, In Taegu, South
Korea, a gas line exploded in the middle of an intersection crowded
with morning traffic, killing 101 people.
1995 Jun 29, A department store
in Seoul, South Korea, collapsed, killing 501 people and injuring
more than 900.
1995 Jul 15, A 19-year-old
sales clerk was rescued after being buried in the rubble of a
collapsed shopping mall in Seoul, South Korea, for 16 days.
1995 Dec 3, Former South Korean
president Chun Doo-hwan was arrested for his role in a 1979 coup
that was followed by the most violent crackdown in the nation's
1995 In South Korea Samsung
boss Lee Kun-hee had 150,000 faulty mobile phones and other devices
burned and bulldozed in front of weeping employees.
(Econ, 9/27/14, p.61)(Econ, 10/15/16, p.57)
1995 By this year Christianity
surpassed Buddhism as South Korea’s most popular religion.
(Econ, 8/4/07, p.37)
1996 Aug 26, In Seoul, South
Korea, former Pres. Chun Doo Hwan was sentenced to death for mutiny,
treason and corruption. His successor, Roh Tae Woo, was sentenced to
22 1/2 years in prison. Nine leading businessman were also
convicted. They included Lee Kun Hee, chairman of Samsung Group, and
Kim Woo Choong, chairman of Daewoo Group. The death sentence was
later commuted, and Chun was freed as part of an amnesty in 1997.
(SFC, 8/26/96, p.A1)(AP, 8/26/06)
1996 Aug 27, South Korea was
reported to be the world’s 11th largest economy and America’s 5th
largest trading partner.
(WSJ, 8/27/96, p.A1)
1996 South Korea joined the
OECD, the club for rich democracies.
(Econ, 11/28/15, p.37)
1996 Mayor Sim Jae Duck of
Suwon, South Korea, began a program to establish the city's
restrooms as the best in the world.
(WSJ, 11/26/99, p.A1)
1997 Jun 30, North Korea agreed
to hold talks with South Korea in NYC beginning Aug 5.
(SFC, 7/1/97, p.A8)
1997 Aug 6, Korean Air Flight
801 from Seoul, a Boeing 747-300 jumbo jet, crashed into a hillside
a short distance from Guam’s Agana International Airport killing 228
with 26 survivors. A programming glitch in the ground radar system
was later identified as a contributing factor but not the cause.
p.A1)(AP, 8/6/98)(WSJ, 11/13/01, p.A14)
1997 Dec 1, South Korea reached
a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a $55-60 billion bailout.
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A13)(SFC, 1/8/98, p.A7)
1997 Dec 3, South Korea struck
a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a record $55 billion
bailout of its foundering economy.
1997 Dec 18, South Korea held
presidential elections. One time dissident Kim Dae Yung (Kim
Dae-jung) won the elections with 40.3% of the vote.
(SFC, 8/14/97, p.C2)(WSJ, 12/19/97, p.A1)(AP,
1997 In South Korea a law that
allowed only one umbrella labor group was abolished. Until this time
only the Korea Federation of Trade Unions, with 1.5 million members
in banks and light industry, was recognized.
(SFC, 11/24/99, p.C5)
1997 In South Korea Cho
Choong-pil (20) was stabbed to death at a Burger King restaurant in
Itaewon, an entertainment district near the US military headquarters
in Seoul. US teenagers Edward Lee and Arthur Patterson accused each
other of killing Cho. Lee was later sentenced to life in prison but
an appeals court later reduced that to 20 years. Patterson initially
got an 18-month jail term for destroying evidence and possessing a
dangerous weapon. In 2015 Patterson was extradited to South Korea to
face a new trial. In 2016 Patterson (36) was sentenced to twenty
years in prison.
(AP, 9/23/15)(AP, 1/29/16)
1997-1998 Korea’s conglomerates were battered by a
(WSJ, 3/16/05, p.A6)
1998 Jan 17, In South Korea
some 2,500 workers marched in Seoul to protest the government’s
labor reform plan. Kim Dae-jung called for a smaller labor force to
attract more funds from the IMF and foreign investors.
(SFEC, 1/18/98, p.A14)
1998 Mar 31, Starcraft, a
military science fiction real-time strategy video game, was released
in South Korea. It was developed by Blizzard Entertainment, a
1998 Jul 1, In South Korea
Pres. Kim Dae Jung ordered the release of political prisoners. Some
500 prisoners were expected to be released by Aug 15, the 50th
anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation.
(SFC, 7/2/98, p.A16)
1998 Aug 1, In South Korea
flooding killed at least 20 sleeping campers and left 70 others
(SFEC, 8/2/98, p.A24)
1998 Oct 8, In Japan Prime
Minister Obuchi issued an apology to the people of South Korea for
35 years of brutal colonial rule. Pres. Kim Dae-jung of South Korea
accepted the written apology, the first ever issued by Japan to an
individual country for its actions during WW II.
(USAT, 10/9/98, p.13A)
1998 Oct 24, Officials from the
US, China and North and South Korea seeking a permanent peace for
the divided Korean peninsula announced in Geneva they had removed
the last obstacles to full-blown talks.
1998 Oct, South Korea lifted
its ban on importing Japanese comic books, magazines, and movies. It
was the first phase of a gradual opening to Japanese pop culture.
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.A15)
1998 Nov 30, In Seoul Buddhist
monks clashed for a 3rd time with rival factions in a dispute over
leadership. Some 40 people were injured. The trouble began when Song
Wol Ju, head of the Chogye Buddhist order, sought a 3rd four-year
term. He later offered to resign but his followers refused to give
ground. The order controls an annual budget of some $9.2 million
plus property valued in the millions.
(SFC, 12/1/98, p.A10)(SFC, 12/3/98, p.A16)
1998 Dec 5, In South Korea the
first Japanese film since 1945 was screened. "Hana Bi" (Fireworks)
was the first film shown since a ban on Japanese work was lifted in
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.A15)
1998 Dec 11, The Seoul District
Court issued a provisional ruling ordering dissident monks to leave
the grounds of the Chogye Temple.
(SFC, 12/23/98, p.C2)
1998 Dec 16, Researchers in
South Korea claimed to have cloned a human embryo, but destroyed it
early in its development.
(SFC, 12/17/98, p.A10)
1998 Dec 18, South Korea sank a
half-submarine belonging to North Korea and recovered the body of a
crewman in a wet suit carrying a grenade.
(SFC, 12/18/98, p.D9)
1998 Nov 21, President Clinton,
visiting South Korea, warned North Korea to forsake nuclear weapons
and urged the North to seize a "historic opportunity" for peace with
1998 South Korea began running
a tourist resort at Geumgangsan (Mount Diamond), just on the
northern side of the divided Korean peninsula. Hyundai Asan began
operating the 4,900-acre compound. The collaboration halted in 2008
following the shooting death of a South Korean tourist. In 2001
North Korea told South Korean tourism officials to leave the resort.
(Econ, 10/28/06, p.49)(WSJ, 5/17/08, p.W7)(SFC,
1998 In South Korea Chung
Mong-koo, eldest son of founder Chung Ju-yung, took over as head of
Hyundai Motor Co.
(Econ, 5/21/05, p.68)
1998 Hong Kong suffered a slump
in GDP of over 6% as did Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and
(Econ, 11/22/08, p.51)
1998-2000 In South Korea Kim Jong-pil, the founder
of South Korea's spy agency, served his second term as prime
1999 Feb 25, South Korea
granted amnesty to 1,508 people including a convicted North Korean
spy jailed for 41 years. Civil rights were also to be restored to
7,304 people out on parole.
(WSJ, 2/23/99, p.A1)
1999 Apr 15, A South Korean Air
cargo MD-11 crashed after takeoff from Shanghai and at least 5
people were killed. Explosives were suspect in the crash.
(WSJ, 4/16/99, p.A1)
1999 May 12, In South Korea
thousands of metal and hospital workers went on strike to protest
planned layoffs and wage cuts.
(SFC, 5/13/99, p.A19)
1999 Jun 11, South Korean ships
rammed and briefly repelled 4 North Korean patrol boats. North Korea
warned South Korea to withdraw warships from disputed waters in the
Yellow Sea on the 5th day of a standoff.
(SFC, 6/12/99, p.A13)(SFEC, 6/13/99, p.A13)
1999 Jun 13, North Korea agreed
to talk to UN military officers in an attempt to resolve the naval
confrontations with South Korea.
(SFC, 6/14/99, p.A13)
1999 Jun 14, South Korean
warships sank a North Korean torpedo boat and damaged another in the
(SFC, 6/15/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun 22, Talks between
North and South Korea broke down after 90 minutes as North Korea
demanded and apology from South Korea for the naval clash in the
Yellow Sea where some 30 North Korean sailors were believed to have
died in a June 15 shootout.
(SFC, 6/23/99, p.A14)
1999 Jun 30, In South Korea a
fire swept through the summer camp dormitory of the Sealand Youth
Training Center in Hwasung and 23 young children were killed. It was
later revealed that the owner of the facility had bribed local
officials for licenses despite gross violations of fire and safety
(SFC, 6/30/99, p.A9)(SFC, 7/7/99, p.C12)
1999 Jun, Naver was
incorporated as NHN Corp. by ex-Samsung employees, and launched on
September 12 as the first Web portal in South Korea that used its
own proprietary search engine. In 2017 Naver was the fifth most used
search engine in the world, following Google, Yahoo, Baidu and Bing.
1999 Jul 3, In Beijing talks
between the North and South Korea collapsed.
(SFEC, 7/4/99, p.A22)
1999 Jul 15, Lim Chang Yuel
(53), governor of Kyonggi Province, was accused of bribery along
with his wife, Chu Hae Ran.
(SFC, 7/16/99, p.D3)
1999 Aug 1, In South Korea
torrential rains over the weekend killed at least 12 people and
forced some 15,000 from their homes.
(SFC, 8/2/99, p.A12)
1999 Aug 3, In South Korea 35
people died from Monsoon rains and another 22 were missing and
(SFC, 8/4/99, p.A8)
1999 Aug 20, It was reported
that government controlled banks forced Daewoo Group, South Korea’s
2nd largest conglomerate (chaebol), to sell all but 6 auto-related
units among its 25 affiliates. Kim Woo Choong, the man who built the
group into a global powerhouse, fled South Korea as the conglomerate
collapsed. He returned in 2005 and was arrested. In May 2006 he was
sentenced to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of charges
including embezzlement and accounting fraud. 21 trillion won ($22bn)
of his fortune was seized and he was fined an additional 10m won. On
December 30, 2007, he was granted amnesty by Pres. Roh Moo-hyun.
(SFC, 8/20/99, p.D4)(WSJ, 6/14/05,
1999 Sep 2, North Korea
declared a new demilitarized zone with South Korea that placed 5
islands controlled by South Korea with North Korean territory.
(SFC, 9/3/99, p.A9)
1999 Oct 1, South Korean
activists thanked the US government for promising to investigate an
Associated Press report that US forces allegedly killed several
hundred refugees at the start of the Korean War. But the protesters
also demanded the US punish some of the veterans involved and
compensate the victims’ relatives.
1999 Oct 4, In South Korea
radioactive water leaked inside a nuclear power plant in Wolsung and
exposed 22 workers to small amounts of radiation.
(SFC, 10/6/99, p.A11)
1999 Oct 30, In Inchon, South
Korea, a fire killed 54 young people, mostly teenagers, at a karaoke
bar. Another 75 were injured.
(SFEC, 10/31/99, p.A2)
1999 Nov 21, In South Korea
thousands of workers gathered in Seoul and demanded a reduction of
the workweek from 44 to 40 hours. They also protested government
plans to privatize state-run power, gas and financial firms.
(SFC, 11/22/99, p.A13)
1999 Nov 23, South Korea
officially recognized a 2nd labor umbrella group, the Korean
Confederation of Trade Unions.
1999 Nov, The US military
distributed 14,000 gas masks to dependents of American soldiers and
embassy staff members.
(SFEC, 12/26/99, p.A23)
1999 Dec 10, In South Korea
nearly 20,000 people gathered for a labor rally in Seoul that turned
violent and left 160 people injured.
(SFC, 12/11/99, p.C2)
1999 South Korea signed an
extradition treaty with the US.
1999 South Korea received a
record $15.5 billion in foreign investment.
(WSJ, 7/24/00, p.A1)
1999 South Korea initiated OPEN
(Online Procedures Enhancement for Civil Applications), an
Internet-based anti-graft program.
(SFC, 11/23/01, p.D6)
1999-2003 South Korea ran up a collective
credit-card balance of $57.47 billion. This more than a 5-fold
increase from 10.95 billion at the end of 1999. The delinquency rate
in 2003 jumped to 13.5% vs. 2.6% in 1999.
(WSJ, 1/20/04, p.A1)
2000 Jan 9, Prime Minister Kim
Jong Pil appointed Park Tae Joon (73), president of the United
Liberal Democrats, as his successor.
(SFC, 1/10/00, p.A11)
2000 Feb, The US military
released 20 gallons of formaldehyde into a drainage ditch that led
Han River, the main source for Seoul’s drinking water.
(SFC, 7/24/00, p.A16)
2000 cApr 2, South Korea said
it would slaughter 350,000 hoofed livestock to stem public concerns
over an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
(WSJ, 4/3/00, p.A21)
2000 Apr 9, North and South
Korea agreed to a summit meeting in June.
(SFC, 4/10/00, p.A1)
2000 Apr 13, In South Korea
election results gave 115 seats to the ruling Millennium Democratic
Party of Pres. Kin Dae-jung. The opposition Grand National Party won
(SFC, 4/14/00, p.A21)
2000 May 6, The Chiang Mai
Initiative (CMI) was set up to help East Asian cash strapped
countries defend their currencies in times of trouble. The
initiative came in response to the 1997 East Asian financial crises.
ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea launched the multilateral
arrangement of currency swaps (CMI).
2000 May 19, Prime Minister
Park Tae Joon resigned after a court ruled that he had concealed
ownership of properties to avoid large tax payments.
(SFC, 5/19/00, p.D4)
2000 May 18, North and South
Korea agreed to an agenda for their 1st summit meeting. In
2003 it was reported that South Korea's Hyundai business group drew
$186 million from a government-owned bank shortly before the summit
and allegedly spent the money on unspecified projects in the North.
In 2006 it was reported that Hyundai sent some $500 million to Kim
Jong Il to secure the June 13, 2000, summit with Pres. Kim Dae-jung.
(WSJ, 5/19/00, p.A1)(AP, 2/1/03)(Econ, 10/28/06,
p.49)(Econ, 8/29/09, p.76)
2000 Jun 13, Pres. Kim Jong Il
of North Korea met with Pres. Kim Dae-jung of South Korea in the 1st
meeting ever between leaders of the 2 countries. They agreed to try
to satisfy their people’s desire for reconciliation. Border
loudspeakers that blasted insults at South Korea were shut off.
(SFC, 6/13/00, p.A10)(SFC, 6/14/00, p.A1)(SFC,
2000 Jun 14, Pres. Kim Jong Il
of North Korea and Pres. Kim Dae-jung of South Korea pledged
concrete steps toward unifying their divided peninsula and signed an
agreement to allow visits for some families separated for the last
(SFC, 6/15/00, p.A1)
2000 Jun 16, South Korea turned
off its anti-Communist broadcasts over border speakers at North
(SFC, 6/17/00, p.A9)
2000 Jun 20, In South Korea
some 50 thousand members of the medical association went on strike
to protest a new system that bans them from selling most drugs.
(SFC, 6/21/00, p.A16)
2000 Jun 23, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, during a visit to South Korea, said American
troops would remain in the country indefinitely to maintain
strategic stability in the Pacific area.
2000 Jun 25, South Korea marked
the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean Conflict.
2000 Jun 30, North and South
Korea signed an agreement to allow 100 people each to reunite with
families across their border beginning Aug 15.
(SFC, 7/1/00, p.A12)
2000 Jul 22, In Seoul and
Kyonggi torrential rains caused floods and landslides and killed 9
people with 4 missing.
(SFC, 7/24/00, p.A16)
2000 Jul 25, In Seoul thousands
clashed with police in the biggest anti-American protests in 2
(WSJ, 7/26/00, p.A1)
2000 Jul 30, North and South
Korea agreed to hold regular high-level talks and to re-open their
suspended border liaisons to implement earlier agreements.
(SFEC, 7/30/00, p.A2)
2000 Jul 31, North and South
Korea agreed to reopen border liaison offices and reconnect a
railway linking their capitals.
2000 Aug 15, One hundred people
from North Korea and 100 people from South Korea held temporary
reunions with family members not seen in 50 years.
(SFC, 8/15/00, p.A13)
2000 Aug 15, South Korea
released 3,586 prisoners in an amnesty.
(WSJ, 8/16/00, p.A1)
2000 Sep 1, South Korea
repatriated 63 North Korean spies as a gesture of reconciliation.
(SFC, 9/2/00, p.A13)
2000 Sep 15, Groundbreaking for
a new highway between North and South Korea was scheduled.
(SFC, 8/25/00, p.D5)
2000 Sep 17, In Korea a
ground-breaking ceremony was held at Imjingak for a railroad to
connect the capitals of North and South Korea.
(SFC, 9/18/00, p.A9)
2000 Sep 25, In Cheju, South
Korea, the North and South Korea defense ministers, Cho Sung Tae and
Kim Il Chul, met and pledged to work for reconciliation.
(SFC, 9/26/00, p.A11)
2000 Sep, Hong Suk Chon (29),
celebrated actor, revealed his homosexuality and quickly lost 90% of
(SFC, 11/4/00, p.A16)
2000 Oct 13, The Nobel Peace
Prize was awarded to Pres. Kim Dae-jung (74) of South Korea for his
efforts to make peace with North Korea.
(SFC, 10/14/00, p.A1)
2000 Nov 30, North and South
Korea made their 2nd exchange of 100 relatives each. Some 100,000
South Koreans were on waiting lists for family visits.
(SFC, 12/1/00, p.D8)
2000 Dec 10, Kim Dae-jung,
president of South Korea, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his
campaign to unify his country.
(SFC, 12/11/00, p.A2)
2000 Dec 22, Some 15,000 bank
workers went on strike to protest merger plans that threatened mass
(SFC, 12/26/00, p.C5)
2000 In the US Elizabeth Kim
published "Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a
Korean War Orphan."
(SFEC, 5/7/00, BR p.7)
2000 Oh Yeon Ho founded
OhmyNews, an online news service, in South Korea. It turned
profitable in Sep 2003.
(SSFC, 9/18/05, p.A9)
2000 Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s
Unification Church of South Korea purchased a 1.48 million-acre
property in Paraguay.
(WSJ, 7/18/05, p.A10)
2000 The population numbered
(SFC, 6/13/00, p.A1)
2001 Feb 4, it was reported
that bank reforms and looming bankruptcies would put some 200,000
people out of work this year.
(SSFC, 2/4/01, p.A17)
2001 cFeb 25, A 3rd reunion
began as groups of 100 arrived in North and South Korea.
(WSJ, 2/26/01, p.A1)
2001 Mar 7, Pres. Kim Dae-jung
met with Pres. Bush in Washington. Bush said he did not plan to
resume talks with North Korea.
(WSJ, 3/8/01, p.A1)
2001 Mar 21, Chung Yu Yung
(86), founder of Hyundai, died.
(SFC, 3/22/01, p.A20)
2001 Mar 24, EU leaders ended a
2 day meeting in Stockholm announced that they would dispatch a team
of mediators to help the peace process between North and South
(SSFC, 3/25/01, p.C6)
2001 Mar, A dry spell began
that threatened the rice crop.
(SFC, 5/25/01, p.D6)
2001 Apr 16, Lee Bong Ju of
South Korea won the men’s Boston Marathon in 2:09:43. Catherine
Ndereba of Kenya won among the women in 2:23:53.
(WSJ, 4/17/01, p.A1)
2001 May 16, A fire at the Yeji
Institute near Kwangju killed 8 students.
(SFC, 5/17/01, p.C4)
2001 Jul 5, In South Korea 8
people died when a helicopter crashed into a power tower. Among the
dead was Kim Jong-jin, head of the Dongkuk Steel Mill.
(SFC, 7/6/01, p.D6)
2001 Jul 15, Landslides and
flooding killed at least 40 people.
(SFC, 7/16/01, p.A9)
2001 Jul 22, Some 12,000
workers of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions tried to march
into Seoul but were blocked by riot police. Pres. Dae-jung’s
corporate restructure programs had caused many layoffs.
(SFC, 7/23/01, p.A9)
2001 Aug 17, Bang Sang-hoon,
president and publisher of Chosun Ilbo, was arrested with 2 other
prominent newspaper owners on charges of tax evasion and
embezzlement. Pres. Dae-jung was accused of using tax investigation
to stifle his critics.
(SFC, 8/23/01, p.A13)
2001 Aug 23, South Korea
finished paying off a $19.5 billion loan from the IMF that was used
to recover from the 1997-1998 Asian crash.
(SFC, 8/24/01, p.D3)
2001 Sep 2, North Korea
announced a desire to reopen stalled peace talks with South Korea.
(SFC, 9/3/01, p.A8)
2001 Sep 3, The National
Assembly passed a no confidence vote on Unification Minister Lim
Dong Won, the chief architect of the "sunshine policy" towards North
Korea, for being too conciliatory toward the North.
(WSJ, 9/5/01, p.C1)
2001 Sep 6, North and South
Korea agreed to resume talks next week.
(SFC, 9/7/01, p.A16)
2001 Sep 15, North and South
Korea began a 4-day series of meetings.
(SSFC, 9/16/01, p.A28)
2001 Sep 17, In South Korea
negotiators for the North and South concluded 2 days of talks and
agreed on an exchange of family visits. The North agreed to soon
begin construction on its side of a railroad to link the 2 sides.
(SFC, 9/18/01, p.B10)
2001 Oct 15, Japan’s PM Koizumi
visited South Korea and expressed his remorse at Sodaemun
Independence Park for suffering inflicted by Japan’s colonial rule.
(SFC, 10/16/01, p.B6)
2001 Oct, The ruling Millennium
Democratic Party lost all 3 seats to the opposition Grand National
Party in by-elections.
(WSJ, 11/9/01, p.A13)
2001 Nov 8, Kim Dae-jung quit
as head of the ruling party.
(WSJ, 11/9/01, p.A1)
2002 Feb 19, President Bush
opened a two-day visit to South Korea. Bush urged the “despotic
regime" in North Korea to reunite with the free South.
(SFC, 2/20/02, p.A14)(AP, 2/19/07)
2002 Feb 20, At the Salt Lake
City Winter Olympics, Jim Shea won the men's skeleton race,
finishing the two runs at Utah Olympic Park in one minute, 41.96
seconds. The victory was the culmination of an emotional two months
for Shea, whose 91-year-old grandfather, Olympic gold medal
speedskater Jack Shea, died four weeks earlier. American speedskater
Apolo Anton Ohno won the 1,500 meters after South Korean Kim
Dong-sung, who had crossed the finish line ahead of him, was
(SFC, 2/21/02, p.A1)(AP, 2/20/07)
2002 Feb 21, Pres. Bush met
with Pres. Zemin in Beijing and both agreed to work on the
reunification of North and South Korea.
(SFC, 2/21/02, p.A12)
2002 Mar 20, US began war games
with South Korea, the biggest ever.
(WSJ, 3/21/02, p.A1)
2002 Mar 25, North and South
Korea issued a joint statement with plans to resume dialogue to
(SFC, 3/25/02, p.A8)
2002 Apr 6, South Korea envoy
Lim Dong Won said North Korea is ready to resume dialogue with the
(SFC, 4/6/02, p.A8)
2002 Apr 15, In South Korea an
Air China jet Boeing 767, CA-129, with some 166 passengers crashed
into a mountain near Kimhae. 122 people died in the crash.
(SFC, 4/15/02, p.A3)(SFC, 4/16/02, p.A7)(AP,
2002 May 5, In South Korea
Pres. Kim Dae-jung resigned from his Millennium Democratic Party in
a bid to insulate it from corruption charges surrounding his
children and several close aides.
(SFC, 5/6/02, p.A3)
2002 May 18, Kim Hong Gul, the
youngest son of Pres. Kim Dae-jung, was arrested for receiving
bribes from a jailed businessman.
(SSFC, 5/19/02, p.A18)
2002 May 31, The World Cup
soccer tournament opened in Japan and South Korea for the first time
with a match between Senegal and defending champion France in South
Korea. Senegal upset France, 1-0.
(SFC, 6/1/02, p.A1)(AP, 5/31/03)
2002 Jun 5, Kim Hong Gul, the
youngest son of Pres. Kim Dae-jung, was indicted on charges of
accepting some $3 million in bribes from companies seeking
government contracts and tax evasion.
(SFC, 6/6/02, p.A11)
2002 Jun 13, Exit polls showed
South Korea's conservative opposition party swept most key local
government elections, winning a crucial test of the public mood
ahead of December's presidential election. The Grand National Party
(GNP) won a majority of races in 11 of 16 districts in a crushing
defeat for Pres. Kim Dae-jung.
(Reuters, 6/13/02)(SFC, 6/14/02, p.A14)
2002 Jun 13, A US military
vehicle in South Korea ran over 2 girls (14), Shim Mi-son and Shin
Hyo-sun. A military jury later cleared Sgt. Fernando Nino of
negligent homicide charges. Driver Sgt. Mark Walker was acquitted
(SFC, 8/1/02, p.A15)(SFC, 11/21/02, p.A17)(SFC,
2002 Jun 14, In South Korea up
to 13 people died after a bus carrying tourists collided with a
tanker truck in rainy weather.
2002 Jun 23, Twenty-six North
Korean asylum seekers left South Korean and Canadian diplomatic
compounds in Beijing bound for South Korea, ending a monthlong
2002 Jun 29, A South Korean
patrol boat was sunk in the yellow Sea border waters and four South
Koreans were killed with 22 wounded. North and South Korea blamed
each other for the sea battle which cast a shadow over the South's
World Cup finale as well as reconciliation efforts on the peninsula.
(SSFC, 6/30/02, p.A14)
2002 Jul 11, President Kim
Dae-jung picked South Korea's first female prime minister and
replaced six other ministers in a reshuffle seen as a bid to boost
the government's image before December presidential polls.
2002 Jul 31, South Korean
lawmakers vetoed the country's first female prime minister, dealing
a blow to President Kim Dae-jung, who had nominated her to boost his
beleaguered government's image in an election year.
2002 Aug 3, North and South
Korea opened a fresh round of talks amid moves by the communist
North to improve ties with the United States and Japan and
revitalize its faltering economy.
2002 Aug 8, South Korea said 10
people were dead after four days of torrential rains that North
Korea reported had also caused scores of casualties and destroyed
crops in the hungry communist state.
2002 Aug 9, President Kim
Dae-jung named the head of South Korea's largest business newspaper
as prime minister, the day after the opposition took control of
parliament in a by-election landslide.
2002 Aug 22, Two US helicopter
pilots were reported lost in South Korea. Their bodies were found
the next day 13 miles south of Camp Page.
(SFC, 8/24/02, p.A9)
2002 Sep 1, Typhoon Rusa, the
worst typhoon to hit South Korea in 40 years, left at least 119
2002 Sep 2, Tens of thousands
of South Koreans heaved shovels to clear mud and debris from homes
devastated by Typhoon Rusa, the worst typhoon to hit the country in
40 years. The death toll from South Korea's worst typhoon in 40
years rose to 113 as soldiers led a desperate search for 71 people
still missing after the weekend devastation.
(AP, 9/2/02)(Reuters, 9/3/02)(SFC, 9/3/02, p.A3)
2002 Sep 14, South and North
Korea have set a date to begin mine clearing and establish a
military hotline during reconstruction of railway links across their
fortified border divided for 50 years.
2002 Sep 19, North Korea
announced it had made the city of Sinuiju on its border with China a
"special administrative region," a move South Korean media said was
the first step towards creating a new economic zone. The project was
soon mothballed after its first governor, Yang Bin, was jailed in
China for tax evasion. Yang Bin was formally sentenced in July 2003
for 18 years, and was fined for 2.3 million renminbi.
(Reuters, 9/19/02)(Econ, 10/2/10,
2002 Sep 28, In South Korea
torches from 44 diverse lands converged and rival South and North
Korean teams marched together as Asia kicked off its biggest
festival of sport.
2002 Nov 1, In South Korea Kim
Hong-up, the 2nd son of President Kim Dae-jung was sentenced to jail
and fined on graft charges, closing one chapter in scandals that
have marred the ageing democracy leader's final year in office.
2002 Nov 4, In South Korea
15,000 civil servants went on strike protesting against both the
proposal to shorten the working week and a government ban on public
2002 Nov 5, In South Korea some
120,000 auto workers (KCTU) struck Hyundai and 165 other workplaces
as unions escalated protests over working conditions ahead of
December's presidential elections.
2002 Dec 14, Tens of thousands
of South Koreans railed against the U.S. military and mourned two
girls killed by American soldiers in a road accident.
2002 Dec 19, In South Korea
elections Roh Moo-hyun (56) had 48.9 percent and Lee Hoi-chang 46.6
percent. Turnout among the nation's 35 million eligible voters was
2002 The Olympics will be
co-hosted by Japan and South Korea.
(WSJ, 11/26/99, p.A1)
2002-2005 North Korean animators produced parts of
a South Korean cartoon show featuring Pororo, a purple,
(Econ, 7/9/11, p.63)
2003 Jan 15, In South Korea the
Supreme Court ordered a vote recount for South Korea's national
2003 Jan 23, South and North
Korea agreed to peacefully resolve the international standoff over
North Korea's nuclear programs after Cabinet-level talks.
2003 Feb 18, In Daegu,
South Korea, a fire raged through two packed subway trains after a
man lit a container of flammable liquid and tossed it, killing 196
people and injuring 145. In August the perpetrator was sentenced to
life in prison.
(SFC, 2/19/03, A1)(WSJ, 2/19/03, p.A1)(AP,
2/27/03)(WSJ, 8/7/03, p.A1)
2003 Feb 25, In South
Korea Roh Moo-hyun took power as president.
2003 Feb 26, South
Korea’s parliament approved Goh Kun, a former mayor of Seoul, to
become PM in the newly installed government of Pres. Roh Moo-hyun.
2003 Mar 1, In South
Korea some 100,000 older people held a pro-US rally in Seoul. Hours
later thousands of young people held an anti-US rally.
(SSFC, 3/2/03, A16)
2003 Mar 26, In South Korea a
late night fire in a grade school dormitory killed eight children.
2003 Apr 9, The US said it will
move its main military base in South Korea out of the capital as
soon as possible.
2003 Apr 30, South and North
Korea agreed in Cabinet-level talks to peacefully resolve the
nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
2003 May 12, North Korea
declared that the 1992 agreement with South Korea to keep the Korean
Peninsula free of nuclear weapons was nullified, citing a "sinister"
2003 May 13, South Korea's
military deployed soldiers and trucks to the world's third-busiest
port to alleviate a crippling five-day truckers' strike.
2003 May 16, South Korea Pres.
Roh Moo Hyun stopped in San Francisco following a visit with Pres.
(SFC, 5/17/03, p.D1)
2003 Jun 5, The United States
agreed to pull its ground troops away from the Demilitarized Zone
separating North and South Korea.
2003 Jun 14, North and South
Korea connected railways at their heavily armed border in a symbolic
ceremony linking the two countries for the first time in more than a
half-century. North Korea still had 7 miles of tracks to complete
before trains could run.
(AP, 6/14/03)(SSFC, 6/15/03, p.A14)
2003 Jun 22, Thousands of
workers at South Korea's oldest bank ended a five-day strike by
agreeing to a deal that guaranteed wage hikes and job security.
Workers objected to the sale of the state bank to Shinhan Financial
(AP, 6/22/03)(Econ, 6/28/03, p.71)
2003 Jun 29, Transportation
across South Korea was disrupted as railway workers opposed to a
government privatization plan went on strike for a second day.
2003 Jul 3, Tens of thousands
of South Korean auto and metal workers staged a half-day walkout to
demand a 40-hour workweek and better working conditions. Most people
worked half a day on Saturdays.
2003 Aug 4, Chung Mong-hun (54)
a top executive of the Hyundai conglomerate, whose business
spearheaded reconciliation efforts with North Korea but ended up
tangled in debt and scandal, plunged to his death from his office
2003 Sep 12, Typhoon Maemi, the
most powerful ever to ever hit South Korea, flipped over a floating
hotel, twisted massive cranes, killed at least 117 people. The main
port of Busan reported $1.3 billion in damage.
(WSJ, 9/16/03, p.A1)(AP, 9/13/04)
2003 Sep 15, More than 100
South Korean tourists flew to North Korea's capital on the first
commercial flight between the two countries since they were divided
nearly six decades ago.
2003 Oct 18, South Korea
pledged to send more troops to Iraq but did not specify how many or
whether they would be combat troops.
2003 Oct 21, In South Korea a
tourist bus plummeted into a gorge, killing at least 17 people and
injuring 15 others.
2003 Oct 26, In South Korea a
race car crashed into the audience, killing three people and
2003 Nov 9, In South Korea
labor activists and students battled riot police in one of the most
violent protests in years. Dozens were injured. Protesters,
estimated by police at 35,000 and by the labor confederation at
100,000, rallied in central Seoul to protest damages lawsuits that
managers have filed against union leaders accused of staging illegal
2003 Nov 28, In South Korea
opposition leader Choe Byung-ryol began Day 3 of his hunger strike
against Pres. Roh Moo-hyun and corruption allegations against his
former aides. The standoff has paralyzed Parliament and derailed
deliberation on hundreds of bills.
2003 Nov 28, Pres. Roh Moo-hyun
said that he decided to send troops to Iraq hoping it would
encourage the US to continue to work to resolve the North Korean
2003 Nov 30, In western Iraq
guerrillas killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded a third in an
ambush. Gunmen shot and killed 2 South Korean electricians and
wounded 2 others as they drove apparently to a power transmission
plant they were working at in Tikrit.
2003 Dec 4, South Korea's
parliament, for the first time in 49 years, overrode a presidential
veto to clear the way for an independent investigation into
corruption allegations against three former aides of President Roh
2003 Dec 12, In South Korea
Park Jie-won, a confidant of former Pres. Kim Dae-jung, was
convicted and sentenced to 12 years in jail for taking $12.5 million
in bribes from a major conglomerate and illegally remitting money to
North Korea ahead of a 2000 inter-Korean summit.
2003 Dec 22, South Korea and
Japan began negotiations on establishing a free-trade agreement
between the East Asian economic powerhouses.
2003 Dec 22, The South Korean
government dispatched hundreds of soldiers to farms to help
slaughter chickens and ducks in an effort to contain a contagious
bird flu spreading throughout the country.
2003 Dec 23, The South Korean
Cabinet approved a plan to send 3,000 troops to the northern oil
town of Kirkuk as early as April.
2003 The South Korean economy
went into recession.
(WSJ, 5/31/05, p.A14)
2003 Lone Star Funds, a private
equity firm based in Dallas, Texas, purchased the Korea Exchange
Bank of South Korea. In 2006 Lone Star engaged in a deal to sell the
bank for a $4.5 billion profit. Under public outrage Lone Star
offered to donate some $104 million to the government of South
(WSJ, 4/18/06, p.A1)
2003 Oh Yeon Ho turned his
South Korean Ohmy News website into a for profit firm. In 2006 his
website averaged 700,000 visitors and 2 million page view per day.
(Econ, 4/22/06, Survey p.9)
2004 Jan 4, South Korean
prosecutors, investigating corruption in the bidding on government
contracts by an affiliate of IBM Corp., indicted 48 government and
2004 Jan 10, In South Korea
prosecutors arrested six lawmakers and the head of a conglomerate in
a broadening investigation of corruption allegations.
2004 Jan, In Seoul, South
Korea, 9 former prostitutes sued 8 brothel operators for $842,000 in
overdue wages and compensation for suffering. 7 of the girls were
minors and said they were forced into sexual slavery.
(WPR, 3/04, p.25)
2004 Feb 11, South Korean
scientists reported that they had cloned human embryonic tissue
(SFC, 2/12/04, p.A1)
2004 Feb 28, It was reported
that 70% South Koreans had high-speed Internet connections.
(Econ, 2/28/04, p.61)
2004 Mar 12, South Korean
markets plunged and finance officials scrambled to emergency policy
meetings after President Roh Moo-hyun was stripped of his executive
powers in an unprecedented impeachment for illegal electioneering.
Roh's powers were reinstated by South Korea's Constitutional Court
the following May.
(WSJ, 3/12/04, p.A1)(AP, 3/12/05)
2004 Feb, South Korea ratified
its 1st free trade agreement. Its partner was Chile.
(Econ, 2/28/04, p.39)
2004 Mar 14, In South Korea
tens of thousands of demonstrators streamed into the streets of
Seoul to protest the impeachment of Pres. Roh Moo-hyun. Some 50,000
had gathered the night before.
2004 Mar 30, A North Korean
engineer credited with smuggling out documents on alleged gas
chamber experiments in the isolated communist state said that the
papers were fake.
2004 Mar, KIA Motors, a unit of
South Korea’s Hyundai group, decided to build a new $850 million
plant in Slovakia, where corporate and personal taxes were recently
cut to a flat 19%.
(Econ, 3/6/04, p.60)
2004 Apr 14, In South Korea the
386 generation (3 for in their 30s, 8 for coming of age in the 80s,
and 6 for being born in the 60s) was reported to be playing a
significant role in the parliamentary elections.
(WSJ, 4/14/04, p.A1)
2004 Apr 15, The liberal Uri
Party loyal to South Korea's impeached president Roh Moo Hyun, won
the most seats in parliamentary elections.
(AP, 4/15/04)(SFC, 4/16/04, p.A3)
2004 May 14, In South Korea the
Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss the impeachment case against
Pres. Roh. It agreed that Roh violated election rules when he spoke
in favor of the Uri party at a news conference.
(AP, 5/14/04)(SFC, 5/14/04, p.A5)
2004 Jun 4, The two Koreas
agreed, after an all-night negotiating session, to try to ease
tensions by, among other things, ending blaring propaganda efforts
on their border.
2004 Jun 7, US and South Korean
officials announced plans to withdraw a third of 37,000 US troops
from South Korea by the end of next year.
2004 Jun 13, In South Korea
more than 9,000 activists shouting "No to globalization!" marched
through downtown Seoul to protest a meeting of the World Economic
2004 Jun 18, South Korea said
it will send 3,000 soldiers to northern Iraq beginning in early
August to assist the U.S.-led coalition.
2004 Jun 20, The Arab satellite
TV network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape purportedly from
al-Qaida-linked militants showing a South Korean hostage begging for
his life and pleading with his government to withdraw troops from
2004 Jun 22, Islamic militants
beheaded a South Korean who pleaded in a heart-wrenching videotape
that "I don't want to die" after his government refused to pull its
troops from Iraq. Hours later, the United States launched an
airstrike in Fallujah, where residents said the strike hit a parking
lot. 3 people were killed and 9 wounded. Elsewhere 2 American
soldiers were killed and one wounded in an attack on a convoy near
Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.
2004 Jun, A pilot Confucius
Institute program, designed to promote the study of Chinese abroad,
was established in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The first Confucius
Institute was then established in Seoul on Nov 21, 2004. The 75th
was established in Cracow, Poland, in 2006. By the end of 2013 there
were 440 institutes in over 100 countries.
2004 Jul 21, South Korea
pledged to expand economic ties with North Korea while Japan said it
would seek normal relations with the communist state when a dispute
over the North's nuclear ambitions is resolved.
2004 Jul 28, The second wave in
the biggest mass defection of North Koreans to South Korea arrived
on a flight from Vietnam, bringing the total in the two-day airlift
to nearly 460.
(WSJ, 7/27/04, p.A1)(AP, 7/28/04)
2004 Aug 12, South Korea’s
central bank cut interest rates from 3.75% to 3.5%.
(Econ, 8/21/04, p.60)
2004 Oct 19, Thousands of sex
workers from across South Korea rallied, protested a crackdown on
prostitution and called for the resignation of the minister of
gender equality. South Korea's sex industry accounts for more than
four percent of gross domestic product, with its annual sales
estimated at 24 trillion won (21 billion dollars) last year.
2004 Nov 14, A powerful South
Korean labor union said hundreds of thousands of its members will
strike from next week against a bill that aims to curb union
militancy and allow companies to hire more temporary workers.
2004 Dec 30, South Korea's
parliament approved extending the mission of its 3,600 troops in
Iraq for another year.
2004 Psy, a South Korean rapper
famous for “Gangnam Style," said American soldiers should be killed
"slowly and painfully" at a Seoul concert during the Iraq war. In
2012 he apologized for his words ahead of a holiday concert to be
attended by US President Obama and his family.
2004 In North Korea the Kaesong
Industrial Complex was set up and seen as a potent symbol of
reconciliation between North and South Korea. It combined the
South's capital and technology with the North's cheap labor.
2005 Jan 1, South Korea was
forecast for 4.9% annual GDP growth with a population at 48.5
million and GDP per head at $15,050.
(Econ, 1/8/05, p.91)
2005 Jan 26, A South Korean
semiconductor maker said it had pioneered an innovation that will
allow energy efficient light-emitting diodes to light homes (LED for
2005 Jan, A mobile-TV service
was launched in South Korea. By September 2008 mobile-TV services
had garnered some 7.5 million customers.
(Econ, 9/10/05, p.59)(Econ, 9/8/07, p.69)
2005 Apr 23, Leaders of the two
Koreas agreed to resume talks between their nations that broke down
last summer and to discuss the international standoff over the
North's nuclear weapons ambitions.
2005 May 19, South Korea
scientists announced the creation of 11 different stem cell lines
matching the DNA of human patients with a variety of diseases. The
work was later discredited.
(SSFC, 5/29/05, p.A17)(AP, 12/23/05)
2005 May 21, In South Korea
Chung Se-yung (76) died in Seoul. He helped build Hyundai Motor Co.
into one of the world’s biggest car companies.
(SFC, 5/23/05, p.B4)
2005 May 22, A North Korean
cargo ship arrived in South Korea to pick up fertilizer, the first
such vessel from the isolated communist nation to dock here in 21
2005 May 29, Thousands of South
Korean students rallying against the US military's five-decade
presence clashed with police after trying to enter the American
base, and at least 12 people were injured and more than 20 were
2005 Jun 10, President Bush and
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun pressed North Korea to rejoin
deadlocked talks on its nuclear weapons program and tried to
minimize their own differences over how hard to push the reclusive
2005 Jun 19, A South Korean
soldier threw a grenade at his commander and then opened fire on
fellow soldiers near the border with communist North Korea, killing
8 and injuring 2 others.
2005 Jun 20, The leaders of
Japan and South Korea failed to make progress on mending ties
damaged by a territorial dispute over islands in the Sea of Japan
and a flap over Tokyo's militaristic past during a tense summit.
2005 Jun 21, A high-level
delegation from North Korea arrived in Seoul for bilateral talks and
was immediately confronted by demonstrators who angered the visitors
by displaying posters of their leader, Kim Jong Il, tied up in
2005 Jun 21, The International
Whaling Commission meting in South Korea upheld its nearly
two-decade-old ban on commercial whaling.
2005 Jun 23, The two Koreas
agreed to seek a peaceful resolution to the international standoff
over the North's nuclear program, but the rivals failed to set a
date for resuming stalled disarmament talks.
2005 Jun 28, South Korea's spy
agency said North Korea has cut most of its international phone
lines since late March over concerns that sensitive information
about its society will flow out of the isolated country.
2005 Jun 29, More than 1,000
South Korean sex workers rallied demanding recognition as legitimate
members of society and the withdrawal of an anti-prostitution law
they say threatens their livelihoods and their health.
2005 Jul 16, Yi Ku (73), the
son of Korea's last crown prince, died alone of a heart attack in
Japan. He was the last member of the Chosun dynasty that ruled Korea
from 1392 until 1910.
2005 Jul 17, Pilots at Asiana
Airlines, South Korea's No. 2 carrier, went on strike.
2005 Jul 17, In Paraguay some
360 villagers marched on Asuncion to lobby for the expropriation of
128,500 acres of land containing their town of Puerto Casado, owned
by Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. The South Korean based
church had purchased a 1.48 million-acre property in 2000.
(WSJ, 7/18/05, p.A10)
2005 Jul 22, North Korea
offered to abandon its nuclear weapons if the two sides in the
Korean War sign a peace agreement to replace the 1953 cease-fire
that halted hostilities but did not resolve the conflict.
2005 Jul 27, Rescuers found the
bodies of four South Korean soldiers, a day after they were swept
away by a fast moving river during training exercises near the
border with North Korea.
2005 Aug 4, South Korean
researchers reported their successful cloning of a dog. The puppy
was born 3 months earlier and was the only success of 1,095 embryos.
In 2006 Dr. Hwang Woo Suk’s stem cell work was discredited but the
cloning of Snuppy supported.
(SFC, 8/4/05, p.A15)(WSJ, 12/24/05, p.A1)(WSJ,
2005 Aug 11, A senior South
Korean official said that North Korea has the right to a peaceful
nuclear program, a view conflicting with Washington in its
disagreement with the hard-line Pyongyang regime that has snagged
2005 Aug 10, South Korea
ordered an end to a 25-day strike by unionized pilots at Asiana
(WSJ, 8/11/05, p.A11)
2005 Aug 16, North Korean
officials visited South Korea's parliament for the first time in a
symbolic gesture of reconciliation with their democratic rivals.
2005 Aug 22, South Korea's Kia
Motors Corp. launched an assembly line producing its Spectra model
at a Russian factory.
2005 Aug 26, The first South
Korean tourists visited historic sites in Kaesong, North Korea, set
to become only the 2nd destination in the communist nation that can
be visited by ordinary citizens of its southern neighbor.
2005 Aug 30, South Korea rolled
out its first supersonic trainer jet as President Roh Moo-Hyun vowed
to boost the country's aerospace and defense industries.
2005 Sep 2, In South Korea an
apparent gas explosion sparked a fire at a public bathhouse
building, killing at least five people and injuring 43 others.
2005 Sep 2, A team of South
Korean scientists said they have developed a new technology that
could open the way to make new devices that could replace current
silicon-based semiconductors. The team led by Kim Hyun-Tak of the
Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said
they had successfully manufactured a "Mott Insulator, named after
Sir Nevill Mott, a British scientist who won the 1977 Nobel Physics
2005 Sep 6, Typhoon Nabi lashed
southern Japan and South Korea, killing four people, injuring dozens
and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.
2005 Sep 12, Samsung
Electronics of South Korea unveiled the world's first 16-gigabit
NAND flash memory chip, a device the firm said will usher in a new
era in data storage.
2005 Sep 16, South Korea and
North and South Korea pledged to work to ensure peace and reduce
military tensions on their divided peninsula.
2005 Sep 21, South Korea
announced it was developing highly sophisticated combat robots that
could complement the roles of human soldiers on battlefields.
2005 Sep 29, Samsung
Electronics Co., the world's biggest maker of computer memory chips,
announced that it plans to invest $33 billion over seven years to
build a chip research and development facility and eight
manufacturing lines south of Seoul.
2005 Oct 1,
In South Korea Seoul's Mayor Lee Myung-bak led a ceremony for the
re-opening of the Chonggyechon stream buried beneath an elevated
highway for almost 50 years. Work to restore about 6 km of the
stream began in July, 2003, at a cost of around $350 million. The
stream flows through a narrow park that celebrates the history of
2005 Oct 3, In Sangju, South
Korea, concertgoers trying to enter a packed stadium sparked a
stampede, killing 11 and injuring 72 others.
2005 Oct 11, South Korea raised
interest rates .25% for the 1st time in 3 years to 3.5%.
(WSJ, 10/12/05, p.A14)
2005 Oct 12, In South Korea the
president's office said South Korea has proposed talks to take back
wartime control of its military from the United States.
2005 Oct 13, South Korea’s
Samsung Electronics agreed to plead guilty to US charges of price
fixing memory chips from 1999-2002 and to pay a $300 million fine.
In 2006 3 Samsung executives were sentenced to serve up to 8 months
in federal prison and fined $250,000 each.
(SFC, 10/14/05, p.C1)(SFC, 3/23/06, p.C1)
2005 Oct 19, In South Korea Dr.
Woo Suk Hwang announced the establishment of an int’l. consortium to
generate hundreds of stem cell lines for researchers from human
embryos using cloning technology.
(SFC, 10/19/05, p.A4)
2005 Oct 28, North and South
Korea opened their first joint office to promote trade across the
heavily militarized border, just as Pyongyang is feuding with a
South Korean company about business in the North.
2005 Nov 1, Officials from
North and South Korea agreed to meet next month to work out details
on competing as a unified team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
2005 Nov 5, In South Korea
China-controlled Ssangyong Motor sacked its president after the
company fell into the red in the first half of this year. So
Jin-Kwan was dismissed as company president and replaced by Choi
Hyung-Tak, a company executive.
2005 Nov 11, A scientific
partnership in high-tech cloning between US and South Korean
researchers broke up over the ethics of obtaining human egg cells.
(WSJ, 11/14/05, p.B1)
2005 Nov 13, Time magazine
picked South Korea’s Snuppy, the first cloned dog, as the most
amazing invention of 2005. In Dec Dr. Hwang Woo Suk’s stem cell work
was discredited and doubt was cast on the cloning of Snuppy.
(AP, 11/13/05)(WSJ, 12/24/05, p.A1)
2005 Nov 15, In South Korea 2
farmers were killed during a protest in Seoul ahead of WTO meetings.
The farmers were angry over moves to further open the country's rice
2005 Nov 16, US President
George W. Bush arrived in South Korea ahead of a summit of Asia
Pacific leaders after making a bold call for China to launch
2005 Nov 17, President Bush in
south Korea took a hardline stance against North Korea, saying the
US won't help the communist nation build a civilian nuclear reactor
to produce electricity until it dismantles its nuclear weapons
2005 Nov 17, Chinese President
Hu Jintao assured a Pacific Rim forum in South Korea that there is
nothing to fear from his fast-developing country, which he said has
great potential to contribute to global peace.
2005 Nov 18, South Korean riot
police used high pressure hoses to hold back protesters chanting
anti-Bush slogans from the site of the APEC summit at Busan.
(WSJ, 11/19/05, p.A1)
2005 Nov 18, South Korea
announced plans to pull a third of its troops out of Iraq, a day
after President Bush met with his South Korean counterpart and
praised him as a staunch ally in the Iraq conflict.
2005 Nov 19, Bush and other
Pacific Rim leaders in South Korea urged Europe to show new
flexibility on farm subsidies, an issue that has stalled global
trade negotiations. The 21 APEC leaders promised to boost
cooperation on fighting terrorism and preparing for a possible flu
pandemic. They endorsed a roadmap for lifting trade barriers across
APEC member countries and launched an initiative to protect
(AP, 11/19/05)(SFC, 11/19/05, p.A8)
2005 Dec 1, About 60,000 South
Korean workers defied a government warning by going on strike to
demand better protection for part-time workers.
2005 Dec 8, In South Korea
international activists kicked off a conference on human rights
abuses in North Korea by calling for the overthrow of Kim Jong Il's
regime and accusing Pyongyang of enslaving its people.
2005 Dec 11, In South Korea the
government ordered striking pilots at Korean Air back to work on the
4th day of a walkout.
(WSJ, 12/12/05, p.A17)
2005 Dec 14, South Korean
farmers clashed with police outside a World Trade Organization
meeting for a second day as the US blamed the EU for holding up
stalled global trade talks.
2005 Dec 15, A doctor who
provided human eggs for research by cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk
said in a broadcast that the South Korean scientist admitted that
most of the stem cells produced for a key research paper were faked.
2005 Dec 23, South Korean
researcher Hwang Woo-suk resigned from his university after the
school said he fabricated stem-cell research that had raised hopes
of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases.
2005 Dec 29, South Korea's top
university said that Hwang Woo-suk fabricated all of the stem cells
he said were cloned from individual patients, a shattering blow to
the disgraced scientist's reputation as a medical pioneer.
2005 Dec 29, The South Korean
film “The King and the Clown" had its premier. It was based on a
15th century monarch and a troupe of entertainers invited to his
(Econ, 2/18/06, p.44)
2005 South Korea’s
communication ministry created a rule forcing cell phones connecting
to the Internet to use domestic software called Wireless Internet
Platform Interoperability (WIPI) to make it easier for local
programmers and cellphone service companies to offer Web-based
services. In 2008 South Korea eliminated usage of WIPI effective
(WSJ, 12/11/08, p.B3)
2005 South Korea’s Hyundai
Motor Co. opened a site near Montgomery, Alabama, for its 1st US
(WSJ, 4/3/02, p.A1)(SFC, 3/14/06, p.D3)
2006 Jan 6, Stalinist North
Korea demanded billions of dollars in compensation for alleged
atrocities against its prisoners of war and spies formerly held in
South Korea. The demand sparked outrage among politicians in Seoul.
2006 Jan 8, The US and South
Korea withdrew their last remaining staff from the site of two North
Korean nuclear reactors, ending a decade-old construction project
amid rekindled tension over the North's nuclear ambitions.
2006 Jan 13, South Korea agreed
to resume imports of some American beef, banned two years ago over
fears of mad cow disease. The US government pressed South Korea to
accept all US beef imports.
2006 Jan 23, The US Treasury
Department briefed South Korean officials on its investigations into
suspected illegal financial activities by North Korea that
Washington says helped fund Pyongyang's nuclear arms program.
2006 Jan 26, A South Korean
court ordered Dow Chemical and Monsanto, US manufacturers of the
defoliant Agent Orange, to pay $62.5 million in medical compensation
to 20,000 Korean veterans of the Vietnam War and their families.
(AP, 1/26/06)(WSJ, 1/27/06, p.A1)
2006 Jan 29, Nam June Paik
(74), avant-garde Korean-American artist, died in Miami, Florida. He
is credited with inventing video art in the 1960s by combining
multiple TV screens with sculpture, music and live performers. In a
1974 report commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation, Paik wrote
of a telecommunications network of the future he called the
"Electronic Super Highway," predicting it "will become our
springboard for new and surprising human endeavors."
2006 Feb 2, South Korea decided
to begin talks with the US toward achieving a free trade agreement
between the two countries.
2006 Feb 2, South Korea's spy
agency said that North Korea was not currently producing counterfeit
currency, apparently contradicting US allegations that have become
the latest obstacle in nuclear disarmament talks with the communist
2006 Feb 3, North and South
Korea agreed to hold military talks on the level of generals for the
first time in nearly two years and the South said they would focus
on preventing naval clashes.
2006 Feb 7, South Korean
conglomerate Samsung Group said it would donate more than $800
million in corporate and private assets to charity as part of an
apology for several recent scandals.
2006 Feb 9, North Korea has
requested 150,000 tons of fertilizer from South Korea, months after
it demanded that the UN World Food Program halt emergency food
2006 Feb 24, South Korea’s Fair
Trade Commission released its report formalizing its preliminary
ruling against Microsoft late last year. MS vowed to appeal the
decision which concluded that MS had abused its market dominance.
The commission ordered MS to offer alternative versions of Windows.
2006 Feb, Lee Kun-hee,
patriarch of Samsung, returned to South Korea from the US following
the expiration of the stature of limitations on an indictment over
alleged illegal political donations during the 1997 presidential
(Econ, 4/22/06, p.41)
2006 Mar 2, North and South
Korea opened high-level military talks for the first time in almost
two years, aiming to reduce tension along the world's most heavily
fortified border and prevent accidental naval skirmishes.
2006 Mar 3, South Korea
rejected North Korea's demand that the countries redraw their
western sea border, ending two days of high-level military talks
2006 Mar 6, In Seoul
representatives of South Korea and the US agreed to begin
negotiations in June on establishing a free trade agreement. A block
away movie actors, directors and farmers staged protests against any
2006 Mar 13, South Korea’s Kia
Motors Corp. said it will build a $1.2 billion factory in West
Point, Ga., its first in the US. Toyota said it will build a plant
in Lafayette, Ind.
(SFC, 3/14/06, p.D3)
2006 Mar 14, South Korea's PM
Lee Hae-chan resigned after drawing a firestorm of criticism for
playing golf March 1, rather than overseeing the government's
response to a railway strike.
2006 Mar 15, South Korea
formally opened new immigration checkpoints for travelers crossing
the heavily fortified border with North Korea, symbolizing Seoul's
hopes for boosting exchanges with its longtime communist foe.
2006 Mar 20, A Chinese cargo
ship hit an anchored freighter and sank off South Korea's west
coast, killing at least three Chinese crew members.
2006 Mar 28, In South Korea
prosecutors formally arrested the top executive of an affiliate of
Hyundai Motor Co. in an investigation into suspicions that South
Korea's largest carmaker created slush funds through its 39
subsidiaries for bribery.
(AP, 3/28/06)(WSJ, 4/8/06, p.1)
2006 Apr 4, The South Korean
ship 628 Dongwon was seized by eight armed assailants, who
approached in two speed boats firing guns off the coast of Somalia.
25 crew members were reported safe and officials sought their
release. The sailors were released July 30 after more than $800,000
in ransom was paid.
(AP, 4/5/06)(AP, 7/30/06)
2006 Apr 5, Militants who
captured the South Korean fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia
denied they were pirates and said they were defending their waters
from illegal fishing.
2006 Apr 11, Shin Sang-Ok (79),
South Korean film director, died.
(Econ, 4/29/06, p.90)
2006 Apr 19, Japan defied South
Korean protests and dispatched two ships to begin a maritime survey
near disputed islets between the two nations, raising the stakes in
the territorial standoff.
2006 Apr 19, Hyundai Motor Co.
said its chairman and his son will donate $1.1 billion worth of
personal assets to the public amid a slush fund scandal engulfing
South Korea's largest automaker.
2006 Apr 22, Japan and South
Korea defused a tense standoff over disputed waters, with Japan
withdrawing a plan to survey the area and South Korea delaying plans
to submit name proposals for underwater features.
2006 Apr 27, In South Korea
state prosecutors requested an arrest warrant for Hyundai Motor Co.
Chairman Chung Mong-koo amid a bribery and slush fund scandal that
has rocked the large automaker.
2006 Apr 28, In South Korea
prosecutors arrested Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo in an
embezzlement and slush fund scandal.
2006 May 4, Thousands of police
armed with batons stormed an abandoned school in South Korea to
evict activists who were protesting plans to expand a US military
base, sparking clashes that resulted in dozens of injuries.
2006 May 5, South Korean
protesters clashed with police for the second day at a planned site
for a new US military base, leaving scores of people wounded, some
seriously. A military training jet crashed during an air show in
South Korea. The pilot was presumed killed, but no spectators were
2006 May 12, South Korean
prosecutors indicted disgraced cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk on
charges of fraud, embezzlement and bioethics violations in a scandal
over faked stem cell research that shook the scientific community.
2006 May 13, Thousands of
activists held a candlelit vigil urging US troops to withdraw from
South Korea, a week after violent clashes left 210 injured.
2006 May 13, The United Arab
Emirates and South Korea signed a series of accords, including a
memorandum of understanding on stockpiling Emirati oil in South
Korea, on the second day of a visit by the South Korean president.
2006 May 16, South Korean
prosecutors indicted Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo in an
embezzlement and slush fund scandal. He was later convicted of
embezzling $90 million from his company. In August, 2008, he was
pardoned by Pres. Lee Myung-bak.
(AP, 5/16/06)(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.13)
2006 May 20, A man wielding a
box cutter attacked Park Geun-hye (54), the leader of South Korea's
main opposition party, slashing her face during a campaign rally.
Park's mother, Yook Young-soo, was fatally shot in 1974. Five years
later, Park's father was assassinated by the then-chief of the state
2006 May 22, Wal-Mart Stores
Inc. announced it was withdrawing from the highly competitive South
Korean retail market, agreeing to sell its 16 stores to the
country's top discount chain.
2006 May 22, Dr. Lee Jong-wook
(61) died following surgery for a blood clot on the brain. He
spearheaded the World Health Organization's successive battles
against SARS and bird flu and was the first South Korean to head a
2006 May 24, North Korea
abruptly canceled groundbreaking test runs of trains across its
highly guarded border with South Korea, citing an atmosphere of
2006 May 25, South Korea’s
Constitutional Court ruled that a law granting massage licenses only
to the visually impaired was discriminatory against others who
wanted to practice the trade.
(http://tinyurl.com/nreer)(Econ, 6/24/06, p.49)
2006 May 30, In South Korea
Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo-Choong (69) was sentenced to 10 years
in prison for fraud and embezzlement relating to the collapse of the
firm under 82 billion dollars of debt in one of the world's largest
corporate failures. Kim Woo-Choong had admitted to accounting fraud
and embezzlement worth over $30 million.
(AFP, 5/30/06)(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.9)
2006 May 31, South Korea's main
opposition party won 11 of 16 key regional posts in local elections,
according to exit polls, riding to victory on nationwide sympathy
for a leader wounded in a knife assault and widespread
disenchantment with the government.
2006 Jun 1, Chung Dong-young,
the leader of South Korea's ruling party, resigned one day after the
conservative opposition won 12 of 16 key regional posts in local
2006 Jun 6, South Korean PM Han
Myung-Sook embarked on a four-nation European tour which will take
her to France, Portugal, Bulgaria and Germany.
2006 Jun 26, A new survey said
Moscow has eclipsed Tokyo as the world's most expensive city. The
Russian capital moved up 3 spots from a year ago thanks to a recent
property boom. South Korea's Seoul ranked second on the list, up
from fifth last year.
2006 Jul 11, In South Korea
more than 10,000 workers and activists rallied in the 2nd day of
demonstrations aimed at blocking a free-trade agreement under
discussion with the US.
2006 Jul 12, In South Korea
some 70,000 people, including 13,000 farmers, rallied in a plaza in
downtown Seoul on the third straight day of anti-FTA demonstrations.
2006 Jul 18, South Korea's
disaster agency said a fifth straight day of monsoon rains have left
19 people dead and 31 missing.
2006 Jul 19, South Korea's
president condemned North Korea for potentially sparking an arms
race with its recent missile launches, while the North said it was
ending reunions between relatives separated by the Korean Peninsula
divide. An aid group in North Korea said floods and landslides have
left more than 100 people dead or missing.
2006 Jul 28, South Korea sent a
satellite into orbit primarily for making geographical surveys but
also possibly for tracking military movements in North Korea, which
raised regional security concerns by launching missiles on July 5.
2006 Jul 31, In South Korea
Jeong Kyung-hak (48) was arrested on charges of being a spy for
North Korea and having illegally arrived on Jul 27 with forged
Philippines identity documents.
2006 Aug 3, Afghanistan's
government ordered around 1,500 South Korean Christians who came to
the Islamic republic for a "peace festival" to leave the country. In
southern Afghanistan a suicide car bomb in a crowded market killed
21 civilians and two roadside bombs in the same province killed a
Canadian soldier and wounded four others.
(AP, 8/3/06)(AFP, 8/3/06)
2006 Aug 9, A South Korean
citizens' group said North Korea has requested help from South Korea
to cope with devastating floods.
2006 Aug 14, South Korea with a
population of around 48 million ranked as the world’s 10th largest
economy, just behind Canada and ahead of Brazil.
(WSJ, 8/14/06, p.A2)
2006 Aug 16, A South Korean aid
group claimed that massive floods in North Korea last month left
about 54,700 people dead or missing and some 2.5 million homeless.
2006 Aug 21, South Korea and
the US launched joint military exercises, held annually since 1975,
despite protests from North Korea. The Ulchi Focus Lens exercises
were scheduled to run until September 1.
2006 Sep 13, In South Korea
hundreds of workers bulldozed homes in a village to make way for the
expansion of a US military base set to become the Americans' new
headquarters, despite strong objections from protesters.
2006 Sep 18, The 184-nation IMF
approved reforms to increase the voice of China, South Korea,
Turkey, and Mexico to reflect their growing economic sway.
(SFC, 9/19/06, p.D2)
2006 Sep 28, South Korea and
the US agreed on a program to reshape their military alliance and
give Seoul a bigger role in countering any North Korean attack. The
two sides signed new terms for the decades-old alliance after talks
2006 Oct 2, An informal UN poll
showed that South Korea's foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon (67) has
nearly full support from the Security Council, including its five
veto-wielding members, and appears almost certain to succeed Kofi
Annan as secretary-general of the United Nations.
2006 Oct 5, The Latvian and
Thai candidates dropped out of the race to become the next U.N.
chief on Thursday, leaving South Korea's foreign minister as the
lone remaining contender and near-certain successor to Kofi Annan.
2006 Oct 9, The UN Security
Council officially nominated South Korean Foreign Minister Ban
Ki-Moon to be the next UN secretary-general.
2006 Oct 13, The UN General
Assembly appointed South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as the
next UN secretary-general. The veteran diplomat who grew up during a
war that divided his country pledged to make peace with North Korea
a top priority.
2006 Oct 20, South Korea
Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung met with US Defense Secretary Donald
H. Rumsfeld and agreed that Seoul will retake full wartime
operational control of Korean forces from the US sometime between
2009 and 2012.
2006 Oct 20, In North Korea
tens of thousands gathered in Pyongyang to laud the country's first
atomic test. A South Korean news agency reported that North Korean
leader Kim Jong Il said Pyongyang didn't plan to carry out any more
nuclear tests and expressed regret about the country's first-ever
atomic detonation last week [see Oct 24].
(AP, 10/20/06)(AP, 10/21/06)
2006 Oct 22, Choi Kyu-hah (88),
former president of South Korean (1979-80), died of heart failure.
Choi became acting president in 1979 after the assassination of
President Park Chung-hee. He was forced to resign just eight months
later following a military coup.
2006 Oct 24, Liu Jianchao,
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said North Korean leader Kim
Jong Il did not apologize for his regime's nuclear test, as some
South Korean media had reported [see Oct 20], but is willing to
return to six-party talks under certain conditions.
2006 Oct 26, South Korea said
it will ban the entry of North Korean officials who fall under a UN
2006 Oct 30, The first shipment
of US beef in nearly three years arrived in South Korea on Monday
after the country lifted an import ban triggered by fears of mad cow
2006 Nov 10, Asian nations
reached their first international agreement to implement what has
been dubbed the "Iron Silk Road." Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia,
China, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Russia, South Korea,
Turkey and seven other nations agreed to meet at least every two
years to identify vital rail routes, coordinate standards and
financing and plan upgrades and expansions, among other measures.
The UN first conceived the Trans-Asian Railway Network in 1960.
2006 Nov 16, South Korea said
it will reverse its long-standing refusal to join international
efforts criticizing North Korea's human rights record and vote in
favor of a UN resolution against the communist regime's alleged
2006 Nov 21, Cambodian PM Hun
Sen, other senior officials and South Korea’s President Roh Moo-Hyun
arrived in Siem Reap, the gateway to the famed Angkor temple
complex, to kick off the Angkor-Gyeongju Culture Expo, a joint
cultural festival that runs through January 2007.
2006 Nov 22, Tens of thousands
of South Korean workers held rallies and labor strikes to oppose a
free trade agreement with the US and demand better working
2006 Nov 23, Japan decided to
temporarily suspend South Korean poultry imports due to a suspected
bird flu outbreak that has killed around 6,000 chickens.
2006 Nov 26, South Korean
quarantine officials began slaughtering more than 200,000 poultry
after an outbreak of the virulent H5N1 form of bird flu at a chicken
2006 Nov 27, Officials said
South Korea planned to kill cats and dogs in the area of Iksan to
try to prevent the spread of bird flu after an outbreak of the
deadly H5N1 virus at a chicken farm last week.
2006 Nov 28, The South Korean
government approved a plan to halve the size of its troop deployment
in Iraq but to extend the mission for another year.
2006 Dec 6, South Korea
mobilized 45,000 riot police to thwart banned protests as crucial
talks on forging a free trade agreement with the United States
faltered. The US and South Korea reached agreement on sharing costs
for the deployment of US troops on the Korean peninsula.
2006 Dec 12, South Korea opened
the world's largest garbage-fuelled power plant and expects to
reduce its imports of heavy oil by 500,000 barrels a year as a
result. South Korea currently relies heavily on nuclear power plants
which supply 40% of demand.
2006 Dec 14, South Korea's Ban
Ki-moon formally took the reins of the UN as the institution
grappled with internal reforms, volatility in the Middle East and
international standoffs over the nuclear ambitions of North Korea
2006 Dec 22, South Korea
rejected the latest shipment of US beef and asked Washington to
explain why it contained unacceptable levels of the toxic chemical
2006 Ship builders in South
Korea took almost 40% of global orders this year. China won 23% and
Japan almost 20%. The orders from China were up from 12% in 2001.
(Econ, 11/10/07, p.80)
2007 Jan 1, South Korean
diplomat Ban Ki-moon became the UN’s eighth secretary-general.
2007 Jan 3, South Korea’s
official media reported that Paek Nam Sun, North Korea's foreign
minister and the country's top diplomat for nearly 10 years, has
died at the age of 78.
2007 Jan 10, Militants
kidnapped nine South Korean oil workers and one local worker in the
Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria, bringing the total number of
foreigners currently held hostage there to 18.
2007 Jan 11, South Korean
officials said that the bird flu virus had been transmitted to a
human during a recent outbreak among poultry, but the person showed
no symptoms of disease.
2007 Jan 12, In Nigeria 9 South
Korean pipeline workers and a Nigerian kidnapped in southern Nigeria
were released with the help of a youth group.
2007 Jan 15, In South Korea
unionized workers at Hyundai Motor Co. began a promised partial
strike amid a dispute with management over bonuses.
2007 Jan 18, South Korean
regulators fined the Hyundai Motor Co. 23 billion won ($24.5
million) for violating competition rules.
(Econ, 1/27/07, p.67)
2007 Feb 10, In South Korea a
fire at a detention center killed 10 people and injured 17 others,
mostly Chinese, who were waiting deportation for illegal entry to
2007 Mar 2, South Korea delayed
a full resumption of aid shipments to North Korea until the
communist regime shuts down its main atomic reactor under an
international agreement to take steps toward abandoning its nuclear
weapons program. A South Korean activist said 80 North Korean
refugees are hiding in various Asian countries and preparing to seek
asylum in the United States. North and South Korea agreed to resume
reunions of families that have been separated by their divided
2007 Mar 7, Han Myung-sook,
South Korea's prime minister, stepped down saying she would think
about running for the nation's top job. Han was the first woman to
hold the government's No. 2 position, although the job is largely
ceremonial in a country where power is concentrated around the
2007 Mar 10, In South Korea
riot police used a water cannon to break up a noisy but peaceful
street protest in downtown Seoul against a proposed free trade
agreement between South Korea and the United States.
2007 Mar 22, South Korea said
it would build a park in memory of victims of the U.S. Army's mass
killing of South Korean refugees at the village of No Gun Ri.
2007 Mar 23, A South Korean
presidential panel removed a year-old ban on research into the
cloning of human embryonic stem cells.
2007 Apr 1, In South Korea taxi
driver Huh Se-uk (53) drove through heavy security into the driveway
of a Seoul hotel where trade talks with the US were taking place. He
sprayed himself with flammable fluid and lit a fire, suffering
third-degree burns. Se-uk died from his wounds on April 15.
2007 Apr 2, South Korea and the
US agreed to a trade pact with only minutes to go before a deadline.
Last-minute haggling meant missing two self-imposed deadlines over
the weekend. Some estimates say the agreement could add $20 billion
to the already more than $70 billion of two-way trade each year.
2007 Apr 10, Officials from
North and South Korea's Red Cross societies resumed talks on
resolving the issue of South Korean prisoners of war and civilian
abductees believed held in the communist country.
2007 Apr 11, North Korea
replaced its prime minister during a session of its rubber-stamp
parliament. US envoys entered South Korea from North Korea in a rare
border crossing after securing the remains of six American soldiers
from the Korean War and pushing for action on the North's nuclear
2007 Apr 16, Shootings in a
dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech left 32 people dead. Two people
died in a dorm room, and 31 others were killed in Norris Hall,
including the gunman, who put a bullet in his head. At least 15
people were hurt, some seriously. Two professors from India and
Israel were among the dead at the Virginia Tech shooting, the
deadliest in US history. The gunman was a South Korean national
named Seung-Hui Cho (23). Cho was an undergraduate student in his
senior year majoring in English who lived on campus. His residence
was in Centerville, Virginia, and he had resident alien status.
Between shootings Seung-Hui took time to e-mail videos, photos and
writings to NBC. Virginia law allowed Cho to buy one gun each month.
In 2009 Lucinda Roy, head of English at Virginia Tech, authored “No
Right To Remain Silent: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech."
(AP, 4/16/07)(AP, 4/17/07)(AFP, 4/17/07)(WSJ,
4/19/07, p.A1)(Econ, 4/21/07, p.27)(Econ, 4/11/09, p.32)
2007 Apr 19, North and South
Korea formally opened economic aid talks, after a delay caused by
Pyongyang's insistence that Seoul pledge food assistance to the
impoverished nation despite its failure to live up to a pact on
2007 Apr 20, German Defence
Minister Franz Josef Jung arrived in South Korea to discuss the
proposed sale of second-hand Patriot missiles and other military
2007 Apr 22, South Korea agreed
to send 400,000 tons of rice to impoverished North Korea despite the
communist government's failure to meet a deadline to shut down its
2007 May 2, The South Korean
government announced its first-ever plan to seize assets gained by
alleged Korean collaborators during Japanese colonial rule as part
of efforts to reconcile with its past more than 60 years after the
end of the peninsula's occupation. 2 defectors to South Korea
described how they had been tortured in a North Korean prison camp,
as a South Korean rights group issued a report on abuses of
detainees in the communist state.
2007 May 4, The divided Koreas
agreed to discuss historic trial runs of cross-border railways, as
Washington cautioned Seoul against rushing to embrace Pyongyang
before it takes steps to dismantle its nuclear program.
2007 May 7, South Korea and the
European Union started free trade talks aimed at linking Asia's
third largest economy to the world's biggest trading bloc.
2007 May 9, Military officials
from North and South Korea reached an agreement clearing the way for
the first railway journeys across their heavily fortified border for
half a century.
2007 May 11, North and South
Korea adopted a military agreement enabling the first train crossing
of their heavily armed border in more than half a century.
2007 May 12, A South Korean
cargo vessel sank after colliding with a Chinese freighter in heavy
fog in waters off northeast China. 16 crew were on board the
3,800-ton Golden Rose when it sank. The crew of the Chinese ship,
the 4,800-ton JinSheng, were unharmed and returned safely to Dalian.
2007 May 17, The first trains
since 1953 traversed the Korean DMZ in a peace gesture.
(WSJ, 5/18/07, p.A1)
2007 Jun 8, South Korea lifted
a de facto ban on American beef imports, after the US confirmed that
only two shipments meant for domestic consumption were exported
2007 Jun 24, A news report said
South Korea has extracted gas hydrate, an alternative fuel source
Seoul hopes might help reduce its heavy dependence on oil imports,
in its eastern territorial waters.
2007 Jul 2, A South Korean
court sentenced tycoon Kim Seung Youn to 18 months in prison over a
beating attack earlier this year against bar workers involved in a
scuffle with his son. The sentence was shelved on Sep 11, due his
(AP, 7/2/07)(SFC, 9/12/07, p.C5)
2007 Jul 3, South Korea enacted
legislation to remove bureaucratic barriers in the security industry
and help brokers, banks and insurers to consolidate. To date no
foreign had listed on the Seoul stock exchange.
(Econ, 7/14/07, p.78)
2007 Jul 19, Taliban gunmen
abducted 23 members of a South Korean church group in southern
Afghanistan. The next day a purported spokesman for the Islamic
militia said it will question them about their activities in
Afghanistan before deciding their fate. Two hostages were fatally
shot; the rest were later freed. In northern Afghanistan a suicide
bomber blew himself up outside a police station, killing one
civilian and wounding 25 other people. In Helmand's Marja district,
Taliban militants ambushed police, leaving six officers dead and two
others wounded. 2 separate bombings in southern Afghanistan left
five civilians dead, while a Taliban ambush killed six police
officers. A car bomb targeting a US-led coalition convoy in Helmand
province's Sangin district killed two civilians and wounded two
coalition troops. A mine exploded under a civilian car in Kandahar
province's Zhari district, killing three civilians.
(AP, 7/19/07)(AP, 7/20/07)(AP, 7/19/08)
2007 Jul 25, A police official
said that Taliban militants told him they shot and killed one of 23
South Korean hostages. Militants told him the hostage was sick and
couldn't walk, and therefore was shot. 2 Western officials said some
others from the group of captives were freed and taken to a US
military base. The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported eight
Koreans had been released. A German journalist and two Afghans
colleagues apparently kidnapped by Taliban militants in eastern
Afghanistan were freed.
2007 Jul 26, North Korea walked
out of military talks with South Korea, ending 3 days of high-level
negotiations with no agreement amid a lingering dispute over their
shared sea border.
2007 Jul 29, Whang Joung-il
(52), a senior South Korean diplomat in Beijing, died hours after
becoming ill after eating a tuna sandwich. His death left the
envoy's family and his government asking China for an explanation.
2007 Aug 1, South Korea’s
Agriculture Ministry halted quarantine inspections of American beef
shipments after finding a banned vertebral column in a recent
shipment. Without such inspections, the beef cannot be brought to
2007 Aug 1, A financial
watchdog said British Airways has been fined a record 121.5 million
pounds (180 million euros, $246 million) after admitting collusion
with Virgin Atlantic over fuel surcharges on tickets. British
Airways and Korean Air (for collusion with Lufthansa) agreed to pay
$300 million each in fines and plead guilty to federal charges that
they colluded with other airlines to set ticket prices.
(AFP, 8/1/07)(SFC, 8/2/07, p.C2)(Econ, 8/4/07,
2007 Aug 13, In South Korea a
family of five fell to their deaths from a Ferris wheel after two
cars collided at an amusement park in the southern city of Busan.
2007 Aug 13, In Afghanistan 2
women among the 23 South Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban in
mid-July were freed on a rural roadside and then driven to a US
base. A German held hostage said in a telephone conversation
orchestrated by his captors that he was in ill health and the
Taliban had threatened him with death.
2007 Aug 28, The Taliban agreed
to free 19 South Korean church volunteers held hostage since July
after the government in Seoul pledged to end all missionary work and
keep a promise to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of
the year. In eastern Afghanistan a suicide bomber attacked NATO
troops helping build a bridge, killing three soldiers.
2007 Aug 29, Taliban militants
released 12 of 19 South Korean captives they promised to free under
a deal struck with the South Korean government to resolve a nearly
six-week hostage crisis. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a
crowded bazaar in eastern Afghanistan, killing four civilians and
two Afghan soldiers. A Canadian soldier, based in the Afghan capital
Kabul, died of a gunshot wound after he was found injured in his
(AFP, 8/29/07)(Reuters, 8/29/07)(AP, 8/29/08)
2007 Aug 30, Taliban militants
released the last 7 South Korean hostages. Mullah Brother, a wanted
Taliban insurgent leader in Afghanistan, was killed in a US-led raid
in the southern province of Helmand.
(AFP, 8/30/07)(Reuters, 8/30/07)(AP, 8/31/07)
2007 Aug 31, In eastern
Afghanistan a barrage of rockets missed a US-led coalition base but
hit houses in the nearby village of Babul, killing 10 civilians and
wounding seven. Outside the gates of the Kabul airport, a suicide
car bomber targeting a patrol of German soldiers killed two Afghan
soldiers and wounded 10 others. A senior Afghan official close to
the negotiations alleged the South Koreans paid a ransom for their
2007 Sep 16, Six South Koreans
died and four were missing in South Korea after typhoon Nari hit the
country's southern coast.
2007 Sep, Lotte, South Korea’s
biggest department store chain, opened its first foreign store in
(Econ, 6/28/08, p.72)
2007 Oct 2, North Korean leader
Kim Jong Il showed scant enthusiasm for the visiting South Korean
president, while orchestrated crowds of thousands cheered the start
of the second summit between the divided Koreas since World War II.
2007 Oct 4, The leaders of
North and South Korea pledged to seek a peace treaty to replace the
Korean War's 1953 cease-fire and expand projects to reduce tension
across the world's last Cold War frontier.
2007 Oct 11, Pope Benedict XVI
appealed to South Koreans' "inherent moral sensibility" to reject
embryonic stem cell research and human cloning after the country
decided to let embryonic stem cell research resume.
2007 Nov 5, South Korea’s Home
Affairs Ministry announced a campaign to promote bicycle use as a
way to cope with traffic, pollution and soaring oil prices.
2007 Nov 7, The Cosco Busan, a
65,131 ton Greek-owned container ship leased by Hanjin Shipping of
South Korea, hit a protective shield at the base of a tower of the
Bay Bridge. The Bridge was not damaged, but the ship suffered a gash
and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil into the SF Bay. By
the end of the month estimated bird deaths due to the oil topped
20,000. The cleanup cost was later estimated at some $61 million. A
year later federal authorities still held 6 Chinese crew members for
their testimony. In July, 2009, Cosco Busan Capt. John Cota (61) was
sentenced to 10 months in prison, becoming the first ship’s pilot in
US history to be sent to prison for an accident. On August 13, 2009,
Fleet Management Ltd. of Hong Kong pleaded guilty to charges of
water pollution and falsifying documents and agreed to pay $10
million in fines. On Dec 4, 2011, a settlement was reached to pay
120 SF Bay Area commercial fishermen $3.6 million.
(SFC, 11/8/07, p.A1)(SFC, 11/27/07, p.A1)(SFC,
12/19/07, p.A1)(WSJ, 11/5/08, p.A2)(SFC, 7/18/09, p.C1)(SFC,
8/14/09, p.D1)(SFC, 1/5/11, p.C3)
2007 Nov 11, Tens of thousands
of South Korean farmers and workers clashed with riot police at a
massive rally against a free trade agreement with the United States.
2007 Nov 12, In South Korea the
Catholic Priests' Association for Justice (CPAJ) disclosed the names
of 3 former and incumbent prosecutors, who have received money
regularly from Samsung Group. CPAJ urged the prosecution to
investigate the conglomerate's alleged bribery, slush fund creation,
and other irregularities.
(Econ, 12/1/07, p.58)
2007 Nov 14, The prime
ministers of North and South Korea met for the first time in 15
years, hoping to extend the detente fostered by the second-ever
summit of their leaders last month with new South Korean investment
in the impoverished North.
2007 Nov 16, North and South
Korea agreed to launch rail service across their heavily armed
border for the first time in more than half a century, a move
symbolizing the growing reconciliation between the two sides.
2007 Nov 24, South Korea's
first bird flu outbreak in eight months forced the slaughter of
thousands of ducks in the country's south. The government said the
deadly H5N1 virus was not involved.
2007 Nov 26, A South Korean aid
group said North Korea has resumed frequent public executions, among
them a factory chief accused of making international phone calls who
was shot in a stadium before 150,000 spectators.
2007 Nov 27, The defense chiefs
of North and South Korea began a rare meeting to discuss easing
tension across their disputed sea border on a harmonious note,
pledging to end the peninsula's division.
2007 Nov 28, North and South
Korea struggled to resolve differences over creating a joint fishing
zone around their disputed sea border at a second day of rare
defense talks in Pyongyang.
2007 Nov 29, The top defense
officials from North and South Korea agreed on security arrangements
for the first-ever regular train service across their heavily
2007 Dec 7, A crane-carrying
vessel collided with the Hebei Spirit, an oil tanker off of South
Korea's west coast, spilling nearly 80,000 barrels of crude oil in
what was believed to be South Korea's largest offshore oil leak. On
Jan 21, 2008, courts indicted Samsung Heavy Industries and the owner
of the tanker on charges relating to the spill.
(AP, 12/7/07)(AP, 12/20/07)(Econ, 2/9/08, p.71)
2007 Dec 8, South Korea's
worst-ever oil spill reached the country's southwest coastline,
polluting beaches with pungent sludge and threatening valuable sea
2007 Dec 11, Environmentalists
warned that a scenic coastal region could take years to recover from
South Korea's worst oil spill, as over 19,000 people worked to
contain or clean up the slick.
2007 Dec 11, North and South
Korea began regular freight train service across their heavily armed
border for the first time in more than a half century, in another
symbolic step in their reconciliation.
2007 Dec 12, Officials said
South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a
fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop
treatments for human genetic diseases.
2007 Dec 14, North and South
Korea ended three days of talks without an agreement on creating a
shared fishing zone to defuse tensions along their disputed sea
2007 Dec 14, South Korea
brought home 195 army medics and engineers from Afghanistan, ending
its five-year deployment to help rebuild the war-ravaged country at
2007 Dec 19, In South Korea
former Hyundai CEO Lee Myung-bak (66) claimed victory in
presidential election as voters overlooked fraud allegations to give
him a landslide win on hopes he will revive the economy. This was
also Myung-bak’s birthday and 37th wedding anniversary.
(AP, 12/19/07)(Econ, 12/15/07, p.49)
2007 Dec 25, A South Korean
ship carrying 2,000 tons of nitric acid sank on its way to Taiwan
and 14 sailors were feared drowned. One sailor was rescued.
2007 Dec 26, South Korea's
cabinet approved a bill setting up a fraud inquiry into
president-elect Lee Myung-Bak, one week after the conservative
opposition candidate won a landslide election victory.
2007 Dec 28, South Korea's
parliament voted to extend the country's troop deployment in Iraq
for another year, amid protests by activists opposed to the
decision. South Korea has 650 troops in Iraq.
2008 Jan 7, In South Korea fire
tore through a refrigeration warehouse under construction in an
industrial district south of Seoul, killing 40 people and sending
toxic fumes into the air.
2008 Jan 16, South Korea's
conservative president-elect Lee Myung-bak revealed plans to scrap
the government ministry that has preached reconciliation with North
Korea, after pledging to be tougher on Pyongyang than his liberal
2008 Jan 18, In South Korea a
fish merchant was critically ill after setting himself ablaze during
a rally demanding greater compensation for South Korea's worst oil
2008 Jan 25, North and South
Korea held working-level military talks, the first dialogue between
the two countries this year, as Seoul's conservative president-elect
prepared to take office with calls for a tougher stance toward
2008 Jan 31, In South Korea a
court ruled against Samsung and its chairman Lee Kun-hee in the
nation’s biggest civil lawsuit. It ordered them to pay $2.7 billion
to the creditors of Samsung Motors.
(Econ, 2/9/08, p.71)
2008 Feb 2, South Korean car
giant Hyundai Motor Co opened a second plant in India, making the
country its biggest foreign manufacturing site.
2008 Feb 10, In South Korea a
fire destroyed the 610-year old wooden structure at the top of the
Namdaemun gate. The two-tiered wooden structure was renovated in the
1960s, when it was declared South Korea's top national treasure. The
next day police arrested a man, who admitted to the arson. Chae
Jong-ki (69) was later convicted of violating the Cultural
Properties Protection Law and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
(AP, 2/11/08)(SFC, 2/12/08, p.A16)(AP, 4/24/08)
2008 Feb 12, South Korea held
its first-ever trial by jury as part of reform measures aimed at
increasing confidence in the judicial system. A nine-member jury in
Daegu heard the case of a man (27) accused of assaulting a woman
(70) while trying to burglarize her house. By South Korean law, the
findings of jury are nonbinding, with the final verdict still
resting in the hands of a judge, as in the past. Juries will be used
at the request of defendants in some criminal cases.
2008 Feb 17, In South Korea a
special prosecutor's team questioned President-elect Lee Myung-bak
over allegations of financial fraud a week ahead of his
2008 Feb 21, In South Korea a
special prosecutor cleared Pres.-elect Lee Myung-bak of financial
(SFC, 2/21/08, p.A3)
2008 Feb 25, In South Korea
former businessman Lee Myung-Bak took office as president, promising
greater prosperity both for his own nation and for impoverished
North Korea if it scraps its nuclear drive.
2008 Mar 7, Australian
officials said police have rescued 10 South Korean women who were
forced to work in a Sydney brothel by a sex slavery syndicate that
lured them to Australia with promises of legitimate jobs.
2008 Mar 23, South Korea's
Hyundai Motor said it would begin mass producing hybrid cars next
year amid growing demand for fuel-efficient and environmentally
2008 Mar 24, South Korea's
president asked North Korea to consider sending home prisoners of
war and captured civilians in return for receiving humanitarian aid
2008 Mar 26, Italian officials
held a crisis meeting after Japan and South Korea banned imports of
mozzarella following the discovery of high dioxin levels in buffalo
milk used to make the famed cheese.
2008 Mar 27, North Korea
expelled all 11 South Korean officials from a joint industrial
estate just north of the border in retaliation for Seoul's new
tougher line towards the communist state.
2008 Apr 4, Lee Kun-Hee (66),
the head of South Korea's biggest business group, Samsung, appeared
for questioning as part of a high-profile probe into an alleged
multi-million dollar bribery slush fund.
2008 Apr 4, A South Korean
official said quarantine workers have destroyed more than 100,000
chickens following the first outbreak of a deadly strain of bird flu
in the country in more than a year.
2008 Apr 8, A Russian capsule
carrying South Korea's first astronaut and two cosmonauts blasted
off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, en route to the
international space station.
2008 Apr 9, The conservative
party of South Korea's new president won an overall majority in
parliamentary elections, according to TV exit polls, giving him the
power to push through sweeping economic reforms. The GNP won 153
seats in the 299-member legislature.
(AP, 4/9/08)(Econ, 4/12/08, p.50)
2008 Apr 13, South Korea's
government confirmed a fourth outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in
the country's southwest, as the tally of birds slaughtered to
control the spread of the disease rose to 1.3 million.
2008 Apr 16, South Korea
dispatched 200 soldiers to chicken farms to slaughter poultry
infected with bird flu, as the government confirmed another outbreak
of the disease.
2008 Apr 17,
In South Korea special prosecutors indicted Chairman Lee
Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung Group, on charges of tax evasion
and breach of trust, ending a probe that shook South Korea's biggest
conglomerate for months. A South Korean court sentenced Kim
Kyung-jun, a former business partner of President Lee Myung-bak, to
10 years in prison for stock manipulation, embezzlement and forgery.
Chairman Lee Kun-hee was ordered to pay $40 million in taxes and
$95.6 billion in fines. A 3-year prison sentence was suspended.
(AP, 4/17/08)(Econ, 1/30/10, p.74)
2008 Apr 18,
President George W. Bush and South Korea's leader Lee
Myung-bak held talks on pushing ahead with a huge free trade deal
and fortifying their half-century security alliance. Bush welcomed
Lee at Camp David for the two-day talks, that are to include their
economic and defense teams. Just hours before the Bush-Lee talks,
South Korea announced it had agreed to give US beef greater access
to its market.
2008 Apr 19, In northern
Kazakhstan a Soyuz capsule, carrying South Korean bioengineer Yi
So-yeon, American astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian flight
engineer Yuri Malenchenko, landed 260 miles off its mark.
2008 Apr 21, In Japan PM Yasuo
Fukuda met with South Korea’s Pres. Lee Myung-bak and both declared
a new era of closer cooperation.
(WSJ, 4/22/08, p.A10)
2008 Apr 22,
In South Korea Chairman Lee Kun-hee (66), head of Samsung
Group, resigned. On April 17 he was indicted on charges of tax
evasion and breach of trust.
(Econ, 4/26/08, p.82)
2008 Apr 27, A North Korean
defector tried to set himself on fire to halt the Olympic torch
relay through Seoul, while thousands of police guarded the flame
from protesters blasting China's treatment of North Korean refugees.
A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea for the first time in
a decade across the heavily fortified border dividing the countries.
(AP, 4/27/08)(AP, 4/28/08)
2008 May 4, In South Korea at
least eight were people killed when they were swept away by high
waves that hit the port of Boryeong Namdo on the west coast.
2008 May 9, A South Korean aid
group said North Koreans are dying because of food shortages in
rural areas, and a massive famine is just a matter of time.
2008 May 12, South Korean
officials said they have killed all poultry in Seoul, to curb the
spread of bird flu following a new outbreak of the disease in the
2008 May 26, South Korea and a
group of governments from the Middle East and Africa agreed to
launch a cooperative organization aimed at enhancing political,
cultural and economic ties. The Korea-Arab Society will group South
Korea with governments, corporations and organizations from 22
countries and authorities in the Arab world.
2008 May 29, South Korea took
the final step to resume full imports of beef from the US, which it
banned in 2003 over fears of mad cow disease.
(WSJ, 5/30/08, p.A9)
2008 May 31, Tens of thousands
of South Koreans rallied against a government decision to import US
beef in the largest demonstration in a month of almost daily
2008 May, A South Korean
abductee escaped from North Korea after more than 30 years and was
under Seoul’s protection in China. Yoon Jong-soo, 65, ended up in
the North when his fishing boat and 32 other crew members were
seized off South Korea's east coast in 1975.
2008 Jun 2, The South Korean
government said it was delaying the planned resumption of US beef
imports, after a request from the ruling party and large weekend
2008 Jun 5, South Korea's
antitrust regulator said it will order Intel Corp. to pay 26 billion
won ($25.4 million) for violating fair trade rules.
2008 Jun 10, In South Korea
some 700,000 protesters gathered for a candlelit demonstration
against the government’s decision to resume beef imports from the
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.60)
2008 Jun 11, South Korea's
president said that his government will make a fresh start, hours
after thousands of people had gathered in Seoul in the largest
demonstration yet against the planned resumption of US beef imports.
2008 Jun 14, Striking truck
drivers in South Korea threatened to block the country's largest
port to protest surging fuel prices.
2008 Jun 19, In South Korea
about 6,500 truck drivers ended their strike after transportation
companies agreed to increase fees for hauling freight, but another
6,500 remained off the job.
2008 Jun 20, South Korea's
embattled President Lee Myung-Bak Friday replaced seven top aides to
give his government a fresh start after weeks of mass protests
against a US beef import deal.
2008 Jun 21, South Korea said
it will resume imports of US beef after American and South Korean
suppliers agreed to block meat from older cattle, aiming to soothe
health concerns that sparked weeks of demonstrations against new
President Lee Myung-bak. Over 10,000 people rallied in central Seoul
to protest the US beef imports.
(AP, 6/22/08)(SSFC, 6/22/08, p.A11)
2008 Jun 24, New Zealand police
charged two men in the slaying of Jae Hyeon Kim (25), a South Korean
backpacker, who disappeared five years ago during a working holiday
in New Zealand. The exact date of Kim's death remained unclear, but
police said it was likely to have been between Sep. 29 and Oct. 22,
2008 Jun 29, In South Korea
protesters fought riot police at a rally opposing the resumption of
American beef imports, hours after the chief US diplomat vouched for
the health of US cattle. Police refused to allow more candlelight
protests after clashes left over 200 people injured.
(AP, 6/29/08)(WSJ, 6/30/08, p.A8)
2008 Jul 2, In South Korea tens
of thousands of auto workers went on strike to oppose the
government's lifting of a ban on US beef imports.
2008 Jul 3, South Korea's
president called for an end to a long-running dispute over American
beef imports, saying it was time for the nation to concentrate
instead on overcoming its economic difficulties.
2008 Jul 5, South Korean police
said about 50,000 people protested in Seoul against a US beef import
deal and the policies of the new president, whose government has
faced weeks of street rallies.
2008 Jul 6, South Korea said it
was implementing a multi-stage contingency plan aimed at reducing
energy consumption before the skyrocketing oil prices push Asia's
fourth-largest economy into a full-fledged crisis.
2008 Jul 11, A North Korean
soldier fatally shot a South Korean woman tourist (53) at a mountain
resort in the communist North, prompting the South to suspend the
high-profile tour program. Park Wang-ja had strayed a half-mile into
a fenced off military area and was shot twice from behind.
2008 Jul 14, South Korea said
it will recall its ambassador from Japan over a rekindled debate
about disputed islands between the countries, as the new Seoul
government seeks to lift its sagging popularity at home with an
appeal to nationalism.
2008 Jul 15, In South Korea Won
Jeong-hwa (34) was arrested and later confessed that she was a spy
trained and commissioned by North Korea's intelligence agency. On
Oct 15 she was sentenced to five years in prison for spying.
(AP, 8/27/08)(AP, 10/15/08)
2008 Jul 16, In South Korea
former Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee saw the suspension of his prison
sentence in a tax-evasion conviction, a move that confirmed South
Koreans' view that tycoons are immune from jail.
2008 Jul 26, South Korea’s
government said days of torrential rains have led to the deaths of
seven people and left six others missing.
2008 Jul 31, South Korea's
Constitutional Court overturned a ban on doctors telling parents the
gender of unborn babies, saying the country has grown out of a
preference for sons and that the restriction violates parents' right
2008 Aug 5, President Bush got
a mixed reception in South Korea at the start of his three-nation
Asian trip. About 30,000 people gathered in front of Seoul City Hall
for an afternoon Christian prayer service supporting Bush's trip. As
evening approached police fired water cannons at an estimated 20,000
anti-Bush protesters gathered nearby.
2008 Aug 11, In China the US
remained third in the medals table at the end of the third day of
Olympic competition with three gold medals behind hosts China with
nine after the completion of 34 events, and South Korea with four.
Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to ever win a solo gold medal
at the Olympic Games after winning the men's 10m air rifle title.
2008 Aug 12, South Korea
announced sweeping pardons for some of the country’s most powerful
businessmen, including Lee Myung-bak, the head of leading carmaker
Hyundai Motor, saying they were needed to help revive a troubled
economy. 341,863 others were also pardoned as South Korea celebrated
liberation from Japanese colonialism.
2008 Sep 7, South Korean police
arrested four people over the theft of data on 11 million customers
of a local oil refiner in what is being called the country's
largest-ever data leak.
2008 Sep 10, Pirates hijacked a
South Korean bulk carrier with 22 crew off Somalia's coast but were
thwarted in a separate attempt to seize a Greek ship. The crew and
vessel were released on Oct 16 with no comment on ransom.
(AP, 9/10/08)(AP, 10/16/08)
2008 Sep 19, South Korea said
it will completely withdraw its remaining troops from Iraq by
December, ending five years of military deployment.
2008 Sep 27, The population of
Seoul, South Korea, was reported to be about 23 million.
(Econ, 9/27/08, SR p.3)
2008 Sep 29, South Korea said
its state run Korea Gas Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding
with Russia’s Gazprom to import gas from Russia for 30 years
starting in 2015 as part of a $102 billion bilateral gas and
(WSJ, 9/30/08, p.A9)
2008 Oct 2, Choi Jin-sil (39),
one of South Korea's most popular actresses, was found dead in an
apparent suicide after suffering from post-divorce depression and
harassment by online rumors about her allegedly irregular financial
2008 Oct 9, The central banks
of Taiwan and South Korea cut interest rates as Japan and others
pumped more cash into the financial markets.
(WSJ, 10/10/08, p.A4)
2008 Oct 16, Somali pirates
released 22 sailors they kidnapped on Sep 10, after the South Korean
ship owner paid a ransom. Koo Ja-Woo, an executive director of J and
J Trust, which owns the ship, said his company paid an unspecified
sum to the pirates through a foreign middleman with experience in
dealing with the seizure of ships.
2008 Oct 19, South Korea
announced a $130 billion economic rescue package, with $100 billion
of this in the form of guarantees for foreign currency debts.
(Econ, 10/25/08, p.52)
2008 Oct 20, A financially
strapped South Korean man, identified as Jeong, went on an arson and
stabbing rampage in Seoul, leaving six people dead, including 3
Chinese, and seven others wounded.
(AP, 10/20/08)(AFP, 10/21/08)
2008 Oct 27, South Korea
lowered its key interest rate from 5% to 4.25%.
(WSJ, 10/25/08, p.A11)
2008 Oct 28, South Korean
officials said a North Korean soldier has defected for the 2nd time
in a decade.
2008 Oct 29, South Korea
reported that Kim Jong Il has suffered a serious setback in his
recovery from a stroke.
(WSJ, 10/30/08, p.A1)
2008 Oct 30, In South Korea a
court ruled that a law that allows only visually impaired people to
become licensed masseurs does not violate the constitution, in a
victory for the blind. South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld a
ban on adultery, rejecting complaints that the 55-year-old law is
outdated and constitutes an invasion of privacy.
2008 Nov 7, South Korea reduced
its key interest rate by .25%, its 3rd cut in 4 weeks.
(WSJ, 11/10/08, p.A13)
2008 Nov 12, North Korea's
powerful military announced it will shut the country's border with
the South on Dec. 1, a marked escalation of threats against Seoul's
new conservative government at a time of heightened tension on the
2008 Nov 12, LCD makers LG
Display of South Korea, Sharp of Japan, and Chunghwa Picture tubes
of Taiwan pleaded guilty to US charges of price fixing and will pay
fines totaling $585 million.
(WSJ, 11/13/08, p.B3)
2008 Nov 20, South Korean
activists sent propaganda leaflets over the border into North Korea,
ignoring their own government's pleas to stop the practice and
threats from the North to sever relations if it continues.
2008 Nov 24, North Korea
detailed plans to radically curtail ties with South Korea,
announcing the end of daily cross-border train service and tours of
a historic city in response to what it called Seoul's
2008 Nov 27, South Korea's
supermarket chains resumed selling US beef, nearly five months after
the government lifted an import ban imposed over fears of mad cow
2008 Dec 11, South Korea’s
central bank cut its main interest rate by a percentage point to 3%,
its 4th and largest cut in two months.
(WSJ, 12/11/08, p.A12)
2008 Dec 13, Japan, China and
South Korea moved to ward off the effects of the global financial
crunch at a trilateral summit in Japan, while Tokyo and Seoul
criticized North Korea for stalling denuclearization talks.
2008 Dec 17, A South Korean
court found one of the country's most famous actresses guilty of
adultery, months after she tried but failed to have a law that makes
extramarital affairs a crime ruled unconstitutional. Ok So-ri was
handed a suspended jail term.
2008 Dec 19, South Korea Friday
completed its troop pullout from Iraq, ending a four-year mission to
help reconstruct the war-torn nation.
2008 Dec 29, Citigroup Inc said
it is injecting $800 million of new capital into its South Korean
banking arm, joining other banks in efforts to shore up their
2009 Jan 6, South Korea said it
will invest 50 trillion won ($38.1 billion) over the next four years
on environmental projects in a "Green New Deal" to spur slumping
economic growth and create nearly a million jobs. Opposition
lawmakers ended their violent, 12-day siege of the parliament after
successfully delaying a key vote on a US free trade deal and other
2009 Jan 10, South Korean
officials arrested Park Dae-sung (31), a blogger writing under the
pseudonym Minerva. They charged that his postings had led to a
plunge in the value of the won, forcing the government to intervene
in trading. In April 20 Park Dae-sung was cleared of spreading false
(WSJ, 1/13/09, p.A11)(Econ, 1/17/09, p.45)(AP,
2009 Jan 11, South Korea’s
Hyundai Genesis was named North American Car of the Year and the
Ford F-150 as the 2009 North American Truck of the Year. The awards
were first given in 1994. This was the first time a Korean automaker
2009 Jan 14, South Korea's
Chosun Ilbo newspaper said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has
reportedly ordered a crackdown on street markets in an apparent move
to reassert control over the economy amid an influx of foreign goods
into the isolated country.
2009 Jan 16, In South Korea
Yonhap news agency said Busan District Court handed a man named Lim
(42) a suspended 30-month sentence for raping his wife (25) at
knifepoint. It was the first time a man in traditionally
male-dominated South Korea has been convicted of marital rape. Lim
was found dead of apparent suicide on Jan 20.
(AP, 1/16/09)(AP, 1/20/09)
2009 Jan 20, South Korean
police commandos stormed a vacant office building occupied by
displaced tenants in central Seoul, sparking a clash and a blaze
that killed six people and injured 23.
2009 Jan 24, In South Korea
Kang Ho-sun (38) was arrested at his workplace in Ansan, a city
about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Seoul, in connection with
the killing of a student who disappeared last month. Her body was
found in a nearby town the next day. Kang later confessed to
kidnapping and killing the student and then admitted to slaying six
other women between December 2006 and December 2008.
2009 Jan 27, South Korea’s
central bank announced that a woman will appear on its banknotes for
the first time, with the issuance of a new 50,000-won ($36) bill.
2009 Jan 29, A South Korean
biotech company claimed to have cloned dogs using a stem cell
technology for the first time in the world.
2009 Jan 30, North Korea
announced that it is scrapping agreements with South Korea on easing
military tensions, accusing Seoul of pushing relations to the brink
2009 Feb 4, South Korea
implemented its Capital Markets Consolidation Plan (CMCA).
2009 Feb 9, South Korean
prosecutors cleared police of any wrongdoing over a commando raid
last month that left six people dead in a clash with displaced
tenants in central Seoul.
2009 Feb 16, Cardinal Stephen
Kim Sou-hwan (86), South Korea's first cardinal, died. He was a
tireless advocate for democracy and stood up to a string of military
2009 Feb 16, In Spain Samsung
of South Korea unveiled the world's first solar-powered mobile phone
at an industry show where the sector is showcasing the new
technology it hopes will drive demand through the economic crisis.
2009 Feb 21, A South Korean
housewife broke a world record in marathon singing after crooning
for more than 76 hours without stopping at a Seoul karaoke bar.
2009 Feb 23, South Korea's
Defense Ministry said North Korea recently deployed a new type of
medium-range ballistic missile capable of reaching northern
Australia and the US territory of Guam.
2009 Feb 24, South Korea signed
a $3.55 billion deal with Iraq to help rebuild the war-ravaged
country in return for oil and gas. The deal was inked by South
Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his Iraqi counterpart Jalal
2009 Mar 5, Australia and South
Korea agreed during a summit between PM Kevin Rudd and President Lee
Myung-bak to deepen security ties and launch formal talks on a free
2009 Mar 5, Indonesia and South
Korea agreed to cooperate more closely on a range of issues
including defense, the global financial crisis and alternative
sources of energy.
2009 Mar 9, The US and South
Korea began annual war games prompting North Korea to call its
military into full combat readiness.
(SFC, 3/10/09, p.A2)
2009 Mar 10, Two cargo ships
collided off the coast of a central Japanese island, leaving 16
South Korean and Indonesian crew members missing.
2009 Mar 15, In Yemen a bomb
killed four South Korean tourists and their Yemeni guide, the latest
attack targeting foreigners visiting this poor Arab country that has
both famed historic sites and a strong al-Qaida presence.
2009 Mar 17, North Korea fully
reopened its border to South Koreans commuting to jobs at factories
in a northern economic zone after four days of restrictions.
2009 Mar 18, In Yemen a suicide
bomber struck a convoy carrying South Korean officials sent to Yemen
to investigate a bombing earlier in the week that killed four South
Korean tourists. No one was hurt.
2009 Mar 20, North Korea closed
its southern border for the third time in recent days, even as it
told Seoul it would restore a military communications hot line
severed last week.
2009 Apr 7, In South Korea
former Pres. Roh Moo-hyun announced that his wife had received money
from Park Yeon-cha, chairman of Taekwang Industrial Co., a shoe
manufacturer, several hours following the arrest of Chung Sangmoon,
a former aide who had accepted the money for the president’s wife.
for the president’s wife.
(WSJ, 4/8/09, p.A8)
2009 Apr 21, North and South
Korea held their first formal talks for more than a year but
discussions ended without agreement after just 22 minutes.
2009 Apr 22, A South Korean
court convicted and handed down a death sentence to a masseur
charged with killing 10 people, including his wife and
mother-in-law. Kang Ho-sun (38) was indicted in February in the
slayings of eight office workers, karaoke bar employees and
university students after abducting them between September 2006 and
December 2008. Kang was also accused of burning to death his wife
and mother-in-law in 2005 in an attempt to win insurance money.
2009 Apr 28, South Korean
scientists said they have engineered four beagles that glow red
using cloning techniques that could help develop cures for human
2009 Apr 29, A South Korean
presidential advisory committee announced that South Korea will lift
a three-year ban on human stem cell research.
2009 May 4, South Korean
snipers hovering in a helicopter chased away pirates pursuing a
North Korean freighter, while a Russian warship freed eight Iranian
citizens held hostage for more than three months.
2009 May 4, South Korean news
reported that North Korea runs a cyber warfare unit that tries to
hack into US and South Korean military networks to gather
confidential information and disrupt service.
2009 May 5, A South Korean
official said 3 South Korean army personnel have been convicted of
accepting or seeking bribes while serving as part of a US-led
alliance aimed at rebuilding Iraq. A captain identified by his
surname Park, was sentenced last month by a South Korean military
court to three years in prison for taking $25,000 and a digital
camera worth $800 from a local firm involved in construction
projects in the northern city of Irbil in return for administrative
favors. A master sergeant and a major received suspended jail terms
for demanding bribes from other Iraqi firms. The captain and the two
others were arrested in South Korea in December following a joint
US-South Korean investigation.
2009 May 13, South Korean
Destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great and the US guided missile cruiser
Gettysburg dispatched helicopters to aid Egypt’s MV Amira after it
came under attack. 17 suspected pirates were apprehended following
the attack in the Gulf of Aden. In 2010 a Kenya court freed all 17
pirates for lack of evidence. A magistrate blamed the loss of the
case on the US Navy for not providing video and photographic proof
that they claimed to have.
(AP, 5/14/09)(AP, 11/5/10)
2009 May 15, North Korea said
it has scrapped all wage and rent agreements with South Korea at a
joint industrial estate and told some 100 South Korean companies to
leave if they cannot accept it.
2009 May 18, It was reported
that South Korea's top technology university has developed a plan to
power electric cars through recharging strips embedded in roadways
that use a technology to transfer energy found in some electric
2009 May 21, South Korea’s
Supreme Court said that doctors treating a comatose woman (76) must
remove her from life support as her family requested, the first time
it has ruled in favor of a patient's right to die.
2009 May 23, Former South
Korean President Roh Moo-hyun (62) jumped to his death while hiking
in the mountains behind his rural home. His hard-won reputation as a
corruption fighter was tarnished by bribery allegations that drew in
his family and closest associates.
(AP, 5/23/09)(Econ, 5/30/09, p.88)
2009 May 27, North Korea
renounced its 1953 truce with the allied forces and threatened to
strike any ships trying to intercept its vessels. Facing
international censure for this week's nuclear test, it threatened to
attack the South after it joined a US-led plan to check vessels
suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction.
2009 May 28, South Korean and
US troops raised their alert to the highest level since 2006 after
North Korea renounced its truce with the allied forces and
threatened to strike any ships trying to intercept its vessels.
2009 Jun 2, Two major South
Korean newspapers said that North Korea's military, party and
government officials were informed that Kim Jong Un (26), the
youngest of three, is in line to take the world's first communist
dynasty into a third generation.
2009 Jun 11, North Korea
demanded a 3,000 percent hike in rent from South Korea for the site
of a joint industrial park at the center of a dispute roiling their
relations. It also sought a more than fourfold increase in wages for
North Korean workers employed by South Korean companies at the park.
More than 100 South Korean companies have factories in the park,
employing some 40,000 North Koreans. They are paid about $70 a month
2009 Jun 12, A South Korean
newspaper reported that the youngest son of North Korea's
authoritarian leader has been given the title of "Brilliant
Comrade," a sign the communist regime is preparing to name him as
successor to the ailing Kim Jong Il.
2009 Jun 19, South Korea
rejected North Korea's demand for a massive increase in wages and
rent at a joint industrial park struggling to stay afloat, leaving
the fate of more than 100 companies and 40,000 workers there hanging
2009 Jul 4, Attacks began on
more than two dozen Internet sites in the United States and South
Korea and some were disabled by hackers. South Korea's spy agency
later said the attacks were possibly linked to North Korea. Some of
the affected US government Web sites, such as the Treasury
Department, Federal Trade Commission and Secret Service, were still
reporting problems days after it started during the July 4 holiday.
(Reuters, 7/8/09)(AP, 7/8/09)
2009 Jul 6, The office of South
Korea's Pres. Lee Myung-bak said he will donate about 33.1 billion
won ($26 million), almost all of his personal fortune, to establish
a new youth scholarship program.
2009 Jul 9, South Korean Web
sites were attacked again after a wave of Web site outages in the US
and South Korea that several officials suspect North Korea was
2009 Jul 10, South Korea’s spy
agency told lawmakers that a research institute affiliated with the
North's Ministry of People's Armed Forces received an order on June
7 to "destroy the South Korean puppet communications networks in an
instant." The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the North has
between 500-1,000 hacking specialists.
2009 Jul 13, South Korea
reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (67) has
life-threatening pancreatic cancer, days after fresh images of him
looking gaunt spurred speculation that his health was worsening
following a reported stroke last year.
2009 Jul 14, South Korean
police said hackers extracted files from computers they contaminated
with the virus that triggered cyberattacks last week in the United
States and South Korea, a sign that they tried to steal information
from the victims. North Korea has supposedly trained an elite group
of hackers at Mirim College, its military school.
(AP, 7/14/09)(Econ, 7/11/09, p.62)
2009 Jul 30, North Korea's
military seized four South Korean fishermen after their boat strayed
into North Korean waters. The fishermen were released on Aug 29.
(AP, 7/31/09)(AP, 8/29/09)
2009 Aug 3, In South Korea
thousands of riot police strengthened their siege of a troubled
South Korean auto firm, spraying liquid tear gas from a helicopter,
after talks to end a prolonged occupation by strikers collapsed.
2009 Aug 5, In South Korea
helicopter-borne police commandos fought militant strikers at the
Ssangyong Motor Co.’s Pyeongtaek factory, seizing all but one key
(SFC, 8/6/09, p.A2)
2009 Aug 6, In South Korea
unionists who occupied a car plant in protest at mass layoffs agreed
to end a 77-day sit-in which halted production and sparked violent
clashes with police.
2009 Aug 13, North Korea freed
Yu Seong-Jin (44), a South Korean worker it had detained since
March, raising hopes of better cross-border relations after 18
months of bitter hostility from the communist state.
2009 Aug 15, South Korea's
president renewed his offer of aid for impoverished North Korea if
it abandons its nuclear weapons and called for talks on the
reduction of conventional weapons along their heavily fortified
2009 Aug 16, North Korean
leader Kim Jong Il held talks with Hyun Jeong-eun, the head of South
Korea's Hyundai Group, in a rare meeting that could warm prospects
for a resumption of stalled cross-border projects.
2009 Aug 16, Y.E. Yang (37) of
South Korea won the PGA Championship at Chaska, Minnesota, with a
2-under par 70 beating Tiger Woods who shot a 5 over par 75.
2009 Aug 17, North Korea said
it would restart tours to a scenic mountain resort and allow
reunions for families separated since the Korean War, a surprise
move that could help ease months of tensions with South Korea over
Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.
2009 Aug 18, Former South
Korean Pres. Kim Dae-jung (85) died. He spent years as a dissident
under a military dictatorship and later won the Nobel Peace Prize
for seeking reconciliation with communist North Korea.
2009 Aug 25, South Korea
launched its first rocket, just months after rival North Korea's
launch drew international anger, but space officials said the
satellite it carried failed to enter its intended orbit.
2009 Sep 6, Six South Koreans
camping and fishing along a river flowing from North Korea were
swept away when it suddenly doubled in height, because a new dam in
the North released a large amount of water without warning. On Oct
14 North Korea offered a rare apology for unleashing the dam water
and promised to alert Seoul to such measures in the future.
(AP, 9/6/09)(AP, 10/14/09)
2009 Sep 9, In South Korea
performers from around the world have gathered on the South Korean
island of Jeju for this week's international Delphic Games,
popularly known as the "Culture Olympics." The first Delphic Games
of the modern era were held in Russia in 2000 and the second in
Malaysia in 2005.
2009 Sep 10, Australia
announced liquefied natural gas (LNG) deals worth up to 60 billion
US dollars with Japan and South Korea, raising its status as a major
2009 Sep 18, South Korean
scientists said they had developed a new transistor which moves
faster and consumes less energy than existing semiconductors, a
technology opening the way for no-booting computers.
2009 Sep 26, In North Korea 97
older South Koreans reunited with 228 North Korean relatives at the
Diamond Mountain resort. This was the first reunion in nearly two
(SSFC, 9/27/09, p.A4)
2009 Sep 28, South Korea's
parliament endorsed the appointment of economics professor Chung
Un-Chan as prime minister despite strong objections by opposition
2009 Sep 28, In China foreign
ministers from China, Japan and South Korea pledged to deepen
cooperation on non-proliferation and disarmament, as pressure grew
on Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
2009 Oct 5, A South Korean
lawmaker, Kwon Young-se, said North Korea has received the
equivalent of about $2.2 billion under deals aimed at persuading the
isolated nation to dismantle its nuclear facilities, in what his
office said is the first accounting of the cost of the failed
strategy. In addition to the money it was given in the
disarmament-for-aid deals, the North has also received nearly 4
trillion won ($3.4 billion) of food, fertilizer and other
humanitarian aid from the US, South Korea and international
organizations over the past 10 years.
2009 Oct 10, China, Japan and
South Korea held a 3-way summit in Beijing.
(Econ, 10/10/09, p.43)
2009 Oct 14, In South Korea
Rev. Sun Myung Moon (89) married thousands of couples in the
Unification Church's largest mass wedding in a decade and
potentially the last for the leader. More than 20,000 people
gathered at Sun Moon University campus in Asan, south of Seoul, for
the "blessing ceremony" while some 20,000 more joined simultaneous
ceremonies in the US, Brazil, Australia and elsewhere. The spectacle
came as Moon, the church's controversial founder, moved to hand
day-to-day leadership over to his 3 sons and daughter.
2009 Oct 15, Top EU and South
Korean trade officials signed a free trade deal which the EU said
could boost trade between the two by euro19 billion ($28 billion).
2009 Oct 26, South Korea
offered a small amount of food aid to North Korea, its first direct
assistance to the impoverished neighbor in nearly two years of
2009 Oct 26, Kang Tong Rim (30)
defected into North Korea. The next day a South Korean military
statement said Kang had formerly served in an army division near
where a fence was found cut and he has been on a police wanted list
following his alleged involvement in an assault case in September.
2009 Oct 26, In South Korea Dr.
Hwang Woo-suk (56), a stem cell scientist, was convicted on criminal
charges relating to faked research, but avoided jail time.
(SFC, 10/27/09, p.A2)
2009 Oct 27, The Japanese
destroyer JS Kurama collided with the South Korean container ship
Carina Star in the Kanmon Strait near the southern main island of
Kyushu and both were engulfed in flames.
2009 Oct 30, South Korea
announced plans to send troops to Afghanistan to protect its
civilian aid workers, two years after withdrawing its forces
following a fatal hostage crisis.
2009 Nov 10, A badly damaged
North Korean patrol ship retreated in flames after a skirmish with a
South Korean naval vessel along their disputed western coast. South
Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that a North
Korean patrol boat crossed the disputed western sea border about
11:27 a.m. (0227 GMT), drawing warning shots from a South Korean
navy vessel. The North Korean boat then opened fire and the South's
ship returned fire before the North's vessel sailed back toward its
2009 Nov 14, In South Korea at
least ten people, including eight Japanese tourists, were killed and
six others injured in a blaze at an indoor shooting range in Busan.
2009 Nov 17, South Korea
announced its first greenhouse gas reduction target, pledging to cut
emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases by 4
percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
2009 Nov 18, South Korean auto
giant Hyundai said it would roll out another new small car in India
as it jostles with rivals for a larger slice of the fast-growing
2009 Nov 19, In South Korea
President Barack Obama said a US envoy would visit North Korea early
next month, as he joined South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak in
urging the communist state back to nuclear talks.
2009 Nov 19, In France South
Korean model Daul Kim (20), a fashion week regular in New York,
Milan and Paris, was been found hanged in her Paris apartment.
2009 Nov 28, A South Korean
fishing vessel burned and sank in the port of Uruguay's capital.
Navy officials said all 38 crew members are safe.
2009 Dec 10, North Korea agreed
to accept medicine from South Korea to fight an outbreak of swine
flu, in a development that could improve relations between the
nations after a deadly maritime clash.
2009 Dec 17, Xcor Aerospace of
Mohave, Ca., the developer of a rocket plane for space tourism, said
it has been selected to supply launch services to the Yecheon Astro
Space Center, a nonprofit organization in South Korea.
(SFC, 12/18/09, p.A21)
2009 Dec 18, South Korea's
military said it was investigating a hacking attack that netted
secret defense plans with the US and may have been carried out by
2009 Dec 18, South Korean
trucks crossed into North Korea delivering enough doses of antiviral
drugs for 500,000 North Koreans. An estimated 50 people in North
Korea have died of swine flu since November. Han Su Chol, a North
Korean health minister, expressed thanks.
(SFC, 12/19/09, p.A4)
2009 Dec 27, A South Korean
consortium, led by Korea Electric Power (KEPCO), won a $20 billion
contract to build 4 nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates.
(Econ, 1/2/10, p.47)
2009 Dec 31, South Korea’s
Pres. Lee Myung-bak pardoned former Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee,
who was convicted of tax evasion on Apr 17, 2008. Pres. Lee
Myung-bak said the country needed Mr. Lee’s help to win South
Korea’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
(Econ, 1/30/10, p.74)
2009 In South Korea an average
of 40 people a day took their lives this year.
(Econ, 7/10/10, p.44)
2010 Jan 4, In South Korea
Seoul residents slogged through the heaviest snowfall in modern
Korean history after a winter storm dumped more than 11 inches (28
cm), forcing airports to cancel flights and paralyzing traffic in
the bustling capital.
2010 Jan 13, North Korea said
it will begin to allow in more American tourists after years of
heavy restrictions on visits to the isolate country. North Korea's
military warned that it would retaliate against South Korea if Seoul
doesn't stop activists from launching propaganda leaflets across
their divided border.
2010 Jan 19, North and South
Korea discussed development of their joint industrial complex,
despite Pyongyang's recent threats it might break off all dialogue
with its neighbor and could even stage an attack.
2010 Jan 20, South Korea’s
health ministry said in a statement that switches will be flicked at
7.30 pm every third Wednesday in the month to "help staff get
dedicated to childbirth and upbringing." Low birthrate was a
pressing issue in this fast-ageing society.
2010 Jan 24, North Korea
threatened South Korea with war after Seoul warned it would launch a
pre-emptive strike if the North was preparing a nuclear attack, the
latest salvo in a battle of rhetoric despite signs of improved
cooperation across the militarized frontier.
2010 Jan 25, South Korea's
president offered to help energy-hungry India build more nuclear
plants as the two Asian powerhouses set a goal of doubling bilateral
trade by 2014.
2010 Jan 27, North Korea fired
more than 80 shells into the sea near its disputed maritime border
with South Korea, sparking an artillery exchange which fuelled
tensions on the peninsula.
2010 Feb 1, Officials from the
two Koreas met in North Korea to discuss their joint industrial
complex just days after an exchange of gunfire at sea emphasized the
constant security threat on the divided peninsula.
2010 Feb 1, Thailand and the
United States began their annual Cobra Gold military exercise, now
in its 29th year, with South Korea taking part for the first time.
Singapore, Japan and Indonesia will also participate in the
three-week training exercise, describes as the largest of its type
in the world.
2010 Feb 4, A South Korean news
report said the director of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's secret
moneymaking "Room 39" bureau has been fired. Analysts said the move
may be a way to get around international sanctions. Room 39 is
described as the lynchpin of the North's so-called "court economy"
centered on the dynastic Kim family. The department is believed to
finance his family and top party officials with business ventures,
some legitimate and some not, that include counterfeiting and
2010 Feb 6, In South Korea a
giant steel float that will be part of a "floating island" in Seoul
boasting off-shore entertainment facilities began a snails-paced
trip towards Han River. The three-meter high float, 85 meters long
and 49 meters wide, will be part of Viva, one of three artificial
islets to be built near the southern end of Banpo Bridge.
2010 Feb 11, South Korea said
the North Korean government has made a rare apology for a policy
blunder and lifted a ban on using foreign currency.
(SFC, 2/12/10, p.A2)
2010 Feb 14, South Korea’s
Samsung, the world's second-biggest handset maker, unveiled its
first phone to use its own new operating system, called 'bada'.
2010 Feb 25, In Canada Kim
Yu-Na (19) of South Korea, achieved her country's first Olympic
figure skating title with a resounding victory in the Pacific
2010 Mar 3, An American
diplomat based in South Korea fled to the Philippines after facing
charges that he swindled a local woman out of nearly $200,000 in the
southern city of Busan.
2010 Mar 19, Cambodia’s foreign
ministry said Cambodia has temporarily suspended marriages between
South Koreans and its citizens to curb human trafficking. The latest
ban came after the March 3 conviction of a Cambodian matchmaker who
arranged marriages between Korean men and 25 Cambodian brides.
2010 Mar 26, A South Korean
naval ship sank leaving 46 marines missing near Baengnyeong Island.
An explosion at the rear of the Cheonan shut down its engine, wiped
out power and caused the ship to sink a little over three hours
later. 58 of the crew of 104 were rescued. A North Korean mine was
later suspected as the cause of the explosion. South Korea's defense
minister confirmed on May 10 that traces of an explosive chemical
substance used to make torpedoes were found in the wreckage of the
(AP, 3/27/10)(AP, 3/29/10)(AP, 5/10/10)
2010 Mar 27, Korea Life became
the first big South Korean life insurer to go public. Others were
expected to soon follow.
(Econ, 3/27/10, p.81)
2010 Apr 4, The South Korean
Samho Dream oil supertanker was bound for the US with 24 crew
members when was hijacked off the coast of Somalia by Somali
pirates. On Nov 6 South a Korean news agency said the ship was freed
following a ransom payment of $9.5 million.
(AFP, 4/4/10)(AP, 4/5/10)(AP, 11/6/10)(Econ,
2010 Apr 8, North Korea said it
had scrapped a tourism deal with South Korea and would "freeze" some
assets owned by Seoul at a mountain resort in the communist state.
2010 Apr 11, North Korea
informed South Korea that it will begin quitting a joint tourism
project in the communist country this week, in another setback to
relations between the countries.
2010 Apr 20, In South Korea two
North Korean army majors were arrested on suspicion of plotting to
kill Hwang Jang-yop (87), a high-profile defector. Jang-yop was one
of North Korea's most powerful officials when he fled the
impoverished nation 13 years ago in a defection that reportedly
enraged Kim Jong Il.
2010 Apr 22, A South Korean
news report said the South Korea's military believes a torpedo fired
from a North Korean submarine sank its navy ship last month, based
on intelligence gathered jointly with the United States.
2010 Apr 23, North Korea said
it will confiscate five South Korean-owned properties at a jointly
operated mountain resort in the isolated communist country, a
development likely to worsen already-soured relations.
2010 Apr 27, In Nepal Oh
Eun-sun (44), a South Korean mountaineer, became the first woman to
scale the world's 14 highest mountains, crawling on all fours as she
reached the last summit. She reached the summit of Annapurna 13
years after she scaled her first Himalayan mountain, Gasherbrum II,
in 1997. She scaled Everest in 2004.
2010 May 12, In South Korea
there were two separate cases of suspected group suicide. 4 women
and one man — all in their 20s and 30s — were found dead inside a
parked car in Hwaseong. 2 of the five left suicide notes. 3 men were
found dead hours later in Chuncheon, about 85 km (50 miles) east of
2010 May 20, A multinational
team blamed North Korea for sinking the South Korean corvette with a
torpedo in March, claiming 46 lives, prompting an angry denial from
Pyongyang and a threat of war if it is punished.
2010 May 24, South Korea's
Pres. Lee Myung-bak cut trade to North Korea vowing the country
would "pay a price" for a torpedo attack that killed 46 sailors, and
promised to haul its impoverished neighbor before the UN Security
Council. Lee Myung-bak said that the country will take Pyongyang to
the UN Security Council, suspend inter-Korean exchanges and ban
North Korean ships from passing through its waters.
2010 May 25, North Korea
declared that it would sever all communication and relations with
Seoul as punishment for blaming it for the sinking of a South Korean
2010 May 27, South Korean
warships fired guns and dropped anti-submarine bombs in a
large-scale military exercise, a week after Seoul accused North
Korea of shooting a torpedo that sank a navy frigate in March. North
Korean declared it would scrap an accord with the South designed to
prevent armed clashes at their maritime border, and warned of
"immediate physical strikes" if any South Korean ships enter its
2010 May 28, A South Korean
couple were convicted of abandoning their newborn daughter, who
starved to death while they addictively played an online game
raising a virtual child.
2010 May 29, The premier of
China, North Korea's main ally, offered condolences to South Korea
for the sinking of a warship blamed on Pyongyang after promising
that Beijing, under pressure to punish the North, would not defend
any country guilty of the attack.
2010 Jun 2, South Korea’s
Yonhap news agency said 14,579 people committed suicide last year,
with people over 61 accounting for about one-third of the deaths.
Yonhap said the National Police Agency provided the figures.
2010 Jun 4, South Korea handed
over a letter officially referring North Korea to the UN Security
Council over the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan, which left 46
2010 Jun 4, In South Korea
finance chiefs of the Group of 20 leading economies worked to craft
an agenda for keeping the global recovery on track and fending off
future crises, sidestepping conflicts to present a united show of
support for Europe's $1 trillion bailout.
2010 Jun 10, A South Korean
2-stage Naro rocket carrying a climate observation satellite
apparently exploded 137 seconds into its flight, the country's
second major space setback in less than a year.
(AP, 6/10/10)(SFC, 6/11/10, p.A4)
2010 Jun 10, In San Francisco
the office tower at 333 Market St. was sold to a group of South
Korean investors including the Korean Teacher’s Credit Union and
Korean Federation of community Credit Cooperatives for $333 million.
Wells Fargo occupied 100% of the rentable space with a lease that
runs to 2026. Wells Fargo also provided a $200 million loan at 4.5%
to the buyers.
(SFC, 6/12/10, p.D1)
2010 Jun 18, A South Korean Air
Force fighter jet crashed into the sea after a training mission and
its two pilots were killed.
2010 Jun 21, South Korea said
abnormally high radiation levels were detected near the border
between the two Koreas on may 15, days after North Korea claimed to
have mastered a complex technology key to manufacturing a hydrogen
2010 Jun 23, South Korean and
Japanese activists floated hundreds of thousands of leaflets by
balloon toward the border with North Korea to condemn the country's
government amid tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship.
2010 Jul 9, South Korean
prosecutors raided the office of PM Chung Un-chan over allegations
that its ethics officials illegally investigated a businessman two
years ago over the posting of an Internet video critical of the
2010 Jul 25, The US and South
Korea launched a major naval exercise involving a nuclear-powered US
aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan despite North Korea's threats
of nuclear retaliation.
2010 Jul 31, Land mines began
washing up on South Korean shores, apparently swept down from North
Korea by torrential rains. One killed a man and wounded another.
2010 Jul 31, UNESCO added seven
cultural sites to its World Heritage List including Bikini Atoll in
the Marshall Islands, home to nuclear bomb testing in the 1940s and
1950s. Also added to the list were the Turaif District in Saudi
Arabia; Australia's penal colony sites; the Jantar Mantar
astronomical observation site in India; a shrine in Ardabil in Iran;
the Tabriz historic bazaar complex, also in Iran; and the historic
villages of Hahoe and Yangdong in South Korea.
2010 Aug 8, North Korean
authorities seized a South Korean fishing boat and its 7-man crew.
North Korea freed the crew on Sep 7.
(SFC, 8/9/10, p.A2)(AP, 9/7/10)
2010 Aug 10, Japan apologized
to South Korea for its colonial rule over the country, seeking to
strengthen ties between the two countries ahead of the 100th
anniversary of the Japanese annexation of the Korean peninsula.
2010 Aug 14, South Korean Lee
Dae-Ho broke a world record by scoring a home run for his ninth
2010 Aug 15, South Korea’s
Pres. Lee Myung-bak proposed a 3-step plan to unify the Korean
peninsula and a new tax to help his country absorb the enormous cost
(SFC, 8/16/10, p.A4)
2010 Aug 17, North Korea
rejected a new unification proposal from South Korea, calling it a
"ridiculous" plan aimed at weakening the North in preparation for a
2010 Aug 19, South Korea said
it has blocked North Korea's new Twitter account from being accessed
in the South, saying the tweets contain "illegal information" under
the country's security laws.
2010 Aug 20, South Korean
authorities arrested Rev. Han Sang-ryol, a religious activist, as he
returned home across the heavily fortified border after an illegal
trip to North Korea. South Korea’s government prohibits its citizens
from joining pro-North Korean organizations or having unauthorized
contact with the communist country. They also ban citizens from
supporting or praising the North.
2010 Sep 1, A South Korean news
report and an intelligence official said North Korea has changed the
names of its trading companies and falsified trade documents to
avoid international sanctions and continue exporting weapons.
2010 Sep 2, Typhoon Kompasu
struck South Korea, killing 5 people and toppling trees,
streetlights and scaffolding in what was called the strongest storm
to hit the Seoul area in 15 years. In North Korea the typhoon killed
dozens of people and destroyed roads, railways and thousands of
(AP, 9/2/10)(AP, 9/15/10)
2010 Sep 8, South Korea said it
will ban unauthorized financial dealings with Iran and impose other
penalties as part of a US-led campaign to enforce sanctions against
the country over its disputed nuclear enrichment program. South
Korea listed 126 Iranian companies and individuals for the
(AP, 9/8/10)(SFC, 9/9/10, p.A2)
2010 Sep 13, South Korea
announced plans to send 5,000 tons of rice and other aid to
flood-stricken North Korea in a sign of easing tension between the
2010 Sep 15, The Korea
Communications Commission said there were 50 million mobile service
subscribers in South Korea as of this month, more than the
population of 48.8 million.
2010 Sep 16, North Korea said
it proposed a joint probe with the US of the deadly March 26 sinking
of a South Korean warship. An earlier international investigation
2010 Sep 21, Eighteen people
have died and 48 are missing after Fanapi churned through southern
China, while 65 people were killed in monsoon rain in India and
100,000 displaced after a lake burst in southern Pakistan. Two
people went missing and thousands of homes flooded when a record
rainstorm hit parts of South Korea during a national holiday.
2010 Oct 1, Red Cross officials
from the two Koreas agreed to hold reunions for families separated
by the Korean War amid mixed signals from North Korea on easing
tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship.
2010 Oct 7, South Korean
financial regulators said they will suspend the operations of an
Iranian bank for two months, as part of international sanctions over
Tehran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
2010 Oct 10, In South Korea
Hwang Jang-yop (87), the key architect of North Korea's isolationist
state policy, was found dead at his Seoul residence. He once
mentored authoritarian leader Kim Jong Il before defecting to South
Korea in 1997.
2010 Oct 10, Some 7,200 South
Korean and foreign couples exchanged or reaffirmed marriage vows in
the Unification Church's second mass wedding this year.
2010 Oct 10, Kim Jong Un (26),
the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (68), joined his
father at a massive military parade in his most public appearance
since being unveiled as the nation's next leader. South Korean
activists also sent some 20,000 leaflets packed with $1 bills and
CDs carrying anti-Kim Jong Un rap songs floating across the border
in hopes of reaching ordinary North Koreans.
2010 Oct 25, South Korea
prepared to send 5,000 tons of rice to flood victims in North Korea
in its first humanitarian rice shipment to its communist neighbor
since a conservative, pro-US government took office in 2008.
2010 Oct 27, South Korea's Red
Cross said North Korea is demanding that South Korea resume
large-scale food aid and joint economic projects in return for
regular reunions of family members separated by the Korean War more
than a half century ago.
2010 Oct 29, North and South
Korea exchanged gunfire across their heavily armed land border,
despite an apparent thaw in tensions on the divided peninsula in the
past few months.
2010 Oct 30, Hundreds of North
and South Korean family members separated for more than half a
century by the Korean War embraced each other in tearful reunions.
2010 Nov 7, In South Korea
thousands of people chanted anti-globalization slogans in Seoul to
protest this week's Group of 20 summit. Part of the crowd attempted
to march down nearby streets but were stopped by riot police, who
fired pepper spray.
2010 Nov 10, President Barack
Obama arrived in South Korea for the G20 summit. He said a strong,
job-creating economy in the United States would be the country's
most important contribution to a global recovery as he pleaded with
world leaders to work together despite sharp differences.
2010 Nov 10, A South Korean
navy ship was sinking late Wednesday after colliding with a larger
fishing boat off the southern coast. 28 navy sailors were rescued
but two were still missing.
2010 Nov 11, A 2-day G20
economic summit opened in Seoul, South Korea, with President Barack
Obama and fellow world leaders sharply divided over currency and
trade policies. They hoped to address 3 major concerns: a) the
dominance of the dollar as a reserve currency and America’s
management of it; b) the problem of vast foreign exchange reserves,
particularly in emerging countries; c) The scale and volatility of
(AP, 11/11/10)(Econ, 11/6/10, p.85)
2010 Nov 11, A woman (41) made
her way to South Korea from North Korea becoming the 20,000th
defector to do so. The last 10,000 came over the last 3 years.
(Econ, 11/20/10, p.50)
2010 Nov 12, In South Korea
leaders of the G20 major economies refused to back a US push to make
China boost its currency's value, keeping alive a dispute that
raises fears of a global trade war amid criticism that cheap Chinese
exports are costing American jobs.
2010 Nov 12, A South Korean spy
plane crashed during routine training and its two pilots were killed
in the 2nd military accident to strike South Korea while it hosted
the G20 summit.
2010 Nov 14, Iranian officials
reported that Iran’s Entekhab Industrial Group has signed a contract
sealing its acquisition of South Korea's Daewoo Electronics for some
$518 million. Daewoo was set up in the 1960s and became one of the
biggest companies in the world before it disintegrated in financial
disarray in the 1990s. Its shipbuilding and auto units are now
independent companies in their own right.
2010 Nov 15, South Korea's
government the number of North Koreans defecting to South Korea has
surged in recent years because of economic suffering in the North,
with more than 10,000 defections over the past three years.
2010 Nov 15, In South Korea a
15-year-old boy committed suicide after killing his mother in a
fight over Internet games.
2010 Nov 23, North and South
Korea exchanged artillery fire after the North shelled Yeonpyeong
island near their disputed sea border, killing at least 2 South
Korean marines and 2 civilians, setting dozens of buildings ablaze
and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.
(AP, 11/23/10)(AFP, 11/24/10)(Econ, 10/26/13, SR
2010 Nov 25, South Korea's
defense minister resigned amid intense criticism two days after a
North Korean artillery attack killed four people on a small island
near the Koreas' disputed frontier.
2010 Nov 28, China called for
emergency talks on resolving a crisis on the Korean peninsula, and
Seoul and Tokyo said they would study the proposal, as the US and
South Korean militaries started a massive drill.
2010 Dec 3, South Korea
threatened to bomb North Korea if it tries a repeat of last week's
attack, raising its rhetoric after the US warned of an "immediate
threat" from Pyongyang.
2010 Dec 3, Lithuania said a
South Korean bidder, Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), had pulled
out of a four-nation nuclear power plant project and another was
rejected. Lithuania itself has been aiming to have a stake of around
one-third, but there has been disagreement with Estonia, Latvia and
Poland about their relative holdings and power share-out.
2010 Dec 6, The US, South Korea
and Japan all urged China to help rein in its ally North Korea and
vowed solidarity in defending Seoul from any further attacks from
2010 Dec 7, South Korea's Pres.
Lee Myung-bak promised to transform five islands that lie along the
tense maritime border with North Korea into "military fortresses"
impervious to the kind of deadly attack the rival neighbor launched
2010 Dec 8, The EU competition
watchdog fined 5 Taiwanese and South Korean electronics companies
euro649 million ($857 million) for fixing prices on LCD panels
between 2001 and 2006. Samsung Electronics Co., also participated in
the price fixing but escaped a fine because it blew the whistle on
2010 Dec 13, A South Korean
fishing boat sank in the Antarctic Ocean's frigid waters, with 22
sailors feared killed in the open sea where vessels trawl for
deep-water fish. 20 survivors were rescued shortly after the 614-ton
vessel went down some 1,400 miles (2,250 km) south of New Zealand. 5
bodies were recovered and 17 men remained missing.
(AP, 12/13/10)(SFC, 12/14/10, p.A2)
2010 Dec 17, North Korea said
it would strike again at the South if a live-firing drill by Seoul
on a disputed island went ahead, with an even stronger response than
last month's shelling that killed four people. Russia urged South
Korea to halt plans for the artillery drill.
(AP, 12/17/10)(Reuters, 12/17/10)
2010 Dec 18, A 63-ton Chinese
fishing boat capsized after ramming into a 3,000-ton South Korean
coastguard ship trying to curb its illegal fishing activities,
leaving one Chinese crew member dead and another missing.
2010 Dec 19, The UN Security
Council held an emergency meeting on rising tensions on the Korean
2010 Dec 22, South Korea
announced land and sea military exercises including its largest-ever
live-fire drill near North Korea just as tension on the peninsula
was beginning to ease after Pyongyang's attack on a southern island.
2010 Dec 28, South Korean
education officials said almost 30 robots have started teaching
English to youngsters in a South Korean city, in a pilot project
designed to nurture the nascent robot industry.
2010 Dec, In South Korea Jay Y.
Lee (43), the son of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, was named president of
Samsung Group, which contained 83 firms under an umbrella company
called Everland. The Lee family controlled a 46% stake.
(Econ, 10/1/11, p.77)
2010 The Green Climate Fund
(GCF) was established within the framework of the UNFCCC. It was
founded as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation
and mitigation practices to counter climate change. It is based in
the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea.
2011 Jan 1, In South Korea one
of five wild ducks found dead this week was confirmed to have been
infected with a lethal strain of the bird flu virus, its first
outbreak in over two years.
2011 Jan 3, In India a
government environmental panel approved the initial stage of a
project by POSCO of South Korea, to produce 4 million tons of steel
on a 4,000-acre site in Orissa state. Activists opposed the project
citing ecological damage.
(Econ, 1/8/11, p.67)
2011 Jan 5, North Korea
proposed "unconditional" talks with Seoul to mend battered
cross-border ties, in its most conciliatory remarks since cranking
up tensions by shelling a South Korean island. South Korea dismissed
the North Korean offer.
(AFP, 1/5/11)(Reuters, 1/5/11)
2011 Jan 8, North Korea
reiterated a proposal for unconditional talks with South Korea to
ease tensions on the divided peninsula.
2011 Jan 10, South Korea
rebuffed a North proposal for talks to ease tensions but extended
its own offer to discuss last year's two military attacks blamed on
Pyongyang and North Korea's nuclear program.
2011 Jan 12, North and South
Korea restored an important cross-border communication channel,
though South Korea still rejected North Korea's calls for talks to
defuse high tensions.
2011 Jan 13, In South Korea
prize-winning director Park Chan-wook's said his latest film, "Night
Fishing," was filmed using 10 Apple iPhone 4s, three of which he
2011 Jan 18, The South Korean
commandos aboard a speedboat and a Lynx helicopter were dispatched
to rescue a Mongolian ship from Somali pirates. The firefight left
several pirates missing and believed killed.
2011 Jan 20, South Korea agreed
to a North Korean offer of high-level military talks, a major
breakthrough in the crisis on the peninsula which improves the
prospect of renewed aid-for-disarmament negotiations.
2011 Jan 21, South Korean navy
commandos stormed the Samho Jewelry, a ship hijacked by Somali
pirates in the Indian Ocean, rescuing all the 21 crew and killing
eight pirates. The pirates had seized the 11,500-ton chemical
freighter Samho Jewelry on January 15. Five pirates were captured.
(AFP, 1/21/11)(AP, 1/31/11)(Econ, 2/5/11, p.69)
2011 Jan 26, In South Korea an
art exhibition by North Korean defector Song Byeok opened in Seoul.
One work featured the head of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il,
smiling beneath his trademark sunglasses and wall of black hair,
atop the body of Marilyn Monroe, pushing down her white dress in an
2011 Jan 31, India gave
approval to South Korea's POSCO to build a giant $12 billion steel
plant, in the country's biggest foreign investment deal since market
reforms launched in 1991.
2011 Feb 8, Military officers
from North and South Korea held talks inside the heavily guarded
Demilitarized Zone in the rivals' first official dialogue since the
North's deadly artillery barrage of a South Korean island in
2011 Feb 9, North Korean
military officers stalked out of the first official talks with rival
South Korea in months, dashing hopes for eased tensions after a
deadly artillery attack in November increased fears of war on the
peninsula. The meeting was sunk because the two sides disagreed
about what should be on the agenda of their next talks.
2011 Feb 21, Danish shipper
Maersk announced the order of 10 colossal container ships from South
Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding.
(Econ, 2/26/11, p.73)
2011 Feb 28, US and South
Korean troops launched major annual land, sea and air exercises,
amid North Korean threats to turn Seoul into a "sea of flames" in
the event of any provocation.
2011 Mar 4, North Korea blocked
the repatriation of 27 citizens whose boat drifted into South Korean
waters, insisting that Seoul also hand over four others who want to
stay in the South. The 31 North Koreans were travelling on a fishing
boat which drifted across the Yellow Sea border in thick fog on
2011 Mar 5, In South Korea
unidentified attackers targeted more than two dozen government and
private websites. Officials reported no serious damage a day after a
pair of similar assaults.
2011 Mar 27, The Red Cross said
South Korea has repatriated 27 of 31 North Koreans whose status was
uncertain for more than a month because 4 others on their drifting
fishing boat defected.
2011 Mar 31, South Korea's
Constitutional Court upheld a military law banning homosexual
behavior, saying the need to maintain discipline takes precedence
over individual sexual freedom.
2011 Apr 7, In South Korea a
mathematics student (19) at a prestigious engineering college jumped
to his death from a high-rise apartment one day after meeting the
school psychiatrist. He was distressed over low grades. Three other
students have killed themselves since January at the Korea Advanced
Institute of Science and Technology.
2011 Apr 20, South Korean
telecoms operator KT rolled out Kibot, a robot playmate for
children, in a move aimed at cashing in on the potentially lucrative
2011 Apr 28, In South Korea
former US President Jimmy Carter said that North Korean leader Kim
Jong Il wants direct talks with South Korea's leader, an offer
unlikely to be accepted until Pyongyang takes responsibility for
violence that killed 50 South Koreans last year.
2011 Apr, In South Korea Kim
Ou-joon founded his podcast “Naneun Ggomsuda" (I’m a sneaky
trickster) with the express purpose of making fun of Pres. Lee
(Econ, 1/21/12, p.46)
2011 May 4, South Korean police
said the body of a man with his hands and feet nailed to a wooden
cross and a crown of thorns on his head has been found in an
abandoned stone quarry in Mungyong.
2011 May 17, In South Korea
hundreds of prostitutes and pimps rallied near a red-light district
in Seoul to protest a police crackdown on brothels, with some
unsuccessfully attempting to set themselves on fire.
2011 May 19, A South Korean
court boosted the amount the government must pay a group of North
Korean defectors who say a leak of their identities led to
retaliation against their families in the North.
2011 May 21, The leaders of
Japan, China and South Korea travelled to Fukushima in a show of
solidarity over the ongoing nuclear crisis, visiting evacuees left
homeless by the quake and tsunami.
2011 May 22, South Korea said
the United States has agreed on a joint investigation after American
veterans claimed they buried large amounts of Agent Orange at the
Camp Carroll US military base in South Korea in 1978. Environmental
tests already confirmed extremely high levels of dioxin in people,
fish and soil near the Camp Carroll air base.
(AP, 5/22/11)(AP, 6/2/11)
2011 May 22, In Japan the
leaders of China and South Korea agreed to bolster efforts to aid
disaster recovery as they met with the Japanese prime minister to
smooth over differences on Tokyo's handling of its post-tsunami
2011 May 30, European
anti-trust regulators launched in-depth probes into proposed US
takeovers of South Korean and Japanese businesses manufacturing
computer hard disk drives (HDD). The planned acquisitions of the
hard disk drive operations of South Korean electronics giant Samsung
by Seagate Technology, and the storage business of Japan's Hitachi
by Western Digital Corporation in a sector with just five
manufacturers worldwide have raised concerns. Brussels officials
have until October 10 to decide what action if any they will take.
2011 Jun 2, South Korea police
found the bodies of two men and two women in their 20s in a parked
van in Seongju, about 190 miles (300 km) southeast of Seoul. A
suicide note was found.
2011 Jun 3, North Korea vowed
to launch "retaliatory military actions" against South Korea, a
threat that came days after Seoul said its military had used photos
of Pyongyang's ruling family for target practice.
2011 Jun 27, South Korea said
it will resume imports of Canadian beef suspended in 2003 after an
outbreak of mad cow disease, agreeing to allow meat from cows
younger than 30 months old.
2011 Jun 27, In South Korea
unionized workers at Standard Chartered bank went on strike over the
issue of performance related pay. Korean bank staff were typically
paid and promoted according to age and time.
(Econ, 7/30/11, p.68)
2011 Jul 4, A South Korean
marine, surnamed Kim (19), killed four colleagues at a front-line
base. He also wounded another marine when he opened fire at a
Ganghwa Island base just south of the tense maritime border with
North Korea. Kim tried unsuccessfully to kill himself by detonating
a grenade after the shooting. On Jan 13, 2012, Kim was sentenced to
death after a court martial.
(AP, 7/5/11)(AP, 1/13/12)
2011 Jul 15, Somali pirates
holding South Korean hostages demanded that the South Korean
government release pirate prisoners and pay compensation for a
commando raid that killed several pirates earlier this year.
2011 Jul 27, South Korean
scientists said they have created a glowing dog using a cloning
technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
2011 Jul 27, In South Korea
walls of mud buried 10 college students sleeping in a resort cabin
and flash floods submerged the streets and subway stations in Seoul,
killing at least 36 people in the country’s heaviest rains this
(AP, 7/27/11)(SFC, 7/28/11, p.A2)
2011 Jul 28, A South Korean
Asiana Airlines cargo plane crashed in waters off southern Jeju
resort island. South Korean pilot, identified by the airline as Choi
Sang-ki, was flying a Boeing-747 with a co-pilot, transporting
computers, semiconductors, resin solution and paint among other
items to Pudong in China.
2011 Jul 29, Parts of North
Korean land mines washed down a swollen river into South Korea, and
troops searched for other mines that may have been dislodged by
deadly landslides and flooding that has stricken the peninsula. A
2-day downpour left at least 40 people dead.
(AP, 7/29/11)(SFC, 7/29/11, p.A2)
2011 Jul, In South Korea 46
soccer players were arrested this month as part of an investigation
in match fixing.
(Econ, 7/23/11, p.39)
2011 Aug 1, A South Korean
prosecutor said officials have arrested five South Koreans on
suspicions of spying for North Korea.
2011 Aug 7, Tropical Storm
Muifa battered South Korea with strong rain and winds leaving four
people dead and two missing.
2011 Aug 9, South Korean
officials said its ministry which handles relations with North Korea
has been targeted by hackers in the latest of a series of online
attacks on government and corporate websites.
2011 Aug 17, A group of some
27,000 South Koreans sued Apple for $26 million for what they claim
are privacy violations from the collection of iPhone user location
2011 Aug 22, North Korea vowed
to scrap all South Korean property at a joint mountain resort could
end what was once a rare haven for curious southern tourists within
North Korea. The South immediately expressed regret about the
North's comments on Diamond Mountain and planned to seek
2011 Aug 24, South Korean
President Lee Myung-bak wrapped up a two-day state visit to
Uzbekistan that was crowned by an agreement to develop a major gas
field and build a chemicals plant in the country, energy deals worth
a total of around $4.1 billion.
2011 Aug 25, South Korea
prosecutors said 5 South Koreans, including a former parliamentary
aide, have been indicted for allegedly spying for North Korea.
2011 Aug 26, In South Korea
Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon's stepped down after losing a referendum on
free school lunches for 50% of all schoolchildren. His resignation
came two days after a citywide referendum that drew few of Seoul's 8
million eligible voters. The turnout of 25.7% didn't meet the legal
requirement for counting ballots. The referendum's defeat means the
100% option takes effect.
2011 Sep 22, In South Korea
about 1,600 prostitutes and pimps at a rally in Seoul chanted
slogans calling for laws, that toughened the punishment for
prostitution, to be scrapped.
2011 Sep 27, It was reported
that 3 activists opposing the North Korean government have been
subjects in assassination attempts over the last 3 weeks by agents
wielding poisoned needles. Two of the attacks took place in China,
near the North Korean border, and the 3rd in Seoul, South Korea.
(SFC, 9/27/11, p.A3)
2011 Oct 4, Apple Inc rejected
an offer from Samsung Electronics Co to settle their tablet computer
dispute in Australia, possibly killing off the commercial viability
of the South Korean firm's new Galaxy tablet in that market.
2011 Oct 8, In South Korea US
military officials apologized as they tried to ease growing public
anger over 2 US soldiers who have been accused of raping teenage
2011 Oct 12, The US Congress
approved free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and
Panama, ending a four-year drought in the forming of new trade
partnerships and giving the White House and Capitol Hill the
opportunity to show they can work together to stimulate the economy
and put people back to work.
2011 Oct 18, Japan's PM
Yoshihiko Noda started a visit to South Korea aimed at smoothing
prickly relations, bringing with him a set of historic books seized
by his country decades ago.
2011 Oct 21, In the southern
Philippines 3 South Korean businessmen went missing. Officials later
said they were abducted by unidentified men who lured them with a
fake mining investment project. Police launched a search for Wu
Seok-bung, Kim Nam-du, Choi In-soo and at least one Filipino guide
after they failed to return to their hotel in Cagayan de Oro city.
Choi In-soo escaped on Nov 25. Wu Seok-bung and Kim Nam-du were
abandoned on Nov 26 as troops moved in. The guide was killed during
(AP, 11/7/11)(AP, 11/27/11)
2011 Oct 21, Pres. Obama signed
free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
2011 Oct 26, Chinese Vice
Premier Le Keqiang met with South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak
during a two-day trip to Seoul. South Korea's central bank said it
has agreed with its Chinese counterpart to expand their currency
swap deal as a backstop against global economic turmoil.
2011 Oct 28, South Korea's
parliament approved a tougher law against sex crimes, inspired in
part by a recent movie based on a real-life case of sexually abused
2011 Nov 1, A South Korean
court sentenced US soldier Pfc. Kevin Flippin to 10 years in prison
for raping a teenage girl, the second harshest punishment handed
down to a convicted American soldier here in nearly 20 years.
2011 Nov 3, South Korean police
fired water cannons to disperse more than 2,000 protesters who were
trying to break into the National Assembly as lawmakers debated a
free trade deal with the United States. Protesters said the free
trade agreement would subjugate South Korea's economy and ruin their
2011 Nov 5, A South Korean
official said 21 North Koreans were found in a boat drifting in
South Korean waters this week, the largest such arrival in nine
2011 Nov 8, In South Korea
Vietnam agreed to seek greater nuclear energy cooperation with South
Korea, opening the way for its participation in a project to build
atomic power plants at home.
2011 Nov 12, South Korea
dispatched patrol boats and a helicopter for 8 missing crewmen after
a fishing boat collided with a freighter and sank off its
2011 Nov 15, Saudi Arabia said
it has signed an agreement with South Korea on developing nuclear
power generation to help meet the kingdom's rising demand.
2011 Nov 20, South Korean
President Lee Myung-Bak arrived in Manila for a three-day state
visit at the invitation of Philippine President Benigno Aquino.
2011 Dec 9, Australia's highest
court dismissed rival Apple's appeal in its global patent battle
against South Korea’s Samsung Electronics. Samsung is now free to
sell its Galaxy tablet computers in Australia.
2011 Dec 12, A Chinese captain
stabbed two South Korean coast guard officers, killing one, after
his fishing boat was stopped for illegally fishing in South Korean
2011 Dec 16, South Korea joined
a fresh multinational effort to press Iran to scrap its suspected
nuclear weapons program, adding more than 100 names to a financial
blacklist of Iranian firms and individuals.
2011 Dec 26, A
British-registered ship, the M/S Thor Liberty, held in a Finnish
port after authorities discovered 69 surface-to-air missiles and 160
tons of explosives onboard, received permission to travel again, but
without those materials or its captain. The Patriot missiles were an
official shipment from Germany to South Korea. Finnish authorities
said the explosives were a legitimate shipment for China, but the
missiles lacked proper transit documents, and the explosives weren't
safely stored. On Jan 4 the Finnish government authorized the
(AP, 12/26/11)(AP, 1/4/12)
2011 The South Korean film
“Late Blossom" was about growing old. This year over 4,000 South
Koreans over age 65 committed suicide.
(Econ, 12/7/13, p.42)
2011 In South Korea the
personal information of 35 million people was stolen from Cyworld,
the country’s most popular social network.
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.62)
2011 In South Korea four
pregnant women died of lung problems for unknown reasons. A
subsequent government probe found a "significant association"
between lung damage and products used to sterilize domestic
humidifiers. Most of the victims were found to have used Oxy Ssak
Ssak, a liquid humidifier disinfectant sold by British consumer
goods company Reckitt Benckiser in South Korea from 2001, that has
been blamed for around 103 deaths -- mostly women and children. In
2016 Oxy RB said it was committed to a multi-million dollar
2012 Jan 8, South Korean police
detained a Chinese man (38) accused of throwing petrol bombs at the
Japanese embassy in Seoul after claiming his grandmother was forced
into wartime sex slavery.
2012 Jan 9, The presidents of
China and South Korea agreed to work together to achieve peace and
stability on the Korean peninsula, in their first summit since Kim
Jong Il's death opened the chance for major changes in North Korea.
2012 Jan 10, Three Vietnamese
crew from a South Korean fishing boat died and seven others suffered
burns after a fire broke out on their trawler off Antarctica. the
Busan-flagged Jeong Woo 2 was fishing for the rare Patagonian
toothfish, along with ray, crab and other bottom fishes.
2012 Jan 16, The South Korea
Customs Service said 8 men allegedly transformed $260,000 in gold
bars into small beads and smuggled them in their rectums to Japan
two times in 2010 to avoid import taxes.
2012 Jan 20, South Korea lifted
its nine-year import ban on Canadian beef.
2012 Jan 28, South Korean
activists floated giant balloons carrying boxes of socks into North
Korea hoping that North Koreans could wear the socks or trade them
for food during the harsh winter.
2012 Feb 2, North Korea's top
ruling body again rebuffed South Korea's call for talks, saying
Seoul's conservative leaders should first "repent of their crimes"
and honor past summit agreements.
2012 Feb 7, South Korean
President Lee Myung-Bak arrived in Riyadh at the start of a two-day
visit to the OPEC kingpin which comes as Seoul seeks to diversify
its oil sources. Lee Myung-Bak held talks with Oil Minister Ali
al-Naimi and the head of Saudi state oil giant Aramco, Khalid
al-Faleh. Saudi Arabia pledged to ensure a stable supply of oil to
(AFP, 2/7/12)(AFP, 2/8/12)
2012 Feb 10, Eight South Korean
lawmakers made a high-profile visit to a modern factory park that
sits just across the world's most heavily armed border and
represents the last major cooperative initiative between the two
2012 Feb 14, In South Korea
over one hundred people rallied near the Chinese Embassy to protest
China’s state security police for arresting dozens of North Korean
defectors who face torture, imprisonment and even death if returned
to their homeland.
(SFC, 2/15/12, p.A2)
2012 Feb 20, South Korea
conducted live-fire military drills from five islands near its
disputed sea boundary with North Korea, despite Pyongyang's threat
2012 Feb 27, South Korean
legislator Park Sun-Young (55), who has staged a week-long hunger
strike outside China's embassy, vowed to fast until death unless
Beijing ends its policy of repatriating North Korean refugees.
2012 Mar 3, In Uruguay a South
Korean fishing vessel caught fire in the Montevideo port. Two bodies
were found near the machine room of the Jung Woo 3 as firefighters
continued to extinguish the fire.
2012 Mar 6, In South Korea
journalists walked out of the state-owned Korean Broadcasting System
(KBS) due to government interference. They joined colleagues at
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), already on strike for a
month. Journalists claimed to have over 2,600 files pointing to
illegal government surveillance carried out between 2008-2010.
p.52)(http://tinyurl.com/82ns7pl)(Econ, 4/7/12, p.48)
2012 Mar 13, Russian and South
Korean scientists signed a deal on joint research intended to
recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal which last walked the earth
some 10,000 years ago.
2012 Mar 15, South Korean
author Kyung-sook Shin won Asia's most prestigious prize for
literature for her novel "Please Look After Mom," about a family's
guilty soul-searching after the disappearance of their elderly
2012 Mar 15, KORUS, a
long-delayed free trade agreement between the United States and
South Korea, took effect. It slashed tariffs, tightened intellectual
property rights and opened up South Korea’s services market. The
agreement won praise from the two countries' leaders and prompting
rallies by supporters and opponents.
(AFP, 3/15/12)(Econ, 3/18/17, p.75)
2012 Mar 22, Russia’s Lukoil
signed a $1 billion deal with South Korea's Samsung Engineering to
develop Iraq's second-biggest oil field, in which the energy giant
has a majority stake.
2012 Mar 25, Pres. Obama met
with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a nuclear security
conference in South Korea. Obama other key allies considered
providing Syrian rebels with communications help, medical aid and
other "non-lethal" assistance.
2012 Mar 26, In South Korea
leaders or top officials from 53 nations gathered in Seoul for a
summit on nuclear security. President Obama said the United States
would further cut its own nuclear stockpiles, as he warned North
Korea and Iran to back down over their atomic plans.
2012 Mar 27, In South Korea
world leaders including US President Barack Obama called for strong
steps to combat nuclear terrorism, wrapping up a 53-nation summit
overshadowed by North Korea's planned rocket launch.
2012 Mar 29, South Korean
activists burned pictures of Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda and scuffled
with police in a protest against Tokyo's claims to disputed islands.
The demonstration was sparked after Japan's education ministry this
week announced the results of its review of a school history book
reasserting Japan's claim to islets, known as Dokdo in Korean and
Takeshima in Japanese, in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
2012 Apr 13, North Korea’s
satellite launch, hailed as a moment of national pride, ended in
failure when the rocket disintegrated over the Yellow Sea, earning
Pyongyang embarrassment as well as condemnation from a host of
nations that deemed it a covert test of missile technology.
2012 Apr 25, Two major South
Korean retailers pulled US beef from their stores following the
discovery of mad cow disease in a California dairy cow. US health
authorities a day earlier said the animal was never a threat to the
nation's food supply. US authorities said the dead cow had what
scientists call an atypical case of BSE, meaning that a random
mutation in the animal rather than infected cattle feed was the
2012 Apr 27, Tens of thousands
of South Koreans flocked to the opening show of Lady Gaga's global
tour, amid colorful scenes as female and male fans donned outrageous
outfits in honor of the US pop diva.
2012 Apr 28, North Korea began
sending electronic GPS jamming signals affecting civilian flights in
South Korea amid simmering cross-border tensions.
2012 May 2, South Korea's
parliament approved a long-delayed bill to start trading carbon
dioxide emissions in 2015, joining the vanguard of countries
battling climate change.
2012 May 5, In South Korea a
fierce blaze swept through a karaoke lounge in a busy commercial
district of Busan, killing nine people including three Sri Lankans.
2012 May 7, South Korean
officials said they have seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules
filled with powdered flesh from dead babies. The capsules were made
in northeastern China from babies whose bodies were chopped into
small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder.
2012 May 12, In South Korea
Expo 2012 opened in the coastal city of Yeosu for a three-month run.
2012 May 13, North Korea
stopped transmitting signals which jammed the GPS systems of
hundreds of civilian aircraft and ships in South Korea for two
weeks. The signals originated from the North's border city of
Kaesong and began on April 28.
2012 May 13, Leaders of China,
Japan and South Korea, during their 5th annual trilateral summit,
said they will work together to calm tensions on the Korean
(SFC, 5/14/12, p.A2)
2012 May 14, President Lee
Myung-Bak arrived in Myanmar on the first visit by a South Korean
leader since a North Korean attempt to assassinate one of his
predecessors in Yangon almost three decades ago. His two-day trip
was aimed at promoting economic ties and encouraging the country's
recent political reforms.
2012 May 24, South Korea’s
capital unveiled its latest landmark, a controversial $256 million
city hall with an undulating glass structure that looms over its
preserved colonial-era stone predecessor. It overshadowed the 1926
structure built during Japanese rule.
2012 May 25, South Korea’s
Supreme Court ruled in favor of 9 South Koreans who demanded
Japanese firms Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel pay them
for forced labor from 1941-1945.
(SFC, 5/26/12, p.A2)
2012 May 31, South Korean
police said 2 people including a Korean businessman in New Zealand
were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of collecting
intelligence on military equipment for North Korea.
2012 May, A South Korean
government funded human rights group published a 381-page report
containing some 200 face-to-face interviews with defectors who
survived political prison camps in North Korea.
(SFC, 5/10/12, p.A5)
2012 Jun 23, South Korea and
the USA launched a massive 3-day naval exercise in the tense Yellow
Sea, ahead of the 62nd anniversary (June 25) of the outbreak of the
2012 Jun 26, In South Korea
hundreds of journalists at Yonhap News Agency, the country’s leading
news agency, returned to work ended a three-month strike called to
demand fair reporting free of political pressure.
2012 Jun 26, Meteorological
officials in Pyongyang and Seoul said parts of North Korea are
experiencing the most severe drought since record keeping began
nearly 105 years ago. South Korean officials also reported the worst
drought in more than a century in some areas after nearly two months
without significant rainfall.
2012 Jun 27, South Korean
archaeologist Cho Mi-soon said that the nation’s archeological
agency has found the remains of a farming field from the Neolithic
period on South Korea's east coast and that the site may be up to
5,600 years old.
2012 Jul 2, South Korea
inaugurated Sejong City, a mini-capital to house much of the
nation's government, ending a decade of wrangling over a project
seen by critics as driven by politics.
2012 Jul 5, South Korean
activist No Su-hui (68) was arrested as soon as he set foot on home
soil, resisting police in a stunt of defiance after an unapproved,
3-month stay in the North.
2012 Jul 5, In Panama the
International Whaling Commission rejected a request from Denmark for
a whaling quota for indigenous groups in Greenland. Two days earlier
it approved the renewal of bowhead whale quotas for indigenous
subsistence whaling in Alaska and Russia and for St. Vincent and the
Grenadines in the Caribbean. The United States says it doesn't
support a South Korean plan to restart whale hunting for purportedly
2012 Jul 9, A British judge
ruled that Samsung's Galaxy tablet was not "cool" enough to be
confused with Apple's iPad giving South Korea's Samsung a patent
battle win against US rival Apple.
2012 Jul 10, South Korean
police said they were investigating 27 North Korean refugees for
swindling private insurance firms out of hundreds of thousands of
dollars in bogus medical claims. More than 23,500 North Koreans have
settled in the South since the 1950-53 war.
2012 Jul 11, South Korean
authorities arrested Lee Sang-deuk (76), the elder brother of
President Lee Myung-bak. He was taken to a detention center after a
court approved a warrant on bribery allegations.
(AP, 7/11/12)(Economist, 9/8/12, p.37)
2012 Jul 24, South Korea’s
Pres. Lee Myung-bak apologized for a string of corruption scandals
implicating his relatives and allies.
(SFC, 7/25/12, p.A5)
2012 Aug 10, South Korea’s
Pres. Lee Myung-bak visited islets, locally called Dokdo, also
claimed by Japan, where they are called Takeshima.
(SFC, 8/11/12, p.A3)
2012 Aug 15, China and South
Korea pressed Japan to face up to its wartime past, as festering
territorial disputes flared and Asia marked the anniversary of
Tokyo's World War II surrender.
2012 Aug 16, In South Korea
Hanwha Corp. chairman Kim Seung-youn, one of the country’s largest
conglomerates, was sentenced to four years prison and fined 5.1
billion won ($4.5 million) for embezzlement in a ruling that shows a
tougher stance against wrongdoing by leaders of the country's
2012 Aug 18, In South Korea 8
people were stabbed by a man wielding a box cutter after a man and
woman confronted him for spitting in a train.
(SSFC, 8/19/12, p.A4)
2012 Aug 24, In San Jose, Ca.,
Apple won more than $1 billion in a massive US court victory over
Samsung, in one of the biggest patent cases in decades, a verdict
that could have huge market repercussions. Samsung reacted by saying
it will contest the US verdict.
2012 Aug 28, Typhoon Bolaven
pounded South Korea with strong winds and heavy rain as it churned
up rough seas that smashed two Chinese fishing ships into rocks,
killing at least five fishermen and forcing the coast guard to
perform a daring rescue for the survivors. At least 9 other people
were killed and 10 were missing as the typhoon knocked out power to
hundreds of thousands.
(AP, 8/28/12)(AFP, 8/28/12)(SFC, 8/29/12, p.A2)
2012 Sep 3, South Korean
Unification Church patriarch Sun Myung Moon (92) died near his home
in Gapyeong County.
2012 Sep 17, Typhoon Sanba
lashed North and South Korea killing at least 2 people.
(SFC, 9/18/12, p.A2)
2012 Oct 6, A North Korean
soldier killed two of his superiors and defected to South Korea
across the countries' heavily armed border in a rare crossing that
prompted South Korean troops to immediately beef up their border
2012 Oct 7, South Korea
announced that a US accord has been altered to allow the South to
have ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 km (500 miles) to
better cope with North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
2012 Oct 22, South Korean
activists floated balloons carrying tens of thousands of
anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea, eluding police who had
disrupted an earlier launch attempt due to threats from North Korea.
2012 Nov 2, In South Korea an
international team of scientists confirmed that a 5.5-ton elephant
named Koshik at the Everland Zoo can reproduce five Korean words by
tucking his trunk inside his mouth to modulate sound. Koshik emerged
as a star among animal enthusiasts and children in South Korea after
Everland Zoo claimed in 2006 that he could imitate words, two years
after his trainers noticed the phenomenon.
2012 Dec 13, South Korean media
reported that Kenneth Bae (44), a US citizen has been held in North
Korea for a month. Security officials there had found a hard disk
found in his possession they they believed contained sensitive
(SFC, 12/14/12, p.A2)
2012 Dec 19, Ruling-party
candidate Park Geun-hye (Bahk guhn-hae) was elected South Korean
president, becoming the country's first female leader despite her
past as the daughter of a divisive dictator.
2012 Dec 22, Hyundai Heavy
Industries Co. paid about $187,000 to free four South Korean workers
and their local colleague abducted on Dec 17. Police learned of the
kidnapping payment only after arresting one of three suspected
2013 Jan 1, North Korean leader
Kim Jong-un called for an end to confrontation between the two
Koreas, technically still at war in the absence of a peace treaty to
end their 1950-53 conflict, in a surprise New Year speech broadcast
on state media.
2013 Jan 25, North Korea
threatened to attack rival South Korea if Seoul joined a new round
of tightened UN sanctions, as Washington unveiled more of its own
economic restrictions following Pyongyang's rocket launch last
2013 Jan 29, South Korea’s
outgoing Pres. Lee Myung-bak granted special pardons 55 people
including political allies, a longtime friend and dozens of others
convicted of corruption and other crimes.
(SFC, 1/30/13, p.A2)(Econ, 2/2/13, p.32)
2013 Jan 30, South Korea
launched a satellite into space from its own soil for the first
time. The satellite is designed to analyze weather data, measure
radiation in space, gauges distances on earth and test how
effectively South Korean-made devices installed on the satellite
operate in space.
2013 Feb 25, Park Geun-hye
began serving as South Korea's first female president and returned
to the presidential mansion where she grew up with her dictator
2013 Mar 14, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics unveiled its new Galaxy S4 smart-phone at an
event in NYC.
(SFC, 3/15/13, p.C5)
2013 Mar 15, North Korea blamed
South Korea and the United States for cyber-attacks that temporarily
shut down websites this week at a time of elevated tensions over the
North's nuclear ambitions.
2013 Mar 20, In South Korea a
cyberattack caused computer networks at major banks and top TV
broadcasters to crash simultaneously. North Korea was suspected.
Initial findings said a Chinese Internet address was the source of
(SFC, 3/21/13, p.A4)
2013 Mar 27, North Korea cut
its last military hotline with Seoul, a link that has been essential
in operating the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation: an
industrial complex in the North that employs hundreds of workers
from the South.
2013 Mar 30, North Korea warned
Seoul that the Korean Peninsula had entered "a state of war" and
threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last
major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.
2013 Apr 1, South Korea said it
will strike back quickly if the North stages any attack.
2013 Apr 3, North Korea barred
South Korean workers from entering a jointly run factory park just
over the heavily armed border in the North.
2013 Apr 4, North Korea warned
that its military has been cleared to wage an attack on the US using
"smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons. South Korea's
defense minister said North Korea has moved a missile with
"considerable range" to its east coast, but he added that there are
no signs that the North is preparing for a full-scale conflict.
2013 Apr 5, South Korean media
reported that North Korea had placed two of its intermediate-range
missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them on the east coast of
the country in a move that could threaten Japan or US Pacific bases.
2013 Apr 6, North Korea’s
Kaesong industrial complex, the last vestige of cooperation with the
South, moved closer to paralysis as nearly 100 South Korean workers
went home across a border that Pyongyang has closed in the return
2013 Apr 8, North Korea said it
will suspend operations at a factory complex it has jointly run with
South Korea, pulling out more than 53,000 North Korean workers and
moving closer to severing its last economic link with its rival as
2013 Apr 9, North Korea urged
all foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to evacuate
because it says the rival Koreas are on the eve of a nuclear war.
2013 Apr 10, South Korea's
foreign minister told lawmakers that the prospect of a North Korean
missile test is "considerably high," as Pyongyang calmly prepared to
mark the April 15 birthday of its founder, historically a time when
it seeks to draw the world's attention with dramatic displays of
2013 Apr 16, North Korea issued
new threats against South Korea, vowing "sledge-hammer blows" of
retaliation if South Korea did not apologize for anti-North Korean
protests the previous day when the North was celebrating the birth
of its founding leader.
2013 Apr 18, North Korea
demanded the lifting of UN sanctions and the end of US-South Korea
military drills as conditions for resuming talks meant to defuse
tension on the Korean Peninsula.
2013 Apr 21, A South Korean
news agency reported that North Korea has moved two short-range
missile launchers to its east coast, apparently indicating it is
pushing ahead with preparations for a test launch.
2013 Apr 24, In the message to
its Iranian retailers, Samsung said that it cannot provide access to
the store, known as Samsung Apps, in Iran because of "legal
barriers," effective May 22. It apologized to customers in emailed
statement. The move was seen as part of international sanctions on
the country over its disputed nuclear program.
2013 Apr 26, Seoul said that it
has decided to withdraw the roughly 175 South Koreans still at a
jointly run factory complex in North Korea, raising a major question
about the survival of the last symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.
2013 Apr 29, North Korea
approved the withdrawal of most of the remaining South Korean
personnel at a jointly run industrial park in the North, with a
final seven set to stay behind to negotiate unpaid wages for North
2013 Apr 30, South Korean state
prosecutors raided the headquarters of the National Intelligence
Service to investigate accusations that the spy agency had used its
agents and hired bloggers to influence the Dec 19 presidential
(SFC, 5/1/13, p.A2)
2013 May 7, Pres. Obama met
with South Korea’s new Pres. Park Geun-hye. Her visit marked the
60th anniversary of South Korea’s alliance with the US. She
addressed both houses of Congress the next day.
(Econ, 5/11/13, p.58)
2013 May 15, The Arctic
Council, meeting in Sweden, agreed to expand membership and provide
observer status to 6 new nations including China, India, Italy,
Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
2013 May 22, In South Korea a
suicidal man, jumping to his death from the 11th floor of an
apartment building, killed a 5-year-old girl by falling on her as
she walked with her parents outside the building in Busan.
2013 May 28, South Korea said
it has idled two nuclear power plants after finding that test
results for crucial control cables were falsified in a new blow to
an industry mired in a graft scandal and safety lapses. With the
shutdown of the Shin-Kori No. 2 and Shin-Wolsong No. 1 reactors to
replace cables, a total of 10 nuclear plants are now offline.
2013 May, South Korea’s new
chief of the state prosecution office urged an "extraordinary" push
to collect $143.5 million from former President Chun Doo-hwan (82),
who seized power in a 1979 army coup and ruled South Korea until
2013 Jun 6, North and South
Korea agreed to hold talks on reopening a jointly run factory
complex and other cross-border issues, after months of deteriorating
relations and a day before a US-China summit in which the North is
expected to be a key topic.
2013 Jun 9, Government
delegates from North and South Korea held preparatory talks at a
"truce village" on their heavily armed border aimed at setting
ground rules for a higher-level discussion on easing animosity and
restoring stalled rapprochement projects.
2013 Jun 11, South Korea said
its first high-level talks in years with North Korea have been
scrapped because of a stalemate over who will lead each delegation.
The last minister-level meeting between the Koreas occurred in 2007.
2013 Jun 25, In South Korea
major government and news media websites were shut down after
anonymous hackers attacked them on the 63rd anniversary of the start
of the 1950-1953 Korean War.
(SFC, 6/26/13, p.A3)
2013 Jun 27, In China Pres. Xi
Jinping and South Korean Pres. Park Geun-hye called for a swift
resumption of six-nation North Korean nuclear disarmament talks
after a summit that brought together Pyongyang's archrival and its
2013 Jul 4, North and South
Korea agreed to hold talks aimed at reopening a jointly run factory
park that was a rare source of cash for the North three weeks after
their last attempt at dialogue collapsed in bickering over protocol.
2013 Jul 6, Delegates from
North and South Korea held talks on restarting a stalled joint
factory park that had been a symbol of cooperation between the
bitter rivals, but there was no word on whether any significant
progress had been made as discussions went into the night.
2013 Jul 6, Asiana Airlines
Flight 214 arriving from South Korea crashed while landing at San
Francisco International Airport. 2 Chinese girls were killed and 70
people injured out of 290 passengers and 16 crew members on the
Boeing 777. Another Chinese girl died in a SF hospital on July 12,
becoming the 3rd fatality. SFO officials on the same day confirmed
that one of the girtls who died on July 6 had been struck and run
over by a fire truck.
(SSFC, 7/7/13, p.A1)(Reuters, 7/12/13)(SFC,
2013 Jul 7, North and South
Korea agreed to take steps to reopen a jointly run industrial park,
including facilities inspections, after the two rivals staged a
marathon meeting lasting more than 16 hours to arrange details.
2013 Jul 10, Talks between the
rival Koreas aimed at restarting a stalled inter-Korean factory park
ended with no breakthrough. Both sides agreed to meet again next
week to discuss restoring what was once a rare symbol of cooperation
between the archrivals.
2013 Jul 10, A South Korean
court ordered Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. of Japan to
pay $89,800 to each of four South Korean plaintiffs for forced labor
during the colonial from 1910 to 1945.
(SFC, 7/31/13, p.A2)
2013 Jul 11, North Korea
withdrew offers for talks with South Korea on reunions of separated
families and resuming tours to a mountain resort.
2013 Jul 30, A South Korean
court ruled that Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries should pay
compensation of $71,800 to each of five South Koreans for forced
labor during the colonial period that ended with WWII.
(SFC, 7/31/13, p.A2)
2013 Aug 7, North Korea said it
is lifting a ban on operations at a jointly run factory park
shuttered since Pyongyang pulled out its 53,000 workers in April
amid tensions with South Korea. The rivals agreed to meet next week
for talks meant to restart the complex.
2013 Aug 11, Jeon Wook-Pyo
(68), a South Korean man, escaped North Korea four decades after he
was kidnapped by North Korea while fishing near the disputed Yellow
Sea border. Jeon was among 25 fishermen aboard two boats that were
seized by a North Korean navy ship on December 28, 1972.
2013 Aug 14, North and South
Korea agreed to restart the joint Kaesong industrial park after a
series of talks on the fate of the last symbol of economic
2013 Aug 28, In South Korea
agents from the National Intelligence Service raided the homes and
offices of an opposition lawmaker and other members of a far-left
opposition. 3 people were detained on charges of plotting to
overthrow the government.
(SFC, 8/29/13, p.A5)
2013 Sep 4, South Korea's
parliament voted overwhelmingly on to allow the arrest of Lee
Seok-ki, one of its members accused of conspiracy to overthrow the
government and introduce a North Korean-style regime. On Feb 17,
2014, Seok-ki was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
(Reuters, 9/4/13)(Econ, 1/17/15, p.3)
2013 Sep 4, South Korea’s
Samsung set the price of its new Galaxy Gear wristwatch at $299 with
sales to begin Sep 25.
(SFC, 9/5/13, p.C3)
2013 Sep 5, North Korea agreed
to restore a cross-border military hotline with South Korea.
(SFC, 9/6/13, p.A2)
2013 Sep 6, South Korea
extended a ban on Japanese fishery imports to a larger area around
the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant due to growing concerns over
2013 Sep 11, North and South
Korea agreed to restart operations at a jointly run factory park
that Pyongyang shut down in April during a torrent of threats, the
latest sign of easing animosity between the rivals.
2013 Sep 16, South Korea's
military shot and killed a man who undertook a rare attempt to enter
North Korea by floating across a river that runs near the heavily
2013 Sep 21, North Korea
ordered the indefinite postponement of a scheduled series of
reunions for families divided since the 1950-53 Korean War, dealing
a setback to months of efforts to improve ties between the Korean
2013 Oct 25, North Korea
repatriated six South Korean citizens and a corpse at a heavily
defended border crossing.
2013 Nov 3, North Korea
publicly executed around 80 people, many for watching smuggled South
Korean TV shows. A South Korean newspaper reported the executions on
2013 Nov 4, South Korea's spy
agency said that North Korea was using Russian technology to develop
electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralyzing military
electronic equipment south of the border.
2013 Nov 7, North Korea's
security agency said it has arrested a South Korean spy in Pyongyang
who intended to rally anti-government forces, a claim that
intelligence officials in Seoul quickly called ridiculous and
2013 Nov 16, In South Korea a
helicopter belonging to LG Electronics crashed after its propeller
clipped the side of a 38-story apartment building. Its 2 pilots were
(SSFC, 11/17/13, p.A5)
2013 Nov 23, China declared an
Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) bolstering its claim to
islands that Japan says it owns. The zone also included a reef know
as Ieodo, claimed by China and South Korea. China warned that it
would take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that
failed to identify themselves properly in airspace over them.
(Reuters, 11/23/13)(Econ, 11/30/13, p.12)(Econ,
2013 Nov 24, Japan warned of
the danger of "unpredictable events" and South Korea voiced regret
following China's unilateral declaration of an air defence zone over
areas claimed by Tokyo and Seoul.
2013 Nov 28, In South Korea a
"safety-related action" automatically shut down one of the country’s
23 nuclear reactors, bringing the tally of those closed to six and
hiking the chances of power blackouts this winter.
2013 Nov 28, South Korean and
Japanese flights through China's new maritime air defense zone added
to the international defiance of rules Beijing says it has imposed
in East China Sea but that neighbors and the US have vowed to
2013 Dec 3, South Korean
lawmakers said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to have
dismissed Jang Song Thaek, a powerful uncle and a man key to his
rise to power, from his posts.
(Reuters, 12/3/13)(SFC, 12/5/13, p.A3)
2013 Dec 4, The Green Climate
Fund, designed as the UN’s most important funding body in the battle
on climate change in developing nations, launched its headquarters
in South Korea.
2013 Dec 8, South Korea said it
has extended its air defense zone to partially overlap with a
similar zone declared by China two weeks ago that has sharply raised
2013 Dec 12, Iraq signed a $1.1
billion deal to buy 24 multi-role light fighters from South Korea.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said it would deliver the T-50IQ, a
variant of its T-50 supersonic aircraft, to Baghdad between 2015 and
2013 Dec 22, In South Korea
hundreds of riot police stormed into a labor umbrella group's head
office in a bid to arrest union leaders. They detained about 130
strikers and confederation members. Workers with the state-run Korea
Railroad had walked off the job in protest against a decision to set
up a unit to run a high-speed bullet train, which they say will lead
to privatization and layoffs.
2013 Sheila Miyoshi Jager
authored “Brothers at War: The Unending Conflict in Korea."
(Econ, 7/27/13, p.68)
2013 The South Korean film “A
Wedding Invitation," made by a subsidiary of CJ Corp., became a hit.
It was made for the Chinese market with Chinese actors but a Korean
(SFC, 5/9/16, p.68)
2013 South Korea signed the
Hague Adoption Convention, which says that children should
preferably be adopted by families in their own country.
(Econ, 5/23/15, p.31)
2013 South Korea began to pay
child-care allowances and nursery-school fees to all parents
regardless of income.
(Econ, 4/16/15, p.14)
2014 Jan 2, South Korea's
military said it would fight a court ruling quashing its move to
kick an officer candidate out of the elite Army Academy for having
sex with his girlfriend while on leave.
2014 Jan 8, South Korean
prosecutors arrested an IT contractor for stealing the personal
information of around 20m credit card holders.
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.62)
2014 Jan 18, South Korea
confirmed the outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu and said it
would expand the culling of birds to a radius of 3-km (1.9 mile)
around a duck farm.
2014 Jan 19, South Korean
regulator Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) revealed the full
scale of personal information theft on more than 100 million South
Korean credit cards. Some 20 million people were victims of data
theft a three credit card companies.
(Reuters, 1/21/14)(SFC, 10/15/14, p.A5)
2014 Jan 19, In Libya unknown
gunmen kidnapped Han Seok-woo, a South Korean trade official, in
2014 Jan 20, In South Korea the
heads of three big credit card firms apologized and resigned over
the largest-ever thefts of customer data.
(Econ, 1/25/14, p.62)
2014 Jan 24, North Korea
proposed reunions of families separated since the Korean War six
decades ago, continuing its latest campaign of reconciliation that
included a call for South Korea and the United States to cancel
joint military drills.
2014 Feb 5, North Korea and
South Korea agreed to hold their first reunions in more than three
years of families divided by the Korean War.
(SFC, 2/6/14, p.A2)
2014 Feb 6, North Korea
threatened to cancel reunions of Korean War-divided families because
of upcoming US-South Korean military drills and accused the United
States of raising tensions by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers
near the Korean Peninsula.
2014 Feb 12, North Korea and
South Korea held their first high-level talks in Panmunjom, their
first in seven years.
(SSFC, 2/16/14, p.A6)
2014 Feb 14, North and South
Korea agreed in a rare high-level meeting to stop insulting each
other and to go ahead with planned reunions of Korean War-divided
families next week despite a dispute over upcoming US-South Korean
2014 Feb 17, In South Korea at
least 10 people were killed and 50 more feared trapped after the
Manua Ocean Resort auditorium collapsed under heavy snow in the city
of Gyeongju. Some 560 students from Busan Univ. Foreign Studies had
gathered there for a 2-day freshman orientation.
(AFP, 2/17/14)(SFC, 2/18/14, p.A2)
2014 Feb 20, In North Korea
dozens of elderly North and South Koreans separated for six decades
reunited at North Korea’s Diamond Mountain resort, weeping and
embracing in a rush of words and emotion.
2014 Feb 27, In North Korea Kim
Jung Wook, a South Korean Baptist missionary, told reporters he is
sorry for his “anti-state" crimes and appealed to North Korean
authorities to show him mercy by releasing him from their custody.
He was arrested over four months ago for allegedly trying to
establish underground Christian churches.
(AP, 2/27/14)(SFC, 2/28/14, p.A2)
2014 Mar 21, In South Korea the
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a curvy futuristic $450 million building
meant to remake Seoul into a global design capital, opened to the
public after years of debate about its impact on a historic city
precinct. It was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.
2014 Mar 25, In the Netherlands
US President Barack Obama, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and South Korean
President Park Geun-hye met to discuss North Korea's security
2014 Mar 27, South Korea's
military seized a North Korean fishing boat that it said had crossed
a disputed maritime border after ignoring warnings to retreat amid
growing tension between the two sides.
2014 Mar 27, South Korea
formally approved a request from women rights activists, including
one "comfort woman", to meet North Korean counterparts at a
conference on Japan's wartime use of sex slaves.
2014 Mar 31, North and South
Korea exchanged artillery fire in disputed waters in an apparent new
round of saber-rattling by Pyongyang during annual US-South Korean
2014 Apr 4, South Korean
rescuers recovered the bodies of two North Korean sailors, pulled
three survivors and were searching for 11 others missing after their
cargo ship sank off South Korea's coast. The Mongolian-flagged ship
was carrying 16 North Korean crew members when it sent a distress
signal in international waters about 130 km (80 miles) south of the
southern port city of Yeosu.
2014 Apr 15, South Korean
police charged a man for the murder of his 2-year-old son after he
confessed to suffocating the child so he could leave the house to go
back to playing games at an Internet cafe.
2014 Apr 16, In South Korea
some 274 people were missing after the sinking of the Sewol
passenger ferry in the Yellow Sea. It carried 475 passengers and
crew, mostly high school students from Danwon High School in Ansan,
on an overnight trip to Jeju island. Only 174 were rescued. On July
18 the confirmed death toll was 294 with 10 still missing. A body
recovered on Oct 28 raised the toll to 295.
(AP, 4/16/14)(AP, 4/17/14)(SSFC, 4/20/14,
p.A4)(Econ, 4/19/14, p.37)(AFP, 7/18/14)(AP, 10/28/14)
2014 Apr 17, In South Korea
Kang Min-gyu (52), the vice-principal of a South Korean high school
who accompanied hundreds of pupils on a ferry that capsized a day
earlier, committed suicide.
2014 Apr 18, South Korean
prosecutors sought arrest warrants for the captain, and two crew
members of the ferry that capsized two days before with hundreds of
children on board. Lee Joon-Seok and most of his 28 crew managed to
escape the ferry.
2014 Apr 19, In South Korea
Captain Lee Joon-seok (68) and two crew members of the Sewol ferry
that capsized on April 16 were arrested. The confirmed death toll
rose to 32 with some 270 people still missing.
2014 Apr 22, In South Korea the
confirmed death toll from the April 16 disaster off the southern
coast reached 113 with about 190 people were still missing.
2014 Apr 23, In South Korea the
confirmed death toll from the April 16 disaster off the southern
coast reached 156 with about 150 people were still missing.
2014 Apr 25, President Barack
Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye warned Pyongyang that
it could face tougher sanctions if it follows through with threats
to launch a fourth nuclear test.
2014 Apr 27, South Korea's PM
Chung Hong-won resigned over the government's handling of a ferry
sinking that has left more than 300 people dead or missing and led
to widespread shame, fury and finger-pointing. Officials have taken
into custody all 15 people involved in navigating the ferry Sewol,
which sank April 16.
2014 Apr, In South Korea
private first-class Yoon Seung-ju (21) died in a hazing incident. In
Sep military prosecutors charged four soldiers with homicide. On Oct
30 six soldiers were sentenced to up to 45 years in prison for
bullying and beating their subordinate.
(AP, 9/2/14)(AP, 10/30/14)
2014 May 2, South Korea
suffered its second serious transport accident in just over two
weeks when a subway train in the capital, Seoul, crashed into a
train at a station, injuring 200 people although no one was killed.
2014 May 3, South Korea’s
confirmed death toll from the April 16 ferry disaster reached 236
with 66 people were still missing.
2014 May 5, In South Korea
divers retrieved 12 more bodies from the Sewol ferry, raising the
death toll to 260 with 42 people still missing.
2014 May 6, In South Korea a
civilian diver involved in searches for dozens of missing people
from the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster died. Other divers picked up
efforts to retrieve more bodies from the sunken ship.
2014 May 7, South Korea’s coast
guard chief Kim Suk-kyoon said only 172 people survived the April 16
sinking of the ferry Sewol — not 174, as the government had been
saying since April 18.
2014 May 9, South Korean police
arrested Kim Han-sik, president of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd. His
company owns the Sewol ferry that sank and left more than 300 people
dead or missing, and authorities worried he may destroy evidence.
2014 May 14, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics Co. apologized and promised compensation to chip
factory workers who suffered cancers linked to chemical exposure, a
rare win for families and activists seven years after the death of a
23-year-old employee from leukemia galvanized a movement to hold the
company to account.
2014 May 19, South Korean Pres.
Park Geun-hye formally apologized for the April 16 ferry disaster
that killed about 300 people, mostly school children, and said she
would dismantle the coast guard for failing in its duties.
2014 May 21, South Korea
offered a $50,000 reward for information about Yoo Byung-eun (73), a
mysterious missing billionaire, who authorities say owns a ferry
that sank last April 16, leaving more than 300 people dead or
missing. Yoo faced allegations of tax evasion, embezzlement and
2014 May 22, North and South
Korean warships exchanged artillery fire in disputed waters off the
western coast, in the latest sign of rising animosity between the
bitter rivals in recent weeks.
2014 May 26, South Korea and
China agreed recent nuclear activity by North Korea posed a serious
threat to the peace and stability of the region and Pyongyang must
not conduct a nuclear test, after a meeting of their top diplomats
2014 May 28, In South Korea a
fire, believed set by a dementia patient (81), blazed through a ward
of Hyosarang Hospital for the elderly in Jangseong county and killed
22 people, mostly from smoke inhalation. On Nov 21 the dementia
patient (81) was convicted of arson and manslaughter and sentenced
to 20 years in prison.
(AP, 5/28/14)(AP, 11/21/14)
2014 May 30, South Korean pop
star Psy and his irrepressible "Gangnam Style" became the first
YouTube video to surpass 2 billion views, crossing the mark around
shortly before midnight EDT.
2014 Jun 5, In South Korea a
victim from the April 16 sunken Sewol ferry was retrieved in waters
40 km (25 miles) from the capsized vessel, raising the death toll to
2014 Jun 11, Thousands of South
Korean police and prosecutors raided a sprawling religious compound
for a 2nd time in their search for Yoo Byung-un, an elderly
businessman linked to the April 16 Sewol ferry disaster.
2014 Jun 12, Thousands of South
Korean police raided the compound of a splinter religious group for
the second day in a row as part of a manhunt for a fugitive
businessman wanted over April's ferry disaster.
2014 Jun 12, South Korean
police found the body of fugitive billionaire businessman Yoo
Byung-un (73) in an agricultural field in the southern South Korean
city of Suncheon. He was sought over April's ferry disaster that
left more than 300 people dead or missing. The discovery was not
made public until July 22 following DNA confirmation.
(AP, 7/22/14)(Reuters, 7/23/14)
2014 Jun 13, South Korea's
Pres. Park Geun-hye replaced seven Cabinet members in an apparent
bid to win back sagging public trust in her administration after
April's ferry disaster.
2014 Jun 21, A South Korean
soldier was at large after killing 5 comrades and wounding another
five at the border with North Korea.
2014 Jun 22, South Korean
troops exchanged fire with a runaway soldier who was surrounded in a
forest after he killed five comrades near his North Korea border
outpost, and brought in his parents to persuade him to surrender.
2014 Jun 23, In South Korea a
massive manhunt ended when a 22-year-old sergeant, surnamed Yim,
shot himself in the upper left chest as his father and brother
approached, pleading with him to surrender. Yim was hospitalized. He
had killed 5 comrades on June 21 near his North Korea border
outpost. On Feb 3, 2015, Yim was sentenced to death.
(AP, 6/23/14)(AP, 2/3/15)
2014 Jul 3, Chinese President
Xi Jinping began a two-day visit to Seoul. The leaders of China and
South Korea simultaneously snubbed North Korea, bolstered their
already booming trade relationship and gave the US and Japan a look
at Beijing's growing influence south of the Korean Demilitarized
2014 Jul 3, In South Korea the
display manufacturing unit of Samsung Electronics Co. said it
secured approval from Vietnam to build a $1 billion factory in the
Southeast Asian country.
2014 Jul 9, In France Yoo
Somena, daughter of billionaire Yoo Byung-eun, faced extradition to
South Korea based on suspicions of embezzling $8 million between
2004 and 2013. Yoo Byung-eun is the South Korean fugitive
businessman believed linked to a deadly April ferry disaster.
2014 Jul 17, In South Korea a
firefighting helicopter crashed near an apartment complex and school
in the southern city of Gwangju, killing five.
2014 Jul 17, In Myanmar more
than 700 workers protested in front of the South Korean Embassy to
demand officials help them after a Korean-owned factory closed
without paying their wages.
2014 Jul 25, South Korean
police arrested Yoo Dae-gyun, the son of recently deceased Yoo
Byung-eun, owner of the April 16 ferry disaster.
(SFC, 7/26/14, p.A3)
2014 Aug 3, Tropical Storm
Nakri made landfall on South Korea and left at least 10 people dead.
2014 Aug 6, China executed two
South Koreans, convicted of smuggling 14 kg (30 lb) of
methamphetamines from North Korea in 2010 and 2011, and planned to
soon execute a third.
2014 Aug 7, South Korea's
Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said China has
confirmed it had blocked "some foreign messaging applications
through which terrorism-related information" was circulating. These
included KakaoTalk and Line. It named other blocked apps as Didi,
Talk Box and Vower. The service disruptions in China began a month
2014 Aug 9, Japan and South
Korea vowed to "deepen communication" in the future during a rare
meeting in Myanmar ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
2014 Aug 11, South Korea said
it would provide $13.3 million in funding for UN humanitarian
projects in North Korea -- its second indirect aid package for the
North in a month.
2014 Aug 13, At the Int’l.
Congress of mathematicians in South Korea, Stanford Prof. Maryam
Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born mathematician, became the first woman to
be awarded the Fields Medal for her work in understanding the
mathematical symmetry of curved surfaces and saddle-shaped spaces.
(SFC, 8/14/14, p.D1)
2014 Aug 14, South Korea’s
Korean Air Lines Co. said will suspend flights to Kenya in a measure
to prevent the spread of Ebola.
2014 Aug 14, Pope Francis
arrived in South Korea for a 5-day visit and left the airport in a
compact black Kia that many South Koreans would consider too humble
a conveyance for a globally powerful figure. He called for renewed
efforts to forge peace on the war-divided Korean Peninsula and for
both sides to avoid "fruitless" criticisms and shows of force.
2014 Aug 17, In South Korea
Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean martyrs killed in the 18th and
19th centuries by the Joseon Dynasty.
(SSFC, 8/17/14, p.A2)
2014 Aug 17, In South Korea
Pope Francis made his strongest gesture yet to reach out to China,
saying he wants to improve relations and insisting that the Catholic
Church isn't coming in as a "conqueror" but is rather a partner in
2014 Aug 29, A South
Korea-based pageant said that a Myanmar beauty queen, who was
stripped of her title for allegedly being rude and dishonest, has
run off with the $100,000 jeweled crown. On Sep 2 May Myat Noe (16)
said she won't return her bejeweled crown until pageant organizers
apologize for calling her a liar and a thief.
(AP, 8/29/14)(AP, 9/2/14)
2014 Sep 4, South Korea said it
would create a joint military unit with the US, as a report
suggested the contingent would target North Korea's weapons of mass
destruction if a full-scale conflict broke out.
2014 Sep 5, North Korea said it
will send back a South Korean man who entered the North illegally.
Kim Sang-geun reportedly entered North Korea through a third country
after having unspecified difficulties living in the South.
2014 Sep 7, In South Korea Kwon
Ri-sae (23) died at a hospital in Suwon, just south of Seoul. She
was the 2nd Ladies' Code band member to die following a car accident
on Sep 3.
2014 Sep 16, South Korean
border guards arrested an American man who they believe was
attempting to swim across a river to rival North Korea.
2014 Sep 17, Japan agreed to
cut purchases of eel fry from neighboring countries by 20 percent as
part of moves to protect the endangered species. The agreement with
China, South Korea and Taiwan called for reducing eel hauls by 20
percent for one year, beginning in November.
2014 Sep 19, In South Korea the
opening ceremony for the Asian Games was held in in Incheon. 45
nations and regions participated in the events.
2014 Sep 21, In South Korea a
small group of activists launched tens of thousands of leaflets by
helium balloon, just days after the North sent a letter to the
presidential office demanding such exercises be halted.
2014 Sep 24, In South Korea
Qatari basketballers forfeited a women's match against Mongolia and
considered withdrawing from the Asian Games competition after being
refused permission to wear a hijab.
2014 Sep 24, South Korea said
it will buy 40 F-35A fighter jets from Lockheed Martin for about $7
(SFC, 9/25/14, p.A2)
2014 Oct 4, North Korea's
presumptive No. 2 and other members of Pyongyang's inner circle met
with South Korean officials in Seoul at the close of the Asian Games
in the rivals' highest level face-to-face talks in five years.
2014 Oct 8, South Korean
prosecutors indicted Japanese journalist Tatsuya Kato for defamation
of President Park Geun-hye over an article he wrote about her
personal life and whereabouts on April 3, the day of a deadly ferry
disaster. On Dec 17, 2015, a Seoul court cleared Kato of the
(Reuters, 10/8/14)(SSFC, 12/20/15, p.A4)
2014 Oct 10, North and South
Korea traded machine-gun and rifle fire after South Korean activists
released anti-Pyongyang propaganda balloons across the border.
2014 Oct 13, South Korean
messaging app Kakao Talk said it will stop fully cooperating with
authorities seeking to access private messages as part of a
government crackdown on online criticism.
2014 Oct 15, The first military
talks between North and South Korea in more than three years ended
with no agreement, with the rivals failing to narrow their
differences on how to ease animosity following two shooting
incidents last week.
2014 Oct 17, In South Korea 16
people were killed at a open-air pop concert where the group 4Minute
was performing when the cover of a ventilation shaft they were
standing on gave way. The man involved in planning the pop concert
was found dead on Oct 18 in an apparent suicide.
(Reuters, 10/17/14)(AP, 10/18/14)
2014 Oct 19, North and South
Korean troops exchanged gunfire along their fortified border in the
second such shooting in less than 10 days.
2014 Oct 25, South Korean
activists launched balloons to send leaflets to North Korea with
messages critical of its leader, ignoring threats of military action
from Pyongyang and a plea by Seoul not to jeopardize efforts to
improve ties with the North.
2014 Nov 5, A South Korean
court convicted three relatives of the sunken Sewol ferry's owner
and 13 other associates for corruption, about four months after the
tycoon was found dead on the run. Yoo Dae-kyoon (43), the oldest son
of ferry owner Yoo Byung-eun, was convicted of embezzlement and
sentenced to three years in prison.
(AP, 11/5/14)(SFC, 11/6/14, p.A3)
2014 Nov 7, South Korea's
National Assembly approved plans to disband the coast guard in the
wake of criticism over its failure to rescue hundreds of passengers
during the sinking of a ferry in April.
2014 Nov 10, South Korea said
it has agreed to sign a free trade deal with China that will remove
tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods over two decades but won't
include rice or autos.
2014 Nov 11, In South Korea the
captain of the Sewol ferry that capsized in April killing 304
passengers was jailed for 36 years after a court found him guilty of
negligence, but was acquitted of homicide. The court convicted the
ship's chief engineer of homicide for not aiding two injured fellow
crew members and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. 13 surviving
crew members of the ferry were found guilty of various charges,
including negligence, and handed down prison terms ranging from five
to 20 years.
2014 Nov 12, South Korea's
Hyundai Heavy Industries said it had signed a $1.94 billion deal to
build offshore oil and gas processing platforms in the United Arab
2014 Nov 20, A South Korean
court sentenced Kim Han-sik (71), president of Chonghaejin Marine
Co. Ltd, to 10 years in prison over the April 16 sinking of the
Sewol ferry that killed more than 300 people, mostly high school
students. On May 12 an appeals court reduced the sentence to seven
(AP, 11/20/14)(SFC, 11/21/14, p.A5)(SFC, 5/13/15,
2014 Nov 25, Japanese police
arrested four South Korean men at a harbor where ferries depart for
Busan on suspicion of stealing an ancient Buddha statue. A 5th man
was arrested the next day. The stolen "Birth of Buddha" statue dates
to sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries.
2014 Dec 1, Rescuers searched
for more than 50 people missing after a South Korean fishing ship
they were working on sank amid high waves in the freezing waters of
the Bering Sea. Seven fishermen were rescued. The crew included 35
Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 South Koreans and one Russian
inspector. After two day only 12 bodies were recovered.
(AP, 12/1/14)(AP, 12/3/14)
2014 Dec 24, South Korean
prosecutors brought charges against the founder and CEO of
controversial smartphone taxi app Uber for operating an illegal cab
service, the latest roadblock for the California-based firm.
2014 Dec 26, In South Korea 3
workers died after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction
site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea's monopoly
nuclear power company.
2014 Dec 30, A South Korean
court approved the arrest of Cho Hyun-ah (40), the daughter of
Korean Air Lines’ chairman and a former Korean Air Lines Co.
executive, who delayed a Dec 5 flight over a bag of macadamia nuts.
2014 Euny Hong authored “the
Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation is Conquering the World through
(Econ, 8/9/14, p.69)
2014 In South Korea Han
Sang-deok was freed by police after 20 years working without pay on
a Sinui island salt farm. Dozens of disabled men were liberated this
year from salt farms on remote islands in the southwest. A
months-long investigation by The Associated Press found that slavery
2014 South Korea introduced its
Basic Pension Scheme.
(Econ, 4/16/15, p.14)
2015 Jan 1, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics said it will release smart televisions equipped
with its new platform built around the Tizen operating system this
year, as it seeks to lower its reliance on Google.
2015 Jan 5, South Korean media
reported that a young North Korean soldier crossed the border in
late December and stole money and food at a house before killing
four residents in China's northeastern city of Helong.
2015 Jan 6, South Korea’s
Defense Ministry said North Korean military's "cyber army" has
boosted its numbers to 6,000 troops.
2015 Jan 6, South Korea-based
Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automaker, said it
plans to spend 81 trillion won ($73.7 billion) over the next four
years on factories, research and a new headquarters.
2015 Jan 14, South Korean
prosecutors arrested leftist activist Hwang Sun in Seoul for
allegedly praising archrival North Korea.
(SFC, 1/15/15, p.A2)
2015 Feb 2, In South Korea
former President Lee Myung-bak’s memoir: "President's Time" was
published. Lee wrote that late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il
repeatedly pushed for summit talks with South Korea before his 2011
death but the plans failed because Pyongyang demanded $10 billion
and large shipments of food and fertilizer as a condition of the
2015 Feb 9, Former South Korean
spy chief Won Sei-hoon was sent to prison for three years after
being found guilty of ordering an illicit online campaign to support
then-ruling party candidate and current President Park Geun-hye
ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
2015 Feb 12, In South Korea an
onboard tantrum dubbed "nut rage" culminated in a one-year prison
sentence for Korean Air heiress Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean
2015 Feb 16, South Korea's
ruling party-controlled legislature approved President Park
Geun-hye's appointment of Lee Wan Koo in a 148-128 vote.
2015 Feb 26, South Korea’s
Constitutional court struck down a 62-year-old law that made
adultery an offense punishable by up to two years in prison.
(SFC, 2/27/15, p.A4)
2015 Feb, China and South Korea
reached agreement on a free-trade deal.
(Econ., 5/2/15, p.36)
2015 Mar 3, South Korea passed
the "Anti-corruption and Conflicts of Interest Act," also known as
the Kim Young-ran act after the then-chairperson of the 2012
Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission.
2015 Mar 5, In South Korea a
knife attack by Kim Ki-jong (55), an anti-US protester screaming
demands for uniting North and South Korea, injured US ambassador
Mark Lippert. The slashing left deep gashes and damaged tendons and
nerves. In September Kim Ki-jong was sentenced to 12 years in
(AP, 3/5/15)(SFC, 3/7/15, p.A2)(SFC, 9/11/15,
2015 Mar 19, In South Korea the
foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea held their first
trilateral talks in four years.
(Econ., 3/28/15, p.46)
2015 Mar 21, The foreign
ministers of South Korea, Japan and China agreed that a summit
meeting of their leaders, on hold for nearly three years because of
tensions over history and territory, should be held soon to mend the
2015 Mar 26, North Korea said
it had arrested two South Koreans based in the Chinese border city
of Dandong, accusing them of spying for South Korea.
2015 Apr 12, In Libya gunmen
opened fire early today at the local guards of the South Korean
Embassy in Tripoli, killing one of them as well as a civilian who
was in the area.
2015 Apr 14, Japan and South
Korea held their first high-level security talks in more than five
years despite simmering tensions over territorial and historical
2015 Apr 22, South Korea said
it has reached agreement with Washington on revisions to the
41-year-old treaty that governs its commercial nuclear activities.
2015 Apr 22, North Korea caught
Joo Won-moon (21), a South Korean student at NYU, crossing its
border from the Chinese side of the Yalu River. He later said that
he had intended to be arrested and hoped to bring about better
relations between North and South Korea.
(Reuters, 5/2/15)(SFC, 5/6/15, p.A2)
2015 Apr 24, In South Korea
thousands of anti-government protesters marched in cities across the
country, denouncing the labor policies of the increasingly unpopular
President Park Geun-hye.
2015 Apr 25, In South Korea
thousands marched in Seoul for the second straight day to protest
government labor policies and the handling of a ferry disaster that
killed more than 300 people a year ago.
2015 Apr 27, South Korea's
Pres. Park Geun-hye accepted the resignation of PM Lee Wan Koo over
a bribery scandal. He has been at the heart of a corruption scandal
involving a dead businessman and other high-profile figures.
2015 May 1, Thousands of South
Koreans marched in Seoul for a third week to protest government
labor policies and the handling of a ferry disaster that killed more
than 300 people a year ago.
2015 May 13, In South Korea a
soldier (24) shot fellow reservists at a mandatory training session
in Seoul, killing 2 and injuring two others before killing himself.
2015 May 18, South Korea and
India agreed to step up defense cooperation while South Korea
pledged $10 billion (6.4 billion pounds) in finance for
infrastructure projects as Indian PM Narendra Modi arrived for a
2015 May 21, South Korea a
third case of MERS, a respiratory virus that has killed hundreds of
people in the Middle East.
2015 May 24, A group of
international women activists crossed the heavily-fortified
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea in what they
said was a symbolic act for peace.
2015 May 29, South Korea
confirmed five MERS cases, bringing the total number of patients
infected with the potentially deadly virus to 12, including a man
who defied a quarantine protocol and travelled to China.
2015 May, South Korea’s spy
agency told lawmakers that North Korea had executed its defense
chief by putting him in front of an anti-aircraft gun at a firing
2015 Jun 1, South Korea and
China signed a free trade deal that will remove tariffs on more than
90 percent of goods over two decades.
2015 Jun 1, South Korean health
officials said more than 680 people are being isolated after having
contact with patients infected with the MERS virus that has killed
hundreds of people in the Middle East.
2015 Jun 2, South Korea
confirmed the country's first two deaths from Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome as it fights to contain the spread of the
2015 Jun 4, South Korea
confirmed a third death from MERS. 1,164 schools and kindergartens
were reported to be temporarily shut down.
(SFC, 6/5/15, p.A2)
2015 Jun 6, South Korea
confirmed nine more cases of the MERS virus, which has killed four
people, but said it did not represent a spread of the outbreak as
the infected were already in quarantine.
2015 Jun 6, At the finals for
the DARPA Robotic Challenge in Pomona, Ca., a robot named Hubo,
developed at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology,
(KAIST) won the $2 million first place prize.
(Econ, 6/13/15, p.77)
2015 Jun 7, South Korea bowed
to public pressure and identified 24 health facilities where
infections took place or MERS patients visited. It reported 14
confirmed new cases of MERS and a 5th death.
2015 Jun 9, South Korea
reported its seventh death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
(MERS) as the government said it hoped to end the crisis this week.
Eight new infections brought the total number of cases to 95.
2015 Jun 11, In South Korea
Bank of Korea policymakers cut the policy rate by a quarter of a
percentage point to 1.5 percent, the second rate cut this year.
2015 Jun 11, South Korea
reported a 10th death from the MERS virus. Officials said they
believe the disease has peaked.
2015 Jun 12, In South Korea 3
MERS patients in their 70s died, raising the country's number of
MERS-related deaths to 13. Authorities temporarily closed two
hospitals amid persistent fears over the MERS virus outbreak.
2015 Jun 13, South Korea
recorded its 14th death from the MERS virus and a dozen new
2015 Jun 14, South Korea's
Ministry of Health reported seven new MERS cases, taking the total
to 145, as a 15th person died. The Samsung Medical Center in Seoul
said it was suspending all non-emergency surgery and would take no
new patients to focus on stopping MERS after more than 70 cases were
traced to it.
2015 Jun 16, In South Korea the
death toll in the MERS outbreak increased to 19 even as schools
reopened and people recovered from the virus.
2015 Jun 15, A North Korean
soldier in his late teens defected to South Korea walking across
their shared border.
(SFC, 6/16/15, p.A2)
2015 Jun 18, South Korea's
ruling party-controlled legislature approved President Park
Geun-hye's choice for prime minister. The National Assembly approved
the appointment of Hwang Kyo-ahn by a vote of 156-120.
2015 Jun 18, In South Korea the
death toll from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) increased to
2015 Jun 21, South Korea
reported three new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS),
bringing the total to 169 in the largest outbreak outside Saudi
2015 Jun 23, North Korea's
highest court sentenced two South Koreans accused of spying to hard
labor for life.
2015 Jul 1, In northeastern
China a bus carrying a group of South Koreans fell off a highway
bridge, killing 7 South Koreans and 2 Chinese.
2015 Jul 2, South Korea
reported two new cases of the potentially deadly Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, after four days in which no cases
2015 Jul 3, In South Korea an
explosion killed 6 workers at a chemical plant run by Hanwha
Chemical Co. in the southeastern city of Ulsan.
2015 Jul 4, South Korea found a
North Korean ship adrift and sinking with 5 sailors near the island
of Ulleungdo off of South Korea’s northeastern coast. On July 7
South Korea said three of the sailors had defected to South Korea.
(SFC, 7/8/15, p.A2)
2015 Jul 5, A dramatic breach
at Italian surveillance company Hacking Team soon laid bare the
details of government cyberattacks worldwide. Hacking Team's spyware
was used by a total of 97 intelligence or investigative agencies in
35 countries, according to South Korean National Intelligence
Service chief Lee Byoung Ho, who explained himself to lawmakers on
July 14 after it became clear his organization was among the
Milan-based company's clients.
2015 Jul 9, South Korean
officials said young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has executed 70
officials since taking power in late 2011 in a "reign of terror"
that far exceeds the bloodshed of his dictator father's early rule.
2015 Jul 14, South Korea sent
back two North Korean fishermen who were rescued from South Korean
waters but said it would not return three others who requested
2015 Jul 24, South Korea’s
National Assembly passed an amended criminal procedure law, removing
a 25-year statute of limitations on first-degree murder.
2015 Jul 28, South Korea said
it is now virtually free of the deadly MERS virus that killed 36
people and sickened nearly 200 since an outbreak was declared in
2015 Aug 10, South Korea
restarted propaganda broadcasts across the border with rival North
Korea for the first time in 11 years in retaliation for the North
allegedly planting land mines last week that maimed two South Korean
2015 Aug 12, In South Korea
Choi Hyun-yeol (80) set himself on fire during a protest calling for
Japan to apologize for forcing Korean girls and women to work in
military brothels during World War II. He was in critical condition
with burns to his neck, face, and upper torso.
2015 Aug 12, A South Korean
media report said Choe Yong Gon (63), North Korea's vice premier,
was executed by firing squad this year after showing discontent with
the policies of the country's leader Kim Jong Un.
2015 Aug 20, South Korea fired
tens of artillery rounds toward North Korea after the North launched
shells to protest South Korea's anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts
along the border.
2015 Aug 21, North and South
Korea appeared headed toward another clash, as Seoul refused an
ultimatum that it halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts by Aug
22 afternoon or face military action, and North Korea said its
troops were on a war footing.
2015 Aug 22, North Korea and
South Korea held their first high-level talks in nearly a year at a
border village to defuse mounting tensions that have pushed the
rivals to the brink of a possible military confrontation.
2015 Aug 23, North and South
Korea resumed top-level talks on avoiding a threatened military
clash, even as Seoul accused Pyongyang of undermining the process
with provocative naval and land deployments.
2015 Aug 24, South Korean
President Park Geun-hye demanded that North Korea apologize over
recent landmine blasts, even as the bitter rivals held marathon
talks to defuse tensions that have brought the peninsula back to the
brink of armed conflict.
2015 Aug 25, North and South
Korea agreed early today to end a military standoff that sparked an
exchange of artillery fire and had ratcheted up tension on one of
the world's most heavily-fortified borders.
2015 Sep 5, A South Korean
fishing charter boat capsized leaving at least 10 people dead and
eight missing. The 9.77-ton Dolphin went missing off the southwest
coast near the island of Chuja. 3 survivors were rescued the next
2015 Sep 7, North and South
Korea started talks at a border village on resuming the reunions of
families separated by the Korean War.
2015 Sep 24, South Korea-based
Samsung Semiconductor dedicated its new 1.1 million-sq.-foot North
American headquarters in San Jose, Ca.
(SFC, 9/26/15, p.D1)
2015 Oct 10, In South Korea
Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh's "Immortal" and "Walnut Tree" from
Kazakhstan's Yerlan Nurmukhambetov were named the winners of the New
Currents award for first- and second-time filmmakers at the 20th
Busan International Film Festival.
2015 Oct 17, It was reported
that hundreds of South Korean scholars have declared they are
boycotting the writing of state-issued history textbooks out of
concern that that they will teach distorted views on the country's
2015 Oct 20, Korean families,
separated by the Korean War, began to reunite at the Diamond
Mountain resort in North Korea.
(SFC, 10/22/15, p.A4)(SSFC, 10/25/15, p.A8)
2015 Oct 24, Hundreds of S.
Koreans crossed the border to North Korea for the last set of
reunions this year. In the first round of reunions earlier in the
week, about 390 South Koreans traveled to the resort to meet with
180 North Korean relatives.
2015 Oct 31, South Korean
President Park Geun-hye met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to
discuss trade issues, a day before their three-way summit with
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe that aims to repair relations strained by
historical and territorial matters.
2015 Nov 1, The leaders of
China, Japan and South Korea pledged to work toward greater economic
integration at their first joint meeting in over three years. China
and Japan agreed to restart mutual visits of their foreign ministers
and hold bilateral high-level economic dialogue early next year in a
meeting between Premier Li Keqiang and PM Shinzo Abe in Seoul, South
2015 Nov 4, A South Korean
government commission said that the remains of nearly 2,750 people,
believed to be Koreans who were forced to work in Japan in the WWII
era, have been found.
(SFC, 11/5/15, p.A2)
2015 Nov 13, In South Korea
eight men took the government to court after spending years as
slaves on salt farms on rural islands off the southwest coast. Some
were enslaved for as many as twenty years.
(SFC, 11/14/15, p.A3)
2015 Nov 14, In South Korea
tens of thousands marched in central Seoul with diverse grievances
against the government. Police detained at least 50 people.
(SSFC, 11/15/15, p.A3)
2015 Nov 22, Kim Young-sam
(b.1927), former president of South Korea (1993-1998), died in
(SFC, 11/23/15, p.C4)
2015 Nov 23, In South Korea a
US military helicopter crashed during a routine training mission,
killing both pilots on board.
2015 Nov 25, A new nuclear
treaty with the United States governing South Korea's commercial
nuclear activities during the next 20 years went into effect. The
treaty, which replaces a previous accord reached in 1972, opens the
possibility of South Korea gaining the ability to enrich uranium to
produce non-weapons-grade nuclear fuel depending on future
negotiations with the United States.
2015 Nov 26, North and South
Korean officials met for talks at the border truce village of
Panmunjom after the two sides signed an agreement in which Pyongyang
expressed regret over landmine blasts near the border that wounded
two South Korean soldiers.
2015 Dec 5, Thousands of South
Koreans, many wearing masks, marched in Seoul against conservative
President Park Geun-hye, who had compared masked protesters to
terrorists after clashes with police broke out at a rally last
2015 Dec 10, South Korean
police detained Han Sang-gyun, the president of the Korean
Confederation of Trade Unions, for his alleged involvement in
organizing antigovernment protests that turned violent last month.
Sang-gyun had been holed up in a Buddhist temple for a month.
(SFC, 12/11/15, p.A2)
2015 Dec 10, German authorities
said five South Koreans have been arrested on suspicion of murder
following the death of a relative in an exorcism ritual attempting
to "expel a demon" at a Frankfurt hotel. On Feb 20, 2017, the five
South Koreans were convicted. The main defendant was sentenced to
six years in prison. Four others were given suspended sentences of
between 18 months and two years.
(AP, 12/10/15)(AP, 2/20/17)
2015 Dec 12, The first
high-level talks between North and South Korea since an August
agreement to end an armed confrontation across their border ended in
(Reuters, 12/12/15)(SFC, 12/12/15, p.A2)
2015 Dec 28, South Korea and
Japan reached a landmark agreement to resolve the issue of "comfort
women", as those who were forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels
were euphemistically known, which has long plagued ties between the
2015 Blaine Harden authored
“The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the
Tyrant who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole
His Way to Freedom." (see South Korea Sep 21, 1953).
(Econ, 5/16/15, p.78)
2015 South Korea’s Supreme
Court conferred official status to a migrant workers’ union.
(Econ, 4/15/17, p.34)
2016 Jan 7, South Korea
announced it would resume cross-border propaganda broadcasts that
Pyongyang considers an act of war In response to North Korea's
latest nuclear test.
2016 Jan 7, Indonesia signed a
$1.3 billion deal with South Korea to jointly develop Seoul's
next-generation fighter jets.
2016 Jan 8, South Korea resumed
high-decibel propaganda broadcasts into North Korea as the United
States ramped up pressure on China to bring Pyongyang to heel after
its latest nuclear test.
2016 Jan 26, A Chinese fishing
boat capsized and killed at least one passenger near a small island
off South Korea's southwest coast. Four other passengers were
believed to be inside the boat, which wasn't approved by South
Korean authorities to fish in the country's waters.
2016 Jan 30, In South Korea the
education ministers of South Korea, Japan and China held the first
three-way meeting among the countries that often spar over how their
wartime past is described in textbooks.
2016 Feb 10, South Korea said
that it will shut down a joint industrial park with North Korea in
response to the North's recent rocket launch, accusing the North of
using hard currency from the park to develop its nuclear and missile
2016 Feb 15, A South Korean
military helicopter crashed in an eastern province, killing three of
the four soldiers on board.
2016 Feb 20, In South Korea
thousands of couples took part in a mass wedding by the Unification
Church, with the widow of church founder Sun Myung Moon presiding
over the event at a giant stadium.
2016 Feb 22, A South Korean
newspaper reported that Chinese banks including a branch of China's
biggest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have
frozen accounts belonging to North Koreans.
2016 Feb 27, Thousands of South
Koreans marched in the capital to protest what they say are setbacks
in personal freedoms and labor rights under conservative President
Park Geun-hye. Opposition lawmakers continued their nonstop speeches
for a fifth straight day in parliament to block a vote on a
government-backed anti-terrorism bill that they say would threaten
personal freedoms and privacy if passed into law.
2016 Feb 28, South Korean
opposition lawmakers seeking to block a government-backed
"anti-terrorism" bill pushed their record-breaking filibuster into a
sixth straight day of speeches in the parliamentary chamber.
2016 Mar 2, South Korea's
opposition members of parliament ended a record-breaking filibuster
to block an "anti-terrorism" bill sponsored by their conservative
rivals. The opposition Minju party led the eight-day filibuster, the
world’s longest. South Korea’s National Assembly passed its first
legislation on human rights in North Korea, in a move that is
expected to enrage its northern rival.
(Reuters, 3/2/16)(AP, 3/2/16)(Econ, 4/9/16, p.41)
2016 Mar 8, South Korea said it
would impose new sanctions against 40 individuals and 30 entities
because of suspected links to North Korea's weapons program and
would ban vessels that had stopped at North Korean ports in the past
2016 Mar 9, In South Korea a
Google-developed supercomputer stunned South Korean Go grandmaster
Lee Se-Dol by taking the first game of a five-match showdown between
man and machine in Seoul.
2016 Mar 10, In South Korea
human Go champion Lee Sedol said he was left "speechless" after his
second straight loss to Google's Go-playing machine in a
highly-anticipated human versus machine face-off.
2016 Mar 10, North Korea fired
two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in defiance of UN
Security Council resolutions. The North also announced it had
scrapped all agreements with the South on commercial exchange
projects and would "liquidate" South Korean assets left behind in
2016 Mar 11, South Korea's spy
agency told lawmakers that the number of North Korean cyberattacks
on the South has doubled over the past month.
2016 Mar 12, In South Korea
AlphaGo, a Google-developed computer program, won its best-of-five
match-up with a South Korean Go grandmaster, taking an unassailable
3-0 lead to score a major victory for a new style of "intuitive"
artificial intelligence (AI).
2016 Mar 12, US and South
Korean troops staged a big amphibious landing exercise, storming
simulated North Korean beach defenses amid heightened tension and
threats by the North to annihilate its enemies.
2016 Mar 30, Kuwait inked a
$2.93 billion contract with three South Korean firms for the
construction of the largest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import
facility in the oil-rich country.
2016 Mar 31, South Korean
activist prostitutes said they would appeal to the United Nations to
win back their right to work after the Constitutional Court rejected
a petition to overturn a law that punishes sex workers.
2016 Apr 5, Thirteen North
Koreans working at a restaurant in China defected. They traveled to
a Southeast Asian country before being flown to South Korea.
(AP, 4/8/16)(AP, 4/11/16)
2016 Apr 11, South Korea said
two senior North Korean officials, including an army colonel
specializing in espionage against the South, defected to South Korea
2016 Apr 13, South Korea held
parliamentary elections that were expected to hand a decisive win to
President Park Geun-hye's conservative party, and enable her to push
ahead with controversial economic reforms. Exit polls, however,
indicated her party would not regain its majority in the National
2016 May 16, Han Kang’s “The
Vegetarian" won the Man Booker Int’l. Prize (MBIP) for fiction. The
South Korean book was translated by Deborah Smith.
(Econ, 5/21/16, p.77)
2016 May 17, In South Korea a
woman (23) was attacked and stabbed to death by a male stranger
early today in a building's bathroom near Seoul’s Gangnam subway
2016 May 24, South Korean
officials said an unspecified number of North Koreans working at a
Pyongyang-run restaurant overseas have escaped their workplace and
will come to South Korea. The announcement came after South Korean
media reported that two or three female employees at a North
Korean-run restaurant in China fled and went to an unidentified
Southeast Asian country earlier this month.
2016 May 29, Uganda and South
Korea signed cooperation agreements on the 2nd day of a visit by
South Korean leader Park Geun-hye. The memorandums of understanding
in areas such as health and education were signed at the State House
in Entebbe. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said his country would
halt security and military cooperation with North Korea.
(AP, 5/29/16)(Reuters, 5/29/16)
2016 May 31, In Kenya South
Korea's President Park Geun-hye met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
on the second day of her three-day visit.
2016 Jun 11, In Hong Kong and
South Korea operators of the ACT college entrance exam canceled the
tests for some 5,500 students at the last moment over what they said
was a verified breach of test materials.
2016 Jun 17, In South Korea a
civilian light plane crashed in Muan, killing all 3 people on board.
2016 Jun 22, In China a
six-nation security forum opened in Beijing as a multilateral forum
involving high-level policymakers, defense ministry officials,
military officers, and researchers from China, Japan, North and
South Korea, Russia, and the United States.
2016 Jul 7, In South Korea Shin
Young-ja, the daughter of the founder of the Lotte Group
conglomerate, was arrested on charges including breach of trust and
2016 Jul 8, South Korea and the
United States said they would deploy an advanced missile defense
system in South Korea to counter a threat from North Korea, drawing
a sharp and swift protest from neighboring China.
2016 Jul 15, South Koreans
protesting against a plan to deploy a US missile defense system in
their district blocked a minibus carrying PM Hwang Kyo-ahn for
several hours. A day earlier the government announced that the
southeastern county of Seongju had been chosen as the site for a
Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) battery aimed at
countering what it sees as the threat from North Korea's missile and
2016 Jul 17, South Korean
authorities arrested senior prosecutor Jin Kyung-joo for allegedly
pocketing millions of dollars following shady stock transaction
deals with a leading online game maker.
2016 Jul 22, South Korea's
central bank said North Korea's economy shrank 1.1 percent last
year, in its first contraction in five years.
2016 Jul 29, South Korean
prosecutors indicted fellow senior prosecutor Jin Kyung-joon for
allegedly pocketing millions of dollars from shady stock transaction
deals with an online game maker.
2016 Aug 2, South Korea fined
Volkswagen 17.8 billion won ($16 million) and suspended sales of 80
VW models, alleging the German carmaker fabricated documents on
emissions or noise level tests.
2016 Aug 13, In South Korea
prosecutors indicted the former chief executive of the South Korean
unit of Swss-based Novartis and five other former and current
managers over allegations they illegally paid doctors 2.6 billion
won ($2.3 million) in return for prescribing the company's drugs.
2016 Aug 16, In South Korea an
accidental explosion at a naval base left 3 soldiers dead and
another injured in the southeastern port town of Jinhae.
2016 Aug 17, South Korea said
Thae Yong Ho, North Korea's deputy ambassador in London, has
defected with his family to South Korea, making him the
highest-ranking Pyongyang diplomat ever to flee the isolated regime
for the democratic South.
2016 Aug 20, North Korean state
media accused diplomat Thae Yong Ho, who defected from Britain to
South Korea, of fleeing to escape punishment for a variety of
crimes, including child rape. KCNA news said “the fugitive was
ordered in June to be summoned for embezzling a lot of state funds,
selling state secrets and committing child rape."
2016 Aug 23, South Korea’s
Yonhap news agency reported that North Korea has laid landmines in
the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, after the start
of annual US-South Korean military exercises.
2016 Aug 24, South Korea said a
ballistic missile fired from a North Korean submarine flew about 500
km (310 miles), the longest distance achieved by the North for such
a weapon. The missile flew at a high trajectory and has a range of
more than 1,000 km (620 miles) at a normal angle.
(AP, 8/24/16)(Reuters, 8/24/16)
2016 Aug 26, In South Korea
Lotte Group's vice chairman Lee In-won (69) was found dead as
authorities widened a probe into corruption at the country’s
fifth-largest business group.
2016 Aug 31, The South Korean
shipping giant Hanjin filed for bankruptcy protection and stopped
accepting new cargo. With its assets being frozen, ships from China
to Canada found themselves refused permission to offload or take
aboard containers because there were no guarantees that tugboat
pilots or stevedores would be paid. 66 ships were left stranded
carrying goods worth $14.5 billion.
(AP, 9/2/16)(Econ, 9/10/16, p.53)
2016 Sep 2, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics said it is halting sales of its Galaxy Note 7
following battery explosions.
2016 Sep 10, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics urged customers to stop using Galaxy Note 7
smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible. The
company said it had confirmed 35 cases of the phone catching fire as
of Sep 1.
(SSFC, 9/11/16, p.A3)
2016 Sep 10, The Hanjin
container ship Greece, that was stranded off the California coast
for more than a week, began unloading after a judge protected the
global shipping giant from having its assets seized in the US as it
struggles to avoid bankruptcy. The ship was one of four vessels that
were blocked from entering or leaving the port after Hanjin filed
for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 31 in South Korea and the US on
2016 Sep 12, US-based
Hewlett-Packard said it is buying Samsung Electronics Co.'s printer
business in a transaction worth $1.05 billion. HP Inc. said that it
is the largest print acquisition in the company's history and will
help it go from traditional copiers to multifunction printers.
2016 Sep 13, The United States
sent two nuclear-capable supersonic bombers streaking over ally
South Korea in a show of force meant to cow North Korea after its
recent nuclear test, and also to settle rattled nerves in the South.
2016 Sep 21, Two US supersonic
bombers flew over South Korea, with one of them landing at an air
base 40 km (25 miles) south of the capital, the second such flight
since North Korea's Sept. 9 nuclear test.
2016 Sep 25, In South Korea
Baek Nam-gi (69), activist and farmer, died following ten months in
a coma. He had been knocked over by a police water cannon during a
demonstration in 2015.
(Econ, 10/1/16, p.39)
2016 Sep, South Korea first
discovered a hacking attack of its military computer network by
North Korea. In 2017 it was revealed that a vast cache of stolen
data included classified wartime contingency plans jointly drawn by
Washington and Seoul.
(SFC, 10/11/17, p.A2)
2016 Oct 1, South Korean
President Park Geun-Hye called on North Koreans to abandon their
country and defect, just a day after a soldier walked across the
heavily fortified border into the South.
2016 Oct 11, Shares in South
Korea-based Samsung Electronics tumbled after the company junked its
Note 7 smartphone. Samsung told customers to stop using their Galaxy
Note 7 devices and called a halt to worldwide sales as US officials
warned the handsets could blow up.
2016 Oct 14, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics said that discontinuing the Galaxy Note 7
smartphone, which is prone to overheat and catch fire, will cost it
about $3 billion in the current and coming quarters, raising total
costs from the recalls to at least $5.3 billion.
2016 Oct 27, Senior officials
from the United States, Japan and South Korea agreed to step up
pressure on North Korea as they stick to their goal of persuading
the communist state to abandon its nuclear weapons.
2016 Oct 29, In South Korea
thousands of people took to the streets of Seoul calling for
increasingly unpopular Pres. Park Geun-hye to step down over
allegations that she let an old friend, the daughter of a religious
cult leader, interfere in important state affairs.
2016 Oct 31, In South Korea
Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the center of a scandal roiling South
Korea, met prosecutors examining whether she used her close ties to
President Park Geun-hye to pull government strings from the shadows
and amass an illicit fortune. Using a common expression of deep
repentance she said: "I committed a sin that deserves death."
2016 Oct, In the Philippines
Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman, disappeared from his home
in Angeles City. It was later reported that police from a special
anti-drug unit abducted him under the guise of a raid on illegal
drugs and that a policeman then strangled him inside Camp Crame. His
body was burned and flushed down a lavatory. The kidnappers demanded
a ransom from the victim's wife and she initially paid five million
pesos ($100,000), thinking he was still alive. On Jan 24, 2017, the
Philippine government apologized to South Korea and pledged to
ensure that justice is served and not delayed.
(AFP, 1/22/17)(AP, 1/24/17)(Econ, 2/4/17, p.33)
2016 Nov 4, South Korean
President Park Geun-hye took sole blame for a "heartbreaking"
scandal amid rising suspicion that she allowed a mysterious
confidante to manipulate power from the shadows. Park also vowed to
accept a direct investigation into her actions.
2016 Nov 5, In South Korea tens
of thousands protested in central Seoul in one the largest
demonstrations in the country's capital for years, calling on
embattled President Park Geun-hye to resign over a growing
2016 Nov 6, South Korean
prosecutors arrested two former aides of Pres. Park Geun-hye. Ahn
Jongbeom was arrested for pressuring companies into making large
donations to non-profit organizations controlled by Choi Sonsil and
Jung Ho-sung for passing classified documents to Choi Soonsil, whose
relationship with the president has sparked a political scandal.
(SFC, 11/7/16, p.A3)
2016 Nov 8, South Korean
President Park Geun-hye, to defuse a massive scandal, conceded to
lawmakers the power to name her new prime minister, a move that
could seriously hurt, or even destroy, her ability to govern.
2016 Nov 14, South Korea-based
Samsung said it would pay $8 billion for Harman, a firm in Stamford,
Conn., that makes internet connected audio, information and security
systems for cars. The deal was the largest for Samsung to date.
(Econ, 11/19/16, p.57)
2016 Nov 17, South Korea's
parliament passed a law that would allow a special prosecutor to
investigate a corruption scandal threatening the presidency of Park
Geun-hye. The opposition-controlled National Assembly also voted for
a parliamentary investigation into allegations that Park allowed a
secretive confidante to manipulate power from the shadows and amass
an illicit fortune.
2016 Nov 19, In South Korea
hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Seoul
in the fourth straight weekend of protest against embattled Pres.
2016 Nov 23, In South Korea
state prosecutors combed through the offices of Samsung for a third
raid in as many weeks related to a probe in an influence-peddling
case tied to the administration of Pres. Park Guen-hye.
(Econ, 11/26/16, p.60)
2016 Nov 26, In South Korea for
the fifth straight weekend, masses of protesters occupied major
avenues in downtown Seoul demanding the ouster of President Park
Geun-hye. Organizers estimated the crowd at 1.5 million.
2016 Nov 29, South Korean Pres.
Park Geun-hye said that she'll resign, if parliament arranges the
technical details, in her latest attempt to fend off impeachment
efforts. Opponents immediately called Park's conditional resignation
offer a stalling tactic.
2016 Dec 3, In South Korea
hundreds of thousands rallied in Seoul on Saturday in the sixth
straight weekend of protests demanding the resignation of
scandal-tainted President Park Geun-hye that took them closer than
ever to the presidential Blue House.
2016 Dec 8, South Korea's
parliament introduced Thursday to impeach President Park Geun-hye,
setting the stage for a historic vote to oust the embattled leader
engulfed in an influence-peddling scandal.
2016 Dec 9, South Korean
lawmakers impeached Pres. Park Geun-hye, a stunning and swift fall
for the country's first female leader amid protests that drew
millions into the streets in united fury. This allowed PM Hwang
Kyo-ahn to assume leadership until the Constitutional Court rules on
whether Park must permanently step down.
2016 Dec 17, In South Korea
supporters of impeached President Park Geun-hye clashed with
anti-Park protesters, as large crowds of demonstrators again
gathered in Seoul to demand the scandal-ridden leader's immediate
2016 Dec 19, In South Korea
high-profile North Korean defector Thae Yong Ho told South Korean
lawmakers that he fled because of disillusionment with what he
describes as a "tyrannical reign of terror" by leader Kim Jong Un.
2016 Dec 24, A large crowd of
South Koreans took to the streets of central Seoul for the ninth
weekend in a row to demand the immediate resignation of President
Park Geun-hye, who has been impeached by parliament over a
2016 Dec 27, South Korea said
26 million head of poultry will be culled over the next 24 hours
after the H5N6 strain of avian influenza was found in farms and
(SFC, 12/28/16, p.A2)
2016 Dec 28, South Korea's
antitrust regulator slapped a 1.03 trillion won ($865 million) fine
on Qualcomm Inc. for allegedly violating competition laws.
2016 Dec 31, A South Korean
court issued an arrest warrant for Moon Hyung-pyo, the head of the
national pension fund, the world's third largest, in a corruption
scandal that has led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.
2016 Dec 31, In South Korea
large crowds gathered to join another rally demanding the ouster of
impeached President Park Geun-hye, who's determined to restore her
powers through a court trial.
2016 The South Korean film
“Spirits Homecoming" portrayed the story of the “comfort women"
enslaved by the Japanese during WW II.
(Econ, 3/26/16, p.47)
2016 Reporters Without Borders
placed South Korea in the 70th position in its World Press Freedom
(Econ 5/6/17, p.37)
2017 Jan 1, South Korea's
impeached Pres. Park Geun-hye broke a month-long silence over her
alleged role in a corruption scandal, publicly denying charges of
wrongdoing and saying that the accusations against her were
"fabrication and falsehood."
2017 Jan 1, Denmark police
arrested Chung Yoo-ra (20), an equestrian competitor and the
daughter of Choi Soon-sil, a central figure in a South Korean
influence-peddling scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's
impeachment. She will face extradition proceedings following her
arrest on an Interpol request from Seoul.
2017 Jan 7, In South Korea
hundreds of thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Seoul
demanding impeached Pres. Park Geun-Hye's immediate removal and the
salvaging of the April 16, 2014, sunken Sewol ferry which left more
than 300 dead.
2017 Jan 7, A South Korean
Buddhist monk (64) set himself on fire to protest the country’s
settlement with Japan on compensation for wartime sex slaves. The
monk suffered third-degree burns.
(SFC, 1/9/17, p.A2)
2017 Jan 16, In South Korea
special prosecutors accused Lee Jae-yong, the only son of Samsung’s
chairman Lee Kun-hee, of bribery, embezzlement and perjury. Three
days later a court rejected a request for his arrest.
(Econ, 1/21/17, p.53)
2017 Jan 20, A South Korean
court said that the government had broken the law during the
1960s and 1970s by detaining prostitutes who catered to US soldiers
and by forcing them to undergo treatment for venereal diseases. The
court ordered the government to pay 57 plaintiffs $4,240 each in
compensation for physical and psychological damage.
(SFC, 1/21/17, p.A4)
2017 Jan 21, South Korean
prosecutors arrested President Park Geun-hye's culture minister and
her former top presidential adviser over allegations that they
blacklisted artists critical of the government. Culture Minister Cho
Yoon-sun and ex-presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon had
allegedly drawn up a list of some 9,500 artists and cultural figures
to be excluded from government funding programs.
(AP, 1/21/17)(Econ, 1/28/17, p.34)
2017 Jan 26, Philippines
President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to South Korea after policemen
last October killed, one of its citizens, then said he wanted to
hang rogue police and send their heads to Seoul. The police accused
of kidnapping and killing Jee Ick-joo were anti-narcotics officers.
2017 Jan, China expelled 32
South Korean Christian missionaries this month. Some 1000 South
Korean missionaries worked in China.
2017 Feb 3, US President Donald
Trump's defense secretary warned North Korea of an "effective and
overwhelming" response if it chose to use nuclear weapons, as he
reassured South Korea of steadfast US support.
2017 Feb 17, South Korean
authorities arrested Lee Jae-yong (48) a vice-chairman at Samsung
Electronics, for alleged bribes worth $36 million to win government
support for a smooth company leadership transition and a contentious
merger of two Samsung companies.
(SFC, 2/18/17, p.A2)
2017 Feb 27, South Korean
police said four of the eight North Koreans, identified as suspects
in the Feb 13 assassination of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia, were agents
from North Korea’s Ministry of State Security.
(SFC, 2/28/17, p.A3)
2017 Feb 28, South Korean
special prosecutors indicted Samsung's de facto chief on bribery,
embezzlement and other charges linked to a political scandal that
has toppled President Park Geun-hye. Yonhap news said Samsung would
scrap its Future Strategy Office and devolve power to individual
affiliates as part of broad reforms.
(AP, 2/28/17)(Econ, 3/4/17, p.52)
2017 Feb 28, South Korea’s
Lotte Mart supermarket chain signed a deal allowing America to build
the THAAD anti-missile system on land owned by the company. The
company’s businesses in China were adversely affected with sudden
tax and safety inspections and a scarcity of buyers.
(Econ, 3/18/17, p.41)
2017 Mar 6, South Korea
received the first components of THAAD, an American anti-missile
(Econ, 3/18/17, p.41)
2017 Mar 8, China's foreign
minister said that North Korea could suspend its nuclear and missile
activities in exchange for a halt in joint US-South Korea military
drills, in an unusually public proposal that analysts said showed
Beijing's growing alarm over the tensions.
2017 Mar 10, South Korea's
Constitutional Court removed impeached President Park Geun-hye from
office in a unanimous ruling over a corruption scandal that has
plunged the country into political turmoil and worsened an
already-serious national divide. About 30 protesters and police
officers were injured in the violent clashes near the court.
2017 Mar 10, South Korea-based
LG Electronics launched its new G6 smartphone.
(Econ, 3/18/17, p.19)
2017 Mar 11, In South Korea
opponents of ousted leader Park Geun-hye (35) rallied in Seoul to
demand that she be arrested, a day after she was thrown out of
office over a corruption scandal involving the country's
2017 Mar 15, A federal jury in
Chicago convicted South Korean CEO Heon Seok Lee of defrauding
municipal governments into using federal money on
wastewater-treatment equipment they were falsely told was made in
2017 Mar 16, South Korea-based
Hyundai said it is recalling nearly 978,000 cars in the US because
the front seat belts could detach in a crash and fail to hold
2017 Mar 17, In South Korea US
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said US policy of strategic
patience with North Korea's nuclear and missile programs has ended,
warning that military action would be "on the table" if Pyongyang
elevated the threat level.
2017 Mar 23, A 6,800-ton South
Korean ferry was hoisted to the surface nearly three years after it
capsized and sank in violent seas off the country's southwestern
coast. More than 300 people died when the Sewol sank on April 16,
2017 Mar 29, South Korea-based
Samsung introduced the Galaxy S8, its first major smartphone release
since some of its Note7 smartphones spontaneously caught fire.
(SFC, 3/30/17, p.C3)
2017 Mar 31, South Korea's
embattled former President Park Geun-hye was jailed in a scandal
that has set off a political firestorm and led to the arrests and
indictments of dozens of high-profile figures.
2017 Mar 31, The Stella Daisy
cargo ship being used by a South Korean shipping company went
missing in seas near Uruguay with 16 Filipino and 8 South Korean
crew members. Two Filipino sailors were rescued on April 1.
(AP, 4/1/17)(AFP, 4/2/17)
2017 Apr 10, China and South
Korea agreed to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries
out nuclear or long-range missile tests, as a US Navy strike group
headed to the region in a show of force.
2017 Apr 16, US Vice President
Mike Pence began a 10-day, four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific,
arriving in South Korea hours after the North conducted a failed
2017 Apr 17, South Korean
prosecutors charged ousted president Park Geun-hye and Lotte Group
chairman Shin Dong-bin with bribery in the latest twist to a
corruption scandal that rocked the country for months.
2017 Apr 21, The new Samsung
Galaxy S8 phone started shipping for about $750 — $100 more than the
iPhone 7 and last year's Galaxy S7 when it launched. A larger
sibling, the S8 Plus, goes for about $850.
2017 Apr 19, A Danish court
upheld a decision by the public prosecutor in Copenhagen to allow
the extradition of Chung Yoo-ra (20), the daughter of Choi Soon-sil,
the former confidante of South Korea's ousted president, to face
prosecution in her home country.
2017 Apr 21, The Military
Human Rights Center for Korea said South Korea's army is hunting
down and prosecuting gay servicemen after a video of two male
soldiers having sex was posted on the internet earlier this year.
2017 Apr 23, China's foreign
minister called for the complete denuclearization of the Korean
peninsula amid rising tension over North Korea's missile and nuclear
2017 Apr 25, South Korean
presidential frontrunner, Moon Jae-in, outraged persecuted sexual
minority groups by saying during a TV debate that he opposes
(SFC, 4/27/17, p.A2)
2017 Apr, The population of
South Korea was about 50 million.
(Econ, 4/15/17, p.34)
2017 May 1, In South Korea six
people died and more than 20 were injured when a crane collapsed at
a Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard.
2017 May 5, North Korea accused
the US Central Intelligence Agency and South Korea's intelligence
service of a plot to attack its "supreme leadership" with a
bio-chemical weapon and said such a "pipe-dream" could never
2017 May 9, South Koreans
elected left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-In in a
presidential election held after a scandal led to the impeachment of
the country's previous leader.
2017 May 10, South Korea's new
liberal President Moon Jae-in was sworn in and vowed to immediately
tackle the difficult tasks of addressing North Korea's advancing
nuclear ambitions and soothing tensions with the United States and
2017 May 23, South Korea's
military fired warning shots at a suspected drone from North Korea
amid tension over Pyongyang's latest missile test which drew
international condemnation and a warning from China. A day later
South Korea's military said the unidentified object was probably a
balloon carrying Pyongyang's propaganda leaflets.
(AP, 5/23/17)(AP, 5/24/17)
2017 May 31, Chung Yoo-ra (20),
extradited from Denmark, returned to South Korea in a hoodie and
handcuffs to face questions about the massive corruption scandal
centered on her mother and the country's ousted president. She was
to be questioned about bribery allegations involving corporate giant
Samsung as well as her studies at a prestigious Korean university.
Chung Yoo-Ra was freed on June 3.
(AP, 5/31/17)(AP, 6/3/17)
2017 Jun 3, South Korea said on
it will raise the bird flu alert level to the second highest after
small flocks of farm birds tested positive for the H5N8 virus, the
first in the country since early April.
2017 Jun 6, South Korea raised
the national bird flu alert to its highest level, as it ordered more
than 180,000 chickens, ducks and other birds be culled. The first
case in this outbreak of the virus was confirmed in the southern
island of Jeju on June 2, and four more cases have been confirmed in
different locations across the country.
2017 Jun 7, South Korea said it
will set up an environmental review before allowing four more
launchers to be added to a contentious US missile defense system
meant to cope with North Korean threats.
2017 Jun 8, South Korea's
former health minister was convicted of pressuring the country's
pension fund to support a controversial Samsung merger, in one of
the first rulings on key players in the corruption scandals that
ensnared the country's ousted president and Samsung's heir.
2017 Jun 8, Marcus Flowers (50)
of Enterprise, Alabama, a contracting representative for the US
Army, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to a federal bribery charge
involving fraudulent invoices submitted by South Korean contractors.
2017 Jun 10, In Texas South
Korean Yekwon Sunwoo (28) emerged from 30 competitors to claim the
$50,000 award and a gold medal in the 15th Van Cliburn International
Piano Competition, held every four years in Fort Worth.
2017 Jun 13, South Korean
police on Tuesday detained a 25-year-old graduate student for
allegedly placing a concealed explosive device that injured a
professor today at a university office in Seoul.
2017 Jun 23, A South Korean
court sentenced Choi Soon-sil, a longtime friend of ousted Pres.
Park Geun-hye to three years in prison for using her presidential
ties to unlawfully get her daughter into the prestigious Ewha
Woman’s Univ. Choi owned 36 properties with a personal wealth said
to be 23 billion won.
(SFC, 6/24/17, p.A2)(Econ, 3/18/17, p.36)
2017 Jun 24, South Korean
President Moon Jae-in invited North Korea to the 2018 Winter Olympic
Games, saying sports could serve as a peace maker.
2017 Jun 24, In South Korea
thousands of protesters marched near the US embassy in Seoul,
accusing President Donald Trump of "forcing" South Korea to deploy
the controversial THAAD missile defence system opposed by China.
2017 Jun 28, North Korea said
it has issued a standing order for the execution of former South
Korean President Park Geun-hye and her spy chief for a plot to
assassinate its leader, and it demanded that the South hand the pair
2017 Jun 29, In Washington, DC,
South Korea's president held talks with congressional leaders and a
White House dinner with President Donald Trump as he looked to
reassure Washington that he will coordinate closely on dealing with
the threat from North Korea.
2017 Jun 30, Pres. Donald Trump
met at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Trump says that he will start to reduce the US trade deficit by
renegotiating a trade deal with South Korea. Trump called for a
determined response to North Korea after talks with Moon Jae-in
where he stressed the importance of their alliance but took aim at
Seoul over trade and sharing the cost of defense.
(AP, 6/30/17)(Reuters, 7/1/17)
2017 Jul 10, After four and a
half years as YouTube's most seen video, "Gangnam Style" slipped
late today to number two, replaced by "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa
and Charlie Puth. The song was a tribute to Paul Walker, an actor in
"The Fast and Furious" film franchise who died in a car wreck.
2017 Jul 15, In South Korea
thousands of people celebrated gay rights with song, dance and a
march in Seoul, amid rain and boisterous protests by conservative
2017 Jul 17, South Korea
proposed military talks with North Korea, the first formal overture
to Pyongyang by the government of President Moon Jae-in, to discuss
ways to avoid hostile acts near the heavily militarized border.
2017 Jul 19, A report by a
Seoul-based non-government group said North Korea carries out public
executions on river banks and at school grounds and marketplaces for
charges such as stealing copper from factory machines, distributing
media from South Korea and prostitution.
2017 Jul 27, A South Korean
court convicted Kim Ki-choon, a former presidential chief of staff,
and Kim Jong-deok, the former culture minister, for blacklisting
thousands of artists and denying them state support because they
were believed to be unfriendly to ousted Pres. Park Geun-hye.
Jong-deok was sentenced to three years in prison and Jong-deok to
(SFC, 7/28/17, p.A5)
2017 Aug 17, South Korea-based
Hyundai Motor said it plans to launch early next year a
second-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that will travel more
than 580 km (360 miles) between fill-ups under Korean standards.
2017 Aug 17, Thai law
enforcement officials arrested Kim South Korean Hyoung-joon,
suspected of involvement in trafficking of Thai women into South
Korea's sex industry.
2017 Aug 21, South Korean and
US forces began computer-simulated military exercises amid tension
over North Korea's weapons programs.
2017 Aug 25, A South Korean
court sentenced Lee Jae-yong (49), the billionaire chief of Samsung,
to five years in prison for crimes that helped topple the country's
2017 Aug 26, In South Korea
thousands of supporters of ousted President Park Geun-hye marched in
Seoul to protest a court ruling that appeared to support key
corruption charges against her.
2017 Aug 29, Hyundai Motor Co.,
South Korea's largest automaker, said it has halted auto production
at its plants in China as tensions between Seoul and Beijing over a
US anti-missile system hurt its sales and left it unable to pay a
2017 Aug 30, South Korea's
Supreme Court said a former worker in a Samsung LCD factory who was
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis should be recognized as having an
occupationally caused disease, overturning lower court verdicts that
held a lack of evidence against the worker.
2017 Sep 1, US President Donald
Trump agreed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to revise a
joint treaty capping the development of the South's ballistic
missiles, amid a standoff over North Korea's missile and nuclear
2017 Sep 1, Tuna fishing
countries reached an agreement to gradually rebuild severely
depleted bluefin stocks, while still allowing nations like Japan to
catch and consume the fish following a week-long meeting in South
(SFC, 9/2/17, p.A4)
2017 Sep 5, South Korean
warships conducted live-fire exercises at sea in a second straight
day of military swagger from a nation still rattled by the North's
biggest-ever nuclear test.
2017 Sep 11, South Korea's
Yonhap news agency reported that Egypt's defense minister, on a
visit to Seoul, announced that his country has cut military ties
with North Korea.
2017 Sep 15, This was the
official release date for South Korea-based Samsung’s new
smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8, for $960.
2017 Oct 13, South Korea and
China agreed to extend their currency swap deal, easing concerns the
deal would fall through due to tensions over a US missile defense
system. The two Asian countries renewed the deal worth 64 trillion
won or 360 billion yuan ($57 billion) for another three years.
2017 Nov 3, Ousted South Korean
president Park Geun-Hye's own political party expelled her as it
sought to distance itself from the sprawling corruption scandal that
led to her impeachment.
2017 Nov 5, Thousands of South
Koreans protested against an upcoming visit by Donald Trump and
called for peace as the US President begins an Asian tour dominated
by North Korea's nuclear program.
2017 Nov 7, President Donald
Trump, speaking in South Korea, said tougher gun laws would not have
prevented a mass shooting at a south Texas church, arguing that more
restrictions might have led to more casualties.
2017 Nov 11, The leaders of
China and South Korea agreed on the need to manage the security
situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve
North Korea-related tensions peacefully after the APEC summit
meeting in Vietnam.
2017 Nov 20, South Korea's spy
agency told lawmakers that North Korea has punished two of its top
military officers, including one widely seen as its second-most
powerful official, during a highly unusual inspection of the
military's powerful political bureau.
2017 Dec 3, A South Korean
fishing boat collided with a refueling vessel and capsized, leaving
at least 13 people dead and two missing in waters off the port city
2017 Dec 5, South Korean
prosecutors formally charged former spy chiefs Nam Jae-joon and Lee
Byung-kee, who were arrested last month over suspicions they used
their agency's funds to make illegal payments to former President
2017 Dec 5, The European Union
put 17 non-EU countries on a blacklist of those it deems guilty of
unfairly offering tax avoidance schemes. They Included: American
Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau,
Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, St. Lucia,
Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Over
40 more were put on a "grey list" to be monitored until they are
fully committed to reforms.
2017 Dec 10, South Korean media
reported that the government will impose new unilateral sanctions
against nuclear-armed Pyongyang.
2017 Dec 11, South Korea added
20 North Korean groups, several banks and 12 individuals to its
sanctions list in a largely symbolic move that is part of efforts to
cut off funding for the North's weapons programs.
2017 Dec 18, In South Korea boy
band SHINee singer Kim Jong-hyun, better known by the stage name
Jonghyun, was found unconscious at a residence hotel in Seoul and
was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Police called it a
2017 Dec 19, South Korean
researchers said a series of recent cyber attacks has netted North
Korean hackers millions of dollars in virtual currencies like
bitcoin, with more attacks expected as international sanctions drive
the country to seek new sources of cash. Bitcoin was trading at over
$19,104 per bitcoin at one point today, up from less than $1,000 at
the beginning of 2017. Youbit, a bitcoin exchange, announced it had
suffered another cyber attack that cost it 17 percent of its assets,
forcing the exchange to halt operations and file for bankruptcy.
2017 Dec 21, South Korean
soldiers fired 20 warning machine gun rounds, turning back North
Korean soldiers apparently pursuing a comrade who had earlier dashed
across the rivals' shared border. It is the fourth time this year a
North Korean soldier has defected across the world's most heavily
2017 Dec 21, Cho Hyun-ah, the
former Korean Air executive, will avoid jail as South Korea's top
court upheld her suspended prison term for her onboard "nut rage"
tantrum that delayed a flight in 2014.
2017 Dec 21, In central South
Korea a fire broke out at an eight-story building in the city of
Jecheon, killing 29 people and injuring 29 others.
2017 Dec 22, In South Korea
Shin Kyuk-Ho (95), the wheelchair-bound founder of South Korea's
embattled Lotte retail conglomerate, was convicted of embezzlement
and breach of duty and sentenced to four years in prison.
2017 Dec 24, South Korean
police arrested the owner and the manager of a building where 29
people died in a fire last week, accusing the pair of multiple
safety lapses, including blocked exits and malfunctioning sprinkler
2017 Dec 28, South Korea said
it "humbly accepts" there is no evidence North Korea diverted wages
paid to its workers by South Korean firms in a now-closed border
industrial park to bankroll its weapons programs as the previous
2017 Dec 28, Bitcoin fell more
than 11 percent after South Korea said it would ban anonymous
trading of virtual currencies and crack down on money laundering
activities using them.
2017 Dec 29, South Korea said
that it was holding a Hong Kong-flagged ship and its crew members
for allegedly violating UN sanctions by transferring oil to a North
Korean vessel on October 19.
2017 Dec 31, South Korean
authorities said they have seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker
suspected of evading international sanctions by trading with North
Korea. The 5,100-ton KOTI was detained two weeks ago at the South's
port of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin and its crew were being investigated over
the alleged ship-to-ship transfers.
2017 The South Korean
documentary film “Our President" covered the early political career
of former Pres. Rho Moo-hyun (2002-2009), who committed suicide in
(Econ 6/3/17, p.33)
2017 In South Korea an indoor
farming company rented a tunnel from the government and transformed
it into a "smart farm," where fruits and vegetables grow
hydroponically — with no soil — in vertically stacked layers inside,
illuminated by neon-pink LEDs instead of sunlight. The tunnel, about
190 km (120 miles) south of Seoul, was built in 1970 for one of
South Korea's first major highways. Once a symbol of the country's
industrialization, it closed in 2002.
2017 Some 54,000 American
servicemen and their families were stationed in Japan. Some 28,500
were stationed in South Korea.
(Econ, 4/22/17, SR p.10)
2018 Jan 2, South Korea
proposed high-level talks with Pyongyang on January 9, after the
North's leader Kim Jong-Un called for better relations and said his
country might attend the Winter Olympics in the South.
2018 Jan 3, North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un reopened a key cross-border communication channel with
South Korea for the first time in nearly two years as the rivals
explored the possibility of sitting down and talking after months of
acrimony and fears of war.
2018 Jan 4, South Korea’s
Hyundai Motor Co. said it will begin selling its first self-driving
vehicles by 2021 in partnership with US based self-driving
technology startup Aurora Innovation Inc. Hyundai and Volkswagen
each said they're partnering with Aurora Innovation, a US autonomous
vehicle tech firm led by former executives from Google, Tesla and
2018 Jan 5, North Korea agreed
to hold official talks with the South next week, the first in more
than two years, hours after the United States and South Korea
delayed a military exercise amid a standoff over the North's nuclear
and missile programs.
2018 Jan 8, The rival Koreas
took steps toward reducing their bitter animosity during rare talks,
as North Korea agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter
Olympics in South Korea, hold talks on lowering tension along their
border and reopen a military hotline.
(AP, 1/9/18)(SFC, 1/9/ 18, p.A4)
2018 Jan 10, US President
Donald Trump told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in he is
open to talking with North Korea as the two leaders spoke by
2018 Jan 11, South Korea’s
justice minister said that South Korea plans to ban crypto currency
trading, but the presidential office said later that a ban is under
review, though no policy changes have been made. Bitcoin slid 8
percent, to $13,698, according to Coindesk. Etherium, another
popular digital currency, fell 2.1 percent, to $1,222.
2018 Jan 13, The rival Koreas
agreed that their talks next week will address a North Korean art
troupe's visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South,
rather than the participation of the nation's athletes.
2018 Jan 15, The two Koreas met
for the second time in a week as they try to hammer out details for
the North's participation in next month's Games. The two sides
agreed that North Korea's delegation to the Winter Olympics in South
Korea will include a 140-member art troupe, while discussions
continued over fielding a joint women's hockey team.
2018 Jan 17, The rival Koreas
agreed to form their first unified Olympic team and have their
athletes parade together for the first time in 11 years during the
opening ceremony of next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.
2018 Jan 20, The International
Olympic Committee North Korea will send 22 athletes to next month's
Winter Games in the South, approving a landmark deal between two
nations still officially at war.
2018 Jan 21, Hyon Song Wol, the
head of a hugely popular North Korean girl band, crossed the heavily
fortified border into South Korea as part of an official delegation,
triggering a media frenzy as she checked potential venues for
performances during next month's Winter Olympics.
2018 Jan 23, European Union
finance ministers agreed to remove eight jurisdictions from the
bloc's blacklist of tax havens, one month after the list was set up.
Barbados, Grenada, South Korea, Macao, Mongolia, Tunisia and the
United Arab Emirates joined Panama as jurisdictions delisted
following commitments made at a high political level to remedy EU
2018 Jan 24, South Korea-based
Hyundai said it is recalling nearly 88,000 cars in the US because an
electrical short in the antilock brake system could cause engine
compartment fires in certain 2006 Sonatas and 2006 through 2011
2018 Jan 25, Female hockey
players from the rival Koreas were paired up with each other to form
their first-ever Olympic squad during next month's Pyeongchang
2018 Jan 26, In South Korean
flames and toxic smoke swept through a hospital in Miryang city,
killing at least 37 people and injuring more than 140. The fire was
most likely caused by an electrical fault in the first-floor
(Reuters, 1/26/18)(AP, 1/27/18)
2018 Jan 29, South Korea's
unification ministry said North Korea has canceled a joint cultural
performance with South Korea scheduled for Feb. 4 blaming South
Korean media for encouraging "insulting" public sentiment regarding
the North. The performance was to be held in the North Korean
territory of Mount Kumgang.
2018 Feb 5, In South Korea
Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong was freed after an appeals court gave him
a 2 ½-year suspended jail sentence for corruption in connection with
a scandal that toppled the country's president.
2018 Feb 5, A 23-member advance
team of North Koreans arrived in South Korea to prepare for the
North's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics.
2018 Feb 6, South Korean
authorities deployed 900 military personnel at the Pyeongchang
Olympics after the security force was depleted by an outbreak of
2018 Feb 6, A North Korean
ferry arrived in South Korea on Tuesday carrying a 140-strong
orchestra to perform during the Winter Olympics, taking advantage of
a rare sanctions exemption from Seoul 16 years after its previous
visit but greeted by angry protests.
2018 Feb 7, In South Korea a
229-member strong, all-female cheering section arrived from North
Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
2018 Feb 9, North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un's younger sister took her place among dignitaries from
around the world, including US Vice President Mike Pence, at the
opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in an
unprecedented visit to South Korea.
2018 Feb 10, In South Korea the
sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said a summit between her
brother and South Korean President Moon Jae-in would pave the way
for a fast improvement in ties that would make "yesterday seem like
a long time ago." The Koreans suffered an 8-0 shutout by Switzerland
in Pyeongchang as around 200 of North Korea's famed "army of
beauties" charmed a crowd of 3,600 besotted locals with nostalgic
oldies -- and even broke out a Mexican wave. Lim Hyo-jun won the
men's 1,500-meter final, giving South Korea its first gold medal of
the Pyeongchang Games.
(AP, 2/10/18)(AFP, 2/10/18)
2018 Feb 13, In South Korea
Choi Soon-sil, a confidante accused of collaborating with former
President Park Geun-hye for personal gain, was sentenced to 20 years
in prison for bribery and other crimes. The Seoul Central District
Court also sentenced Shin Dong-bin, the chairman of the Lotte Group
(South Korea's fifth-largest conglomerate), to 2 ½ years in prison
for bribery in the same case.
2018 Feb 19, In South Korea a
doping case involving a medal-winning Russian curler rocked the
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Alexander Krushelnitsky's failed drug
test came to light a week after he won mixed doubles bronze with his
wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova.
2018 Feb 22, North Korea's 22
athletes wrapped up their competition at the Pyeongchang Winter
Olympics without a finish higher than 13th.
2018 Feb 23, South Korean
lawmakers protested over a visit by top North Korean Gen. Kim Yong
Chol for the Pyeongchang Olympics, labelling him a war criminal over
the 2010 sinking of a warship and calling for his execution.
2018 Feb 23, The Trump
administration imposed sanctions on more than 50 vessels, shipping
companies and trade businesses in its latest bid to pressure North
Korea over its nuclear program. Ivanka Trump told South Korea's
president that she will use her visit to the Winter Olympics to
advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear
2018 Feb 25, In South Korea the
overtly political 2018 Winter Olympics closed very much as they
began, with humanity's finest athletes marching exuberantly across
the world stage.
2018 Feb 25, In South Korea
Russian hockey players won their first hockey gold medal since 1992
with a 4-3 win over Germany.
2018 Feb 25, North Korean envoy
Kim Yong Chol, making a rare visit to South Korea, said that his
country was willing to open talks with the United States.
2018 Mar 5, A South Korean
delegation met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after arriving in
the North on a visit aimed at encouraging North Korea and the US to
2018 Mar 6, South Korea's
presidential office announced that North Korea and South Korea have
agreed to hold a summit next month at a truce village inside the
Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.
2018 Mar 6, A senior South
Korean official, after returning from the North, said North Korean
leader Kim Jung Un has expressed a willingness to discuss nuclear
disarmament with the US and impose a moratorium on nuclear and
missile tests during such talks.
2018 Mar 6, In South Korean Ahn
Hee-jung, the governor of South Chungcheong province, resigned after
his secretary publicly accused him of raping her, making him the
highest-profile South Korean man taken down by the #MeToo movement.
He had been seen as a leading presidential contender.
2018 Mar 9, In South Korea
veteran actor Jo Min-ki (53), who was under investigation for
alleged sexual abuse of his students, was found dead in Seoul.
Police were investigating multiple claims that Jo sexually abused
his students when he was a professor at Cheongju University in
central South Korea.
2018 Mar 12, Japan and South
Korea agreed that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea
until it takes concrete action toward addressing concerns about its
nuclear weapon and missile programs.
2018 Mar 18, The Pyeongchang
Winter Paralympics closed with a dazzling ceremony featuring light
shows, dancing and music.
2018 Mar 22, A South Korean
court approved an arrest warrant for ex-President Lee Myung-bak over
a range of corruption allegations, making him the latest in a series
of leaders embroiled in scandals and other problems after leaving
2018 Mar 22, US Pres. Donald
Trump authorized initial exemptions for the EU, Australia,
Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Canada and Mexico from looming steel
and aluminum tariffs.
2018 Mar 23, South Korea
arrested and jailed former Pres. Lee Myung-bak (76) over a range of
(SFC, 3/23/18, p.A3)
2018 Mar 26, South Korea said
it has agreed to further open its auto market to the United States
as the two countries prepare to amend their six-year-old trade
agreement following complaints by President Donald Trump.
2018 Mar 26, The United Arab
Emirates said that one of four nuclear reactors at its debut plant
has been completed as it moves closer to becoming the first Arab
nation to produce atomic power. Visiting South Korean President Moon
Jae-in and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed toured the
$20-billion Barakah plant constructed by a consortium led by the
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
2018 Mar 27, Kidnappers in
waters off Ghana hijacked a fishing boat and steered it toward the
waters of Nigeria before using a speed boat to move three South
Koreans working on the boat elsewhere.
2018 Mar 31, South Korea said
it has deployed a naval vessel from its regional anti-piracy effort
to help in the search after a fishing boat was hijacked by pirates
2018 Mar 31, Some of South
Korea's biggest pop stars flew to North Korea for rare performances
that highlight the sudden thaw in inter-Korean ties after years of
tensions over the North's nuclear ambitions.
2018 Apr 5, A South Korean
pilot was killed when his F-15K fighter jet crashed into a mountain
in the country's rural south. The co-pilot remained missing and was
also presumed dead.
2018 Apr 6, A South Korean
court jailed former President Park Geun-hye for 24 years and fined
her 18 billion won ($16.9 million) after finding her guilty of
charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion in a scandal
that exposed webs of corruption between political leaders and the
2018 Apr 7, North and South
Korea held talks over establishing a telephone hotline between their
leaders and other communication issues ahead of a rare summit
between the rivals later this month.
2018 Apr 9, South Korean
prosecutors formally charged jailed ex-President Lee Myung-bak with
a range of corruption charges, making him the country's fourth
leader to face a criminal trial in about two decades.
2018 Apr 16, In South Korea
Korean Air Lines said it has suspended Cho Hyun-min, aka Emily Cho,
one of its chairman's daughters from her marketing work after she
threw a tantrum at a business meeting last month, triggering public
outrage and a police investigation. She is the younger sister of
another Korean Air executive whose onboard "nut rage" outburst
delayed a flight in 2014.
2018 Apr 16, Hong Kong
authorities said that a South Korean businessman accused of
murdering his wife and son in a five-star hotel killed himself while
in pre-trial custody. Media identified the man as Kim Min-ho (43),
the chief executive officer of the South Korean franchise of the
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Police had arrested Kim in January
for allegedly killing his wife and son at Hong Kong's Ritz-Carlton
2018 Apr 20, North and South
Korea installed a direct phone line between their leaders as they
prepare for the first summit since 2007.
2018 Apr 23, South Korea halted
anti-North Korea propaganda broadcasts across their tense border as
officials from the two Koreas met again to work out details of their
leaders' upcoming talks, expected to focus on the North's nuclear
2018 Apr 23, South Korea-based
Korean Air Lines said that two daughters of its chairman will resign
from their executive positions amid mounting public criticism over
the women's behavior and allegations that the family engaged in
2018 Apr 27, North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in set aside
a year that saw them seemingly on the verge of war, grasped hands
and strode together across the cracked concrete marking the Koreas'
border. Kim became the first North Korean leader to visit South
Korean territory. The leaders pledged in a joint statement to rid
their peninsula of nuclear weapons.
2018 May 1, In South Korea
thousands of labor union members rallied in downtown Seoul for a
higher minimum wage and other demands.
2018 May 1, North and South
Korea dismantled huge loudspeakers used to blare Cold War-style
propaganda across their tense border, as South Korea's president
asked the United Nations to observe the North's planned closing of
its nuclear test site.
2018 May 4, Hundreds of Korean
Air Lines Co. pilots, cabin crew and other workers staged a rally in
Seoul saying they can't take any more abuse from the company's
2018 May 5, North Korea
readjusted its time zone to match South Korea's and described the
change as an early step toward making the longtime rivals "become
one" following a landmark summit.
2018 May 9, In Japan leaders
from China, Japan and South Korea held their first three-way summit
in more than two years, demonstrating a spirt of cooperation despite
continuing differences over North Korea and other issues. Japan and
China agreed on to set up a security hotline to defuse any maritime
confrontations between the two Asian powers.
(AP, 5/9/18)(Reuters, 5/9/18)
2018 May 10, The United Nations
human rights investigator on North Korea called on for six South
Korean nationals in custody there to be freed, voicing concern over
conditions of their detention.
2018 May 17, North Korea
strongly criticized South Korea over ongoing U.S.-South Korean
military exercises and said it will not return to talks with its
rival until Seoul resolves its grievances.
2018 May 19, North Korea
reiterated its demands for South Korea to send back 12 North Korean
restaurant workers who came to the South in 2016, saying such a move
would demonstrate Seoul's willingness to improve relations.
2018 May 19, Two North Koreans
defected to South Korea early today after they were found in a boat
in the Yellow Sea.
2018 May 22, North Korean media
stepped up their rhetorical attacks on South Korea and joint
military exercises with the United States, warning that a budding
detente could be in danger.
2018 May 26, North Korean
leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, met at
a border truce village. They discussed carrying out the peace
commitments they reached in their first summit, as well as Kim's
potential meeting with Pres. Trump.
2018 May 26, South Korea held
its first ever drag parade, a small but significant step for rights
activists in a country that remains deeply conservative when it
comes to gender and sexuality.
2018 May 27, South Korean
7-member boyband phenomenon BTS became the first K-Pop group to rise
to the top of the US album charts, a vivid illustration of the
genre's growing global appeal.
2018 Jun 1, North and South
Korea agreed to hold military and Red Cross talks later this month
on reducing tensions and resuming reunions of families separated by
the 1950-53 Korean War.
2018 Jun 13, South Korea held
regional elections. The ruling party of President Moon Jae-in was
expected to win a sweeping victory.
2018 Jun 14, North and South
Korea agreed to fully restore their cross-border communication lines
after holding rare high-level military talks on reducing tensions.
2018 Jun 15, A senior South
Korean presidential official said that Washington and Seoul have
begun discussions on temporarily suspending the massive "Ulchi
Freedom Guardian" exercises that usually take place in August and
possibly other joint drills while nuclear diplomacy with North Korea
2018 Jun 19, US and South
Korean defense officials formally suspended a major joint military
exercise in hopes of advancing nuclear negotiations with North
2018 Jun 20, South Korea urged
North Korea to present a plan with concrete steps toward
denuclearization, raising the pressure on its leader Kim Jong Un as
he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a visit designed to
convey the countries' growing closeness.
2018 Jun 22, North and South
Korea agreed to hold temporary reunions of families divided by the
1950-53 Korean War as they boost reconciliation efforts amid a
diplomatic push to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.
2018 Jun 22, Russian President
Vladimir Putin and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in
agreed to support "efforts to establish complete denuclearization on
the Korean peninsula" following the US-North Korea summit last week.
2018 Jun 23, In South Korea
former prime minister Kim Jong-pil (92), the founder of South
Korea's spy agency, died. His political skills helped him serve
twice as prime minister, first under dictator boss Park Chung-hee
(1971-1975) and under Kim Dae-jung (1998-2000), a man his agency had
kidnapped in 1973.
2018 Jun 26, North and South
Korea agreed to jointly study ways to improve North Korea's outdated
railways and link them with the South.
2018 Jun 26, Estonia signed a
deal to buy South Korean artillery in a 46 million-euro ($54
million) deal. The contract with Seoul-based weapons producer Hanwha
Land Systems is for 12 K9 Thunder howitzers, training, maintenance
and spare parts.
2018 Jun 29, The United States
formally ended seven decades of military presence in South Korea's
capital with a ceremony to mark the opening of a new headquarters
farther from North Korean artillery range.
2018 Jul 1, North and South
Korea reopened a maritime communication channel, with vessels from
the two countries making radio contact for the first time in a
2018 Jul 4, The rival Koreas
began two days of friendly basketball games in Pyongyang in their
latest goodwill gesture amid a diplomatic push to resolve the
nuclear standoff with North Korea.
2018 Jul 7, Thousands of South
Korean women gathered in Seoul to demand stronger government action
to fight the spread of intimate photos and video taken by hidden
2018 Jul 10, South Korea
suspended its summertime civil defense drills aimed at preparing
against a North Korean attack to keep alive a positive atmosphere
for nuclear diplomacy with the North.
2018 Jul 20, A South Korean
court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to an additional
eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws. She
was already serving a 24-year prison term over a massive corruption
scandal that led to her removal from office last year.
2018 Jul 23, In South Korea the
body of Roh Hoe-chan (61), a prominent liberal lawmaker of the small
opposition Justice Party, was found dead near a Seoul apartment
building. He had been embroiled in a corruption scandal and left a
suicide note of apology.
2018 Jul 23, Japan recorded its
highest temperature ever as a deadly heat wave continued to grip a
wide swath of the country and nearby South and North Korea. Over the
last two weeks more than 40 people have died in Japan and about 10
in South Korea.
2018 Jul 31, North and South
Korea held military talks to build trust.
2018 Aug 4, In South Korea tens
of thousands of women staged a mass rally in Seoul to protest
against spycam porn, urging tougher punishments for peeping Toms as
anger over the growing scourge boils over.
2018 Aug 8, South Korea-based
Samsung Electronics said it plans to spend a whopping $22 billion
over the next three years on artificial intelligence, auto
components and other future businesses as the company maps out its
strategy under the restored leadership of Vice Chairman Lee
2018 Aug 10, South Korea said a
total of 35,000 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth $5.8
million illegally entered its ports last year, in possible
violations of UN sanctions.
2018 Aug 14, People in South
Korea and Taiwan unveiled monuments and staged protests to mark
Japan's wartime use of "comfort women", a euphemism for girls and
women forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels.
2018 Aug 20, About 200 South
Koreans and their family members crossed the border for three days
of meetings with their North Korean relatives.
2018 Aug 24, A South Korean
high court extended the 24-year prison sentence of former President
Park Geun-hye for corruption in office. The Seoul High Court handed
out a 25-year prison sentence after concluding Park took more money
in bribes than initially believed.
2018 Aug 24, More than 300
South Koreans traveled to the North's Diamond Mountain resort for
three days of meetings with their long-lost relatives in a second
round of temporary reunions of family members separated for decades
by the Korean War.
2018 Aug 26, In Indonesia a
crew comprising South Koreans and North Koreans won the 500-meter
dragon boat final at the Asian Games co-host city of Palembang. This
was the first gold medal by a combined Koreas team at a major
2018 Aug 27, In South Korea a
special counsel said Kim Kyoung-soo, a close political ally of Pres.
Moon Jae-in had conspired with a team of online bloggers to
illegally influence public opinion before Moon's election last year.
(SFC, 8/28/18, p.A3)
2018 Sep 6, Seoul officials
said North Korea's Kim Jong Un has given his first time line for
denuclearization, aiming for the end of US President Donald Trump's
first term, prompting thanks from Trump who said they would "get it
2018 Sep 7, North Korea and
South Korea asked the United Nations to circulate the "Panmunjom
Declaration on Peace, Prosperity and Reunification of the Korean
Peninsula" as an official UN document.
2018 Sep 8, South Korea's
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said a South
Korean man (61) has been diagnosed with the potentially deadly
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after a business trip to
Kuwait. The infectious disease swept South Korea in 2015 leading to
2018 Sep 14, North and South
Korea opened their first liaison office near their tense border to
facilitate better communication and exchanges ahead of their
leaders' summit in Pyongyang next week.
018 Sep 18, In North Korea
South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un. A 52-member "special" civilian entourage
accompanied Moon Jae-in to promote civil exchanges and engagement
with younger Koreans.
2018 Sep 19, The leaders of
North and South Korea announced a wide range of agreements which
they said were a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea agreed to permanently dismantle a launch pad and an
engine-testing facility at its northwestern rocket-firing center in
the presence of international experts.
2018 Sep 20, South Korean
President Moon Jae-in returned home from a whirlwind three-day
summit with Kim Jong Un. Moon said the North Korean leader wants the
US secretary of state to visit Pyongyang soon for nuclear talks, and
also hopes for a quick follow-up to his June summit with President
2018 Oct 1, South Korea's
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told parliament the estimates
on the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal range from 20 bombs to
as many as 60.
2018 Oct 1, North and South
Korea began removing mines and other explosives at two sites inside
their heavily armed border as part of their recent tension-reduction
2018 Oct 4, A South Korean
government delegation arrived in North Korea for a joint celebration
of the anniversary of a 2007 summit and to possibly hold further
2018 Oct 4, In South Korea this
year's Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) opened with a movie
portraying the plight of a North Korean defector and the unlikely
family she formed during her harrowing journey.
2018 Oct 5, A South Korea court
jailed former President Lee Myung-bak for 15 years for corruption,
making him the latest in a string of high-profile political and
business leaders ensnared by graft charges.
2018 Oct 13, South Korea's
Busan Film Festival closed after screening 324 films from 79
countries across its varied 10-day program, which included 115 world
premieres, with just over 195,000 people attending.
2018 Oct 15, North and South
Korea continued their push for peace with high-level talks that
resulted in a host of agreements, including a plan by the rivals for
a groundbreaking ceremony this year on an ambitious project to
connect their railways and roads.
2018 Oct 16, The rival Koreas
and the US-led United Nations Command met to discuss efforts to
disarm a military zone the rivals control within their shared border
under a peace agreement between the two countries.
2018 Oct 22, South Korean
officials said the two Koreas have completed removing land mines
planted at their shared border village as part of efforts to disarm
the area located inside the world's most heavily fortified border.
2018 Oct 22, A South Korean
lawmaker said North Korea imported at least $640 million worth of
luxury goods from China last year, in defiance of UN sanctions
outlawing such trade over North Korea's nuclear and missile
2018 Oct 26, The North and
South Korean militaries agreed to completely destroy 22 front-line
guard posts by the end of November as they discussed their next
steps in implementing a wide-ranging military agreement signed last
month to reduce tensions.
2018 Oct 30, South Korea's
Supreme Court ruled that Nippon Steel should compensate four South
Koreans $89,000 for forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of the
Korean Peninsula before the end of World War II. Japanese PM Shinzo
Abe said the ruling violated a 1965 treaty between Seoul and Tokyo
that was accompanied by Japanese payments to restore diplomatic
(AP, 10/30/18)(SFC, 2/14/19, p.A5)
2018 Nov 1, South Korea's top
court ruled that South Korean men can legally reject their mandatory
military service on conscientious or religious grounds without
2018 Nov 5, South Korea soccer
international Lee Chang-min was involved in a car crash that left
one person dead and two injured on Jeju Island.
2018 Nov 9, In South Korea a
fire that likely blocked a crucial exit at a low-cost
dormitory-style housing facility in central Seoul killed at least
seven people and injured 11 others. The residents were mostly manual
laborers who made their living on day-to-day jobs.
2018 Nov 10, The North and
South Korean militaries completed withdrawing troops and firearms
from 22 front-line guard posts as they continue to implement a
wide-ranging agreement reached in September to reduce tensions
across the world's most fortified border.
2018 Nov 11, South Korean
military transport aircraft began a tangerine airlift to North
Korea, the first of a gift of 200 tons of the fruit from the
southern island of Jeju.
2018 Nov 15, South Korea
exploded a front-line guard post, sending plumes of thick, black
smoke into the sky above the border with North Korea, in the most
dramatic scene to date in the rivals' efforts to reduce animosities.
2018 Nov 16, A senior North
Korean official on a visit to South Korea called for Japan to
apologize for the wartime forced labor of thousands of Koreans.
2018 Nov 21, South Korea said
it will dissolve a foundation funded by Japan to compensate South
Korean women who were forced to work in Japan's World War II
military brothels. The widely expected decision, if carried out,
would effectively kill a controversial 2015 agreement to settle a
decades-long impasse over the sexual slavery issue. Japan still
hasn't acknowledged legal responsibility for atrocities during its
colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
2018 Nov 21, Interpol, an
international body that connects police from 194 countries, elected
South Korean Kim Jong Yang as its new president. He defeated Russian
Alexander Prokopchuk in a vote amid US-led warnings that Russia
would try to use the position to hunt down political opponents and
2018 Nov 23, A South Korean
court ruled that the government must pay 80 million won ($70,700) to
three men who were enslaved on salt farms in remote islands off the
country's southwest coast for several years.
2018 Nov 24, South Korea said
that the United Nations Security Council granted an exemption to
sanctions that will allow surveys on North Korean railroad sections
the Koreas want to connect with the South.
2018 Nov 26, UNESCO said Korean
wrestling was added to a list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of
Humanity" on the basis of an application by the two Koreas.
2018 Nov 27, South Korea's top
public prosecutor apologized over what he described as a botched
investigation into the enslavement and mistreatment of thousands of
people at a vagrants' facility in the 1970s and 1980s. The owner of
the now-closed Brothers Home was exonerated from serious charges
amid an obvious cover-up orchestrated at the highest levels of
2018 Nov 29, South Korea's top
court ordered Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to
financially compensate 10 Koreans for forced labor during Tokyo's
1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, in the second such
ruling in a month that again drew quick, vehement protests from
2018 Nov 29, South Korea sent
about 50 tons of insecticide to North Korea to help stop a pine tree
disease from spreading.
2018 Nov 30, A South Korean
train rolled into North Korea for the first time in a decade as the
countries began joint surveys on northern railway sections they hope
someday to connect with the South.
2018 Dec 1, A North Korean
soldier fled across a heavily fortified border to defect to South
2018 Dec 7, In South Korea a
former military intelligence chief was found dead in a suspected
suicide. Former Defense Security Command head Lee Jae-su was being
investigated by state prosecutors for allegedly ordering the illegal
surveillance of families of people killed in a 2014 ferry sinking.
2018 Dec 7, South Korean
prosecutors charged four people with illegally importing North
Korean coal via Russia in violation of UN sanctions.
2018 Dec 12, Dozens of North
and South Korean soldiers crossed over the world's most heavily
armed border as they inspected the sites of their rival's front-line
guard posts to verify they'd been removed.
2018 Dec 18, South Korean fire
department officials said that three teenage boys were presumed dead
and seven other boys were being treated for injuries after they were
found unconscious at a motel in the seaside town of Gangneung.
2018 Dec 24, South Korea said
it will fine BMW 11.2 billion won ($9.9 million) and file a criminal
complaint against the company with state prosecutors over an
allegedly botched response to dozens of engine fires reported in the
country. BMW has apologized and recalled some 172,000 vehicles of 65
different models in July and October over the fires.
2018 Dec 26, North and South
Korea broke ground on an ambitious project to modernize North Korean
railways and roads and connect them with the South, but without
progress in nuclear negotiations, regular trains won't be crossing
the border anytime soon.
2018 Dec 28, The South Korean
Unification Ministry said the personal information of 997 North
Koreans who defected to South Korea has been leaked after unknown
hackers got access to a resettlement agency's database.
2019 Jan 8, A South Korean
court approved a request by plaintiffs in a wartime forced labor
case to seize part of the local assets of Japan's Nippon Steel &
Sumitomo Metal Corp.
2019 Jan 14, In Michigan
Hyundai of South Korea scored two out of three wins in the North
American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards, as the
Detroit auto show's press previews officially got underway.
2019 Jan 16, South Korean
officials said they have stopped businessmen from bringing North
Korean paintings into the country that a report said were purchased
at an art studio under UN sanctions.
2019 Jan 21, It was reported
that more South Korean female skaters are accusing their coaches of
sexually abusing them, following claims by two-time Olympic champion
Shim Suk-hee that her former coach had repeatedly raped her.
2019 Jan 23, In South Korea
former senior prosecutor Ahn Tae Geun was sentenced to five years in
prison on charges of banishing a junior prosecutor after she tried
to expose his sexual misconduct.
(SFC, 1/24/19, p.A2)
2019 Jan 30, In South Korea Kim
Kyoung-soo, the governor or South Gyeongsang and a political ally of
President Moon Jae-in, received a two-year prison term for his
involvement in an online opinion rigging scandal.
2019 Jan, In South Korea Kim
Yong-kyun (24) died after being sucked into a coal conveyor belt. He
was working as a contractor at a power plant 110 km (70 miles) south
of Seoul. His death triggered uproar in South Korea where critics
say work safety is compromised for temporary or contract workers.
2019 Feb 1, A South Korean
appeals court sentenced former provincial governor Ahn Hee-jung (54)
to 3½ years in prison on charges of sexually abusing his secretary.
2019 Feb 10, South Korea and
the United States struck a new deal that increases Seoul's
contribution for the cost of the American military presence on its
2019 Feb 20, Samsung unveiled
its new foldable smartphone in San Francisco. The Galaxy Fold will
sell for $1980 when it is released on April 26.
(SFC, 2/21/19, p.D1)
2019 Feb 28, South Korea-based
Hyundai and Kia added more than a half-million vehicles to 3 ½-year
string of US recalls for engine failures and fires.