South Korea(Republic Of Korea) Politics, History and Economy
Randy Cosby: This period marks a contentious period in which various Korean states were in contention with each other and the Han Chinese for control of East Asia. http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~korea/Old_2.html Ancient History • Generally Accepted History begins in 2333 BC under the rule of Tan'gun Wanggom • Three Kingdoms Era from 57 b.c. to 676 a.d. • 681 a.d. – 935 a.d. North-South Kingdom Period • 918-1392 a.d – Koryo Dynasty • 1392 - 1910 – Choson Dynasty Randy Cosby: This era marked a unified Korea, but many very bloody takeovers of the royal throne.
1910-1945 – Colonial Period • 1903 • Japan forces Korea to sign agreement allowing Japan to oppose any foreign threats to Korea, but Korea is to remain independent. • Russia invades in China and Inchon Korea. • Japanese troops fight off Russians in Korea. • Russia recognizes Japanese control over Korea • Korean dissidents meet with Roosevelt to plead for help against Japanese oppressors
Japanese Moves • 1905 • Japan makes Korea a “voluntary” protectorate. • King Opposes agreement, is ignored. • William Howard Taft acknowledges Japanese supremacy in Korea, Japan recognizes US supremacy in Philippines Randy Cosby: W. H. Taft: US Secretary of War
Japanese Control • 1910 • Japan annexes Korea • 1919 • March 1st Movement - 45,000 jailed, 4000 killed • First Korean Congress meets in Philadelphia • Korean Communists get financial aid from Russia
Japanese Oppression • 1937 – 1942 – Japan tightens grip on Korea • Forbidden to speak Korean • Koreans must adopt Japanese names • 800,000 Japanese live in Korea • Koreans drafted into Japanese military
The Korean “Independence” • 1945 • Russia attacks Japanese troops in Korea • Japanese surrender – Korea gains “independence” • US Troops arrive – temporary occupation • 38th Parallel set as occupational boundary between US and Russia.
Korean War • 1949 - US Troops leave Korea • 1950 – Korea declared outside US defense perimeter – UN’s responsibility • June 25, 1950 North Korea attacks South Korea – Supported by Chinese Source: http://korea50.army.mil/history/chronology/timeline_1953.shtml
Korean War • July 271953 -US, North Korea and China sign armistice • War ends, but without permanent peace. • We are technically still at war. • To date, the Republic of Korea (South) and Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (North) have not signed a peace treaty. Source: http://korea50.army.mil/history/chronology/timeline_1953.shtml
US Involvement in War • A total of 33,651 US service members died in battle during the Korean War • 7,140 US service members became prisoners of war. Source: http://korea50.army.mil/history/chronology/timeline_1953.shtml
Recent Political History • 7 Presidents Since 1948 • All but one forced out of office or assassinated • 1980 – Kwangju Massacre – Up to 1,000 dead, 14,000 wounded • Some blame US for “looking the other way” and possibly even authorizing lethal force. • First peaceful transfer of power 1998 • Kim Dae Jung - but presidency ended in scandal
Current Political Situation • Roh Moo Hyun took office February 25, 2003 • Currently only 40% approval rating
Political System • Type: Republic • Chief of State: Pres. Roh Moo Hyun • Elected by popular vote • Head of Govt: Prime Minister Ko Kun • Appointed by President • National Assembly • 273 Seats – 227 by direct vote • In 2004, all will be elected by pop. Vote • Supreme Court • Appointed by President under with consent of National Assembly
Economy • Per Capita GDP Approximately 20X larger than North Korea. • Strong growth in the 1990’s supported by close government / business ties • Current economic conditions • Economy slowing in the short term. • Housing prices up 14% in 2002. • Consumer credit problems • Recently lowered interest rates to encourage spending
Exchange Rate • Currently $1 = 1199 won
Other Economic Comparisons GINI Coefficient In a nutshell, the higher the GINI coefficient, the greater the inequality of income distribution (rich richer, poor poorer). 0 = perfect equality 1 = perfect inequality.
Household Income Since 1990 Source: Korean National Statistics Office http://www.nso.go.kr/eng/
GDP and Military Spending The US currently has 45,000 troops in South Korea.
Recent Military Moves • “$US11 billion ($A16.7 billion) upgrade of the capabilities of US forces in South Korea would give them the ability to ‘take down’ North Korea's heavy presence on the border within an hour of war breaking out.” • Paraphrasing US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. • As reported by “The Age” – http://www.theage.co.au 6/3/03
International Trade Exports: electronic products, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, steel, ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish Imports: machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains Source: CIA World Factbook
International Trade Continued • Import Partners: Japan 18.9%, US 15.9%, China 9.4%, Saudi Arabia 5.7%, Australia 3.9% (2001) • Export Partners: US 20.7%, China 12.1%, Japan 11.0%, Hong Kong 6.3%, Taiwan 3.9% (2001) Source: CIA World Factbook