South Korea. Domestic politics was a turbulent year in
South Korea. According to
CountryAAH, the total population in South Korea is 51,269,196 people in 2020.
The ruling Millennial Democratic Party (MDP)
had burst at the end of 2003 following a dispute over the
party program's focus. The outbreak trap Uri, which
advocated a more liberal policy, remained loyal to the
government and continued to support President Roh Moo Hyun.
After the split, the remnants of the MDP declared themselves
When President Roh vaguely urged voters to vote for Uri
in the upcoming parliamentary elections in April, a
political war against the president began, ending with the
MDP and the conservative Great National Party (GNP)
succeeding in putting the president before national court
for bias in the election campaign. The judicial process was
unpopular among the public, who considered it political, pie
throwing. When the court then freed Roh, his popularity
increased and Uri went ahead in opinion polls. After the
April election, Uri stood as a clear winner. The party had
won 152 of Parliament's 299 seats. The second largest party
was the GNP with 121 seats, an unexpected small decline
since the last election.
The MDP lost most in the judicial process and went
sharply back with a full 53 seats to just nine. The
left-wing Democratic Labor Party (DLP) took ten seats, while
the other parties got less than five seats or none at all.
Uri politician Lee Hai-chan was appointed Prime Minister of
the new government formed after the election. He became
known as a regime critic during the military dictatorships
of the 1970s and 1980s.
In August, it was decided that the country's capital
would be moved south from overcrowded Seoul. The move was to
be carried out between 2007 and 2030. However, the project
encountered problems when the Constitutional Court in
October ruled that the move must first be approved in a
In the fall, the South Korean government acknowledged
that researchers in the country in 2000 manufactured
enriched uranium that could, in principle, have been used in
nuclear weapons. However, the request would have been made
without Seoul's knowledge. The government was also forced to
admit that attempts were being made to produce plutonium in
1982. The UN Atomic Energy Agency criticized South Korea for
the research, but no other action was taken since the
experiments were completed.
At the end of the year, South Korea increased its troops
presence in Iraq from 660 to 3,660 men. A kidnapped South
Korean interpreter in Iraq was murdered when Seoul refused
to give in to the demand not to send more soldiers.
The government coalition between the Millennium
Democratic Party and the Democratic Liberal Union began to
show signs of tension in late 1999. In January 2000, Union
Tae Joon from the Union was appointed new Prime Minister.
The new government announced security policy changes and the
decision to develop an infrastructure to cope with the rapid
growth in the number of Internet users.
Thousands gathered in Seoul in June 2000 to meet
President Kim Dae-jung after his visit to Pyongyang, marking
the first historic summit between the two Koreans. Along
with North Korean President Kim Jong Il, he had discussed
security policy, including the 37,000 North American
soldiers in South Korea and the countries' missile programs.
The two heads of state also signed an agreement promising to
work for a possible reunification of the Korean peninsula.
The agreement also promised to reunite the tens of
thousands of Korean families who had been separated for more
than 50 years due to the closure of the border as well as
the promise to conduct a new summit, this time in Seoul, and
finally South Korean investment in the poor north. In
September, a North Korean envoy traveled to Seoul to arrange
the details of the deal. Both countries' teams for the first
time ever went side by side when the Olympic Games opened
the same month in Sidney, Australia.
In October 2000, Kim Dae Jung was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize for "his work for democracy, human rights in South
Korea and East Asia as well as for the peace and
reconciliation with North Korea".
In November, the car factory Daewoo was declared
bankrupt. During the previous months, billions of US $ had
been allocated to the company by the state, but in 1999 its
director general, Kim Woo Joong, disappeared with a large
portion of the funds. The group fired many of the employees
who in February 2001 launched a major strike, which was
severely beaten by police. Several hundred are wounded or
While most Asian countries continue to be in crisis
following the financial collapse of 1996-97, the South
Korean economy is experiencing rapid improvement, growing by
3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2001.
The publication of a new textbook for schoolchildren in
Japan triggers a powerful reaction in South Korea because it
distorts and hides the atrocities committed by the Imperial
Japanese Army in Korea during World War II. In protest, 20
South Koreans cut the tip of their little finger in a Seoul
park, and a circle of civilian Koreans demand the book be
withdrawn. Despite these discrepancies, the two countries
jointly host the World Cup in June 2002. Although the
championships were intended to generate a profit of $ 1.3
billion. Euro, then the huge cost of organizing the
championships in two countries as well as the bankruptcy of
the company ISL - which had the commercial rights - causes
the profits to be reduced significantly.
The tense security situation between North Korea and the
United States, from 2002, creates great anxiety in the South
Korean population for a possible war between the two
parties. The situation triggers major peace demonstrations
and demonstrations facing the United States. The government
of Seoul offers to mediate between the two parties, which is
accepted by the government of Pyongyang. It is considered a
North Korean attempt to improve relations between the two