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 in opposition.
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 referendum.
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 arrested.
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 countries.