In 2015, the population of South Korea was estimated to be around 50.6 million people. The economy of South Korea was based on exports, technology and services. It was heavily dependent on foreign investment from countries like the United States and Japan. Politically, South Korea was a unitary presidential republic ruled by President Park Geun-hye since 2013. In 2015, His Excellency Choi Kyung-hwan served as Prime Minister while His Excellency Park Geun-hye served as President of the Republic. The Parliament of South Korea was composed of two chambers: National Assembly and National Council. In terms of defence, South Korea had strong military ties with the United States which it joined in 1953 as part of its post-war security policy. South Korea also maintained strong diplomatic relations with its neighboring countries in Asia as well as other countries around the world. See ehealthfacts for South Korea in the year of 2005.
South Korea. According to COUNTRYAAH, Seoul is the capital of South Korea which is located in Eastern Asia. President Park Geun Hye’s support in opinion fell to a 34% bottom listing at the beginning of the year. She then launched a new Prime Minister, Lee Wan Koo. The incumbent Head of Government Chung Hong Won had tried to resign already after the ferry disaster in April 2014, but the alternatives that Park then appointed jumped off. Lee was approved by Parliament in February, but resigned in April following allegations of bribery. Park then appointed Hwang Kyo Ahn, which was approved in June.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for South Korea country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
On the one-year anniversary of the crash, President Park promised to carry the ferry. Shortly thereafter, an appeals court sharpened the captain’s sentence: instead of 36 years in prison for gross negligence, he was now given a life sentence for murder. The captain had ordered passengers to stay in place but then abandoned the sinking ship himself. Fourteen others from the crew, however, had their sentences reduced to between 1.5 and 7 years in prison. The penalty was set by the country’s highest court in November.
An outbreak of mers created concern over a few months since a person who visited Saudi Arabia became ill with the deadly corona virus. When the government declared in July that the outbreak was over, almost 200 people had been infected and 36 had died. The outbreak led to quarantine rules and other restrictions that hit the economy hard, and among other things, the number of foreign visitors fell by 40%. A package of measures worth approximately SEK 80 billion was approved to try to gain momentum for the economy.
After two soldiers were seriously injured by land mines at the border with North Korea in August, South Korea resumed propaganda broadcasts through speakers across the border, which otherwise ceased in 2004. This caused North Korea to threaten with war, and artillery exchanges between the countries. It was seen as the most serious confrontation in several years. After high-level negotiations, the combat measures were withdrawn at the end of the month. The parties agreed on continued talks and on new reunification meetings between members of families that split during the 1950-53 war. In November, both conversations and meetings were conducted.
In November, around 80,000 people took part in demonstrations against the government and Park. The protests aimed specifically at changes in labor law and a contentious decision to only allow schoolbooks in history published by the state.
The opposition’s strongest force, the Great National Party, won the parliamentary election in October 2005, when it won four new districts. That brought its seats up to 127. In turn, the ruling party suffered a major defeat as it gained no seats in the election. The defeat was thus a repeat of the defeat in April, with the government party also losing. However, the election results have no major direct impact on Parliament’s work, as none of the parties has an absolute majority.
In February 2006, South Korea and the United States began negotiations on a free trade agreement to enter into force the following year. For the United States, this would be the most important trade agreement in Asia, and for South Korea, it would be the most important event since the end of the Korean War, in which the country entered into a military alliance with the United States.
In June 2006, the sixth anniversary of the two Koreas was marked by an event in the city of Kwangju. During the event, President Dae Jung declared that the goal of both countries is reunification. “The reunion must be gradually achieved through a period of cooperation and peaceful coexistence,” the president declared.
After a long period of tensions, South Korea and Japan resumed negotiations that month to resolve the dispute over the Dokdo Islands. the purpose of the negotiations is to reach an agreement that is reasonable for both countries and allows the sea border to be drawn between them – in line with the international sea.
In July 2007, the FTA was signed between South Korea and the United States. The agreement gradually removes the tariffs on almost all consumer and industrial goods for a three-year period following the signing of the agreement. At the same time, farmers and professional leaders expressed fears that thousands of Korean jobs will be lost as a result of imports of goods and services from the United States.
The December presidential election was won by Lee Myung-bak of the Conservative National Party, who after five years resumed the presidential post. The Conservative president wanted to further strengthen ties with the United States, set the reconciliation policy vis-à-vis North Korea and replace it with a tougher policy. The openings that had been in the relationship between the two countries immediately froze and the possibility of reuniting families and mutual visits was set. At the same time, the protests escalated against Lee’s policy and it resulted in frequent violent clashes between security forces and protesters. Three months after Lee’s appointment as president, his popularity had dropped from 51% to 17%. Despite the lack of popularity in South Korea, US President Bush was extremely pleased with President Lee.