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Today in Korean history

2017/11/14 14:00

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Nov. 15

1895 -- A government installed by Japan, which was seeking to colonize Korea towards the end of the Joseon Dynasty, issues an order for all Korean men to cut their hair. The government's top official Kim Hong-jip said the traditional style of long hair in a topknot was an outdated custom of Confucian society that should be ended for the country's development.

Kim's Cabinet promoted diplomatic and trade relations with Japan and Western countries while the royal dynasty was caught between neighboring countries that tried to control the peninsula in the tumultuous 19th century.

Kim was assassinated, however, and his Cabinet collapsed when another faction of politicians with ties to the Russian government took over a year later.

1974 -- The first North Korean tunnel dug under the Demilitarized Zone is uncovered. Three more tunnels, thought to have been made for an invasion of South Korea, were found later in the western and central border areas. The South accused the North of digging the tunnels for an invasion, but the North denied any involvement.

1984 -- South and North Korea hold their first economic meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom. The meeting broke down as the sides were far apart over how to promote economic cooperation.

2000 -- President Kim Dae-jung holds summits with then U.S. President Bill Clinton and other heads of state on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Brunei. Kim and Clinton reaffirmed their commitment to continuing cooperation on relations with North Korea, following then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's visit to North Korea earlier that year.

Kim also expressed his government's intention to revise the Status of Forces Agreement, which governs the legal status of American soldiers in South Korea, and urged the U.S. to investigate civilian massacres by U.S. forces during the Korean War.

2008 -- In his meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak says North Korea should assume greater responsibility for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and take measures to improve its human rights conditions, following its recent removal from a list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

2009 -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and leaders of 20 other economies in the Asia-Pacific region agree to cut back costs and procedural hurdles to facilitate freer cross-border trade within the year. The leaders at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit agreed to reduce by 25 percent the cost, time and number of procedures their businesses face when trading across borders.

2010 -- South Korea and Peru sign a bilateral free trade agreement, hoping to enhance cooperation in energy and infrastructure construction.

2014 -- South Korea and New Zealand strike a free trade agreement to boost trade and economic cooperation. The announcement, made on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Brisbane, wrapped up more than five years of tough negotiations between the two countries. South Korea is a G-20 member but New Zealand was invited to the Brisbane summit as a guest.

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