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Today in Korean history

2013/07/19 14:00

July 20

1907 -- King Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty abdicates in favor of his son under pressure from the Japanese colonial regime. The king was a thorn in Japan's side, as he made several diplomatic efforts to counter its colonial policies.

From the time he became king at age 12 in 1864, he constantly faced partisan strife from the inside and colonial threats from the outside. His father, promoting a policy of isolation, clashed with Gojong's wife, Queen Myeongseong, who said Joseon should open its trade and commerce to foreign countries for modernization. Gojong initially followed his wife's advice, building relations with other countries, but later turned his back on Japan, seeing it move aggressively to colonize the Korean Peninsula.