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History Of North And South Korea

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Korea’s history is that of a small nation maneuvering between the larger and more powerful countries that surround it. Historically it has had to deal with China, Russia, Soviet Union, Japan, and the USA. Korea has never been the center of the world, but it has often been the center of conflict between larger more powerful nations. And in this article we will talk about modern-day North and South Korea and how these two countries, which are very similar, developed differently all the way up to today. We will talk about politics and economics, propaganda and social issues, war and geopolitics But most importantly: K-pop.

This article will mostly cover the history of North Korea and South Korea. But before we can talk about these countries themselves, we need to talk about how they were created. And for that, we need to start in 1895. And there is a good reason for this specific date: Because for thousands of years, East Asia was dominated by China. China had a large population and military, the best products and technology, the most efficient education and bureaucracy.

But whereas most other superpowers used their dominance to colonize and conquer other peoples, China decided on a system of tributary states: Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Ray And of course, Korea. All and more paid tribute to China. A country so powerful that for hundreds of years in its history, no other country on Earth could even come close to the industrial, economic, and political power of China But unlike most other vassals, Korea wasn’t just a tributary state: it had adopted the Chinese form of governance, the Chinese religion of Confucianism, and closed itself off from the outside world just like China had. Korea had adopted the Chinese way of doing things to such an extent that they were often better at it than the Chinese themselves. But what many did not realize at the time was that China was in decline.

A slow decline. So slow in fact, that nobody realized it for hundreds of years. Because around 1500 the first Europeans sailed around Africa and established contact with Chinese tributary states. This doesn’t seem like a problem at first But the Portuguese established colonies, taking power away from China. This was soon followed by other Europeans such as the Dutch, the Spanish, the British, and the French.

Each establishing colonies in Chinese tributary states. And with every new colony, China lost a tributary state. Until in the year 1839 when the First Opium War began and China itself was attacked by European powers. But there was one tributary state which remained safe throughout all of this: Korea. While Sri Lanka was taken by the British, Vietnam by the French, and Chinese ports by various European powers.

Korea only had to deal with minor skirmishes from France, the United States, and Japan. But other than that, Korea remained a Chinese when the empire upon which the fire nation is based, attacked. {PLAY JAPANESE IMPERIAL MARCH} The First Sino-Japanese War was a war between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan in 1894 and 1895. Just 40 years earlier Japan was like China and Korea in that it shut itself off from the rest of the world until the United States forced Japan to open up. Japan had been modernizing its country: modern industry, modern government, and a modern army.

This modern Japanese army was victorious and as a result the dominant power in East Asia shifted from China to Japan. And Korea was forcefully shifted with it. For over 1000 years of being a vassal state of China, Korea was now an independent country. Not because it sought independence, but because independence was thrust upon them by the Japanese. And this is why 1895 is such an important year in Korean history, because this is the year that Korea stopped being a Chinese tributary state isolated from the rest of the world, and became an independent Korea.

And this independent Korea was surrounded by countries which were far more powerful than itself. And so Korea had to learn to maneuver between the various powers to secure its own survival. And this position of being surrounded by more powerful countries remains true today: the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, the United States These are or were the most powerful countries in the world and all of them have a stake in the Korean nations. This newly independent Korea faced many difficulties: to the west was a declining China, to the North was an emboldened Russia which sought greater influence in East Asia, and to the east was the Empire of Japan, an empire which itself was surrounded by more powerful and more advanced European empires and was desperately seeking ways to secure its independence from European powers which were creating colonies closer and closer to Japan. Each of these nations was far larger, far more advanced, and far more powerful than Korea.

So what did Korea do? Model on how to do so: Korea reorganized its military to be more western, receiving modern training and weapons from Russia; it improved its education system by opening public schools, colleges and universities. In fact, many of the universities in Korea today were founded in the time of this Korean Empire; the government promoted industrialization by investing in new types of machines, such as low-cost silk spinning and weaving machines with which it could outcompete high-cost manufacturing abroad and make a lot of profit by exporting cheap silk to rich nations; it built new infrastructure such as eclectic streetcars, water companies, telephone lines, and a power grid; and its government was to become more western, with even royalty donning the clothes of western monarchs in order to emulate them. In 1897, it even changed its name. For centuries the nation inhabiting the Korean peninsula was actually called Jose on But was renamed the Korean Empire. Korea had moved away from China and was now moving towards closer ties with Russia.

{PLAY FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE} Hoping that Russia could not only help Korea to industrialize, but also to help secure Korean independence, But why did Korea seek close ties with Russia when it had just gained independence from China? Well, the reason for this is that Japan had been discussing invading Korea for decades. In fact, Japan had already decided THAT it would invade Korea, it just hadn’t decided on WHEN it would invade Korea. Japan argued that Korea was an inferior nation which failed to modernize and therefore ought to be conquered by the superior Japanese nation. This point of view is comparable to how European nations viewed African and Asian nations at the time. And so with both Russia and Japan wanting control over Korea in order to gain more influence in East Asia, the two sides fought a war in 1904, which Japan won.

{ABRUPTLY STOP FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE} As a result, Korea was forced to become a protectorate of Japan in 1905. But Korea was too weak to hold off the Japanese and in 1910 Korea officially became a colony of the Empire of Japan. {FADE OUT. HAVE A PAUSE FOR A BIT AND THEN START THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE MUSIC TRACK FROM where China lost its position as the dominant power in East Asia is called the Century of Humiliation in China but while China was humiliated, Korea was used, abused, and subdued: Japan treated Korea as its colony. This meant that Japan sought to civilize the Koreans by banning the Korean language, customs, and traditions in favor of the Japanese language, customs, and traditions.

For example, Koreans were forced to change their Korean names to Japanese names. Korean labor was exploited to harvest resources, Korean infrastructure built to transport those resources to Japan, and those resources were turned into products used for Japanese consumption and expanding Japanese control over Korea and other areas of East Asia. While various aspects improved for the Koreans: the literacy rate went up, factories were built, and infrastructure improved These improvements were combined with a regime so brutal they would eventually be considered war crimes at the Tokyo Trial. A prominent example of the brutality was the establishment of various agencies that lured women and girls to their offices with the promise of better work and education only for them to be turned into slaves and sent across the Japanese empire to perform intimate services and be used by Japanese men as they pleased {HAVE A FEW SECONDS OF SILENCE} The effect the Japanese occupation on Korea had been so severe, that when Japan lost WW2 and had to end its occupation of Korea, that the Koreans lacked almost all administrative and technical expertise to run their own country. This is because the Japanese Empire almost exclusively used Japanese citizens to administer its Korean colony, meaning there were almost no Koreans left anymore who had experience in running a country.

they were leaving, the Soviet army was arriving. And so, once again, Korea was fought over by larger, more powerful nations: This time the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Because the Cold War was beginning and in this Cold War the main weapons used were ideology and proxy wars, with the Soviet Union and its allies turning towards Soviet-Style communism and the USA and its allies turning towards capitalism. And each side wanted control over Korea for its strategic position in East Asia. And the USA became afraid that the Soviets would occupy all of Korea.

So the USA tasked two young officers to come up with a proposal on how to split Korea between the Soviets and the US. Without much knowledge of Korea and without consulting experts on Korea, they took a National Geographic map and decided that a line on that map, called the 38th parallel, would be a good way to divide Korea so that each side would have approximately half the Korean territory. To the surprise of the USA, the Soviets immediately accepted the division, unaware that the Russian Empire discussed sharing Korea along the exact same line with Japan, and they were giving the Soviets exactly what they wanted all along. And so, after more than 1000 years of a unified Korean peninsula, the country was torn apart between the Soviets and the USA This split was meant to last 5 years, after which Korea would be turned back to the Koreans in a united Korean state, similar to how Austria was split and reunified after WW2 Most Koreans demanded immediate independence, but their voices were ignored. The USSR and USA met several times to discuss how Korea.

Will. Be. United: the Soviets proposed Loud Woon-hyung as the leader of a unified Korea, but this was rejected by the USA; the Soviets proposed both sides withdraw and let the Korean people form their own united government, this too was rejected by the USA. So the US brought the problem to the United Nations which declared that both sides should withdraw, and free elections be held. But the Soviets boycotted this resolution, arguing that the UN couldn’t guarantee fair elections.

As time went on the two nations diverged and over time the Soviet Union and USA each established a different national government in the Korean territory they controlled. Under the leadership of Kim Losing. He was chosen by the Soviets to lead North Korea for his close ties with the Soviet government. When talking about North Korea it is important to note that there is very little information about this country. The closer we are to the present, the less information we have.

I will try to be as accurate as possible. But if there are any North Koreans in the audience who have better access to this information, then please correct me Or add information to me. North Korea faced many of the same issues previous Korean entities faced: it was surrounded by the powerful Soviet Union to the north and a powerful United States to its south. North Korea therefore needed to become a useful client state of the Soviet Union and quickly adopted Soviet-style governance: it instituted land reforms where land owned by Japanese citizens, Korean collaborators, and landlords were redistributed among poor farmers, the government took control over many businesses, and gave women more equality compared to men. As a result of these reforms, the elites lost most of their power.

Many of these collaborators, Japanese, and elites fled south. And just like the Soviet Union, North Korea removed domestic opposition and implemented a one-party state. Where the government only has a single political party; the Workers Party of Korea. Over time Kim Losing became the nations absolute ruler. And to keep the people from rebelling, a cult of personality United States took over the governance of the region.

{PLAY USA NATION ANTHEM} There actually was a Korea government-in-exile living in China, and they did send a delegation to meet with the US occupation force but the US general in charge refused to meet them, refused to recognize them, and on December 12th 1945 outlawed this Korean government. The US occupation was met with resistance when, in 1946, Koreans started rebelling against the US presence in their country. But the power of the people could not stand up to the power of the US military, resulting in 30k-100k extinguished lives. Over time an anti-communist man named Hangman Rhee became a popular leader in South Korea, being the first president of the now-outlawed Provisional Government and having worked as a pro-Korean lobbyist in the USA, making him popular with the Koreans and the United States. After it became clear that Korean Unification would not happen, the USA called for general elections in South Korea to be held in 1948.

This came as a shock to the Koreans who now realized that their US occupiers had abandoned the Korean call for unification and once again protests and rebellions rose up across South Korea But they too were no match for the South Korean and US militaries. And again, 10ks of Koreans were murdered over the dream of a unified Korea. But eventually South Koreans elections were held on May 10th and Human Rhee won the election. 3 Months later on August 15th, the United States handed over power to the South Korean government, which officially declared itself as the Republic of Korea. 3 Weeks later North Korea did the same and officially proclaimed itself as the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

And so, in 1948, both the Soviet and US armies withdrew from the Korean peninsula and for the first time in 38 years Koreans were ruling Korea. It hasn’t resolved to this very day: the first issue of food. You see, North Korean soil is not very suitable for agriculture. When the Japanese were in control, they placed most farms in the south where the soil was more arable, while placing most factories in the North where there were more natural resources. The second issue is that of a competitor backed by one of the most powerful countries in the world.

You see, if South Korea were to prosper then it would be a clear sign to its people that South Korean capitalism was far more effective than North Korea communism. This could result in civil unrest and possible annexation of North Korea by South Korea. And they weren’t wrong to think that, because something similar would happen between East and West Germany in the 1990s. And so how did North Korea try to solve this issue? Well, North Korea did what previous Korean entities had done: allying itself with more powerful countries In North Korea’s case, it stayed a close ally of the USSR and not long afterwards, mainland China became communists, meaning that North Korea now had 2 communist nations it could rely on for help. And North Korea requested help from its allies to invade South Korea.

This would remove their capitalist rival, remove US influence, and gain them the fertile land they needed to reliably feed their people. About the Korean War because I am a History Scope, not a Tactical Scope. So in short, North Korea was at first successful, then South Korean allies such as the USA, sent troops to defend the south, they were so successful that they conquered all the way up to the Chinese border, at which point China sent about half a million troops to support North Korea, after which the borders became similar to what they were before the war. From 1951 until 1953 the two sides kept fighting, but no major territorial change would occur. By 1953, the Soviet government changed leadership and was open to a ceasefire.

And so after 3 years, the Korean War came to an end with an armistice Once again, both Korea shad to rely on their allies for survival. And by now it was clear to both sides that Korea. Won’t. Be. United.

As part of the peace treaty, a Demilitarized Zone was established. And to prevent anyone from getting too depressed from reading this article, the DMZs ecosystem is a fascinating one. While its one of the most dangerous places for humans to be, this has basically turned it into the best-defended nature preserve in history. This zone includes many ecosystems from forests to estuaries to wetlands, with many migratory birds resting here. In fact, it’s a sanctuary for hundreds of bird species such as the endangered whitened crane and the red-crowned crane.

As well as dozens of species of fish, Asiatic Black Bears, lynxes, and many other mammals. Alright, {small sigh} on other communist nations for support, such as food, technical aid, and military assistance in order to rebuild North Korea after the war. But it soon embraced an ideology called such. And if you don’t know what that means, that’s okay. I also had a Euro-centric education.

Such is an ideology based on self-determination and self-reliance. So, for example, instead of importing food from other countries, they would try to produce it themselves along with as many goods and services as possible so North Korea wouldn’t be dependent on other nations for its economy. And the Soviet-style communism North Korea adopted fit well with this policy. Because Soviet-style communism is that of a command economy. So instead of the people owning the means of production, it was the government who owned the means of production from factories to farms to shops.

With this important position in the economy, the North Korean government could try to implement this policy of such. But this type of economic policy is generally quite a bad economic policy. While you could try to make everything you need yourself, it’s a lot more efficient to focus on a few things you are perfect at and then trade THOSE goods and services for things you need or want. For example, North Korea had a lot of mineral resources which it could trade for food, something which North Korea lacked enough of. But this is where we need to remember Korean history: Korea had been reliant on China for a thousand years, but when China was defeated Korea was dragged with it.

Then it relied on the Russian Empire, who was defeated in war and led to the colonization of Korea. North Korea learned that relying on other nations made Korea vulnerable in the modern world. With this historical context, it is logical why North Korea isolated itself from the outside world and began the process of self-reliance with the Such ideology. Korean government had aligned itself with, was nothing new. As we saw, when Korea was under the Chinese sphere of influence, it was more Confucian than the Chinese.

And now that North Korea aligned itself with the Soviet Union, they were more communist than the Soviets {PLAY SOVIET UNION ANTHEM DURING THIS PREVIOUS SENTENCE FOR FUN} But what about South Korea? What many people don’t know about South Korea is that it used to be a lot like North Korea: its people could not travel abroad without government permission; rampant poverty; large-scale corruption; massacres; relying on other countries for financial aid; and while officially there were elections it was effectively a dictatorship. And in the years following the Korean War, the government was primarily focussed on securing its own power by suppressing opposition. But in 1960 South Korea erupted in protests due to rigged elections and corruption. After protestors were injured by the police, the president resigned, and a military coup took control of the country in 1962. This government was headed by a man named Park Guen-Hye.

But this government faced two major issues: on one side the country was very corrupt while on the other side the people were protesting. These issues were made worse by North Korea. Because if a communist North Korea was the best Korea, then the people might demand a unified Korea under that communist North Korean leadership. And so, South Korea needed to show the people that living under the South Korean government was better than living under the North Korean government. And the way this new government wanted to show this to the people was by making South Korea a much richer economy relied a lot on exporting resources and labor-intensive manufactured goods such as tungsten, fish, and cheap garments.

But they didn’t bring in a lot of profit. So what policies could South Korea implement to become a rich nation? In today’s world one can find plenty of examples of poor countries which rapidly developed into rich countries in just a few decades. One could look at Vietnam, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Greece, or even South Korea itself all countries which have or had rapidly developing economies. But in 1960, there was only a single country which had ever been able to go from a poor country to a rich country in just a few decades: Japan. Because Japans economy around 1960 was growing at around 10% per year and even before WW2 went from a feudal economy to a developed economy in just a few decades.

And so South Korea once again decided to adopt the policies of its larger and more powerful neighbor: Japanese-style state capitalism. And just as North Korea would become more communist than the Soviets, so too would South Korea become more state capitalist than the Japanese. But what is state capitalism? Well, in the case of Korea, it used something called indicative planning. This is a system where a government sets broad targets for a capitalist economy to reach, such as, for example, investments in certain industries, export, infrastructure development, etc. It then works together with private businesses to achieve this goal.

South Korea began by promoting various businesses which would become the mascots of the South Korean economy. In particular, the government promoted family-owned businesses. This is because family-owned businesses have one major advantage: longevity. Because if your business is owned by shareholders then those shareholders don’t care if the business still exists in 100 years, they only care about short-term profit. But if you know your children and grandchildren will inherit that business after you retire, then you want to make sure that this business will be successful for a long time.

In fact, this system of promoting family-owned businesses in South Korea is called Chatbot, which literally means rich family. But how would the government make sure that these mascot companies would succeed? Well, the South Korean government would make it easier to get permits, ban foreign competitors from entering the South Korean market, and provide them with VAST amounts of money to make them succeed. At the time, all banks in South Korea were owned by the government and so the government had access to all the savings in the country. It then used these savings to invest in these mascot companies. But in exchange for practically endless investments, the South Korean government would tell these mascot companies in which industries they had to do business.

And Korea was quite forceful in its approach: In the 1960s the South Korean government banned the LG Group from going into the textile industry and forced them to start producing electric cables. Eventually resulting in LG’s world-famous electronics we know today; In 1970 the Korean government pressured Hyundai Group to start a shipbuilding company. When Hyundai refused, the president threatened them with bankruptcy. Today, Hyundai shipbuilding company is one of the biggest in the world; And in the 60s the government wanted to build a steel mill, but South Korea didn’t produce iron ore or coking coal, two key ingredients in modern steel-making. Being capitalist, it couldn’t import these from Communist China or USSR and had to import these materials all the way from Australia and North America.

Investors therefore thought that this was a silly idea and South Korea couldn’t find any investors except for

1. After WW2, Japan had to pay war reparations to South Korea as repayment for 35 years of colonization. South Korea used this money to build a steel mill, which began production in 1973. It became so successful that today it is one of the largest steel producers in the world. And these were not isolated incidents.

The government would often threaten to cut off government finance or even to send in the secret police to HHH convince the bosses to do as they were told. Over time these Chatbot family companies would do business in many fields. To give a famous example, the South Korean company Samsung is involved in smartphones, ovens, televisions, biotechnology, batteries and even produces ultrasound machines So perhaps your very first picture was taken with a Samsung ultrasound. But making family companies wealthy wouldn’t necessarily translate into making the average South Korean citizen wealthy. And so the government implemented a wide range of policies to make sure that the profits earned by large corporations would be reinvested into the average people.

For example, it subsidized fertilizer to improve crop yields and thus boosted the profits of rural farmers, large-scale public housing programs, wealth-sharing programs, building new schools and universities, emphasizing vocational training, and much more. This was not done to help the average South Korean citizen. Not at all. The reason was that improved living conditions for the people would legitimize the governments rule over the country in the eyes of those people whose lives it improved, fearing that high income inequality might bring about a communist revolution in South Korea. Throughout South Korea’s history the government was the leading driver in economic growth, but a lot of its plans were seen as impractical, inefficient, or just plain stupid.

But the South Korean government did it anyway and achieved successes greater than most outsiders would have ever considered possible. This method of economic management was so successful that the average income per person grew around 6-7% per year between the 60s and 90s. To put this into perspective, at the same time in Western Europe, this rate was around

3.5-4% per year on average. This extraordinary economic growth for that time was called the Miracle on the Han River or the South Korean Miracle. In today’s world, South Korea is seen as the preferred Korea to live in.

But back in the 1960s, North Korea was a serious contender for Korean hegemony, But why was this the case? Of its southern counterpart. This is in large part because North Korea had almost everything it needed within its own borders to create industry: it is rich in magnesia, zinc, iron, tungsten, anthracite, and gold; it had a large amount of factories to turn those raw materials into goods; and it had plenty of coal and forests to generate electricity for those factories and its people. Over time the North Korean economy became more and more intertwined with the military, where many industries were under army control such as infrastructure, construction, and logistics. North Koreans are allowed to join the military at 17 and almost all men join the army out of tradition, to gain opportunities in life, or out of a sense of duty to the country. The army and the economy are nearly synonymous in North Korean society, where the government promotes unity of soldiers and the people.

This is in large part because of Korea’s history: it had been used by Japan to invade China twice, it had been used by the Mongols to invade Japan twice, and it was occupied by foreign powers twice. And so North Korea built a strong defensive military, where nearly all men received military training and where the country has a large arsenal of weapons it could use for offense and defense. Should North Korea ever get invaded, it would have millions of soldiers able to fight a guerilla war until the occupation of North Korea became too costly, and their enemy would have to retreat. North Korea’s actions are in many ways shaped by its history of foreign invasion and the fear that that history will repeat itself. From the beginning, the government implemented a vast propaganda program which permeates nearly all parts of North Korean society to keep its people in line and promote national unity.

For example, it communicates to the people that no matter how mundane your job may be, that you are an important part of the country and that therefore the country will take care of you. This is not only a way to prevent the people from rebelling by giving them a sense of belonging, but also to motivate workers to be as productive as they can be to support the greater good. And while North Korea lacks the soil to produce enough food and refuses to import sufficient food from abroad, often leading to famine, that this struggle is shared among all the people of North Korea. And this propaganda is omnipresent in the nation. Let’s turn on the North Korean Anthem for this {START PLAYING NK NATIONAL ANTHEM} eighth.

Beautiful. Propaganda vans equipped with large speakers playing music, news, and propaganda are present at construction sites, coal mines, and other large working sites. While I would like to give a more chronological event of North Korean propaganda, there really isn’t that much information on it. In fact, I only found a single book which goes in depth on the subject of North Korean artistic expressions, which you are looking at right now. Common slogans are My Country is the Best, which is also the name of a popular NK song, and Beautiful Land of Korea.

You can find these slogans on the busses of North Korea and many forms of North Korean art, film, and literature are focused on the youth. Focusing on the heroism of young people and their contribution towards the future of their nation. If you want to see more modern forms of North Korean propaganda, you can do so right here on website. There is a website called Echo of Truth. Now, I can’t say for sure that it’s a 100% propaganda website, so judge for yourself There will be a playlist with various North Korean culture and propaganda at the end of this article.

Such as Morning, a popular North Korean band, with themes such as loyalty, patriotism, the military, science, and technology. Now, it is important to state that North Koreans aren’t any different from anybody else. After all, they go to work, play sports, and care for their children just like everywhere else in the world. A baker will worry whether his bread will rise in North Korea just as a baker in South Korea, South Africa, or South America would. And outdoor barbecues in parks, singing, dancing, and group saunas are all popular pastime activities in North Korea.

By the 1970s North Korean technology started lacking behind that of the rest of the world, and it was acutely aware of this. In the 60s and 70s North Korea refurbished its energy grid with the help of the Soviets, it modernized its military, and tried mechanizing its agricultural sector but that mostly failed. However, North Korea didn’t have the money to pay for all of this and so it borrowed the money. So much in fact that by 1975 it couldn’t repay its loans and simply decided to never repay their loans After all, its not like somebody could force North Korea to repay its debt. But this left the country with a major problem: nobody trusted North Korea anymore to lend them any money.

And so it needed to look for a new source of finance. And North Korea’s isolation gave it one very important advantage which most other countries didn’t have at the time: secrecy. And while we don’t know exactly when, it is thought that around the 1980s North Korea started exporting missiles and over the years their customers included Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Egypt. Union. But in 1991 the USSR collapsed.

As a result, North Korea lost a large amount of foreign aid which it used to get from the Soviets, and it lost its largest trading partner. Furthermore, China no longer had to worry about North Korea becoming a Soviet puppet state and also reduced the amount of funding it was giving North Korea. As a result, North Korea once again ran out of money. Not only that, in 1994 the leader of North Korea, Kim Losing, died and was replaced by his son, Kim Jong-il. As a result, the 90s was a major shift for North Korea: When Kim Jong-il ascended to power in North Korea, he took over a nation with a struggling economy and facing a famine.

In order to solve these problems, the new leadership adopted a new policy, the Son gun Policy in which the economy and military are of equal priority. In fact, Son gun literally means military first {PLAY AK-47s FOR EVERYONE E SOUND EFFECT}. In it the military would lead the recovery of the North Korean nation. To secure national independence, the military began developing nuclear weapons. And when North Korea had problems generating enough electricity in the 90s, the military helped build dozens of new dams along the many rivers, so many in fact that today hydroelectric power accounts for of North Korea’s energy.

North Korea even started to replace the Such policy of self-determination and self-reliance. Because North Korean soil isn’t well-suited to agriculture, the government sought to change the countries’ policy of isolationism by attempting to improve diplomatic ties with other countries. For example, North Korea agreed to pause its own nuclear weapon program in return for arranging the construction of two nuclear reactors by mainly South Korean contractors in 1994, halted testing of a long-range missile in 1999, decreased the amount of violent rhetoric, stopped incursions into the DMZ, and the leaders of North and South Korea met in 2000 to discuss taking steps towards unification. Relations between North Korea and countries in Europe and Asia were improving But even though North Korea had improved relationships, it did not receive the financial and economic aid North Korea likely hoped for: companies were unwilling to invest in a nation whose laws were arbitrary, countries were unwilling to provide more than food aid, and businesses didn’t see North Korea as a stable country to do businesses in. This was probably far too little for North Korea and relations worsened shortly after, when North Korea became more reluctant to dismantle its nuclear program and the USA’s president called North Korea an axis of evil.

In 2003 North Korea pulled out of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and continued developing nuclear weapons for self-defense. After all, if you have a nuke that can destroy entire cities people tend to be a lot less willing to invade you. By 2006 the country conducted underground tests, and it is widely thought that as of this moment North Korea had access to nuclear bombs. And so North Korea returned to its policy of isolation. From their perspective, there was little to gain from the outside world while the outside world could incite civil unrest similar to what happened in the Soviet Union.

North Korea might look like a nation which arbitrarily opens up, only to then break all ties again. But the North Korean perspective is one of fear and suspicion. It knows that South Korea, Japan, Europe, or the United States would like nothing more for North Korea to become part of a unified Korea led by the southern government, similar to how a united Germany was dominated by West Germany. North Korea’s leaders know they are balancing a starving population with the few resources available to them and does not want to end up like the Soviet Union, who liberalized its economy, broke apart, and where Russia is now a shell of its former self: With the European Union and United States turning former Soviet territories towards the west, while a resurgent China maneuvers itself into the politics of Central Asia which had been in the Russian sphere of influence for centuries. In a world where nuclear weapons deter invasion, where liberalism invites rebellion, and where power is exercised from a strong economy, North Korea is deeply distrustful of anyone who might upset the delicate balance its leaders have built.

North Korea is not some irrational actor on the world stage like it is often depicted. Not at all. North Korea’s government is consumed by fear. Fear of its own people who might rebel, fear of its allies who might install a new government, and fear of its enemies who might reunify Korea under the Souths rule. A south that was becoming more and more powerful.

collapse, South Korea was facing issues of democracy. Because even though South Korea held elections, these were typically not fair elections. As the popularity of President Park Chung-hee decreased, his methods became more dictatorial: in 1972 the government declared martial law, modified the constitution to give the president rule by decree, and made it nearly impossible for anybody else to run for president. In 1978 President Park was re-elected, as nobody else was allowed to run against him, eventually resulting in protests. When the president wanted to use ever more violent methods to put down the protests, he was assassinated by his own security forces in 79.

A military dictatorship once again took over the South Korean government and used ever-increasing authoritarian methods to secure its own power: Universities were closed, political activities banned, and freedom of the press further curtailed. But this led to a student demonstration in southern South Korea that was supported by the workers. This uprising was brutally suppressed as paratroopers were sent in to take over from the police So now the army was being used to suppress their own citizens. With support from political opposition, this protest did help to bring about a new constitution for the country and eventually led to resignation of the dictator. With this new constitution the national assembly gained more power, the president lost power, and the supreme court could appoint its own justices instead of the government.

But this wasn’t enough for most people and protestors demanding more democracy kept returning to the streets periodically. These protests were so successful, that when, in 1987, a new man was selected to become president, he was so afraid of the protestors that he allowed elections and ran on a platform promising more freedoms to the South Korean people. When he won, his government adopted a new constitution, giving more rights to its citizens and letting people vote directly for the president instead of using an electoral college. By the 90s South Korean democracy had become so successful that two former presidents were indicted for corruption, thousands of political prisoners were released, and criminal convictions of pro-democracy protestors were removed. Should you be someone who wants to live in a democracy, yet you live in a country ruled by a dictator, a country whose democracy is being eroded, or a country still struggling to get that democracy then there is almost no better example to follow than South Korea.

Dictator after dictator, protest after protest, death after death the South Korean people serve as an example to every person seeking democracy? The process from dictatorship to democracy took decades and even today South Koreans still protest to preserve the democracy they have created for themselves. Yet they never stopped protesting, never stopped demanding an end to the corruption, and never stopped fighting for their right to vote. If you need inspiration for how to democratize your nation, then I highly recommend you look at South Korea. Throughout the 90s South Korean citizens gained more liberties as various methods of oppression were lifted.

In addition, women campaigned for complete legal equality and won enhanced property ownership rights, the right to register as a head of family in a new family register system that took effect in 2008, equal diverse rights, and improved their legal standing in child-custody cases. But the 90s also saw a major economic shift. Because in 1997 the Asian Financial Crisis hit South Korea. Banks had been investing in the large family-owned corporations in order to create large corporations able to compete on the world stage but by 1997 a lot of money was being lent out, while most of those loans weren’t turning a profit and the massive debt resulted in major business failures across South Korea. As a result, the fast growth of the South Korean economy had come to an end.

South Korea had become a developed country and as a result, it was no longer able to use advanced technology to rapidly improve its economy because it already had implemented all the most advanced technology available. At the same time, a large corruption scandal in South Korea resulted in a bad reputation for doing business in the country. And so the South Korean government started the process of restructuring its economy: South Korea transitioned away from state-capitalism, based on the Japanese model, to neoliberal capitalism, based on the US model and once again, South Korea became more capitalist than the USA to the point where South Korea now lectures the USA on the virtues of free trade and shames them for deregulating financial and labor markets. It was to become easier to do business. For example, before if you wanted to open a factory in South Korea you would need 299 different permits or bribe officials to get permission.

But such bureaucracy was cut down and starting a business was made easier. Corporations had to be more transparent in financial reporting, corporate governance, and debt stabilization in order to avoid further corruption. But the South Korean government also reduced its influence in businesses, in particular, the chatbots, the family-run corporations. But while the government was involving itself less with corporations, corporations started involving themselves more in the government. In 1988 president of Hyundai Heavy Industries, part of a Chatbot, successfully ran for the national assembly of South Korea.

This was soon followed by various other business leaders joining the national assembly with an ever decreasing separation of business and state. And over time the corporations have gained more and more power in South Korean politics. Part of this has to do with the fact that the neoliberal economic system allows rich and powerful individuals to join national politics. But another part is the sheer size and wealth the chatbots have in South Korea. Just to give a few examples of just how powerful these companies are: Samsung alone accounts for 20% of all South Korea’s exports and when President Lee Myung-Bak took office, he pardoned several business people for tax evasion such as Samsung Group chairman Lee Knee, Choir Jae-won of SK Group, Chung Mong-Koo of Hyundai, Kim Seung-Youn of Hanna, and Shin Dong-bin of Lott.

In essence, these people and their businesses had become more powerful than the law; Or look at Hand Group, which bribed politicians to give them large government contracts in favor of their competitors. The list of corruption scandals in South Korea is almost endless. The recent corruption scandal involving the president in 2016 wasn’t unique In fact, South Korea has a large political scandal every few years when high-ranking officials are involved in corruption, rigging elections, illegal surveillance, and much more than I could do justice in this article. And even if these companies wanted to completely distance themselves from politics, the sheer size of these organizations means that any step they take can cause major shifts in the economy. While the modern-day United States also has ever-increasing corporate influence, South Korea’s companies are far larger in relation to the national economy than those of the United States and therefore wield far more power over national politics.

Once again, the Koreans are better at the system than the country upon which they based their own system. And South Korea will have to deal with the influences these large corporations have on their society going into the future. Today’s Korea is a highly advanced country. One which is famous for its cutting-edge design, superior quality, and technological prowess But it is also famous for something else: K-pop. Is more than just music.

K-pop is a weapon: a geopolitical weapon that has been carefully cultivated by the government to promote South Korea across the world. You see, after the Asian Financial Crisis in the 90s, the South Korean economic growth slowed down to similar levels to that of other developed economies. And so South Korea looked towards a new type of product it could export to the world. And it found this product in its unique culture. Up until the 80s, censorship was common in South Korea.

For example, there were only two broadcast networks which controlled what South Koreans could listen to. But in 1987, as part of the democratization of the country, this censorship were lifted and new types of music came flooding in from abroad: Rock music, independent music, pop music If you look up the famous South Korean media companies you will find that many of them were founded shortly after the censorship was lifted. By the 90s the government looked at all these new forms of Korean media and decided that it would start selling this media to the rest of the world. And it is easy to see why. Hollywood or Japanese anime earn billions every year.

But it was about more than just money. South Korea also wanted to improve its image to the rest of the world. Because up until the 1990s, most people associated South Korea with the Asian Financial Crisis, dictatorship, North Korea, violent repression, the Korean War, and poverty. But South Korea now wanted to sell itself as a modern country, a prosperous country, a free country. A country that was an equal of the rest of the developing world.

In short, South Korea is trying to portray itself as Best Korea. And if you want to SELL to the outside world, you need to KNOW about the outside world. After all, the first rule of marketing is known your customer. But South Koreans still weren’t allowed to travel abroad freely until the early 90s, when, after decades, the government finally lifted the travel ban. And the South Korean population, which had become richer and richer since the 1960s, used their wealth to travel the world.

In particular, they traveled to Europe and North America. They went as tourists to go sightseeing, they went as students to study, and they went as employees to start their careers. And after a few years many of those young South Koreans who had been living, studying, and working in western societies came back to South Korea. And they took with them new perspectives on doing business, new forms of innovation, and new interpretations of the arts. And what did those young people do with their new experiences, new expertise, and new perspectives? Well, many of them created a new type of Korean art such as music, movies, TV series, and article games.

And the first South Korean cultural product that became popular abroad were Korean dramas K-dramas. These were originally intended for the South Korean market but soon spread to other East-Asian nations such as Japan, China, and Taiwan, where it gained popularity in the early 2000s. These countries are culturally similar to South Korea and so East Asian audiences can still enjoy Korean dramas for their recognizable traditional elements. An example of such a common cultural element is Chute, the superior gentleman. This is a stereotype of a man who strives to achieve perfection and self-actualisation, blending the values of altruism and self-autonomy to signify the ideal man.

This often takes the form of rulers, husbands, and elder brothers. And if you live in East Asia and are sick of the myriad of Hollywood movies in your life, it is refreshing to see media which is closer to your own culture, which you can better identify with, and which has high production values. The government then used cultural festivals to display Korean culture, conducted PR campaigns to promote South Korean uniqueness, and supported the entertainment businesses by making it easier to do business. This process of Korean culture spreading across the world is known as the Korean Wave, or Hall. And the Korean Wave was carefully engineered by the Samsung Research Institute: first you create a popularity for Korean culture, then people will purchase Korean cultural products, next people will buy other Korean products such as cosmetics or food, and lastly this leads to a favorable impression of South Korea.

And if you’re like me and hear about this for the first time, you might recognize some of these stages you have taken yourself. I first saw Gangnam Style in 2012, I started listening to some more K-pop in 2013, I bought Korean cosmetics in 2014, and when I had a South-Korean boss in 2016 I had such a favorable view of South Korea that I actively asked questions about her culture And now I am even making an article about Korea, perpetuating the cycle. And South Korean cultural products are becoming more and more popular abroad: more Korean restaurants, more Korean language students, and more people visiting South Korea. The rise of Korean culture, from K-pop, to K-dramas, to K-cuisine was not a fluke. It was a carefully crafted strategy to spread Korean culture across the world for the benefit of South Korea.

South Korean culture. It started with a band called SEO Tail and Boys in the 90s, with the song I know where US pop music was fused with South Korean culture. Between 1995 and 98 three large studios were founded to cultivate what would become known as idol groups: SM Entertainment no. not the fun kind, JP Entertainment, and KG Entertainment. The first of these custom-made idol groups was H.O.T.

in 1996, which was created by assembling five singers and dancers whom the producers believed represented what teens wanted to see from a modern pop group. And this evolved to a K-pop which focuses on exceptionally high-quality performance such as dancing, an extremely polished aesthetic, and an assembly line studio production which makes regular musical hits. And throughout the decades K-pop has remained highly segregated, where bands are made solely of either male or female performers. Where male groups cover a wide range of topics while female groups generally fall into 3 themes: the shy school girl singing about their crush, a woman seeking a stronger older male figure to fulfill their fantasies, and women who reject male validation. Life, so often portrayed in South Korean TV, music, and movies, spurred almost all recent North Korean refugees to flee their country.

The North Korean government apparently sees South Korean media as a dangerous threat to its stability. In fact, being caught with foreign media is a serious crime. Being caught with South Korean media is REALLY serious crime yet evens, many North Koreans read foreign media. But always on a low volume and keeping an eye out for inspectors to not get caught. North Korean refugees even state that some weddings have two parts: one with songs approved by the government and a secret ceremony incorporating rituals borrowed from South Korean media.

As methods of storing digital information have grown smaller and smaller, from VCR to DVD to USB, it has become easier to smuggle them into North Korea. As a result, foreign media becomes increasingly more widespread. And even though North Korea has a lot of hydroelectric power plants, power outages are still common, making it difficult to read such foreign media. But luckily for North Koreans, the cost of solar panels has dropped, and it is estimated that today around 55% of all North Korean households use solar panels to generate power. And with the death of Kim Jong-il 2011, life for most average North Koreans has improved.

Kim Jong-il was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un. And under his leadership the country has reformed its economy to be more efficient: There had always been a prominent black market in North Korea where people would trade goods outside of government oversight. But in the 2010s, the government started legalizing more and more of such activities. For example, while before farmers had to give any surplus food to the state, more recently farmers are allowed to sell a small portion of their crops on an open market where they are allowed to set their own prices. This generally increases productivity because if you can increase the profit you make by producing more food, then you are incentivized to find new ways to produce more food.

And the North Korean government has also become less isolationist and less belligerent in the 21st century. For example, In 1983, its agents blew up a delegation of South Koreans in Myanmar, killing several cabinet members. In 1987, it downed a South Korean airliner. But such actions have stopped. The regime of Kim Jong-un has had to deal with the widespread sanctions imposed against the country.

Starting with the United States in the 50s, to the European unions in the 2000s, to most countries in the world by the 2010s. North Korea had never traded much with the outside world, but did have some trade relations with them to sell the vast natural resources and cheap products to foreign countries, So what did North Korea do in response to all these sanctions? Well, North Korea did what almost every country does when they face sanctions: they avoid them. But how? North Korea is able to exploit the fears of China. Particularly the fear that if the North Korean government collapses that millions of North Korean refugees might flood into China, that the nuclear weapons it has been building will fall in the hands of local warlords who might use those weapons to hold China hostage by threatening to blow up a few Chinese cities, and that North Korea might unify with South Korea and become a capitalist pro-USA nation. And so China keeps trading with North Korea despite officially putting sanctions on North Korea.

But it also keeps trading with the rest of the world through China. Because North Korean labor is so cheap, many Chinese businesses will gladly buy North Korean goods such as clothing, add the made in China label, and then sell it to the rest of the world for a large profit. Some of you reading are probably wearing clothes made in North Korea. And through this policy, North Korea had to once again attach itself more and more to a larger, more powerful neighbor. This time, the Peoples Republic of China.

it would be prudent to look at the education in North Korea. Interestingly, education has been an important part of North Korean society. While it suffers from famines and is quite poor, its people are better educated than most other developing countries. It has compulsory education for all children up to the age of 11 for most of its history and many North Koreans are trained as engineers, nuclear physicists, and many other high-skilled jobs. It is therefore wrong for people to assume that North Koreans are uneducated and stupid people who don’t know what’s going on in their country or the world around them.

In fact, many North Koreans often listen or read South Korean media, many of them live and work in China, and many North Koreans do receive news about the outside world. So even though the country is very isolated from the rest of the world, it is significant to note that these people are no different from us. And if we can see through the lies our politicians tell us, so can they see through the lies of their politicians. And it would be wrong of us to assume that they are somehow stupid. To an end for now.

And while this article only focussed on a part of the history of North Korea and South Korea, there are many more parts which I did not cover in this article. So when someone comments about how I did not cover certain parts of Korean history, such as, re-education camps, various presidential scandals, or abolishing the power of the landowning elites in South Korea. Then they are probably right. And I cannot cover everything significant in a short article like this. People can spend a lifetime studying Korea and still learn new things.

So if you were thinking I skipped something significant, then please comment down below and teach us more about the Korean peninsula. I ALWAYS look forward to learning more about the subjects of my articles. And if you liked this article then please like, pin it, and hit the notification bell. Next article will be about India after independence, and you can vote on the article after that in the poll in the description. This was Avery from History Scope, thank you for reading JOIN THE DISCORD SERVER!!!.

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