Korea, South

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Overview
<p> South Korea served as the flash point of the beginning of the Cold War when the United States engaged in the first of many proxy wars with North Korean Communist forces backed by the Soviet Union and the People&rsquo;s Republic of China. In 1950, a series of onslaughts by North Korean troops overwhelmed South Korean and United States forces, which threatened to bring the entire Korean peninsula under communist rule. Led by the U.S. military, the United Nations responded with a counter assault that turned the tide of the conflict in favor of Western forces &mdash;that is until China&rsquo;s entrance into the war. Under Mao Zedong, the Chinese government supplied hundreds of thousands of troops to the North Korean cause, reaching an ultimate count of more than two million troops to prevent the U.S. from taking control of Korea. Eventually, the war settled into a stalemate with the fighting ending after two years, but without a formal declaration of peace.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> Although no significant fighting occurred after the end of the Korean War, the U.S. continued to station large numbers of American troops in South Korea near the North Korean border, for fear of another invasion during the Cold War. The U.S. continued to support the South Korean government even after its military seized power in the early 1960s and ruled the country for the next 20 years. Gradually, South Korea moved towards opening its political system in the 1980s, while at the same time developing its economy into a regional power that bloomed in the 1990s. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has relaxed its military stature in South Korea, though a significant number of American infantry and aircraft are still stationed there, owing to North Korea&rsquo;s unpredictable behavior. Relations between South Korea and the U.S. are fairly stable, though the conclusion of a free trade agreement prompted fears among many groups in South Korea over the importation of beef from the U.S. , following the mad cow disease controversy in 2003.</p>
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Basic Information
<p> <b>Lay of the Land</b>: Located in northeast Asia, the Korean Peninsula juts south from Manchuria into the Pacific Ocean, dividing the Sea of Japan from the Yellow Sea. Mountains cover most of the northern and southwestern regions of the peninsula, and a coastal plain runs along the eastern coast.</p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Population</b>: 49.2 million</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Religions</b>: Buddhist 21.9%, Protestant 17.6%, Catholic 10.5%, Won Buddhism 0.3%, Confucianism 0.2%, other (Jehovah&rsquo;s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists) 0.5%, non-religious 45.1%</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Homogeneous, except for 20,000 Chinese.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <p> <b>Languages</b></p> <p> : Korean (official)</p>
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History
<p> South Korea came into being after World War II, the result of a 1945 agreement reached by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. The 38th parallel was established at the boundary between a northern zone of the Korean peninsula, which was to be occupied by the USSR, and a southern zone that would be controlled by U.S, forces.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Elections were held in the U.S. zone in 1948 for a national assembly, which adopted a republican constitution and elected Rhee Syng-man as the nation&rsquo;s president. The new republic was proclaimed on August 15 and was recognized as the legal government of Korea by the United Nations (UN) on December 12, 1948.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On June 25, 1950, North Korean Communist forces launched a massive surprise attack on South Korea, quickly overrunning the capital, Seoul. Two days later, on June 27, U.S. armed intervention was ordered by President Harry Truman, and the UN invoked military sanctions against North Korea. General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of the UN forces.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> U.S. and South Korean troops fought a fierce holding action, but by the first week of August they were forced back to a 4,000-square-mile beachhead in southeast Korea. There they stood off superior North Korean forces until September 15, when a major UN amphibious assault was launched deep behind Communist lines at Inchon, the port of Seoul.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Within two weeks, UN forces were able to rebound and gain complete control of South Korea. They then crossed the 38th parallel and pursued retreating Communist forces into North Korea. In late October, as UN forces neared the Sino-Korean border, several hundred thousand Chinese Communist troops entered the conflict, pushing MacArthur&rsquo;s forces back to the border between North and South Korea. By the time truce talks began on July 10, 1951, UN forces had crossed over the parallel again and were driving back into North Korea. Cease-fire negotiations dragged on for two years before an armistice was finally signed at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953, leaving a devastated Korea in need of large-scale rehabilitation. No official peace treaty has ever been signed between the former combatants.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President Rhee Syng-man was forced to resign in 1960 amid rising discontent with his autocratic leadership. Po Sun-yun was elected to succeed him, but political instability continued. In 1961, General Chung Hee-park seized power and subsequently began a program of economic reforms designed to stimulate the nation&rsquo;s economy. The US stepped up military aid, strengthening South Korea&rsquo;s armed forces to 600,000 men. Park&rsquo;s assassination on October 26, 1979, by Kim Jae-kyu, head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, brought a liberalizing trend as new president Choi Kyu-hah freed imprisoned dissidents.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The release of opposition leader Kim Dae-jung in February 1980 sparked antigovernment demonstrations that turned into riots, which were brutally suppressed by authorities. Kim, the most visible leader of the opposition, was imprisoned again. Choi resigned on August 16. Chun Doo-hwan, head of a military Special Committee for National Security Measures, was the sole candidate when the electoral college confirmed him as president on August 27. In 1986&ndash;1987, South Korea&rsquo;s opposition demanded that the president be selected by direct popular vote. After weeks of protest and rioting, Chun agreed to the demand. A split in the opposition led to the election of Roh Tae-woo on December 16, 1987.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In August 1996, Roh was convicted on bribery charges, and Chun was convicted for bribery as well as his role in the 1979 coup and the 1980 crackdown on rioters. In 1997, an accumulation of corrupt business practices and bad loans led to a series of bankruptcies and a massive devaluation of South Korea&rsquo;s currency. The political instability that followed helped former dissident Kim Dae-jung become the first South Korean president ever to be elected from the political opposition.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2000, President Kim Dae-jung met with North Korea&rsquo;s president, Kim Jong-il, in Pyongyang. The summit marked the first-ever meeting of the two countries&rsquo; leaders. The result of the summit was the Sunshine Policy, a peace and reconciliation agreement for which Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2000.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Roh Moo-hyun of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party became president in February 2003 and promptly faced daunting problems. His vow to pursue his predecessor&rsquo;s Sunshine Policy toward North Korea was put to the test as the North continued to taunt the world with boasts of its nuclear capabilities. In addition, many South Koreans had begun to resent U.S. influence over their country. In March 2004, the conservative national assembly voted overwhelmingly to impeach Roh, claiming he had violated election laws. More than 70% of the public, however, condemned the move. The constitutional court dismissed the impeachment in May, and Roh was reinstated as president.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A team of researchers led by Hwang Woo -suk stunned the world in May 2005 when they announced that they had devised a new procedure to produce human stem-cell lines from a cloned human embryo. Hwang became a national hero and received millions of dollars in research money from the government. However, the country&rsquo;s reign as the leader in the field of cloning was short-lived. In January 2006, a Seoul National University panel reported that Hwang had fabricated evidence for his cloning research. His downfall was a blow to the entire nation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan resigned under pressure in March 2006 after facing intense criticism for playing golf rather than dealing with a national railway workers&rsquo; strike. He was replaced by Han Duck-soo.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For the first time in 56 years, trains passed between North and South Korea in May 2007. While the event was mostly symbolic, it was considered an important step toward reconciliation. Eventually, South Korea hopes that a trans-Korean railroad will provide easier access to other parts of Asia.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In July 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean missionaries from a Protestant church group while they were traveling by bus in Afghanistan. Two of the hostages were killed after the Taliban&rsquo;s demands for a prisoner exchange were not met with a positive response by the Afghan government.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 2007, President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met for their second ever inter-Korean summit. The leaders forged a deal to work together on several economic projects and agreed to move toward signing a treaty that would formally end the Korean War.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Lee Myung-bak, of the opposition Grand National Party, won the December 2007 presidential elections, taking 48.7% of the vote. Chung Dong-yong, who was endorsed by outgoing president Roh Moo-hyun, took 26.1%. Lee had been dogged by allegations of ethical improprieties, and two days before the election, the National Assembly voted to reopen an investigation into whether he manipulated the stock of an investment company. A special prosecutor cleared Lee of the fraud allegations, and less than a week later he was sworn in as president. In January 2008, he named Han Seung-soo as his prime minister. Lee said he would work to improve South Korea&#39;s economy and forge closer ties with the United States.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2008, just months into his presidency, Lee faced massive protests in Seoul over his decision to resume imports of American beef, which was banned in 2003 after the U.S. outbreak of mad cow disease. The protests, which took place in Seoul for about six weeks before peaking on June 10, implied overall dissatisfaction with President Lee. Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and all 15 cabinet members submitted their resignations. Three ministers were replaced, but President Lee refused to accept the other resignations. South Korea and the U.S. reached an agreement that said the U.S. would not export beef that came from cattle under 30 months of age.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Lee&rsquo;s troubles worsened during the global financial crisis that crippled many nations in the fall of 2008. His detractors criticized his response to the turmoil as inconsistent and muddled.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/krtoc.html" target="_blank">Library of Congress Country Study</a></div> <div> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_South_Korea">History of South Korea</a> (Wikipedia)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.clickkorea.org/">Click Korea: Access to Korean Arts and Culture</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreafocus.or.kr/">Korea Focus</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreana.or.kr/index.asp?lang=en">Koreana: A Quarterly on Korea Art &amp; Culture</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/korea/main.html">The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arts of Korea</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kccla.org/">Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles - KCCLA</a></div> <div> <a href="http://english.seoul.go.kr/">Hi Seoul, Soul of Asia</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kf.or.kr/">Korea Foundation</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.keia.org/">The Korea Economic Institute - KEI</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EAL/resources/korean.html">UC Berkeley Electronic Resources &ndash; Korean Studies</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.koreasociety.org/"><span>The Korea Society</span></a></p>
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Korea, South's Newspapers
<p> <a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/skorea.htm">South Korean Newspapers</a></p> <div> <a href="http://www.chosun.com/">Chosun Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.donga.com/">Donga Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.busan.com/">Busan Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kukinews.com/">Gook-Min Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://news.hankooki.com/">Han-Gook Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hani.co.kr/">The Hankyoreh</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.joins.com/">Joong Ang Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hankyung.com/">The Korea Economic Daily</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/">The Korea Herald [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/">The Korea Times [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.khan.co.kr/">Kyong-Hyang Shinmun (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.mk.co.kr/">Maeil Business Newspaper</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.imaeil.com/">Maeil Shinmum</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.munhwa.com/">Munhwa Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://theseoultimes.com/">The Seoul Times [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.ohmynews.com/">Oh My News (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://sports.hankooki.com/">Han-Gook Sports</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.yeongnam.co.kr/">Yeong-Nam Ilbo (Daegu)</a></div> <p> <a href="http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/"><span>Yonhap News (Seoul) [In English]</span></a></p>
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History of U.S. Relations with Korea, South
<p> The first significant wave of immigration occurred in 1882, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Deprived of cheap Chinese labor, Hawaiian agribusiness interests contacted Horace Allen, the American ambassador to Korea, asking for help in bringing over Koreans to work in the sugar plantations. Allen turned to David Deshler, a banker and entrepreneur who loaned as much as $100 to Koreans interested in emigrating (he also was paid $55 for each recruit, in contrast to the monthly wages of $14 paid to plantation laborers).</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> With the Japanese invasion at the turn of the 20th century, this option became increasingly popular, and thousands of Koreans emigrated. Anti-Asian sentiment flared up in response to this new influx, and culminated in 1906 when San Francisco segregated its Korean and Japanese students, requiring them to attend exclusively Chinese schools. President Theodore Roosevelt, keen to placate an offended Japan, worked out a gentleman&rsquo;s agreement nullifying the segregation but also limiting Japanese and Korean immigrant laborers. During this period the only immigrants were Korean women selected for arranged marriages, &ldquo;picture brides&rdquo; who had never met their future spouses until they arrived on the docks of San Francisco or Honolulu.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The gentleman&rsquo;s agreement was superseded by the Immigration Act of 1924, which prohibited any further Korean immigrants until the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 once again opened up limited Asian immigration. Discriminatory immigration policy finally ended with the Immigration Act of 1965, which allowed 170,000 annual immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, and 120,000 from the Western Hemisphere, with a quota of 20,000 immigrants per Asian country.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Out of the 1.3 million people of Korean descent in the U.S., the vast majority live in California, with a community of 283,000 in Los Angeles alone. Other states with large Korean communities are Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> Following the end of the Korean War, South Korea continued to depend on United States military assistance, along with the stationing of thousands of U.S. troops along the border with North Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In spite of initial United States hesitation about supporting Park in 1961, the two countries maintained close economic, military, and diplomatic ties. South Korea dispatched combat troops to South Vietnam in 1965 to augment United States forces there, and President Lyndon B. Johnson paid a personal visit to Seoul in October 1966 to show his appreciation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Friction began to develop in the Washington-Seoul relationship after the United States withdrew one of its two divisions from South Korea in 1971 and intensified after Park instituted rigorous authoritarian measures under his 1972 constitution. This tension led to an accelerated effort by the Park government to gain support in the U.S. Congress. The methods used by Seoul&rsquo;s lobbyists ultimately resulted in the embarrassing &ldquo;Koreagate&rdquo; affair of 1977, involving former Ambassador Kim Dong-jo and rice dealer Park Tong Sun. Investigations by the Ethics Committee and by the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives received much press coverage and weakened U.S. support for South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During his presidential election campaign in 1976, Jimmy Carter pledged, if elected, to withdraw all combat troops from South Korea. His victory aggravated United States-South Korean relations considerably. In March 1977, the U.S. decided to withdraw its ground combat forces over a four-to-five year period. Some 3,600 troops subsequently were withdrawn, but further reductions were suspended in 1979. In the meantime, President Carter and the Congress continued to press for the improvement of the human rights climate in South Korea. Relations between the two countries were at a low point in 1979, just before Park&rsquo;s assassination. In early 1981, President Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s administration announced that further withdrawals would not take place.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The relationship between the Chun regime and the Reagan administration stood in sharp contrast to the strained Washington-Seoul relationship under presidents Carter and Park. Reagan provided unmitigated support to Chun and to South Korea&rsquo;s security. Chun was Reagan&rsquo;s first official guest in the White House, and Reagan reaffirmed his support of Chun by visiting Seoul in November 1983.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While Reagan&rsquo;s support considerably buttressed Chun&rsquo;s stature in domestic politics and the international arena, it also fueled the subculture of anti-Americanism. The opposition forces in South Korea, suffering from the government&rsquo;s stringent suppression, denounced United States&rsquo; support for the Chun regime as a callous disregard for human rights and questioned U.S. motives in Korea. The past image of the United States as a staunch supporter of democracy in South Korea was replaced with that of defender of its own interests, a policy impervious to injustices committed in South Korea. This view was accentuated by the fact that Chun&rsquo;s White House visit occurred only several months after the Martial Law Command had brutally suppressed the student uprising in Kwangju. (It was later revealed by Richard V. Allen, National Security Advisor to President Reagan, that Chun&rsquo;s visit was part of Washington&#39;s diplomatic effort to spare the life of Kim Dae-jung who had been sentenced to death.) This atmosphere led some of South Korea&rsquo;s radical elements to take extreme measures, such as arson committed at the United States Information Service building in Pusan in March 1982 and the occupation of the United States Information Service Library in Seoul in May 1985. Students who demonstrated against the Chun government invariably carried anti-American slogans.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In time, trade became a serious source of friction between the two countries. In 1989, the U.S. was South Korea&rsquo;s largest and most important trading partner, and South Korea was the seventh-largest market for United States goods and the second largest market for its agricultural products. Tension, however, developed over South Korea&rsquo;s trade surplus. Correcting and eliminating this trade imbalance became the center of economic controversy between Seoul and Washington. Although Seoul gave in to Washington&rsquo;s demands to avoid being designated as a &ldquo;priority foreign country&rdquo; (PFC) under the United States &ldquo;Super 301&rdquo; provisions of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, economic policymakers in Seoul greatly resented this unilateral economic threat. They also feared that the PFC designation would fuel anti-Americanism throughout South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Security also became another source of strain. Some policymakers in Seoul and Washington maintained that United States forces should remain in South Korea as long as Seoul wanted and needed them. Not only did 94% of South Koreans support the presence of American forces, but even the vocal opposition parties favored a continued U.S. military presence in South Korea. Stability in the peninsula, they argued, had been maintained because strong Seoul-Washington military cooperation deterred further aggression.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> Other policymakers, however, felt that United States troops should gradually be leaving South Korea. They argued that South Korea in the late 1980s was more economically, militarily, and politically capable of coping with North Korea. Moreover, they doubted that Pyongyang could contemplate another military action, given its acrimonious relationships with Moscow and Beijing. In Washington, meanwhile, an increasing number of policymakers advocated gradual troop withdrawal for budgetary reasons. During Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney&rsquo;s February 1990 visit to South Korea, consultations on restructuring the Washington-Seoul security relationship marked the beginning of the change in status of United States forces from a leading to a supporting role in South Korea&rsquo;s defense. In addition, Seoul was asked to substantially increase its contribution to defense costs.</p>
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Current U.S. Relations with Korea, South
<p> <b>Noted Korean-Americans</b></p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Public Service</b><u>:</u></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Harold Hongju Koh</b>: Dean of Yale Law School, he served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and is the Obama Administration&rsquo;s nominee for Legal Adviser of the Department of State. His brother, Howard Kyongju Koh, a Harvard professor, was nominated for the position of United States Assistant Secrety for Health by the Obama Administration.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Herbert Young Cho Choy</b>: Appointed United States federal judge by President Richard Nixon in 1971, he became the first Asian American to become a U.S. federal judge and the first Korean-American to be admitted to the bar in the U.S.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Howard Kyongju Koh</b>: Currently the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, as well as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor, at the Harvard School of Public Health, Koh is also President Barack Obama&rsquo;s nominee for United States Assistant Secretary for Health.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>John Choon Yoo</b>: Born in South Korea, Yoo served as deputy assistant attorney general from 2001-2003 in the U.S. Department of Justice&rsquo;s Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo is notorious for his memos providing legal justification for controversial interrogation techniques. The methods he defended are regarded as torture by the international community at large. Yoo defends the Bush Administration&rsquo;s policies in the War on Terrorism, including the warrantless wiretapping program.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Michelle Eunjoo Park Steel</b>: Elected to the California Board of Equalization&rsquo;s Third District in 2006, Steel represents more than 8 million people. From 2001-2003, she also served on the President&rsquo;s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and later on the White House Conference on Aging, under President George W. Bush.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Young-woo Kang</b>: As special education expert and former policy advisor of the National Council on Disability to the Bush Administration in 2001, Kang became the first blind Korean to earn both a masters (Psychology) and doctorate (Special Education) degree. He introduced special programs at firefighting and police academies in America to train servicemen to rescue the disabled.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Art/Entertainment/Media</b></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Amerie Mi Marie Rogers</b>: Half Korean and half African-American R&amp;B singer, Amerie was twice nominated for 2006 Grammy Awards: Best Female R&amp;B (&ldquo;1 Thing&rdquo;) Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary R&amp;B Album (<i>Touch</i>). She also won Soul Train&rsquo;s Music Awards as Best R&amp;B/Soul or Rap New Artist and Soul Train Lady of Soul Award&rsquo;s Entertainer of the Year.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Daniel Dae</b>: Korean-born American actor who immigrated to the U.S. at age two, he was named one of <i>People Magazine&rsquo;s</i> &ldquo;Sexiest Men Alive&rdquo; in 2005. He is best known for his role as Jin-soo Kwon on the hit television series <i>Lost</i>. He has also been cast in the TV series <i>CSI: Crime Scene Investigation</i>, <i>Angel</i>, <i>24</i>, <i>Star Trek: Voyager</i>, <i>Star: Trek: Enterprise</i>, <i>Crusade</i>, <i>Charmed</i>, <i>Seinfeld</i>, <i>NYPD Blue</i>, <i>ER</i>, and in the movies <i>Crash</i> and <i>Spider-Man 2</i>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>James Kyson Lee:</b> He is one of the main members of the cast of the NBC drama series <i>Heroes.</i></div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Jim Lee</b>: A comic book artist, creator, and publisher, he is an artist and co-writer of Marvel&rsquo;s well known <i>X-Men</i> series. He also wrote and illustrated <i>Iron Man</i> and <i>The Fantastic Four</i>. Lee also contributed to several issues of <i>Batman</i>, <i>Superman</i>, <i>All Star Batman and Robin</i>, and <i>The Boy Wonder</i>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>John Cho</b>: Actor who was born in Seoul and came to the U.S. in 1978, when he was six years old. He &nbsp;is best known for starring in <i>Harold &amp; Kumar</i> films (2004, 2008), as well as his roles in <i>American Pie</i> films (1999, 2001, 2003). He starred in the situation comedy <i>Off Centre</i>, as well as in the movie <i>Better Luck Tomorrow</i> (2002). Cho played the character of Mr. Sulu in <i>Star Trek</i> (2009).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Joseph Hahn</b>: Best known as the DJ for the popular rap-metal-rock band Linkin Park. Not only has he directed music videos and remixed songs for the band, he has also directed music videos for Static-X, Story of the Year, Xzibit, X-Ecutioners, and Alkaline Trio.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Juju Chang</b>: A two-time Emmy Award winner, she is a correspondent for ABC News&rsquo; <i>20/20</i>, <i>Good Morning America</i>, <i>Nightline</i>, and an anchor for <i>ABC News Now</i> and <i>Good Morning America&rsquo;s Weekend Edition</i>. She also produced and reported for <i>World News Tonight</i>, produced a DuPont-Columbia Award winning series on women&rsquo;s health, and earned a Gracie Award for a report on judicial activism on PBS &ldquo;Now,&rdquo; a second Gracie Award for a 20/20 story &ldquo;Women and Science,&rdquo; and a Freddie for a PBS series &ldquo;The Art of Women&rsquo;s Health.&rdquo;</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Margaret Cho</b> (Moran Cho): Best known for her stand-up comedy routines, she often addresses issues concerning substance abuse, sexuality, Asian-American stereotypes, and political problems. Her off-Broadway one-woman show, <i>I&rsquo;m the One That I Want</i> (1999), and stand up shows <i>Notorious C.H.O. </i>(2001) and <i>Revolution</i> (2003) are among her most successful tours.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Nam June Paik</b>: An artist who worked with different media, Paik is a pioneer of video art, which originated in the 1960s. Born in Seoul in 1932, his family fled during the Korean War, when he was 18 years old. He settled in New York City in 1964.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Michael Kim</b>: As an anchor for ESPNEWS&rsquo; <i>The Hot List</i> and ESPN&rsquo;s <i>SportsCenter</i>, he became the first Asian American national sportscaster to anchor on a daily basis.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Peter Shin</b>: He is the supervising director of the hit TV series <i>Family Guy</i> and of the film <i>Stewie Griffin</i>: <i>The Untold Story</i>, as well as the character layout artist for several episodes of <i>The Simpsons. </i>Shin was the Assistant Director of<i> The Rugrats Movie </i>(1998).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Rick Yune</b>: He became the first Asian to model for Versace and Polo Sports. Yune is best known for his parts in <i>Snow Falling on Cedars</i> (1999)<i>, The Fast and the Furious </i>(2001)<i>, </i>and James Bond&rsquo;s <i>Die Another Day</i> (2002)<i>. </i></div> <div> <i>&nbsp;</i></div> <div> <b>Steve Byrne: </b>A stand-up comedian of half-Irish, half-Korean descent, Byrne stars in Comedy Central&rsquo;s <i>Steve Byrne&rsquo;s Happy Hour</i>. He has been featured on the NBC series <i>The Real Wedding Crashers</i>, <i>The Tonight Show</i>, <i>The Late Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly, </i>BET&rsquo;s <i>ComicView</i>, ABC&rsquo;s <i>Good Morning America</i>, Comedy Central&rsquo;s <i>Premium Blend</i>, and has made appearances on <i>Chappelle&rsquo;s Show</i> and <i>Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn</i>.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Will Yun Lee</b>: Named one of the &ldquo;50 Most Beautiful People&rdquo; by <i>People Magazine</i> in 2002, he secured major roles in the films <i>Die Another Day, Torque, Elektra,</i> and played one of the main characters in NBC&rsquo;s <i>Bionic Woman</i>. In 2007, <i>People Magazine</i> designated Lee as one of the 15 &ldquo;Sexiest Men Alive.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Athletes</b></div> <div> <b>Han Bong-soo</b>: With a 9th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Hapkido, and founder of the International Hapkido Federation, Han Bong-soo is known as the &ldquo;Father of Hapkido&rdquo; in America. In addition, he created and staged some of the most realistic martial arts fight sequences in the motion picture <i>Billy Jack</i> (1971).&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Hines E. Ward, Jr</b><b>.</b>: Pittsburgh Steeler&rsquo;s wide receiver, he was the first Korean-American to be voted MVP of a Super Bowl (X)L. He is a two-time Super Bowl Champion (XL, XLIII). In 2006, he founded the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation &ldquo;to help mixed-race children like himself in South Korea.&rdquo;</div> <div> <b>Jay Dee &ldquo;B.J.&rdquo; Penn</b>: Also known as &ldquo;The Prodigy,&rdquo; Penn is former UFC Welterweight Champion and the present Ultimate Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion (2008-present). As a professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, he won tournaments and became the first American-born winner of the 2000 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category.</div> <div> <b>Jeanette Lee</b>: Among numerous national and international championships, this professional pool player won the gold medal for the U.S. at the 2001 World Games. Dubbed the black widow, she is twice-winner of the ladies&rsquo; Tournament of Champions (1999, 2003). During the 1990s, she ranked as the number 1 female pool player in the world and, in 1998, she was awarded Sportsperson of the Year by the Women&rsquo;s Professional Billiard Association.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jhoon Goo Rhee</b>: In the 1950s, he introduced Taekwondo, the Korean martial arts, to the United States, earning the title &ldquo;Father of American Taekwondo.&rdquo;</div> <div> <strong>&nbsp;</strong></div> <div> <strong>John Lee: The first player of Korean descent and the first Asian to be drafted into the NFL, Lee holds many college records, including the Pacific-10 Conference single game field goal record and the highest percentage of extra points and field goals made in a career with 93.3% (</strong>116 of 117 PATs, 79 of 92 FGs). He has the highest percentage of field goals made in a season (100%, 1984, 16 out of 16) and in a career (minimum 55 attempts) (85.9%, 79 out of 92)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Michelle Wie</b>: At the age of 13, she became the youngest person, male or female, to win a USGA adult event, the 2003 Women&rsquo;s Amateur Public Links. In 2004, at age 14, she was also the youngest female to play a PGA Tour event, the Sony Open, and to play in the Curtis Cup. When she was 15, Wie became the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men&rsquo;s tournament.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Naomi Nam</b>: In 1999, she won the women&rsquo;s singles silver medal in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. In 2007, she won the U.S. bronze medal as a pairs skater with Themistocles Leftheris..&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>Toby Dawson (Born </strong>Kim Bong-seok)<strong>: Korean-born mogul skier Toby Dawson won the bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. He is full Korean but was adopted after being separated from his parents in a busy market in Pusan. His biological father identified him from the media and DNA tests confirmed the familial tie. </strong></div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Science/Academia</b></div> <div> <b>Benjamin Lee</b>: Theoretical physicist Lee&rsquo;s work on theoretical particle physics contributed significantly to the development of the standard model and understanding of the forces between elementary particles of the atomic nucleus.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Dennis W. Choi</b>: As the Jones Professor and head of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis&rsquo;s Center for the Study of Nervous System Injury, Choi was a member of the team that treated Christopher Reeve after the actor&rsquo;s shattered his first and second vertebrae.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jim Yong Kim</b>: From 2004-2006, he served as Director of the World Health Organization&rsquo;s HIV/AIDS department. <i>US News &amp; World Report</i> (2005) named him one of America&rsquo;s 25 best leaders and <i>Time Magazine</i> (2006) labeled Kim as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world. In 2009, Kim became the 17th President of Dartmouth College and the first Asian-American to become president of an Ivy League school. Kim was born in Seoul and immigrated to the United States at the age of 5.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Mark Lewis Polansky</b>: Half-Korean aerospace engineer, research pilot, and NASA astronaut, he has logged more than 618 hours in space. He served as Chief of the CAPCOM Branch, Chief Instructor Astronaut, and Chief of the Return to Flight and Orbiter Repair Branches.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Moo-young Han</b>: In 1965, Han, along with a Nobel Prize-winning colleague, Dr. Yoichiro Nambu, introduced the SU(3) symmetry of quarks, now known as color charge. The color charges of quarks provide the basis for quantum chromodynamics, the current theory on nuclear force.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Younghill Kang</b>: Noted as &ldquo;the father of Korean-American literature,&rdquo; he is best known for the novels <i>The Grass Roof </i>(1931) and its sequel <i>East Goes West: The Making of an Oriental Yankee </i>(1937).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Samuel (Sammy) Lee</b>: Not only was he the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, he was the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in Olympic platform diving. In 1948, he also won the bronze medal for springboard diving. In 1947, Lee earned his M.D. from USC and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Korea from 1943-1945. He has later coached Olympic divers Pat McCormick, Bob Webster and Greg Louganis.</div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Business</b></div> <div> <b>Peter S. Kim</b>: In 2003, he became the president of Merck Research Laboratories, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, effectively overseeing all of Merck&rsquo;s drug and vaccine R&amp;D.</div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Miscellaneous</b></div> <div> <b>Philip Jaisohn</b> (Seo Jae Pil)- Not only was he the first Korean to become a citizen of the United States in 1890, he also became the first Korean-American to earn his medical degree in the U.S. in 1892.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Sonya &ldquo;The Black Widow&rdquo; Thomas</b> (born Lee Sun-kyung): A 98-Pound competitive eater, Thomas holds 29 world titles and is ranked 4th in the United States and ranked 5th in the world. Her nickname, the Black Widow, arises from her ability to out-eat men several times her size. She set the American and female record, in 2005, by eating 37 hot dogs in 12 minutes. She has also set records in eating cheesecakes (11 lbs in 9 min.), chicken nuggets (80 in 5 min.), chicken wings (173 in 12 min.), lobsters (44 lobsters totaling 11.3 lbs of meat in 12 min.), tater tots (250 in 5 min.), Turducken (7 3/4 lbs in 12 min.), hard boiled eggs, oysters, pork, etc.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Under the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty, the United States agreed to help South Korea defend itself against external aggression. Since that time, the U.S. has maintained military personnel in Korea, including the Army&rsquo;s Second Infantry Division and several Air Force tactical squadrons. To coordinate operations between these units and the over 680,000-strong Korean armed forces, a Combined Forces Command (CFC) was established in 1978. The head of the CFC also serves as Commander of the United Nations Command (UNC) and US Forces Korea (USFK). The current commander is General Burwell Baxter &ldquo;B.B.&rdquo; Bell.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Several aspects of the security relationship between the U.S. and South Korea are changing as the U.S. shifts to a supporting role. In 2004, an agreement was reached on the return of the Yongsan base in Seoul, as well as a number of other U.S. bases to South Korea and the eventual relocation of all U.S. forces to south of the Han River. In addition, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to move 12,500 of the 37,500 US troops out of Korea by 2008. At the same time U.S. troops are being redeployed from Korea, the U.S. will bolster combined US-South Korea deterrent and defense capabilities by providing $11 billion to South Korea in force enhancements and at regional facilities over the next four years.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A total of 1,076,872 people identified themselves as being of Korean ancestry in the 2000 US census.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2006, 555,704 Americans visited Korea. The number of Americans traveling to the peninsular nation has gradually increased since 2002, when 459,362 Americans visited South Korea. Also in 2006, 757,721 South Koreans visited the U.S. The number of South Koreans has been increasing slowly but consistently since 2002, when 638,697 South Koreans came to America.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <a href="http://www.cfr.org/publication/11459/ussouth_korea_alliance.html">The U.S.-South Korea Alliance </a>(by Carin Zissis and Youkyung Lee, Council on Foreign Relations)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl30566.pdf">South Korea-U.S. Economic Relations</a> (by Mark E. Manyin, Congressional Research Service)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/repairing_ussouth_korea_relati.html">Repairing U.S.-South Korea Relations</a> (by Richard Halloran, RealClearPolitics.com)</div> <div> <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jan/17/world/fg-usasia17">U.S.-South Korea Relationship Has&nbsp;Soured</a> (by Mark Mazzetti and Tyler Marshall, Los Angeles Times)</div> <p> <a href="http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/320468.html"><span>U.S.-Korea Relations in the Obama Era</span></a></p> <p> (The Hankyoreh)</p>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p> Trade and investment ties have become an increasingly important aspect of the US-South Korea relationship. Korea is the United States&rsquo; seventh-largest trading partner (ranking ahead of larger economies such as France and Italy), and there are significant flows of manufactured goods, agricultural products, services and technology between the two countries.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> However, a significant trade imbalance continues to exist between the two economic powerhouses. As of 2008, the U.S. imported $48.1 billion from South Korea, while it exported only $34.7 billion.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leading imports by the U.S. from South Korea include passenger cars, which have averaged about $8.6 billion a year from 2004-2008; computer accessories (averaging $3.0 billion annually); semiconductors (also $3.0 billion); clocks, typewriters and other household goods ($6.9 billion); household and kitchen appliances ($1.2 billion); telecommunications equipment ($1.4 billion); and other petroleum products, which jumped from $889 million in 2004 to $2.8 billion in 2008).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Key imports on the downward trend include apparel and household goods, which dropped from $1.3 billion in 2004 to $253 million in 2008; and televisions, which decreased from $1.7 billion to $479 million.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> American exports to South Korea are led by semiconductors, which have averaged about $4.2 billion a year. Other key exports include civilian aircraft sales ($1.5 billion); industrial machines ($2.1 billion); steelmaking materials, which have jumped from $501 million to $1.3 billion; organic chemicals ($1.6 billion); and corn, which has gone up from $546 million to $2.2 billion.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong on June 30, 2007 and is currently awaiting ratification in Congress and the Korean National Assembly. The KORUS FTA is a comprehensive FTA that eliminates virtually all barriers to trade and investment between the two countries. Tariffs on 95% of trade between the two countries will be eliminated within three years of implementation and virtually all the remaining tariffs will be removed within ten years of implementation. The FTA also contains chapters that address non-tariff measures in investment, intellectual property, services, competition policy, and other areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The KORUS FTA is the largest free trade agreement Korea has ever signed, and the largest free trade agreement for the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1992. Some economists have projected the FTA will generate billions of dollars in increased trade and investment between the United States and the Republic of Korea, and boost economic growth and job creation in both countries.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2007, the U.S. sold $4.70 billion in defense articles and services to South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5800.html">Imports from South Korea</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5800.html">Exports to South Korea</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64900.htm"><span>South Korea: Security Assistance</span></a></p>
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Controversies
<p> <b>Free Trade Agreement Prompts Protests over US Beef Imports</b></p> <div> In May 2008, the South Korean National Assembly failed to ratify the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States amid ongoing street protests against the clauses covering imports of U.S. beef. The beef question has become the focal point of opposition not only to the FTA, but to the government of recently inaugurated President Lee Myung Bak and his Grand National Party. Despite the ongoing public outcry against the beef provision, public opposition to the overall FTA is not strong, and ultimately the deal is likely to pass &mdash; at least in South Korea.</div> <div> Anti-U.S. beef demonstrations have been joined by a wide variety of groups, from farmers and agriculture workers to major labor unions to housewives. Most of the public protests have centered on the health and safety issues of U.S. beef, focusing mostly on mad cow disease.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A case of mad cow in the United States led to the complete banning of all U.S. beef imports to South Korea in December 2003, a time when South Korea was the third-largest importer of US beef globally. The United States has fought to regain access to the South Korean market, and managed to gain access again in April 2007 before being shut out once more in October 2007, when vertebrae were found in a shipment of U.S. beef.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2008, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul dismissed accusations that he tried to downplay South Korean concerns over U.S. beef imports. Then-Ambassador Alexander Vershbow urged South Koreans to learn more about the scientific evidence of the safety of U.S. beef. Some South Koreans said the comment was insulting. Vershbow said he regretted that his &ldquo;comments have been interpreted in a way that caused offense to some Koreans.&rdquo; He added that he has the &ldquo;highest regard for the educational level of Koreans&rdquo; and respects their &ldquo;concerns about food safety.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/south_korea_u_s_latest_korus_controversy">South Korea, U.S.: The Latest in the KORUS Controversy</a> (STRATFOR Global Intelligence)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-06/2008-06-05-voa70.cfm?CFID=116378138&amp;CFTOKEN=66855106&amp;jsessionid=6630a56a91559aaf3eda704743523e477760">U.S. Ambassador Responds to South Korean Criticism Over Beef Controversy</a> (Voice of America News)</div>
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Human Rights
<p> The State Department reports that in 2008, the South Korean government continued to investigate incidents of possible abuse under the country&rsquo;s former military regimes. Since the Commission for the Restoration of Honor and Compensation to Activists of the Democratization Movement&rsquo;s creation in 2000, 11,241 of the 13,348 cases reported had been reviewed and determined that compensation was due for 8,908 of cases.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Rules regarding arrest and detention under the National Security Law (NSL) are vague. For example, the NSL defines espionage in broad terms and permits the authorities to detain and arrest persons who commit acts viewed as supporting North Korea (DPRK), and therefore deemed dangerous to the country. Thus, persons could be arrested for the peaceful expression of views that the government considered pro-DPRK or anti-state. In recent years, however, there has been a reduction in the number of arrests and prosecutions from threats to the &quot;security of the state.&quot; According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), this is due to the establishment of strict legal precedents in courts that preempt discretionary implementation of the NSL.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2008, authorities arrested 16 persons and prosecuted 27 others for alleged NSL violations. For example, two teachers who were members of the Unification Committee of the Korea Teachers Labor Union were indicted on charges of violating the NSL for collecting unification-related materials to be used in class and for discussing such materials over the Internet with other teachers. They were released on bail and were on trial without physical detention. In another case, a photographer faced charges of revealing national security and military secrets for publishing a book that included photographs of local United States Forces&rsquo; Korea facilities. At year&rsquo;s end he was on trial without physical detention.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A university professor, who had been found guilty of violating the NSL in 2006 and sentenced to two years in prison, pursued and lost his final appeal in November of 2007.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Estimating the number of political prisoners proved to be a challenge because in many cases, it was uncertain whether persons were arrested for exercising their right to free speech and association, or were detained for acts of violence or espionage. Mingahyup, an NGO, reported that as of December 2008, the government had prosecuted 74 persons for their political beliefs and had convicted 399 objectors for intentionally failing to report for military service.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Although privacy invasion is prohibited under law, human rights groups have expressed concerns about possible government wiretapping abuse. The current Anti-Wiretap Law has the potential for a breach in compliance due to its broad conditions that allow the government to monitor telephone calls, mail, and other forms of communication for up to two months in criminal investigations and four months in national security cases. The National Assembly parliamentary audit found 1,149 instances of wiretapping in 2007. Of those cases, 87.9 percent were conducted by the National Intelligence Service. Moreover, in the same year, telecommunications companies delivered customer information to investigation agencies on 426,453 occasions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The government continued to require some released prisoners to report regularly to a probation officer under the Social Surveillance Law. This is in contrast to the policies regarding resettled DPRK refugees; the Ministry of Unification (MOU) designates precinct-level officers to handle issues brought forth by the resettled citizens, who do not have any reporting requirements.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> According to the U.S. State department, &ldquo;The NSL forbids citizens from listening to North Korean radio in their homes or reading books published in the DPRK if the government determines that the action endangers national security or the basic order of democracy in the country. However, this prohibition was rarely enforced, and the viewing of DPRK satellite telecasts in private homes is legal.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In regards to freedom of information on the Internet, the government blocked violent, sexually explicit, and gambling Web sites, and required site operators to rate their site as harmful or not harmful to youth, based on the country&rsquo;s telecommunications laws. The government also continued to block DPRK Web sites. According to data from 2007 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 94.1 percent of households had access to the Internet. In addition to Internet access at home, there are public Internet rooms were that are widely available and inexpensive.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Rape has remained a serious problem, and the frequency of reports and prosecutions has risen since last year, 2007. This year there were 7,532 reports of rape and 3,581 prosecutions accounted by the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE). A recent study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and the Korean Institute of Criminology reported that 17.9 out of 1,000 women are victims of sexual harassment, rape, or other sexual crimes each year. They also discovered that the reporting rate for rape was only 7.1 percent; many rapes were believed to have gone unreported because of the stigma associated with being raped. The activities of women&rsquo;s groups increased awareness of the importance of reporting and prosecuting rape, as well as of offenses such as sexual harassment in the workplace. Although there is no statute that criminalizes spousal rape, a precedent has been established by courts of prosecuting spouses in such cases. The penalty for rape is a minimum of three years imprisonment; if a weapon is used or if two or more persons commit the rape, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Violence against women has remained a problem. In 2008, the MOJ registered 11,048 cases of domestic violence and prosecuted 1,747 cases. According to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs (MOGEF), about 30 percent of all married women were victims of domestic violence. Under law, the police are required to promptly respond to reports of domestic violence, the authorities can put a restraining order on offenders for up to six months, and courts can give a maximum of five years&rsquo; imprisonment or fine offenders up to seven million won ($5,300 USD).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prostitution is illegal, but widespread. In July of 2008, there was a crackdown on prostitution-related operations in various areas of Seoul, ultimately resulting in the closure of 61 businesses in one district and the prosecution of 350 persons. Starting in September of 2008, the Act on the Prevention of the Sex Trade and Protection of Victims Thereof was put into place, requiring the MOGE to compile a report every three years on domestic prostitution, sex tourism, and the sex trade.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In recent years, the government has made some progress in addressing sexual harassment, but the issue continues to be a problem. Cases of sexual harassment are recorded by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an independent government body without enforcement powers and non-binding decisions.The NHRC issued remediation efforts, proposing redress, conciliation, mutual settlement, and resolution to rectify problems.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The family law allows remarried women to change their children&rsquo;s family name to their new husband&rsquo;s name, permits women to head households, recognizes a wife&#39;s right to a portion of a couple&rsquo;s property, and allows women to maintain greater contact with their children following a divorce. Women and men have the same legal rights under the constitution.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human trafficking is forbidden by law, but still there were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, through, and within the country. In 2008, there were 220 trafficking investigations and 31 prosecutions in total for sex trafficking. Regarding incoming trafficking, women from Russia, China, Mongolia, the Philippines, and other surrounding countries were flown to Korea with entertainer or tourist visas after being recruited or after answering advertisements, only to find themselves in sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Regarding outgoing trafficking, Korean women were sent primarily to the United States for sexual exploitation, and also to Australia and Japan. The punishment for human trafficking for sexual exploitation carries a sentence of 10 years&rsquo; imprisonment under Korean law. Trafficking for domestic servitude carries a sentence of up to five years&rsquo; imprisonment.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A 2009 report by Amnesty International, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/8bc729f6-39d7-4ce9-aeab-86eea173451c/asa250012009en.pdf">&ldquo;Disposable Labour: Rights of Migrants Workers in South Korea,&rdquo;</a> revealed cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant workers who were supposed to be protected under the Employment Permit System (EPS). Many workers worked under dangerous conditions, exposing them to a higher risk of injury or death; they also had wages withheld and forced to work overtime.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eap/119044.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/asia/south-korea">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/asia-and-pacific/east-asia/south-korea"><span>Amnesty International</span></a></p>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p> Lucius H. Foote<br /> Appointment: Feb 27, 1883<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 20, 1883<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 19, 1885</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William H. Parker<br /> Appointment: Feb 19, 1886<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 1886<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Sep 3, 1886</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Hugh A. Dinsmore<br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1887<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 13, 1887<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 26, 1890</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William O. Bradley<br /> Appointment: Mar 30, 1889<br /> <span>Note: Declined appointment. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Augustine Heard<br /> Appointment: Jan 30, 1890<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 26, 1890<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 27, 1893</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> John M.B. Sill<br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1894<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 30, 1894<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 13, 1897</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Horace N. Allen<br /> Appointment: Jul 17, 1897<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 13, 1897<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Jun 9, 1905<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 10, 1901. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edwin V. Morgan<br /> Appointment: Mar 18, 1905<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 26, 1905<br /> Termination of Mission: Japan assumed direction of Korean foreign relations, Nov 17, 1905<br /> <span>Note: Morgan closed the Legation, Nov 28, 1905, and left Korea, Dec 8, 1905.</span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> John J. Muccio<br /> Appointment: Apr 7, 1949<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 20, 1949<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Sep 8, 1952</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ellis O. Briggs<br /> Appointment: Aug 25, 1952<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 25, 1952<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 1955<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jul 28, 1953. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William S.B. Lacy<br /> Appointment: Mar 24, 1955<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 12, 1955<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 20, 1955</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walter C. Dowling<br /> Appointment: May 29, 1956<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 14, 1956<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 2, 1959</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walter P. McConaughy<br /> Appointment: Oct 5, 1959<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1959<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 1961<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1960. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Samuel D. Berger<br /> Appointment: Jun 12, 1961<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 27, 1961<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 10, 1964</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Winthrop G. Brown<br /> Appointment: Jul 31, 1964<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 1964<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1967</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William J. Porter<br /> Appointment: Jun 9, 1967<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1967<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 18, 1971</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Philip C. Habib<br /> Appointment: Sep 30, 1971<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1971<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 19, 1974</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Richard L. Sneider<br /> Appointment: Aug 23, 1974<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1974<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1978</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William H. Gleysteen, Jr.<br /> Appointment: Jun 27, 1978<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1978<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1981</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Richard L. Walker<br /> Appointment: Jul 18, 1981<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 12, 1981<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 25 1986</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> James Roderick Lilley<br /> Appointment: Oct 16, 1986<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 26, 1986<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 3, 1989</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Donald Phinney Gregg<br /> Appointment: Sep 14, 1989<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 27, 1989<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1993</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> James T. Laney<br /> Appointment: Oct 15, 1993<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 2, 1993<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 5, 1996</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Note: Richard A. Christenson served as Charg&eacute; d&#39;Affaires ad interim, Feb 1996-Dec 1997.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Steven W. Bosworth<br /> Appointment: Oct 24, 1997<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 15, 1997<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 10, 2001</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Thomas C. Hubbard<br /> Appointment: Aug 3, 2001<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 12, 2001<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 17, 2004</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Christopher R. Hill<br /> Appointment: May 12 2004<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 2004<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 2005</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Alexander R. Vershbow<br /> Appointment: Oct 12, 2005<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 2005<br /> Termination of Mission: 2008</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10899.htm"><span>Former U.S. Ambassadors to South Korea</span></a></p>
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Korea, South's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Choi Young-jin

The key U.S. Asian ally of South Korea has named a new ambassador to the United States who has served before in the U.S. Born March 29, 1948, Choi Young-jin earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in March 1973, and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Political Science at the University of Paris I, in 1980 and 1985, respectively. Before earning his undergraduate degree, Choi studied medicine at the Severance Medical College in South Korea for four years.

 

Choi joined the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1972, having passed the diplomatic service exam the previous May. Early career postings included service as second secretary at the South Korean Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, starting in November 1976; as second secretary at the embassy in Paris, France, starting in August 1978; as director of the Ministry’s Cultural Affairs Division, starting in August 1981; and as counselor at the South Korean embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, starting in February 1983. In April 1986, Choi was named director of the Ministry’s International Organizations Division, where he dealt mainly with non-governmental organizations until January 1987, when he was made aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Choi’s first posting to the U.S. came in December 1987, when he was named counselor at the embassy in Washington, DC, an appointment he kept for four years. Choi then served a series of Seoul-based jobs, including senior coordinator for Policy Development at the Ministry’s Office of Policy Planning, starting in May 1991; director-general of the Ministry’s International Economic Affairs Bureau, starting in December 1993; and starting in May 1995, deputy executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which was founded in March 1995 by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreement that froze North Korea’s indigenous nuclear power program. His duties included overseeing a $5 billion project to construct two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

 

In May 1998, Choi went to work for the United Nations as assistant secretary-general for Planning and Support in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, responsible for overseeing planning and support for 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Congo.

 

He returned to South Korean government service in February 2000 as deputy minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations. Two years later, in February 2002, Choi was named ambassador to Austria and to Slovenia, and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, a posting he had only until April 2003, when he became chancellor of the Ministry’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

 

In January 2004, Choi was appointed vice minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, followed in May 2005 with an appointment as South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, a position he filled until 2007, when he took an appointment as a resident diplomat scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

 

In October 2007, U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, also of South Korea, appointed Choi Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, mandated to certify the Ivorian presidential election of fall 2010 and defuse the political crisis which arose in its aftermath.

 

Choi has written numerous articles and books, including L’Asie de l’Est et le Rapprochement Sino-Américain (East Asia and the China-U.S. rapprochement) (1987) and East and West: Understanding the Rise of China (2010). Choi is married and has two sons.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Curriculum Vitae

Truth is the Starting Point: An Interview with Choi Young-jin (by Michael Fleshman, Africa Renewal)

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Korea, South's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p> <a href="http://www.dynamic-korea.com/">South Korea&rsquo;s Embassy in the U.S.</a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Korea, South

Kim, Sung
ambassador-image

Sung Y. Kim was nominated to be the United States’ next ambassador to South Korea in June, 2011, and received his Senate confirmation in October. He was sworn in on November 3 and arrived in Seoul a week later. He is the first American of Korean descent to serve as U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

 
Kim’s father, Kim Ki-wan (a.k.a. Kim Jae-kwon) was a member of the Korean CIA and was implicated in the 1973 kidnapping of dissident (and future president) Kim Dae-jung.
 
Born in 1960, Kim was 13 years old when his father, following the kidnapping, moved his family to Los Angeles. Kim received his U.S. citizenship in 1980.
 
He earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and received a JD from Loyola University Law School as well as an LLM from the London School of Economics.
 
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kim worked as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
 
His early assignments included postings to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In Washington, Kim worked in the Office of Chinese Affairs and served as staff assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he served as a political officer in Tokyo.
 
Kim was the political-military unit chief at the U.S. embassy in Seoul from 2002 to 2006.
 
He then headed the Office of Korean Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
 
In July 2008, Kim became the special envoy for North Korean affairs and chief representative to the Six-Party Talks regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. For this position he was accorded the rank of ambassador following confirmation by the Senate.
 
Kim and his wife, Jae, have two daughters.
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Korea, South

Stephens, Kathleen
ambassador-image

Kathleen Stephens was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2008 and confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2008,, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. 

 
After growing up in Arizona, Stephens received her BA with honors in East Asian studies from Prescott College and a master’s degree from Harvard University.  She also studied at the University of Hong Kong (1972-1973). Her foreign languages are Korean and Serbian, with more limited competence in Chinese.
 
She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea from 1975-1977 before joining the Foreign Service in 1978. Earlier overseas assignments included consular and public affairs officer in Guangzhou, China (1980-1982), chief of the internal political unit in Seoul (1984-1987), and principal officer of the U.S. Consulate in Pusan, Korea (1987-1989). Stephens was a political officer assigned to the U.S. mission in Yugoslavia, shuttling between Belgrade and Zagreb, during that country’s violent disintegration in the early ‘90s.
 
At the State Department, she served as the senior UK country officer (1992-1994), followed by an assignment to the National Security Council as Director for European Affairs (1994-1995).  She served as U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1995-1998) during the consolidation of ceasefires and negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. From 1998-2001, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, then as director of the Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation (2001-2003).
 
From 2003-2005, she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, focusing on addressing Kosovo’s future status, completing the NATO-led mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and accelerating the integration of the western Balkans in Euro-Atlantic institutions.
 
From 2005-2007, Stephens was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for a range of bureau-wide issues, and with particular responsibility for the management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea.
 
She served as Political Advisor in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department before becoming ambassador to South Korea.
 

Kathleen Stephens’ Official Biography

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Overview
<p> South Korea served as the flash point of the beginning of the Cold War when the United States engaged in the first of many proxy wars with North Korean Communist forces backed by the Soviet Union and the People&rsquo;s Republic of China. In 1950, a series of onslaughts by North Korean troops overwhelmed South Korean and United States forces, which threatened to bring the entire Korean peninsula under communist rule. Led by the U.S. military, the United Nations responded with a counter assault that turned the tide of the conflict in favor of Western forces &mdash;that is until China&rsquo;s entrance into the war. Under Mao Zedong, the Chinese government supplied hundreds of thousands of troops to the North Korean cause, reaching an ultimate count of more than two million troops to prevent the U.S. from taking control of Korea. Eventually, the war settled into a stalemate with the fighting ending after two years, but without a formal declaration of peace.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> Although no significant fighting occurred after the end of the Korean War, the U.S. continued to station large numbers of American troops in South Korea near the North Korean border, for fear of another invasion during the Cold War. The U.S. continued to support the South Korean government even after its military seized power in the early 1960s and ruled the country for the next 20 years. Gradually, South Korea moved towards opening its political system in the 1980s, while at the same time developing its economy into a regional power that bloomed in the 1990s. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has relaxed its military stature in South Korea, though a significant number of American infantry and aircraft are still stationed there, owing to North Korea&rsquo;s unpredictable behavior. Relations between South Korea and the U.S. are fairly stable, though the conclusion of a free trade agreement prompted fears among many groups in South Korea over the importation of beef from the U.S. , following the mad cow disease controversy in 2003.</p>
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Basic Information
<p> <b>Lay of the Land</b>: Located in northeast Asia, the Korean Peninsula juts south from Manchuria into the Pacific Ocean, dividing the Sea of Japan from the Yellow Sea. Mountains cover most of the northern and southwestern regions of the peninsula, and a coastal plain runs along the eastern coast.</p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Population</b>: 49.2 million</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Religions</b>: Buddhist 21.9%, Protestant 17.6%, Catholic 10.5%, Won Buddhism 0.3%, Confucianism 0.2%, other (Jehovah&rsquo;s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists) 0.5%, non-religious 45.1%</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Ethnic Groups</b>: Homogeneous, except for 20,000 Chinese.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <p> <b>Languages</b></p> <p> : Korean (official)</p>
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History
<p> South Korea came into being after World War II, the result of a 1945 agreement reached by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. The 38th parallel was established at the boundary between a northern zone of the Korean peninsula, which was to be occupied by the USSR, and a southern zone that would be controlled by U.S, forces.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Elections were held in the U.S. zone in 1948 for a national assembly, which adopted a republican constitution and elected Rhee Syng-man as the nation&rsquo;s president. The new republic was proclaimed on August 15 and was recognized as the legal government of Korea by the United Nations (UN) on December 12, 1948.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On June 25, 1950, North Korean Communist forces launched a massive surprise attack on South Korea, quickly overrunning the capital, Seoul. Two days later, on June 27, U.S. armed intervention was ordered by President Harry Truman, and the UN invoked military sanctions against North Korea. General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of the UN forces.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> U.S. and South Korean troops fought a fierce holding action, but by the first week of August they were forced back to a 4,000-square-mile beachhead in southeast Korea. There they stood off superior North Korean forces until September 15, when a major UN amphibious assault was launched deep behind Communist lines at Inchon, the port of Seoul.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Within two weeks, UN forces were able to rebound and gain complete control of South Korea. They then crossed the 38th parallel and pursued retreating Communist forces into North Korea. In late October, as UN forces neared the Sino-Korean border, several hundred thousand Chinese Communist troops entered the conflict, pushing MacArthur&rsquo;s forces back to the border between North and South Korea. By the time truce talks began on July 10, 1951, UN forces had crossed over the parallel again and were driving back into North Korea. Cease-fire negotiations dragged on for two years before an armistice was finally signed at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953, leaving a devastated Korea in need of large-scale rehabilitation. No official peace treaty has ever been signed between the former combatants.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President Rhee Syng-man was forced to resign in 1960 amid rising discontent with his autocratic leadership. Po Sun-yun was elected to succeed him, but political instability continued. In 1961, General Chung Hee-park seized power and subsequently began a program of economic reforms designed to stimulate the nation&rsquo;s economy. The US stepped up military aid, strengthening South Korea&rsquo;s armed forces to 600,000 men. Park&rsquo;s assassination on October 26, 1979, by Kim Jae-kyu, head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, brought a liberalizing trend as new president Choi Kyu-hah freed imprisoned dissidents.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The release of opposition leader Kim Dae-jung in February 1980 sparked antigovernment demonstrations that turned into riots, which were brutally suppressed by authorities. Kim, the most visible leader of the opposition, was imprisoned again. Choi resigned on August 16. Chun Doo-hwan, head of a military Special Committee for National Security Measures, was the sole candidate when the electoral college confirmed him as president on August 27. In 1986&ndash;1987, South Korea&rsquo;s opposition demanded that the president be selected by direct popular vote. After weeks of protest and rioting, Chun agreed to the demand. A split in the opposition led to the election of Roh Tae-woo on December 16, 1987.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In August 1996, Roh was convicted on bribery charges, and Chun was convicted for bribery as well as his role in the 1979 coup and the 1980 crackdown on rioters. In 1997, an accumulation of corrupt business practices and bad loans led to a series of bankruptcies and a massive devaluation of South Korea&rsquo;s currency. The political instability that followed helped former dissident Kim Dae-jung become the first South Korean president ever to be elected from the political opposition.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2000, President Kim Dae-jung met with North Korea&rsquo;s president, Kim Jong-il, in Pyongyang. The summit marked the first-ever meeting of the two countries&rsquo; leaders. The result of the summit was the Sunshine Policy, a peace and reconciliation agreement for which Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2000.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Roh Moo-hyun of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party became president in February 2003 and promptly faced daunting problems. His vow to pursue his predecessor&rsquo;s Sunshine Policy toward North Korea was put to the test as the North continued to taunt the world with boasts of its nuclear capabilities. In addition, many South Koreans had begun to resent U.S. influence over their country. In March 2004, the conservative national assembly voted overwhelmingly to impeach Roh, claiming he had violated election laws. More than 70% of the public, however, condemned the move. The constitutional court dismissed the impeachment in May, and Roh was reinstated as president.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A team of researchers led by Hwang Woo -suk stunned the world in May 2005 when they announced that they had devised a new procedure to produce human stem-cell lines from a cloned human embryo. Hwang became a national hero and received millions of dollars in research money from the government. However, the country&rsquo;s reign as the leader in the field of cloning was short-lived. In January 2006, a Seoul National University panel reported that Hwang had fabricated evidence for his cloning research. His downfall was a blow to the entire nation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan resigned under pressure in March 2006 after facing intense criticism for playing golf rather than dealing with a national railway workers&rsquo; strike. He was replaced by Han Duck-soo.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For the first time in 56 years, trains passed between North and South Korea in May 2007. While the event was mostly symbolic, it was considered an important step toward reconciliation. Eventually, South Korea hopes that a trans-Korean railroad will provide easier access to other parts of Asia.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In July 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean missionaries from a Protestant church group while they were traveling by bus in Afghanistan. Two of the hostages were killed after the Taliban&rsquo;s demands for a prisoner exchange were not met with a positive response by the Afghan government.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 2007, President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met for their second ever inter-Korean summit. The leaders forged a deal to work together on several economic projects and agreed to move toward signing a treaty that would formally end the Korean War.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Lee Myung-bak, of the opposition Grand National Party, won the December 2007 presidential elections, taking 48.7% of the vote. Chung Dong-yong, who was endorsed by outgoing president Roh Moo-hyun, took 26.1%. Lee had been dogged by allegations of ethical improprieties, and two days before the election, the National Assembly voted to reopen an investigation into whether he manipulated the stock of an investment company. A special prosecutor cleared Lee of the fraud allegations, and less than a week later he was sworn in as president. In January 2008, he named Han Seung-soo as his prime minister. Lee said he would work to improve South Korea&#39;s economy and forge closer ties with the United States.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2008, just months into his presidency, Lee faced massive protests in Seoul over his decision to resume imports of American beef, which was banned in 2003 after the U.S. outbreak of mad cow disease. The protests, which took place in Seoul for about six weeks before peaking on June 10, implied overall dissatisfaction with President Lee. Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and all 15 cabinet members submitted their resignations. Three ministers were replaced, but President Lee refused to accept the other resignations. South Korea and the U.S. reached an agreement that said the U.S. would not export beef that came from cattle under 30 months of age.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Lee&rsquo;s troubles worsened during the global financial crisis that crippled many nations in the fall of 2008. His detractors criticized his response to the turmoil as inconsistent and muddled.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/krtoc.html" target="_blank">Library of Congress Country Study</a></div> <div> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_South_Korea">History of South Korea</a> (Wikipedia)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.clickkorea.org/">Click Korea: Access to Korean Arts and Culture</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreafocus.or.kr/">Korea Focus</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreana.or.kr/index.asp?lang=en">Koreana: A Quarterly on Korea Art &amp; Culture</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/korea/main.html">The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Arts of Korea</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kccla.org/">Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles - KCCLA</a></div> <div> <a href="http://english.seoul.go.kr/">Hi Seoul, Soul of Asia</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kf.or.kr/">Korea Foundation</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.keia.org/">The Korea Economic Institute - KEI</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EAL/resources/korean.html">UC Berkeley Electronic Resources &ndash; Korean Studies</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.koreasociety.org/"><span>The Korea Society</span></a></p>
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Korea, South's Newspapers
<p> <a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/skorea.htm">South Korean Newspapers</a></p> <div> <a href="http://www.chosun.com/">Chosun Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.donga.com/">Donga Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.busan.com/">Busan Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.kukinews.com/">Gook-Min Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://news.hankooki.com/">Han-Gook Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hani.co.kr/">The Hankyoreh</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.joins.com/">Joong Ang Ilbo (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hankyung.com/">The Korea Economic Daily</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/">The Korea Herald [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/">The Korea Times [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.khan.co.kr/">Kyong-Hyang Shinmun (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.mk.co.kr/">Maeil Business Newspaper</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.imaeil.com/">Maeil Shinmum</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.munhwa.com/">Munhwa Ilbo</a></div> <div> <a href="http://theseoultimes.com/">The Seoul Times [In English]</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.ohmynews.com/">Oh My News (Seoul)</a></div> <div> <a href="http://sports.hankooki.com/">Han-Gook Sports</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.yeongnam.co.kr/">Yeong-Nam Ilbo (Daegu)</a></div> <p> <a href="http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/"><span>Yonhap News (Seoul) [In English]</span></a></p>
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History of U.S. Relations with Korea, South
<p> The first significant wave of immigration occurred in 1882, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. Deprived of cheap Chinese labor, Hawaiian agribusiness interests contacted Horace Allen, the American ambassador to Korea, asking for help in bringing over Koreans to work in the sugar plantations. Allen turned to David Deshler, a banker and entrepreneur who loaned as much as $100 to Koreans interested in emigrating (he also was paid $55 for each recruit, in contrast to the monthly wages of $14 paid to plantation laborers).</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> With the Japanese invasion at the turn of the 20th century, this option became increasingly popular, and thousands of Koreans emigrated. Anti-Asian sentiment flared up in response to this new influx, and culminated in 1906 when San Francisco segregated its Korean and Japanese students, requiring them to attend exclusively Chinese schools. President Theodore Roosevelt, keen to placate an offended Japan, worked out a gentleman&rsquo;s agreement nullifying the segregation but also limiting Japanese and Korean immigrant laborers. During this period the only immigrants were Korean women selected for arranged marriages, &ldquo;picture brides&rdquo; who had never met their future spouses until they arrived on the docks of San Francisco or Honolulu.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The gentleman&rsquo;s agreement was superseded by the Immigration Act of 1924, which prohibited any further Korean immigrants until the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 once again opened up limited Asian immigration. Discriminatory immigration policy finally ended with the Immigration Act of 1965, which allowed 170,000 annual immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, and 120,000 from the Western Hemisphere, with a quota of 20,000 immigrants per Asian country.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Out of the 1.3 million people of Korean descent in the U.S., the vast majority live in California, with a community of 283,000 in Los Angeles alone. Other states with large Korean communities are Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> Following the end of the Korean War, South Korea continued to depend on United States military assistance, along with the stationing of thousands of U.S. troops along the border with North Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In spite of initial United States hesitation about supporting Park in 1961, the two countries maintained close economic, military, and diplomatic ties. South Korea dispatched combat troops to South Vietnam in 1965 to augment United States forces there, and President Lyndon B. Johnson paid a personal visit to Seoul in October 1966 to show his appreciation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Friction began to develop in the Washington-Seoul relationship after the United States withdrew one of its two divisions from South Korea in 1971 and intensified after Park instituted rigorous authoritarian measures under his 1972 constitution. This tension led to an accelerated effort by the Park government to gain support in the U.S. Congress. The methods used by Seoul&rsquo;s lobbyists ultimately resulted in the embarrassing &ldquo;Koreagate&rdquo; affair of 1977, involving former Ambassador Kim Dong-jo and rice dealer Park Tong Sun. Investigations by the Ethics Committee and by the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives received much press coverage and weakened U.S. support for South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During his presidential election campaign in 1976, Jimmy Carter pledged, if elected, to withdraw all combat troops from South Korea. His victory aggravated United States-South Korean relations considerably. In March 1977, the U.S. decided to withdraw its ground combat forces over a four-to-five year period. Some 3,600 troops subsequently were withdrawn, but further reductions were suspended in 1979. In the meantime, President Carter and the Congress continued to press for the improvement of the human rights climate in South Korea. Relations between the two countries were at a low point in 1979, just before Park&rsquo;s assassination. In early 1981, President Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s administration announced that further withdrawals would not take place.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The relationship between the Chun regime and the Reagan administration stood in sharp contrast to the strained Washington-Seoul relationship under presidents Carter and Park. Reagan provided unmitigated support to Chun and to South Korea&rsquo;s security. Chun was Reagan&rsquo;s first official guest in the White House, and Reagan reaffirmed his support of Chun by visiting Seoul in November 1983.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While Reagan&rsquo;s support considerably buttressed Chun&rsquo;s stature in domestic politics and the international arena, it also fueled the subculture of anti-Americanism. The opposition forces in South Korea, suffering from the government&rsquo;s stringent suppression, denounced United States&rsquo; support for the Chun regime as a callous disregard for human rights and questioned U.S. motives in Korea. The past image of the United States as a staunch supporter of democracy in South Korea was replaced with that of defender of its own interests, a policy impervious to injustices committed in South Korea. This view was accentuated by the fact that Chun&rsquo;s White House visit occurred only several months after the Martial Law Command had brutally suppressed the student uprising in Kwangju. (It was later revealed by Richard V. Allen, National Security Advisor to President Reagan, that Chun&rsquo;s visit was part of Washington&#39;s diplomatic effort to spare the life of Kim Dae-jung who had been sentenced to death.) This atmosphere led some of South Korea&rsquo;s radical elements to take extreme measures, such as arson committed at the United States Information Service building in Pusan in March 1982 and the occupation of the United States Information Service Library in Seoul in May 1985. Students who demonstrated against the Chun government invariably carried anti-American slogans.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In time, trade became a serious source of friction between the two countries. In 1989, the U.S. was South Korea&rsquo;s largest and most important trading partner, and South Korea was the seventh-largest market for United States goods and the second largest market for its agricultural products. Tension, however, developed over South Korea&rsquo;s trade surplus. Correcting and eliminating this trade imbalance became the center of economic controversy between Seoul and Washington. Although Seoul gave in to Washington&rsquo;s demands to avoid being designated as a &ldquo;priority foreign country&rdquo; (PFC) under the United States &ldquo;Super 301&rdquo; provisions of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, economic policymakers in Seoul greatly resented this unilateral economic threat. They also feared that the PFC designation would fuel anti-Americanism throughout South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Security also became another source of strain. Some policymakers in Seoul and Washington maintained that United States forces should remain in South Korea as long as Seoul wanted and needed them. Not only did 94% of South Koreans support the presence of American forces, but even the vocal opposition parties favored a continued U.S. military presence in South Korea. Stability in the peninsula, they argued, had been maintained because strong Seoul-Washington military cooperation deterred further aggression.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> Other policymakers, however, felt that United States troops should gradually be leaving South Korea. They argued that South Korea in the late 1980s was more economically, militarily, and politically capable of coping with North Korea. Moreover, they doubted that Pyongyang could contemplate another military action, given its acrimonious relationships with Moscow and Beijing. In Washington, meanwhile, an increasing number of policymakers advocated gradual troop withdrawal for budgetary reasons. During Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney&rsquo;s February 1990 visit to South Korea, consultations on restructuring the Washington-Seoul security relationship marked the beginning of the change in status of United States forces from a leading to a supporting role in South Korea&rsquo;s defense. In addition, Seoul was asked to substantially increase its contribution to defense costs.</p>
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Current U.S. Relations with Korea, South
<p> <b>Noted Korean-Americans</b></p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Public Service</b><u>:</u></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Harold Hongju Koh</b>: Dean of Yale Law School, he served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and is the Obama Administration&rsquo;s nominee for Legal Adviser of the Department of State. His brother, Howard Kyongju Koh, a Harvard professor, was nominated for the position of United States Assistant Secrety for Health by the Obama Administration.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Herbert Young Cho Choy</b>: Appointed United States federal judge by President Richard Nixon in 1971, he became the first Asian American to become a U.S. federal judge and the first Korean-American to be admitted to the bar in the U.S.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Howard Kyongju Koh</b>: Currently the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, as well as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor, at the Harvard School of Public Health, Koh is also President Barack Obama&rsquo;s nominee for United States Assistant Secretary for Health.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>John Choon Yoo</b>: Born in South Korea, Yoo served as deputy assistant attorney general from 2001-2003 in the U.S. Department of Justice&rsquo;s Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo is notorious for his memos providing legal justification for controversial interrogation techniques. The methods he defended are regarded as torture by the international community at large. Yoo defends the Bush Administration&rsquo;s policies in the War on Terrorism, including the warrantless wiretapping program.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Michelle Eunjoo Park Steel</b>: Elected to the California Board of Equalization&rsquo;s Third District in 2006, Steel represents more than 8 million people. From 2001-2003, she also served on the President&rsquo;s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and later on the White House Conference on Aging, under President George W. Bush.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Young-woo Kang</b>: As special education expert and former policy advisor of the National Council on Disability to the Bush Administration in 2001, Kang became the first blind Korean to earn both a masters (Psychology) and doctorate (Special Education) degree. He introduced special programs at firefighting and police academies in America to train servicemen to rescue the disabled.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Art/Entertainment/Media</b></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Amerie Mi Marie Rogers</b>: Half Korean and half African-American R&amp;B singer, Amerie was twice nominated for 2006 Grammy Awards: Best Female R&amp;B (&ldquo;1 Thing&rdquo;) Vocal Performance and Best Contemporary R&amp;B Album (<i>Touch</i>). She also won Soul Train&rsquo;s Music Awards as Best R&amp;B/Soul or Rap New Artist and Soul Train Lady of Soul Award&rsquo;s Entertainer of the Year.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Daniel Dae</b>: Korean-born American actor who immigrated to the U.S. at age two, he was named one of <i>People Magazine&rsquo;s</i> &ldquo;Sexiest Men Alive&rdquo; in 2005. He is best known for his role as Jin-soo Kwon on the hit television series <i>Lost</i>. He has also been cast in the TV series <i>CSI: Crime Scene Investigation</i>, <i>Angel</i>, <i>24</i>, <i>Star Trek: Voyager</i>, <i>Star: Trek: Enterprise</i>, <i>Crusade</i>, <i>Charmed</i>, <i>Seinfeld</i>, <i>NYPD Blue</i>, <i>ER</i>, and in the movies <i>Crash</i> and <i>Spider-Man 2</i>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>James Kyson Lee:</b> He is one of the main members of the cast of the NBC drama series <i>Heroes.</i></div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Jim Lee</b>: A comic book artist, creator, and publisher, he is an artist and co-writer of Marvel&rsquo;s well known <i>X-Men</i> series. He also wrote and illustrated <i>Iron Man</i> and <i>The Fantastic Four</i>. Lee also contributed to several issues of <i>Batman</i>, <i>Superman</i>, <i>All Star Batman and Robin</i>, and <i>The Boy Wonder</i>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>John Cho</b>: Actor who was born in Seoul and came to the U.S. in 1978, when he was six years old. He &nbsp;is best known for starring in <i>Harold &amp; Kumar</i> films (2004, 2008), as well as his roles in <i>American Pie</i> films (1999, 2001, 2003). He starred in the situation comedy <i>Off Centre</i>, as well as in the movie <i>Better Luck Tomorrow</i> (2002). Cho played the character of Mr. Sulu in <i>Star Trek</i> (2009).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Joseph Hahn</b>: Best known as the DJ for the popular rap-metal-rock band Linkin Park. Not only has he directed music videos and remixed songs for the band, he has also directed music videos for Static-X, Story of the Year, Xzibit, X-Ecutioners, and Alkaline Trio.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Juju Chang</b>: A two-time Emmy Award winner, she is a correspondent for ABC News&rsquo; <i>20/20</i>, <i>Good Morning America</i>, <i>Nightline</i>, and an anchor for <i>ABC News Now</i> and <i>Good Morning America&rsquo;s Weekend Edition</i>. She also produced and reported for <i>World News Tonight</i>, produced a DuPont-Columbia Award winning series on women&rsquo;s health, and earned a Gracie Award for a report on judicial activism on PBS &ldquo;Now,&rdquo; a second Gracie Award for a 20/20 story &ldquo;Women and Science,&rdquo; and a Freddie for a PBS series &ldquo;The Art of Women&rsquo;s Health.&rdquo;</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Margaret Cho</b> (Moran Cho): Best known for her stand-up comedy routines, she often addresses issues concerning substance abuse, sexuality, Asian-American stereotypes, and political problems. Her off-Broadway one-woman show, <i>I&rsquo;m the One That I Want</i> (1999), and stand up shows <i>Notorious C.H.O. </i>(2001) and <i>Revolution</i> (2003) are among her most successful tours.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Nam June Paik</b>: An artist who worked with different media, Paik is a pioneer of video art, which originated in the 1960s. Born in Seoul in 1932, his family fled during the Korean War, when he was 18 years old. He settled in New York City in 1964.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Michael Kim</b>: As an anchor for ESPNEWS&rsquo; <i>The Hot List</i> and ESPN&rsquo;s <i>SportsCenter</i>, he became the first Asian American national sportscaster to anchor on a daily basis.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Peter Shin</b>: He is the supervising director of the hit TV series <i>Family Guy</i> and of the film <i>Stewie Griffin</i>: <i>The Untold Story</i>, as well as the character layout artist for several episodes of <i>The Simpsons. </i>Shin was the Assistant Director of<i> The Rugrats Movie </i>(1998).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Rick Yune</b>: He became the first Asian to model for Versace and Polo Sports. Yune is best known for his parts in <i>Snow Falling on Cedars</i> (1999)<i>, The Fast and the Furious </i>(2001)<i>, </i>and James Bond&rsquo;s <i>Die Another Day</i> (2002)<i>. </i></div> <div> <i>&nbsp;</i></div> <div> <b>Steve Byrne: </b>A stand-up comedian of half-Irish, half-Korean descent, Byrne stars in Comedy Central&rsquo;s <i>Steve Byrne&rsquo;s Happy Hour</i>. He has been featured on the NBC series <i>The Real Wedding Crashers</i>, <i>The Tonight Show</i>, <i>The Late Late Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly, </i>BET&rsquo;s <i>ComicView</i>, ABC&rsquo;s <i>Good Morning America</i>, Comedy Central&rsquo;s <i>Premium Blend</i>, and has made appearances on <i>Chappelle&rsquo;s Show</i> and <i>Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn</i>.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Will Yun Lee</b>: Named one of the &ldquo;50 Most Beautiful People&rdquo; by <i>People Magazine</i> in 2002, he secured major roles in the films <i>Die Another Day, Torque, Elektra,</i> and played one of the main characters in NBC&rsquo;s <i>Bionic Woman</i>. In 2007, <i>People Magazine</i> designated Lee as one of the 15 &ldquo;Sexiest Men Alive.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Athletes</b></div> <div> <b>Han Bong-soo</b>: With a 9th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Hapkido, and founder of the International Hapkido Federation, Han Bong-soo is known as the &ldquo;Father of Hapkido&rdquo; in America. In addition, he created and staged some of the most realistic martial arts fight sequences in the motion picture <i>Billy Jack</i> (1971).&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Hines E. Ward, Jr</b><b>.</b>: Pittsburgh Steeler&rsquo;s wide receiver, he was the first Korean-American to be voted MVP of a Super Bowl (X)L. He is a two-time Super Bowl Champion (XL, XLIII). In 2006, he founded the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation &ldquo;to help mixed-race children like himself in South Korea.&rdquo;</div> <div> <b>Jay Dee &ldquo;B.J.&rdquo; Penn</b>: Also known as &ldquo;The Prodigy,&rdquo; Penn is former UFC Welterweight Champion and the present Ultimate Fighting Championship Lightweight Champion (2008-present). As a professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, he won tournaments and became the first American-born winner of the 2000 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category.</div> <div> <b>Jeanette Lee</b>: Among numerous national and international championships, this professional pool player won the gold medal for the U.S. at the 2001 World Games. Dubbed the black widow, she is twice-winner of the ladies&rsquo; Tournament of Champions (1999, 2003). During the 1990s, she ranked as the number 1 female pool player in the world and, in 1998, she was awarded Sportsperson of the Year by the Women&rsquo;s Professional Billiard Association.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jhoon Goo Rhee</b>: In the 1950s, he introduced Taekwondo, the Korean martial arts, to the United States, earning the title &ldquo;Father of American Taekwondo.&rdquo;</div> <div> <strong>&nbsp;</strong></div> <div> <strong>John Lee: The first player of Korean descent and the first Asian to be drafted into the NFL, Lee holds many college records, including the Pacific-10 Conference single game field goal record and the highest percentage of extra points and field goals made in a career with 93.3% (</strong>116 of 117 PATs, 79 of 92 FGs). He has the highest percentage of field goals made in a season (100%, 1984, 16 out of 16) and in a career (minimum 55 attempts) (85.9%, 79 out of 92)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Michelle Wie</b>: At the age of 13, she became the youngest person, male or female, to win a USGA adult event, the 2003 Women&rsquo;s Amateur Public Links. In 2004, at age 14, she was also the youngest female to play a PGA Tour event, the Sony Open, and to play in the Curtis Cup. When she was 15, Wie became the first female golfer to qualify for a USGA national men&rsquo;s tournament.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Naomi Nam</b>: In 1999, she won the women&rsquo;s singles silver medal in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. In 2007, she won the U.S. bronze medal as a pairs skater with Themistocles Leftheris..&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <strong>Toby Dawson (Born </strong>Kim Bong-seok)<strong>: Korean-born mogul skier Toby Dawson won the bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. He is full Korean but was adopted after being separated from his parents in a busy market in Pusan. His biological father identified him from the media and DNA tests confirmed the familial tie. </strong></div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Science/Academia</b></div> <div> <b>Benjamin Lee</b>: Theoretical physicist Lee&rsquo;s work on theoretical particle physics contributed significantly to the development of the standard model and understanding of the forces between elementary particles of the atomic nucleus.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Dennis W. Choi</b>: As the Jones Professor and head of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis&rsquo;s Center for the Study of Nervous System Injury, Choi was a member of the team that treated Christopher Reeve after the actor&rsquo;s shattered his first and second vertebrae.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jim Yong Kim</b>: From 2004-2006, he served as Director of the World Health Organization&rsquo;s HIV/AIDS department. <i>US News &amp; World Report</i> (2005) named him one of America&rsquo;s 25 best leaders and <i>Time Magazine</i> (2006) labeled Kim as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world. In 2009, Kim became the 17th President of Dartmouth College and the first Asian-American to become president of an Ivy League school. Kim was born in Seoul and immigrated to the United States at the age of 5.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Mark Lewis Polansky</b>: Half-Korean aerospace engineer, research pilot, and NASA astronaut, he has logged more than 618 hours in space. He served as Chief of the CAPCOM Branch, Chief Instructor Astronaut, and Chief of the Return to Flight and Orbiter Repair Branches.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Moo-young Han</b>: In 1965, Han, along with a Nobel Prize-winning colleague, Dr. Yoichiro Nambu, introduced the SU(3) symmetry of quarks, now known as color charge. The color charges of quarks provide the basis for quantum chromodynamics, the current theory on nuclear force.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <b>Younghill Kang</b>: Noted as &ldquo;the father of Korean-American literature,&rdquo; he is best known for the novels <i>The Grass Roof </i>(1931) and its sequel <i>East Goes West: The Making of an Oriental Yankee </i>(1937).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Samuel (Sammy) Lee</b>: Not only was he the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal, he was the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in Olympic platform diving. In 1948, he also won the bronze medal for springboard diving. In 1947, Lee earned his M.D. from USC and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Korea from 1943-1945. He has later coached Olympic divers Pat McCormick, Bob Webster and Greg Louganis.</div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Business</b></div> <div> <b>Peter S. Kim</b>: In 2003, he became the president of Merck Research Laboratories, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, effectively overseeing all of Merck&rsquo;s drug and vaccine R&amp;D.</div> <div> <u>&nbsp;</u></div> <div> <b>Miscellaneous</b></div> <div> <b>Philip Jaisohn</b> (Seo Jae Pil)- Not only was he the first Korean to become a citizen of the United States in 1890, he also became the first Korean-American to earn his medical degree in the U.S. in 1892.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Sonya &ldquo;The Black Widow&rdquo; Thomas</b> (born Lee Sun-kyung): A 98-Pound competitive eater, Thomas holds 29 world titles and is ranked 4th in the United States and ranked 5th in the world. Her nickname, the Black Widow, arises from her ability to out-eat men several times her size. She set the American and female record, in 2005, by eating 37 hot dogs in 12 minutes. She has also set records in eating cheesecakes (11 lbs in 9 min.), chicken nuggets (80 in 5 min.), chicken wings (173 in 12 min.), lobsters (44 lobsters totaling 11.3 lbs of meat in 12 min.), tater tots (250 in 5 min.), Turducken (7 3/4 lbs in 12 min.), hard boiled eggs, oysters, pork, etc.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Under the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty, the United States agreed to help South Korea defend itself against external aggression. Since that time, the U.S. has maintained military personnel in Korea, including the Army&rsquo;s Second Infantry Division and several Air Force tactical squadrons. To coordinate operations between these units and the over 680,000-strong Korean armed forces, a Combined Forces Command (CFC) was established in 1978. The head of the CFC also serves as Commander of the United Nations Command (UNC) and US Forces Korea (USFK). The current commander is General Burwell Baxter &ldquo;B.B.&rdquo; Bell.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Several aspects of the security relationship between the U.S. and South Korea are changing as the U.S. shifts to a supporting role. In 2004, an agreement was reached on the return of the Yongsan base in Seoul, as well as a number of other U.S. bases to South Korea and the eventual relocation of all U.S. forces to south of the Han River. In addition, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to move 12,500 of the 37,500 US troops out of Korea by 2008. At the same time U.S. troops are being redeployed from Korea, the U.S. will bolster combined US-South Korea deterrent and defense capabilities by providing $11 billion to South Korea in force enhancements and at regional facilities over the next four years.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A total of 1,076,872 people identified themselves as being of Korean ancestry in the 2000 US census.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2006, 555,704 Americans visited Korea. The number of Americans traveling to the peninsular nation has gradually increased since 2002, when 459,362 Americans visited South Korea. Also in 2006, 757,721 South Koreans visited the U.S. The number of South Koreans has been increasing slowly but consistently since 2002, when 638,697 South Koreans came to America.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> <a href="http://www.cfr.org/publication/11459/ussouth_korea_alliance.html">The U.S.-South Korea Alliance </a>(by Carin Zissis and Youkyung Lee, Council on Foreign Relations)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl30566.pdf">South Korea-U.S. Economic Relations</a> (by Mark E. Manyin, Congressional Research Service)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/02/repairing_ussouth_korea_relati.html">Repairing U.S.-South Korea Relations</a> (by Richard Halloran, RealClearPolitics.com)</div> <div> <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jan/17/world/fg-usasia17">U.S.-South Korea Relationship Has&nbsp;Soured</a> (by Mark Mazzetti and Tyler Marshall, Los Angeles Times)</div> <p> <a href="http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/320468.html"><span>U.S.-Korea Relations in the Obama Era</span></a></p> <p> (The Hankyoreh)</p>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<p> Trade and investment ties have become an increasingly important aspect of the US-South Korea relationship. Korea is the United States&rsquo; seventh-largest trading partner (ranking ahead of larger economies such as France and Italy), and there are significant flows of manufactured goods, agricultural products, services and technology between the two countries.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> However, a significant trade imbalance continues to exist between the two economic powerhouses. As of 2008, the U.S. imported $48.1 billion from South Korea, while it exported only $34.7 billion.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Leading imports by the U.S. from South Korea include passenger cars, which have averaged about $8.6 billion a year from 2004-2008; computer accessories (averaging $3.0 billion annually); semiconductors (also $3.0 billion); clocks, typewriters and other household goods ($6.9 billion); household and kitchen appliances ($1.2 billion); telecommunications equipment ($1.4 billion); and other petroleum products, which jumped from $889 million in 2004 to $2.8 billion in 2008).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Key imports on the downward trend include apparel and household goods, which dropped from $1.3 billion in 2004 to $253 million in 2008; and televisions, which decreased from $1.7 billion to $479 million.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> American exports to South Korea are led by semiconductors, which have averaged about $4.2 billion a year. Other key exports include civilian aircraft sales ($1.5 billion); industrial machines ($2.1 billion); steelmaking materials, which have jumped from $501 million to $1.3 billion; organic chemicals ($1.6 billion); and corn, which has gone up from $546 million to $2.2 billion.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong on June 30, 2007 and is currently awaiting ratification in Congress and the Korean National Assembly. The KORUS FTA is a comprehensive FTA that eliminates virtually all barriers to trade and investment between the two countries. Tariffs on 95% of trade between the two countries will be eliminated within three years of implementation and virtually all the remaining tariffs will be removed within ten years of implementation. The FTA also contains chapters that address non-tariff measures in investment, intellectual property, services, competition policy, and other areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The KORUS FTA is the largest free trade agreement Korea has ever signed, and the largest free trade agreement for the United States since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1992. Some economists have projected the FTA will generate billions of dollars in increased trade and investment between the United States and the Republic of Korea, and boost economic growth and job creation in both countries.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2007, the U.S. sold $4.70 billion in defense articles and services to South Korea.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5800.html">Imports from South Korea</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5800.html">Exports to South Korea</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64900.htm"><span>South Korea: Security Assistance</span></a></p>
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Controversies
<p> <b>Free Trade Agreement Prompts Protests over US Beef Imports</b></p> <div> In May 2008, the South Korean National Assembly failed to ratify the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States amid ongoing street protests against the clauses covering imports of U.S. beef. The beef question has become the focal point of opposition not only to the FTA, but to the government of recently inaugurated President Lee Myung Bak and his Grand National Party. Despite the ongoing public outcry against the beef provision, public opposition to the overall FTA is not strong, and ultimately the deal is likely to pass &mdash; at least in South Korea.</div> <div> Anti-U.S. beef demonstrations have been joined by a wide variety of groups, from farmers and agriculture workers to major labor unions to housewives. Most of the public protests have centered on the health and safety issues of U.S. beef, focusing mostly on mad cow disease.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A case of mad cow in the United States led to the complete banning of all U.S. beef imports to South Korea in December 2003, a time when South Korea was the third-largest importer of US beef globally. The United States has fought to regain access to the South Korean market, and managed to gain access again in April 2007 before being shut out once more in October 2007, when vertebrae were found in a shipment of U.S. beef.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In June 2008, the U.S. ambassador to Seoul dismissed accusations that he tried to downplay South Korean concerns over U.S. beef imports. Then-Ambassador Alexander Vershbow urged South Koreans to learn more about the scientific evidence of the safety of U.S. beef. Some South Koreans said the comment was insulting. Vershbow said he regretted that his &ldquo;comments have been interpreted in a way that caused offense to some Koreans.&rdquo; He added that he has the &ldquo;highest regard for the educational level of Koreans&rdquo; and respects their &ldquo;concerns about food safety.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/south_korea_u_s_latest_korus_controversy">South Korea, U.S.: The Latest in the KORUS Controversy</a> (STRATFOR Global Intelligence)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2008-06/2008-06-05-voa70.cfm?CFID=116378138&amp;CFTOKEN=66855106&amp;jsessionid=6630a56a91559aaf3eda704743523e477760">U.S. Ambassador Responds to South Korean Criticism Over Beef Controversy</a> (Voice of America News)</div>
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Human Rights
<p> The State Department reports that in 2008, the South Korean government continued to investigate incidents of possible abuse under the country&rsquo;s former military regimes. Since the Commission for the Restoration of Honor and Compensation to Activists of the Democratization Movement&rsquo;s creation in 2000, 11,241 of the 13,348 cases reported had been reviewed and determined that compensation was due for 8,908 of cases.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Rules regarding arrest and detention under the National Security Law (NSL) are vague. For example, the NSL defines espionage in broad terms and permits the authorities to detain and arrest persons who commit acts viewed as supporting North Korea (DPRK), and therefore deemed dangerous to the country. Thus, persons could be arrested for the peaceful expression of views that the government considered pro-DPRK or anti-state. In recent years, however, there has been a reduction in the number of arrests and prosecutions from threats to the &quot;security of the state.&quot; According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), this is due to the establishment of strict legal precedents in courts that preempt discretionary implementation of the NSL.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2008, authorities arrested 16 persons and prosecuted 27 others for alleged NSL violations. For example, two teachers who were members of the Unification Committee of the Korea Teachers Labor Union were indicted on charges of violating the NSL for collecting unification-related materials to be used in class and for discussing such materials over the Internet with other teachers. They were released on bail and were on trial without physical detention. In another case, a photographer faced charges of revealing national security and military secrets for publishing a book that included photographs of local United States Forces&rsquo; Korea facilities. At year&rsquo;s end he was on trial without physical detention.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A university professor, who had been found guilty of violating the NSL in 2006 and sentenced to two years in prison, pursued and lost his final appeal in November of 2007.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Estimating the number of political prisoners proved to be a challenge because in many cases, it was uncertain whether persons were arrested for exercising their right to free speech and association, or were detained for acts of violence or espionage. Mingahyup, an NGO, reported that as of December 2008, the government had prosecuted 74 persons for their political beliefs and had convicted 399 objectors for intentionally failing to report for military service.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Although privacy invasion is prohibited under law, human rights groups have expressed concerns about possible government wiretapping abuse. The current Anti-Wiretap Law has the potential for a breach in compliance due to its broad conditions that allow the government to monitor telephone calls, mail, and other forms of communication for up to two months in criminal investigations and four months in national security cases. The National Assembly parliamentary audit found 1,149 instances of wiretapping in 2007. Of those cases, 87.9 percent were conducted by the National Intelligence Service. Moreover, in the same year, telecommunications companies delivered customer information to investigation agencies on 426,453 occasions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The government continued to require some released prisoners to report regularly to a probation officer under the Social Surveillance Law. This is in contrast to the policies regarding resettled DPRK refugees; the Ministry of Unification (MOU) designates precinct-level officers to handle issues brought forth by the resettled citizens, who do not have any reporting requirements.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> According to the U.S. State department, &ldquo;The NSL forbids citizens from listening to North Korean radio in their homes or reading books published in the DPRK if the government determines that the action endangers national security or the basic order of democracy in the country. However, this prohibition was rarely enforced, and the viewing of DPRK satellite telecasts in private homes is legal.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In regards to freedom of information on the Internet, the government blocked violent, sexually explicit, and gambling Web sites, and required site operators to rate their site as harmful or not harmful to youth, based on the country&rsquo;s telecommunications laws. The government also continued to block DPRK Web sites. According to data from 2007 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 94.1 percent of households had access to the Internet. In addition to Internet access at home, there are public Internet rooms were that are widely available and inexpensive.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Rape has remained a serious problem, and the frequency of reports and prosecutions has risen since last year, 2007. This year there were 7,532 reports of rape and 3,581 prosecutions accounted by the Ministry of Gender Equality (MOGE). A recent study by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and the Korean Institute of Criminology reported that 17.9 out of 1,000 women are victims of sexual harassment, rape, or other sexual crimes each year. They also discovered that the reporting rate for rape was only 7.1 percent; many rapes were believed to have gone unreported because of the stigma associated with being raped. The activities of women&rsquo;s groups increased awareness of the importance of reporting and prosecuting rape, as well as of offenses such as sexual harassment in the workplace. Although there is no statute that criminalizes spousal rape, a precedent has been established by courts of prosecuting spouses in such cases. The penalty for rape is a minimum of three years imprisonment; if a weapon is used or if two or more persons commit the rape, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Violence against women has remained a problem. In 2008, the MOJ registered 11,048 cases of domestic violence and prosecuted 1,747 cases. According to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs (MOGEF), about 30 percent of all married women were victims of domestic violence. Under law, the police are required to promptly respond to reports of domestic violence, the authorities can put a restraining order on offenders for up to six months, and courts can give a maximum of five years&rsquo; imprisonment or fine offenders up to seven million won ($5,300 USD).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prostitution is illegal, but widespread. In July of 2008, there was a crackdown on prostitution-related operations in various areas of Seoul, ultimately resulting in the closure of 61 businesses in one district and the prosecution of 350 persons. Starting in September of 2008, the Act on the Prevention of the Sex Trade and Protection of Victims Thereof was put into place, requiring the MOGE to compile a report every three years on domestic prostitution, sex tourism, and the sex trade.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In recent years, the government has made some progress in addressing sexual harassment, but the issue continues to be a problem. Cases of sexual harassment are recorded by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), an independent government body without enforcement powers and non-binding decisions.The NHRC issued remediation efforts, proposing redress, conciliation, mutual settlement, and resolution to rectify problems.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The family law allows remarried women to change their children&rsquo;s family name to their new husband&rsquo;s name, permits women to head households, recognizes a wife&#39;s right to a portion of a couple&rsquo;s property, and allows women to maintain greater contact with their children following a divorce. Women and men have the same legal rights under the constitution.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human trafficking is forbidden by law, but still there were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, through, and within the country. In 2008, there were 220 trafficking investigations and 31 prosecutions in total for sex trafficking. Regarding incoming trafficking, women from Russia, China, Mongolia, the Philippines, and other surrounding countries were flown to Korea with entertainer or tourist visas after being recruited or after answering advertisements, only to find themselves in sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Regarding outgoing trafficking, Korean women were sent primarily to the United States for sexual exploitation, and also to Australia and Japan. The punishment for human trafficking for sexual exploitation carries a sentence of 10 years&rsquo; imprisonment under Korean law. Trafficking for domestic servitude carries a sentence of up to five years&rsquo; imprisonment.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A 2009 report by Amnesty International, <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA25/001/2009/en/8bc729f6-39d7-4ce9-aeab-86eea173451c/asa250012009en.pdf">&ldquo;Disposable Labour: Rights of Migrants Workers in South Korea,&rdquo;</a> revealed cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant workers who were supposed to be protected under the Employment Permit System (EPS). Many workers worked under dangerous conditions, exposing them to a higher risk of injury or death; they also had wages withheld and forced to work overtime.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/eap/119044.htm">U.S. State Department</a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/asia/south-korea">Human Rights Watch</a></div> <p> <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/asia-and-pacific/east-asia/south-korea"><span>Amnesty International</span></a></p>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<p> Lucius H. Foote<br /> Appointment: Feb 27, 1883<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 20, 1883<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 19, 1885</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William H. Parker<br /> Appointment: Feb 19, 1886<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 1886<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Sep 3, 1886</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Hugh A. Dinsmore<br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1887<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 13, 1887<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 26, 1890</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William O. Bradley<br /> Appointment: Mar 30, 1889<br /> <span>Note: Declined appointment. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Augustine Heard<br /> Appointment: Jan 30, 1890<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 26, 1890<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 27, 1893</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> John M.B. Sill<br /> Appointment: Jan 12, 1894<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 30, 1894<br /> Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 13, 1897</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Horace N. Allen<br /> Appointment: Jul 17, 1897<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 13, 1897<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Jun 9, 1905<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 10, 1901. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edwin V. Morgan<br /> Appointment: Mar 18, 1905<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 26, 1905<br /> Termination of Mission: Japan assumed direction of Korean foreign relations, Nov 17, 1905<br /> <span>Note: Morgan closed the Legation, Nov 28, 1905, and left Korea, Dec 8, 1905.</span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> John J. Muccio<br /> Appointment: Apr 7, 1949<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 20, 1949<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Korea, Sep 8, 1952</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ellis O. Briggs<br /> Appointment: Aug 25, 1952<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 25, 1952<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 1955<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jul 28, 1953. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William S.B. Lacy<br /> Appointment: Mar 24, 1955<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 12, 1955<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 20, 1955</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walter C. Dowling<br /> Appointment: May 29, 1956<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 14, 1956<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 2, 1959</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walter P. McConaughy<br /> Appointment: Oct 5, 1959<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 17, 1959<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 1961<br /> <span>Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1960. </span></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Samuel D. Berger<br /> Appointment: Jun 12, 1961<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 27, 1961<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 10, 1964</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Winthrop G. Brown<br /> Appointment: Jul 31, 1964<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 14, 1964<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1967</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William J. Porter<br /> Appointment: Jun 9, 1967<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 23, 1967<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 18, 1971</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Philip C. Habib<br /> Appointment: Sep 30, 1971<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1971<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 19, 1974</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Richard L. Sneider<br /> Appointment: Aug 23, 1974<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1974<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1978</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William H. Gleysteen, Jr.<br /> Appointment: Jun 27, 1978<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1978<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 10, 1981</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Richard L. Walker<br /> Appointment: Jul 18, 1981<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 12, 1981<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Oct 25 1986</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> James Roderick Lilley<br /> Appointment: Oct 16, 1986<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 26, 1986<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 3, 1989</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Donald Phinney Gregg<br /> Appointment: Sep 14, 1989<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 27, 1989<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 27, 1993</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> James T. Laney<br /> Appointment: Oct 15, 1993<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 2, 1993<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 5, 1996</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Note: Richard A. Christenson served as Charg&eacute; d&#39;Affaires ad interim, Feb 1996-Dec 1997.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Steven W. Bosworth<br /> Appointment: Oct 24, 1997<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 15, 1997<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 10, 2001</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Thomas C. Hubbard<br /> Appointment: Aug 3, 2001<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 12, 2001<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 17, 2004</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Christopher R. Hill<br /> Appointment: May 12 2004<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Sep 1, 2004<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 12, 2005</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Alexander R. Vershbow<br /> Appointment: Oct 12, 2005<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 2005<br /> Termination of Mission: 2008</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <p> <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10899.htm"><span>Former U.S. Ambassadors to South Korea</span></a></p>
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Korea, South's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Choi Young-jin

The key U.S. Asian ally of South Korea has named a new ambassador to the United States who has served before in the U.S. Born March 29, 1948, Choi Young-jin earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in March 1973, and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Political Science at the University of Paris I, in 1980 and 1985, respectively. Before earning his undergraduate degree, Choi studied medicine at the Severance Medical College in South Korea for four years.

 

Choi joined the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1972, having passed the diplomatic service exam the previous May. Early career postings included service as second secretary at the South Korean Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, starting in November 1976; as second secretary at the embassy in Paris, France, starting in August 1978; as director of the Ministry’s Cultural Affairs Division, starting in August 1981; and as counselor at the South Korean embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, starting in February 1983. In April 1986, Choi was named director of the Ministry’s International Organizations Division, where he dealt mainly with non-governmental organizations until January 1987, when he was made aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Choi’s first posting to the U.S. came in December 1987, when he was named counselor at the embassy in Washington, DC, an appointment he kept for four years. Choi then served a series of Seoul-based jobs, including senior coordinator for Policy Development at the Ministry’s Office of Policy Planning, starting in May 1991; director-general of the Ministry’s International Economic Affairs Bureau, starting in December 1993; and starting in May 1995, deputy executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which was founded in March 1995 by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreement that froze North Korea’s indigenous nuclear power program. His duties included overseeing a $5 billion project to construct two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

 

In May 1998, Choi went to work for the United Nations as assistant secretary-general for Planning and Support in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, responsible for overseeing planning and support for 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Congo.

 

He returned to South Korean government service in February 2000 as deputy minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations. Two years later, in February 2002, Choi was named ambassador to Austria and to Slovenia, and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, a posting he had only until April 2003, when he became chancellor of the Ministry’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

 

In January 2004, Choi was appointed vice minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, followed in May 2005 with an appointment as South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, a position he filled until 2007, when he took an appointment as a resident diplomat scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

 

In October 2007, U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, also of South Korea, appointed Choi Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, mandated to certify the Ivorian presidential election of fall 2010 and defuse the political crisis which arose in its aftermath.

 

Choi has written numerous articles and books, including L’Asie de l’Est et le Rapprochement Sino-Américain (East Asia and the China-U.S. rapprochement) (1987) and East and West: Understanding the Rise of China (2010). Choi is married and has two sons.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Curriculum Vitae

Truth is the Starting Point: An Interview with Choi Young-jin (by Michael Fleshman, Africa Renewal)

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Korea, South's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<p> <a href="http://www.dynamic-korea.com/">South Korea&rsquo;s Embassy in the U.S.</a></p>
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U.S. Ambassador to Korea, South

Kim, Sung
ambassador-image

Sung Y. Kim was nominated to be the United States’ next ambassador to South Korea in June, 2011, and received his Senate confirmation in October. He was sworn in on November 3 and arrived in Seoul a week later. He is the first American of Korean descent to serve as U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

 
Kim’s father, Kim Ki-wan (a.k.a. Kim Jae-kwon) was a member of the Korean CIA and was implicated in the 1973 kidnapping of dissident (and future president) Kim Dae-jung.
 
Born in 1960, Kim was 13 years old when his father, following the kidnapping, moved his family to Los Angeles. Kim received his U.S. citizenship in 1980.
 
He earned his BA from the University of Pennsylvania and received a JD from Loyola University Law School as well as an LLM from the London School of Economics.
 
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kim worked as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
 
His early assignments included postings to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In Washington, Kim worked in the Office of Chinese Affairs and served as staff assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
 
From 1999 to 2002, he served as a political officer in Tokyo.
 
Kim was the political-military unit chief at the U.S. embassy in Seoul from 2002 to 2006.
 
He then headed the Office of Korean Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
 
In July 2008, Kim became the special envoy for North Korean affairs and chief representative to the Six-Party Talks regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. For this position he was accorded the rank of ambassador following confirmation by the Senate.
 
Kim and his wife, Jae, have two daughters.
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Korea, South

Stephens, Kathleen
ambassador-image

Kathleen Stephens was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2008 and confirmed by the Senate on August 1, 2008,, to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. 

 
After growing up in Arizona, Stephens received her BA with honors in East Asian studies from Prescott College and a master’s degree from Harvard University.  She also studied at the University of Hong Kong (1972-1973). Her foreign languages are Korean and Serbian, with more limited competence in Chinese.
 
She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea from 1975-1977 before joining the Foreign Service in 1978. Earlier overseas assignments included consular and public affairs officer in Guangzhou, China (1980-1982), chief of the internal political unit in Seoul (1984-1987), and principal officer of the U.S. Consulate in Pusan, Korea (1987-1989). Stephens was a political officer assigned to the U.S. mission in Yugoslavia, shuttling between Belgrade and Zagreb, during that country’s violent disintegration in the early ‘90s.
 
At the State Department, she served as the senior UK country officer (1992-1994), followed by an assignment to the National Security Council as Director for European Affairs (1994-1995).  She served as U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1995-1998) during the consolidation of ceasefires and negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. From 1998-2001, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal, then as director of the Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation (2001-2003).
 
From 2003-2005, she was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, focusing on addressing Kosovo’s future status, completing the NATO-led mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and accelerating the integration of the western Balkans in Euro-Atlantic institutions.
 
From 2005-2007, Stephens was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for a range of bureau-wide issues, and with particular responsibility for the management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea.
 
She served as Political Advisor in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department before becoming ambassador to South Korea.
 

Kathleen Stephens’ Official Biography

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