Portal:Korea
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Korea, called Hanguk (Korean: ??; Hanja: ??) in South Korea and Chos?n (Korean: ??; Hanja: ??) in North Korea, is a civilization and geographical area situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, bordering China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait. It is often called the "Land of the Morning Calm", a term first used during the Joseon dynasty.

One of the oldest civilizations in the world, Korea's history began with the founding of Gojoseon, dating back to approximately 2,333 B.C. After the Three Kingdoms period, Korea enjoyed long periods of peace during which its culture, science and technology flourished. Despite this relative tranquility, Korea was often a target for invasion and had to defend itself in many wars. As a result, starting in the 17th century, Korea's leaders cut off almost all interaction with the outside world. Because of this, Korea was annexed in 1910 and became divided after the Korean War into two political entities, North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea declares itself to be a self-reliant socialist state that is often described by international outlets as Stalinist and isolationist. It is currently ruled by the Kim dynasty, under which the country has become the world's most militarized society with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. North Korea has often emerged as a subject of controversy due to alleged human rights abuses and its unsanctioned nuclear weapons program, the latter of which makes it a threat to regional security.

South Korea on the other hand is a capitalist liberal democracy, and by 1995, became the world's 11th largest economy. It is also currently the world's fifth largest exporter and seventh largest importer, all feats achieved during South Korea's miraculous economic growth after the Korean War. South Korea also maintains a large military due to strained relations with the North, with 650,000 active troops and 3.2 million reserve troops. Due to both its economic and military prowess, South Korea is a regional power, also enjoying membership in the United Nations, G-20 major economies and the OECD.

Korea is populated by a relatively homogeneous ethnic group, the Koreans, who speak Korean, a distinct language not known to be related to any other language, and which uses a unique script, known as Hangul in South Korea, and as Chosongul in North Korea.

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Laurence Olivier

Inchon is a 1981 war film about the Battle of Inchon, considered to be the turning point of the Korean War. The film was directed by Terence Young and financed by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon. It stars Laurence Olivier (pictured) as General Douglas MacArthur, who led the United States surprise amphibious landing at Incheon, South Korea in 1950. It was filmed in California, Italy, Ireland, Japan and South Korea. Inchon's plot includes both military action and human drama. Characters face danger and are involved in various personal and dramatic situations. The film concludes with the American victory over North Korean forces in the Battle of Inchon, which is considered to have saved South Korea. Inchon was released to theaters in the United States and Canada in September 1982 and then quickly withdrawn because of its poor performance at the box office. It has never been released on video or DVD, although it has sometimes been broadcast on television. It was the largest financial loss in film of 1982, earning less than $2 million. Reviewers at the time gave it consistently bad reviews and later commentators including Newsweek, TV Guide, and Canadian Press have classed Inchon among the worst films of all time.

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2010 G-20 Seoul summit
Credit: Presidencia de la Nacion Argentina

The 2010 G-20 Seoul summit was the fifth meeting of the G-20 heads of government to discuss the global financial system and the world economy. It was held in Seoul, South Korea.

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Selected biography

Choe Bu (1454-1504) was a Korean official during the early Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). He is best known for the account of his shipwrecked travels in China from February to July 1488, during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). He was eventually banished from the Joseon court in 1498 and executed in 1504 during two political purges. However, in 1506 he was exonerated and given posthumous honors by the Joseon court. Choe's diary accounts of his travels in China became widely printed in the 16th century in both Korea and Japan. Modern historians also utilize his written works, since his travel diary provides a unique outsider's perspective on Chinese culture in the 15th century and valuable information on China's cities and regional differences. The attitudes and opinions expressed in his writing represent in part the standpoints and views of the 15th-century Confucian Korean literati, who viewed Chinese culture as compatible with and similar to their own. His description of cities, people, customs, cuisines, and maritime commerce along China's Grand Canal provide insight into the daily life of China and how it differed between northern and southern China during the 15th century.

Did you know...

  • ...that the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang was built in 1982 to commemorate the "victory" of Korea over Japan in World War II?
  • ...that Shin Sang-ok, a South Korean film director was kidnapped in 1978 under orders from future North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il and forced to direct a giant-monster film, Pulgasari?
  • ...that the Chonma-ho is a little known, indigenously produced North Korean tank; information on which has proven to be elusive even to the U.S. government?

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  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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