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Today in Korean history

Politics 14:00 September 21, 2019

Sept. 22

1948 -- A law to punish Koreans who collaborated with the Japanese colonial regime (1910-1945) takes effect. The law, however, was ineffective because of implicit opposition from the U.S. military government and criticism from President Rhee Syng-man, who was supported by a number of upper-class people who accumulated their wealth during the colonial era.

1949 -- The National Assembly passes a law to abolish a committee set up in the previous year to investigate Koreans who collaborated with the Japanese in the colonial period.

1965 -- The JoongAng Ilbo, one of the most influential dailies in South Korea, starts publication.

1971 -- A telephone hotline between South and North Korea opens at the border village of Panmunjom, located in the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries.

1983 -- An explosive is detonated at the front gate of the American Cultural Center in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, killing one person and wounding four others. Another U.S. center in Busan had been damaged by a bomb in the previous year.

The explosives were set off by university students to protest the alleged U.S. role in a massacre in the southwestern city of Gwangju in May 1980, when hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were killed by the military regime of then President Chun Doo-hwan. Some claim the U.S. was at fault for its failure to stop the massacre.

2003 -- Dissident Korean-German professor Song Doo-yul arrives in South Korea after 36 years of self-imposed exile in Germany. He was accused of violating the South Korean National Security Law through his pro-North Korean activities during his life in exile and, after arriving, was arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison. But a Seoul appellate court later ruled that there was no evidence to support the charges by state prosecutors. Song and his wife returned to Germany in August 2004.

2011 -- President Lee Myung-bak and Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, agree to work closely together and with the United States on North Korea's nuclear issue during their meeting in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

2017 -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vows to take the "highest level" actions in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning of total destruction of Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said later in New York that Pyongyang may consider the most powerful test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.
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