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Today in Korean history

Defense 14:00 May 03, 2021

May 4

1899 -- Streetcar services begin between Dongdaemun, once the main eastern gate of a wall surrounding Seoul, and Heunghwamun, the front gate of Gyeonghui Palace in the central part of the city. The revolution in electric transportation soon sparked public anger when a tram car struck and killed a child crossing the tracks on May 26.

1977 -- The culture ministry closes the Seoul bureau of Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and bans its distribution in South Korea following controversial remarks its editor-in-chief made about North Korea.

1982 -- Jang Yeong-ja and her husband, Lee Cheol-hee, the most prominent figures in an underworld private loan market linked to government officials, are arrested for violating the foreign exchange law. The couple had generated 640 billion won (US$545 million) by laundering illegal bonds. Jang and Lee were later sentenced to 15 years in prison.

1998 -- The Marine Corps receives the authority to manage its own human resources and finances, tasks that had previously been controlled by the Navy.

2006 -- KT Corp., South Korea's largest fixed-line and broadband service operator, establishes the first private telephone line in the Dokdo islets in the East Sea. There had previously been a total of 11 telephone lines on Dokdo, a set of small islets located 92 km east of Ulleung Island, but only for patrol forces stationed there and public use.

The new line was set up at the house of a married couple who moved there earlier that year to promote awareness of the nation's sovereignty over the easternmost territory and oppose Japan's repeated claim to the islets.

2009 -- A South Korean naval unit rescues a North Korean freighter from being hijacked by suspected pirates in Somali waters. The unit, operating in the Gulf of Aden as part of a U.S.-led multinational anti-piracy campaign, received a distress call from the North Korean vessel, the Dabaksol, and dispatched an anti-submarine attack helicopter to fend off pirates. It also hovered around the North Korean freighter after its crew asked for extended support.

2011 -- South Korea's National Assembly ratifies the free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), allowing it to take effect in July, despite objections raised by opposition parties.

In an extra parliamentary session, the FTA ratification bill was passed by a margin of 163 to 1, with five lawmakers casting blank votes. The main opposition Democratic Party (DP), which did not use force to block the passage, opted to boycott the voting process entirely. The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) said after the passage of the bill that ratifying the pact is in the country's best interest.
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