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Today in Korean history

National 14:00 May 16, 2022

May 17

1973 -- North Korea joins the World Health Organization. South Korea acquired membership in 1949.

1980 -- South Korea's then military government, led by Chun Doo-hwan, expands its enforcement of emergency martial law nationwide and arrests two leading opposition leaders, Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil, on charges of rebellion, conspiracy and illegal profiteering.

The government orders Kim Dae-jung to be put to death but later commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. Kim later won the Nobel Peace Prize during his presidency in 2000 for his reconciliation efforts with North Korea.

2007 -- South and North Korea conduct test-runs of two railways -- one linking Seoul with Sinuiju, a North Korean border city with China, and the other linking Wonsan, a city on the eastern coast of the North, to Goseong, an eastern coastal city of the South.

The two train lines were cut during the 1950-53 Korean War, but they were partly restored in 2005 under an agreement sealed during the two countries' first summit in 2000.

2016 -- South Korean fiction writer Han Kang wins the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for her novel "The Vegetarian." It marked the first time a South Korean won the prestigious literature award.

2017 -- Rep. Moon Hee-sang of the ruling Democratic Party, then acting as a special envoy of President Moon Jae-in to Japan, says in a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida that a 2015 agreement on former sex slaves cannot be and is not accepted by the South Korean public. Under the controversial deal, Seoul's Park Geun-hye administration agreed to never again raise the issue of Korean women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military in the early 20th century in exchange for 10 billion yen or about US$9 million.

2018 -- North Korea threatens to halt inter-Korean dialogue over joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. The threat came less than a month after the historic first summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and its leader Kim Jong-un. The two leaders met again in May and September the same year.

2019 -- South Korea decides to donate US$8 million to international agencies for aid projects in North Korea and allow a group of businesspeople to visit a shuttered joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong.

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