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Today in Korean history

Today in Korean History 14:00 May 15, 2023

May 16

1973 -- North Korea joins the World Health Organization. South Korea became a member in 1949.

1980 -- The military government of Chun Doo-hwan expands its use 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.

Kim Dae-jung was sentenced to death, but the government later commuted the sentence to life imprisonment and then to a 20-year term. In 1982, the term was suspended, and he was allowed to go to the United States. After the country returned to democratic rule, he served as president from 1998-2003. Kim also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his efforts for reconciliation with North Korea.

2005 -- South Korea promises to make a new "important" proposal to help resolve the growing tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons program if the communist country returns to dialogue.

The nuclear standoff was a key topic at two days of inter-Korean talks, which reopened in the North's border city of Kaesong after a 10-month hiatus.

2006 -- South Korea signs a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to cut trade barriers on merchandise. Thailand, however, was excluded from the accord due to disagreements over agricultural goods and the country's political crisis.

The agreement with nine of the 10 member countries of ASEAN called for gradual tariff elimination by 2010 on nearly 90 percent of goods traded on both sides.

2007 -- Two South Korean fishing boats and their 24 crew members, including four South Koreans, are captured by a group of insurgents believed to be Somali pirates in waters off Somalia. They were freed in November.

2008 -- Patrol boats from South Korea and Japan confront each other over an alleged violation of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone by a Korean fishing boat. The standoff ended a few hours later after Japan conceded that the Korean boat did not violate its waters.

2013 -- The Supreme Court sentences a 45-year-old man to 3 1/2 years in prison for forcing his wife to have sex with him, recognizing marital rape as a crime for the first time. Spousal rape had not been treated as a crime in South Korea since the Supreme Court ruled so in the 1970s.

2018 -- North Korea cancels high-level inter-Korean dialogue to be held on the day, citing the ongoing joint military exercise of South Korea and the United States. A few hours later, the North's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan threatens to scrap a scheduled summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in June.

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