South Korea is a country located in Eastern Asia and one
of the four developed country in Asia according to Abbreviationfinder. Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil of the United
Liberal Democrats (ULD) resigned on the first day of the
year and was succeeded by his party brother, Park Tae Joon.
Kim wanted to concentrate on leading his party in the
upcoming election campaign. The government's coalition
partner, President Kim Dae Jung's National Congress for New
Politics (NCNP), uploaded to the election by renaming the
New Millennium Democratic Party (MDP).
In February, the coalition between the MDP and the ULD,
when the ULD decided to leave the government, apparently
broke up in order to run its own election campaign. However,
Prime Minister Park remained in government.
In March, President Kim proposed high-level talks between
South Korea and North Korea. There were no negative
reactions to the speech from North Korea's capital
Pyongyang, and in April it was announced that South Korea
and North Korea agreed to hold a summit in June between the
two countries' presidents.
The sensational news was released just before the South
Korean election to the Supreme People's Assembly and was
expected to give President Kim's MDP great success. Although
the ruling party increased, it achieved no more than 35.9%
of the vote. Thus, the MDP became only the second largest
party after the opposition's Great National Party (GNP),
which gained 39%. ULD, which came in third place, declined
sharply and stayed at 9.8%.
In May, Prime Minister Park resigned after he was
sentenced to tax fraud. President Kim replaced him with ULD
leader Lee Han Dong, thus paving the way for a new coalition
between ULD and MDP.
The historic summit between President Kim Dae Jung and
his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Il was held June 13-15
in Pyongyang. About 600,000 cheering North Koreans edged the
shortcut as the South Korean guest traveled through the
capital. Negotiations were conducted in a positive spirit
and were followed by a written agreement on financial
cooperation, on family reunification, on confidence-building
measures and relaxation, on work for reconciliation and
peaceful reunification between the North and the South. The
contacts continued with ministerial meetings, which included
agreed to open a railway line between the countries.
The family reunion began in August, when 100 South
Koreans traveled to Pyongyang and 100 North Koreans traveled
to Seoul to meet relatives they had not seen for half a
century. There were very emotional meetings. Similar trips
were also carried out later in the year.
Cohesion between the two Koreas was manifested at the
inauguration of the Sydney Olympic Games, where the North
and South Korean participants marched in unison.
In August, President Kim reformed the government and
dismissed, among other things. Finance Minister Lee Hun Jai,
who was replaced by Jin Nyum. It was believed that economic
reform architect Lee ended up in too much confrontation with
the big corporate conglomerates, chaebols. Several of these
were deeply indebted after the Asian financial crisis a few
years earlier. Banks that lent to chaebols had made huge
losses, and the government was now pressing the lenders to
demand painful restructuring as a condition for new loans.
The corporate giant and the car manufacturer Daewoo with
17,500 employees were the worst off.
When the union at Daewoo in November refused to accept a
plan for the dismissal of 3,500 workers, the loan
opportunities were exhausted for the company, whose debts
corresponded to more than SEK 100 billion. Daewoo's
bankruptcy was labeled as the largest in South Korea's
history. At the same time, the banks gave a deadline for the
other hard-pressed company, the construction company within
the Hyundaik Group. Hyundai was postponed to the end of the
year by paying its debts to South Korean lenders.
The economic crisis was temporarily suspended in
December, when the entire world's media focused on South
Korea's President Kim Dae Jung, who in Oslo received the
Nobel Peace Prize. Kim received the award for her so-called
sunshine policy towards North Korea, which allowed the
South-North approach after half a century of hostility on
the Korean Peninsula.