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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Divided Koreas mark 1945 freedom

From BBC Online:
Divided Koreas mark 1945 freedom

Having spent some time in South Korea in the 1980's, and having friends and associates from there, I am very interested in the re-unification efforts, and heartened by signs like this.

A North Korean delegation has arrived in South Korea on a ground-breaking visit, to mark 60 years since the end of Japanese colonial rule.

Senior members of the North's ruling party are among the visitors.
The four-day festival is seen as an opportunity to further improve relations after the rapprochement of recent years.
The North Korean visit comes during a pause in the six-nation negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programme.

South Korean officials have said they hope to use the four-day visit as a chance to speak directly to delegates from Pyongyang to establish when the talks on the nuclear issue can resume.

For those unfamiliar with the historical context, the BBC article adds:
Korea was occupied by Japan in 1910 and ruled by Tokyo until the end of World War II in 1945.

The country was then divided into American and Soviet-controlled zones along the 38th parallel, a temporary split that became permanent after the inconclusive three-year peninsular war.

If you are interested in 20th century Korean history but not ready to pick up a scholarly history book, I highly recommend the novel One thousand chestnut trees, by Mira Stout.

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