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Category: Government News

Hangeul Day

Korea marks the 565th anniversary of the creation of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, on October 9, Hangeul Day.

King Sejong the Great (1397-1450), the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), created Hangeul in 1446. He issued “Hunminjeong-eum,” meaning “Correct Sounds to Instruct the People,” Korea’s first instruction book on Hangeul, which UNESCO added to its Memory of the World Register in 1997.

To celebrate the creation of Hanguel, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism declared the first week of October as “Hangeul Week” and is hosting various events, including performances and exhibitions, and announced related policies to promote Hangeul,

Youths from Korea and overseas hold a celebratory event in Cheonan, Chungcheongnamdo (South Chungcheong Province) (Yonhap News).

From October 3 to 9, the ministry hosts an exhibition at Sujeongjeon inside Gyeongbokgung (palace) in central Seoul, where Hanguel was created. Visitors can learn more about various alphabets of the world and the dynamic energy of Hangeul at the exhibition titled “World Characters and Hangeul, Characters are Alive” (unofficial translation).

This exhibition was designed to introduce the development process of Hangeul as well as various alphabets from around the globe so that people can learn and feel the life and energy of literacy and appreciate the meaning of Hangeul Day.

At Gwanghwamun Plaza, downtown Seoul, Hangeul-themed performances and concerts will be held at an outdoor stage from October 6 to 8 at 7 p.m..

Various events related to Hangeul are also being held for overseas students and expats residing in Korea this month.

Overseas students have fun at a Hangeul-related quiz and events at a university in Korea (Yonhap News).

The National Folk Museum of Korea will hold a Korean language speaking contest for foreigners on October 11. Universities in Korea are also hosting various events to mark Hanguel Day for overseas students. In London, the Korean Language Institute Council will hold a promotional booth at an international language exposition to introduce Hangeul scheduled to take place from October 21 to 23.

Overseas students participate in a Korean language essay-writing contest held a university in Korea (Yonhap News).

Nearly 40 cultural and academic events will be held across the country in early October, including a special calligraphy exhibit on Hangeul at Seoul Square, downtown Seoul, from October 7 to 16.

* Policy to increase access to Korean language education overseas

On October 6, the Culture Ministry announced the government’s policy, composed of three main projects to globalize the Korean language. Under the policy, the ministry will focus on increasing the number of King Sejong Institutes to improve accessibility for those who are overseas and interested in learning the Korean language and Hangeul, strengthening the professional expertise of Korean language teachers, and standardizing and systemizing the educational curriculum of King Sejong Institutes.

King Sejong Instutute in London, UK, (left) and in Abu Dhabi, UAE

To this aim, the ministry will build 30 more institutes in ten countries next year where people show a growing interest in learning the Korean language and Hangeul. These selected countries include Myanmar, Pakistan, and East Timor, where people who plan to come to Korea as migrant workers through the country’s employment permit system. The ministry will also open an online Korean language program in five languages, including Chinese and English, on the homepage of the institute (www.sejonghakdang.org) for Internet users.

To upgrade the professional expertise of Korean language teachers, the ministry will send 20 people who have a Korean language education license to 20 countries and increase the number of trainees for Korean language teaching courses to 200 next year from the current number of 55.

To celebrate Hangeul Day, the Culture Ministry invited this year’s winners of the UNESCO Sejong Literacy Prize to Korea.

UNESCO established the King Sejong Literacy Prize in 1989, and since 1990, UNESCO rewards individuals or organizations that contribute to fighting illiteracy on International Literacy Day (September 8th) with the King Sejong Literacy Prize, named after Hangeul’s founder.

This year’s prize winners, who are from Mexico, Burundi, and the Philippines, will come to Korea on October 6 for seven days. Their itinerary includes attending the official Hanguel Day ceremony and participating in cultural programs to experience traditional Korean culture.

By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer

Survey on “Attractiveness of Seoul”


Attractiveness of Seoul

Attractiveness of Seoul-Survey Period: Aug. 10~24, 2011

Dear Readers,

Last May, CNNGo analyzed the attractiveness of Seoul and publicized a list titled ‘50 Reasons Why Seoul Is the World's Greatest City’.

※ Among the 50 reasons, jjimjilbangs (Korean saunas), sannakji (raw octopus), screen golf venues, and haejangguk (hangover stew) were cited among the reasons why foreign tourists ranked Seoul as their favorite world city, even though these are rather mundane or everyday aspects of life for Seoul’s citizens.

Accordingly, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is conducting a survey on the attractiveness of Seoul in order to develop tourism resources by discovering and utilizing the City's most attractive features observed from various perspectives and to promote the city to the rest of the world. As such, we hope for your active participation. Thank you very much.

We give away gifts to participants by lottery drawings. Gifts: 4G USB memory with decorative patterns of lacquer ware inlaid with mother-of-pearl • Business-card case • Ballpoint pen set

So? I also participate! Actually, there are lots of interesting things about Seoul, however, since I already one year here, I forgot some already. Also, some of what I attempt  to answer, it was already answered. Therefore it left only what poped up on my mind right now. Then, the first answer is ..you can guess… of course.. “Food”. It’s 10pm here and I am always hungry. Oh, get back to the story, my most favorite food is Haejangguk.  Even if it had been answered already, but I just want to add more vote for it, so they gonna consider promoting this later on. However, I just hope that after this food getting popular, the price can be still the same.

Haejangguk (Stew)

It’s the best soup and best memory, especially during winter. You will think of nothing beside this soup and yes, it taste best with yummy Kimchi and spicy green chilly. I can not help waiting for winter to come again, so I can happily enjoying this soup.

Friendly Korean

Many times I got lose in the subway and many times Korean people lead me right to the destination. Language barrier is a thing, and the kind-heart act can not easily found, but I often met this situation, so it can be counted as the best of Seoul because of Seoulites.

City of Festivals

Since I came to Korea, I found that Seoul always have various and interesting festivals. As for example, this summer there are lots of festivals after Mud festival, Flowers Festival, then Hangang Love Leports Festival, then…many more. In Cambodia, we do not have many festival like this, therefore I am really amazed with Seoul and enjoyed it very much.

Please visit this link: http://english.seoul.go.kr/lh/community/survey_att.php

Typhoon Muifa pummels Jeju, hampers air, sea travel

 Typhoon Muifa on Sunday pummeled Island Jeju and other parts of the country with strong winds and lashing rain, causing cancellations of flights and ferry services, and damaging property.

On the island, the gusts also broke the bottom part of a 20-meter-tall, 600-year-old hackberry tree, Natural Monument No. 161, at around 7:20 a.m. It then fell onto and damaged the roof of a building constructed during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Strong winds from Typhoon Muifa broke a 600-year-old hackberry at its stump in a folk village on Jeju, Sunday. The tree fell on an ancient government office, damaging the roof of
the cultural asset building. (Yonhap News)

According to the state disaster control agency, a 1,320-ton barge carrying two people drifted some 1.6 kilometers out to sea at around 5:45 a.m. after its mooring rope was cut amid strong winds and high waves from the typhoon. The two were rescued by maritime police at 8:30 a.m.

Some trees on the island also fell onto streets on the island, blocking road traffic. A 2,900-square-meter vinyl greenhouse in Seogwipo was seriously damaged. Some buildings were flooded.

Due to high waves rising up to nine meters, passenger ships connecting Jeju to Busan, Mokpo and Incheon were canceled while some 2,000 vessels were docked out of harm’s way. Some 210 flights at the Jeju airport were canceled.
Also at Incheon and Gimpo International Airports, a considerable number of flights were grounded.

As Muifa approaches the southwestern and west coasts of the Korean Peninsula, additional typhoon warnings were issued to all seas off the western and southern coasts and Jeju Island. Typhoon watches were issued to the western and central parts of the nation.

The state weather agency forecast that the Chungcheong region, Seoul, Gyeonggi Province, the five northwestern border islands and Incheon were to come under the direct influence of the typhoon by Sunday night.

Korea Meteorological Administration also expected Seoul and its adjacent areas to see strong winds and downpours. Pointing out that the course of the typhoon could change due to unexpected variables, it forecast that the typhoon would continue to move northward and arrive at Dalian, China, on Monday night.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldm.com)

Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110807000254

110,000 Seoulites Use Swimming Pools in Riverside Parks

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government a total of 110,000 people have used swimming pools in parks close to the Hangang River since their opening on July 1.

Swimming pool in Ttukseom Hangang Park

The riverside parks are regarded as a pleasant environment for rest and relaxation for families. The pools, which are divided into pools for adults, youngsters and infants, provide a refreshing view of the Hangang River at reasonable rates.

Swimming pool in Yeouido Hangang Park

Visitors can choose the swimming pool or water fun facility that suits their needs, and have a great time near their homes without having to travel far.

Water fun facility in Nanji Hangang Park

Rates for the swimming pools are 3,000 won (for children), 4,000 won (for teenagers), and 5,000 won (for adults). Rates for water fun facilities are 1,000 won (for children) 2,000(for teenagers) and 3,000 (for adults). Children aged 6 and under are admitted free of charge.

The facilities are open every day until August 28, from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM.

Parking fees are discounted by 50% for users of the facilities. However, it is recommended that visitors use public transportation, as the parking lots are crowded.

Seoul plans women-only subway cars

So what, girls! Will we be more secure soon? I just found this news  regarding have a subway for only girls.


Female commuters may soon have a safe haven from sex offenders when riding the subway, as the capital plans to introduce women-only cars, city officials said Wednesday.

In order to protect women from sexual assault, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to gather public opinion on the measure by next month, and implement a trial run by September.

According to officials, the trial run will be held on subway line two, and on the last car of the day which runs around 11:30 p.m.

But some experts believe the measure is a superficial, ineffective approach to deal with sexual violence in subway cars.

“If Seoul is implementing this measure to truly stop sexual harassment, this does not attack the root of the problem,“ Choi Ji-na of the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center told The Korea Herald.

“The logic behind this measure is very simple-minded,” she said, adding that truly effective measures must tackle the perception of sexual harassment and its victims.

The measure was first introduced in 1992, under which women had their own cars during the morning rush on subway line one and other railroads, but keeping people segregated proved difficult.

And in 2007, the measure was pushed again for lines six and seven, but met with strong opposition with claims the measure was sexist against men, and was scrapped.

The same criticisms are expected to arise this time around.

This time, however, aware of the past backlash from men, the capital decided to rename the cars “women safety cars” rather than “women-only cars.”

“After thoroughly discussing with women’s organizations, we have decided to designate the cars during the late-night hours when women can feel nervous, rather than the busy morning rush hours,” said a Seoul official.

In 2010, police arrested 1,192 subway sex offenders, a 77 percent rise from the number of arrests in 2009.

Crimes included molestation and men taking pictures up women’s skirts.

A study showed that the reporting rate of sexual crimes is only 10 percent of total incidents, and considering that reports do not necessary lead to arrests, the actual number of sex offenses occurring in subways is presumed to be astronomically higher.

Choi said that the bulletins in the subway that “teach” commuters about methods to fight sexual violence are a problem in themselves.

The bulletins say that if a woman is wearing a short skirt, she should cover up, which Choi said puts the blame on women.

There is skepticism as to whether or not officials could effectively uphold the measure, or whether it would end up a repeat of before.

“I don’t believe that we can necessarily force male customers out of the designated cars, I don’t know if we can keep order,” said a subway official, as quoted by other news agencies.

The city also plans to post guards to patrol within the subway stations, and expand the “safety zone” program to more stations across lines one through four.

By Robert Lee

Source: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110720000795

Korea, U.S. reach agreement in free trade talks

On December 4, Korea and the United States agreed to remove tariffs on automobiles four years after the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) takes effect.

The two countries also agreed to extend visa validation for Korean employees residing in the United States to five years, up from the current level of one to three years.

“The newly reached deal minimized changes in the statement of the KORUS FTA and sought a balanced, beneficial deal between the two sides in order to produce a mutually acceptable result,” said Korea’s Trade Minister, Kim Jong-hoon.

Korea’s Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon (Yonhap News)

Under the agreement, tariffs on Korean cars will be lifted four year after the deal takes effect. Under the previous deal, tariffs on Korean cars with engines smaller than 3000 cc were to be removed immediately and tariffs on larger engines were to be eliminated three years after the deal takes effect.

To protect the U.S. car industry from being hurt by the FTA, the two countries agreed to add safeguard measures to the agreement.

The two countries agreed to extend the tariff removal period for U.S. pork to 2016 to allow Korean pork farms to enhance their competitiveness.

The United States and Korea also agreed to extend the visa validation period for Korean workers residing in the United States to five years. Currently, Korean workers are required to extend their L-1 visas every three years. The two sides also agreed to extend the visa validation period to five years from one year for those who work in Korean factories in the United States.

The Korean government said that the new agreement contains no mention of imported beef and that the two countries agreed not to connect the issue to the bilateral free trade talks.

By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer


Address to the nation by President Lee Myung-bak on the shelling of Yeonpyeongdo by North Korea

Fellow Koreans,
Today, I am standing here keenly aware that I am responsible for not having been able to protect the lives and property of the people. I understand very well that you were greatly disappointed with how we responded to the shelling of Yeonpyeongdo(Yeonpyeong Island) by North Korea.

I feel enormous frustration and regret over the fact that innocent lives were lost and the homes and livelihood of the islanders were devastated.

I pray for the repose of the souls of Staff Sergeant Seo Jung-woo and Lance Corporal Moon Kwang-wook as well as the two civilian casualties—Mr. Kim Chi-baek and Mr. Bae Bok-chul. I also once again extend my heartfelt condolences to their families. I hope that those who were injured will recover quickly. I promise to urgently come up with the comprehensive measures to help the islanders of Yeonpyeongdo.

Fellow citizens,
North Korea’s provocation this time was entirely different and unprecedented in nature. Since the end of the Korean War, the North has perpetrated numerous provocations, but it has never launched a direct attack onto our territory before. Making matters worse, it indiscriminately shelled the island where some 1,400 residents are peacefully living.

A military attack against civilians is strictly prohibited even in time of war; it is a crime against humanity. Only a few meters away from where shells landed, there is a school where classes were going on. I am outraged by the ruthlessness of the North Korean regime, which is even indifferent to the lives of little children.
Countries around the world are joining us in denouncing North Korea.

We have thus far tolerated provocations by the North time and again. On January 21, 1968, North Korean commandos infiltrated into Seoul with the intent of killing the President. A bomb explosion in Rangoon, Burma, set off by North Korean agents, killed many high-ranking South Korean Government officials who were accompanying the President. The North has already tried and failed twice to kill the South Korean head of state. North Korean agents blew up a civilian airplane in 1987, taking the lives of 115 passengers.

South Korea nonetheless endured these continual provocations because we entertained a slight hope that the North would change course someday and an unwavering commitment to peace on the Korean Peninsula. Over the past 20 years, therefore, South Korea has striven to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue and collaboration while at the same time providing unstinted humanitarian assistance.

North Korea, on the other hand, responded with a series of provocative acts, including the development of a nuclear program, the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan by an explosion and the shelling of Yeonpyeongdo.

At long last, we came to a realization that it no longer makes sense for us to anticipate that the North would abandon its nuclear program or its policy of brinkmanship on its own. The South Korean people now unequivocally understand that prolonged endurance and tolerance will spawn nothing but more serious provocations.

Those who have so far supported the North Korean regime might now see its true colors.

We are aware of the historic lesson that a disgraceful peace achieved through intimidation only brings about greater harm in the end. Only courage that defies retreat under any threat or provocation will bring about genuine peace. If the North commits any additional provocations against the South, we will make sure that it pays a dear price without fail.

I have confidence in the courage and potential of the citizens of Korea. We are a great people who, as of this year, have built the world’s seventh largest export powerhouse in the face of the North’s incessant menace and belligerence. In the current national crisis situation, the Korean people have demonstrated patriotism and composure.

Many young men and women went to the wake of the young soldiers who were killed in action. Citizens have volunteered to collect donations and have gone about their business with fortitude. The Republic of Korea is going to be safe and sound because of you.

There was a split in public opinion over the torpedoing of the Cheonan. Unlike that time, our people have united as one this time. Amid such unity and determination, any surreptitious attempt to create divisiveness in the nation will have no chance of success. Along with all the citizens of the Republic, I will never retreat.

The international community, too, is supporting us. Leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as Russia and many other countries condemned the act of brutality by the North and are standing in full support of our position. Especially, as our ally, the United States has demonstrated a strong resolve to respond by taking action.

Fellow Koreans,
The courageous members of our Armed Forces have fought well. Some soldiers dashed to fulfill their duties without even noticing that the camouflage on their helmets had caught fire in the barrage of live shells. Those who were on leave of absence promptly returned to their units.

Citizens of Korea,
From now on, the Government will do whatever is required of it without fail.
The Government will establish Armed Forces that live up to their name. We will defend the five West Sea Islands near the northern sea border with a watertight stance against any kind of provocation. We will proactively carry out the defense reform as planned in order to make our Armed Forces even stronger.

Fellow Koreans,
Now is the time we have to demonstrate our determination with actions rather than many words. I plead with you to have confidence in the Government and the Armed Forces and rally around our cause.

Unity is the best national security measure.
Thank you very much.

* Government press release (November 29)

Source: http://korea.net/news.do?mode=detail&guid=51676