Key Events in South Korean History Marked on November 26th

SEOUL – November 26th holds significant importance in South Korean history, marked by several key events that have shaped the nation's political and cultural landscape over the years.

According to Yonhap News Agency, in 1986, the South Korean government announced plans to construct the "Peace Dam" on the upper reaches of the Han River, which flows through Seoul. This decision was a response to reports that North Korea was planning to build a dam, referred to as the "Mount Kumgang" dam, upstream and north of the border. The South Korean government at the time, backed by the military, claimed that North Korea's dam was potentially a weapon designed to flood Seoul and its surrounding densely populated areas. The Peace Dam, completed years later, was left empty to potentially contain floods that might be released by the North.

On the same date in 1995, under the government of President Kim Young-sam, an investigation was reopened into the December 12 incident. This event in 1979 saw Chun Doo-hwan, then an Army general, stage an internal coup and seize power. The government also decided to reinvestigate the May 18 civil uprising of 1980 in Gwangju, where citizens rose against Chun's government. The uprising was forcefully suppressed, leading to hundreds of casualties.

In 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board chose not to refer South Korea to the U.N. Security Council over its undeclared nuclear material experiment. However, the board adopted a "chairman's statement" to express concerns over Seoul's failure to report these activities. Earlier that year, South Korea had acknowledged that its scientists had secretly extracted and enriched plutonium and uranium, vital components for nuclear weapons, in 1982 and 2000.

November 26, 2015, saw the state funeral and burial of former President Kim Young-sam at Seoul National Cemetery. Kim Young-sam was a significant political figure who played a pivotal role in South Korea's democratic development.

Lastly, on this date in 2018, South and North Korea achieved a joint cultural milestone by successfully adding traditional wrestling, "ssireum," to the UNESCO heritage list, showcasing a shared cultural heritage amidst political differences.

These events reflect the complex and evolving history of South Korea, encompassing its political struggles, efforts for peace and security, nuclear policy, cultural heritage, and the memories of its leaders.

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