Key Events in South Korea’s History on December 31st

On December 31st, several significant events have marked South Korea's history over the years, shaping its diplomatic, political, and economic landscape.

According to Yonhap News Agency, in 1973, South Korea established diplomatic relations with Afghanistan. However, following the rise of a pro-Soviet Unit regime in the Middle Eastern country, these ties were severed in 1978. The diplomatic relationship was later restored in 2002.

A pivotal moment in inter-Korean relations occurred in 1991 when South and North Korea signed the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Under this agreement, North Korea committed to refraining from testing, producing, receiving, or using nuclear weapons and not possessing facilities for nuclear reprocessing and enrichment.

In 2007, President Roh Moo-hyun granted amnesty to Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo-choong and 74 other convicted businesspeople, politicians, government officials, and more in a year-end amnesty. This pardon also extended to six death-row inmates, whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

A significant development in the media sector happened in 2010. South Korea's communications regulator, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), selected four major daily newspapers – JoongAng, Chosun, Dong-A, and Maeil Business News – as winners of new general programming licenses. Additionally, Yonhap News Agency was awarded an all-news cable TV license.

In 2012, the U.S. internet company Yahoo Inc. ceased its service in South Korea, exiting one of the world's most wired countries after 15 years of operation.

To enhance security cooperation, South Korea and China established a hotline between their top defense officials in 2015. This move was aimed at reinforcing cooperation on security issues on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.

In 2018, the Cabinet approved a revision of the Enforcement Decree of the Minimum Wage Act. The amendment stipulated that legally mandated holiday and weekend hours should be included in the calculation of the minimum wage, obliging employers to pay extra wages for these periods.

Most recently, in 2021, former President Park Geun-hye was released from imprisonment under a presidential pardon. Park had been serving a sentence for four years and nine months following her impeachment and ouster from office on corruption charges.

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