SEOUL, - October 25th holds a weighty place in Korean history, a date that has seen pivotal changes ranging from the Joseon Dynasty's calendar reform to modern political transitions and military events.
According to a news release by Yonhap News Agency, the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) transitioned from the lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1895, aligning Korea's timekeeping with a system that is now globally recognized.
During the Korean War from 1950-1953, South Korean and U.S.-led U.N. troops advanced to the border with China on this day in 1950. This maneuver triggered an intervention by approximately 1 million Chinese soldiers, which temporarily altered the tide of the war in North Korea's favor. The conflict ultimately concluded with an armistice.
On October 25, 1979, South Korea witnessed the assassination of President Park Chung-hee, who was killed by his intelligence chief Kim Jae-kyu. Park's 18-year rule had been marked by rapid economic growth but also by authoritarian policies that hindered the progress of democracy in South Korea.
In 1996, the family of North Korean Kim Kyeong-ho defected to South Korea, making headlines at the time. The significance of such defections remains a sensitive topic in inter-Korean relations.
Further, on this day in 2004, two square-shaped holes were discovered in a two-layer wire fence forming the southern boundary of the 4-kilometer-wide Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea. These holes were found near Cheorwon, a town located almost at the center of the 248-kilometer-long border.
In 2009, scientist Hwang Woo-suk, once acclaimed for his cloning research, was sentenced to a suspended prison term for the embezzlement of research funds and for violating bioethics laws.
Moreover, on October 25, 2011, South Korea and China agreed to extend their won-yuan currency swap line to the equivalent of US$56 billion. This agreement was aimed at securing foreign exchange liquidity amid mounting external economic uncertainties.
Lastly, the date also marks the death of Roh Tae-woo, South Korea's last general-turned-president, who passed away on October 25, 2021, at the age of 88. Roh, who served as president from 1988-1993, was admitted to a hospital after a decline in his health but did not recover.