Significant Events in Korean History Occurred on January 21st

SEOUL – January 21st marks a day of notable historical events in Korea's past, ranging from the end of a dynasty to diplomatic strides and military operations.

On this day in 1919, Gojong, the 26th and final king of the Joseon Dynasty, passed away, marking the end of a significant era in Korean history. Years later, in 1968, a dramatic episode unfolded when thirty-one North Korean commandos infiltrated Seoul with the intent to assassinate President Park Chung-hee. The commandos were intercepted just 300 meters from the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae. In the ensuing confrontation, 28 of the infiltrators were killed, one was captured, and two are believed to have escaped back to North Korea. The captured commando, Kim Sin-jo, made a bold statement during a nationally televised news conference, declaring his intention to "cut the throat of Park Chung-hee."

According to the Yonhap News Agency, January 21 also witnessed diplomatic advances. In 1974, South Korea and West Germany signed a visa waiver accord, facilitating easier travel between the two nations. More recently, in 2011, South Korea's special naval forces undertook a daring mission in the Arabian Sea. They successfully raided a hijacked freighter in a covert operation named Dawn of Gulf of Aden. The raid resulted in the liberation of 21 crewmen and the elimination of eight Somali pirates.

In 2018, a significant inter-Korean event occurred when a seven-member North Korean delegation, led by Hyon Song-wol, head of the North's Samjiyon Orchestra, visited South Korea. They crossed via a land route for a two-day trip to inspect venues for their proposed art performances at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018, symbolizing a rare moment of cultural exchange between the two Koreas.

These events, occurring on January 21st across different years, reflect the dynamic and multifaceted history of Korea, encompassing royal transitions, military confrontations, diplomatic agreements, and cultural exchanges.

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