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Today in Korean history

April 19 1960 -- A pro-democracy civil uprising breaks out. The movement, spearheaded by students protesting widespread vote rigging in presidential elections by then President Syngman Rhee, later led to the downfall of the Rhee government, which had ruled the country for 12 years. 1983 -- Notorious burglar Jo Se-hyeong is arrested again while hiding in a house in Seoul five days after he fled during his trial. 1991 -- Then President Roh Tae-woo holds a summit on the southern island of Jeju with then Soviet President Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.

Park visits site of sunken ferry

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye paid a visit to the site where a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast Thursday, as search efforts continued for hundreds of passengers still missing a day after the disaster. The surprise visit shows Park is deeply worried about the fate of those listed as unaccounted for amid fears they could be trapped inside the sunken vessel. Aides said that an anxious Park stayed awake all night before deciding in the morning to visit the site.

Today in Korean history

April 11 1959 -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization starts construction of its office in Myeongdong, downtown Seoul. 1960 -- Kim Ju-yeol, a student at Masan Commercial High School who was arrested by police after participating in a pro-democracy demonstration the previous month, is found dead. His body is discovered in waters off Masan, a southeastern coastal city, adding fuel to mounting public protests against Syngman Rhee's dictatorial regime. A nationwide protest took place on April 19, pushing the president to step down.

Park rejects opposition leader's request for talks

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye rejected an opposition leader's request for talks on Monday, prompting fierce criticism over her refusal to address a controversial nomination system for local election candidates. Her rejection came eight days after Ahn Cheol-soo, a co-leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), proposed talks on pending political issues, including the controversy over whether to abolish the party-centered nomination system for lower-level administration chiefs and councilors ahead of the June 4 local elections.

Park to share unification vision with diplomatic mission chiefs

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye plans to share her vision for unification with North Korea when she hosts a dinner for the heads of South Korea's overseas diplomatic missions on Tuesday, an official said. The meeting comes after Park made proposals aimed at laying the groundwork for unification during a visit to the former East German city of Dresden last week. It also comes amid heightened tensions following North Korea's artillery firing near the western sea border on Monday.

S. Korea opposition groups launch new party

South Korea's two liberal opposition groups joined forces Wednesday to launch a new party to take on President Park Geun-Hye's ruling Saenuri party. The "New Politics Alliance for Democracy" was formed in a ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul and selected Kim Han-Gil, head of the former main opposition Democratic Party, and Ahn Cheol-Soo as co-leaders. Ahn, a former software mogul who is very popular with younger voters, rose to political prominence as a centrist independent candidate in the 2012 presidential election.

Today in Korean history

March 22 1962 -- President Yoon Bo-sun steps down in protest over the "political purification law" that the National Assembly passed to prevent members of previous administrations from returning to office. Yoon's resignation came about 10 months after General Park Chung-hee seized control of the military. Park became president via a referendum in 1963 and ruled the country until he was assassinated in 1979. 1990 -- South Korea establishes diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia, which later split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Opposition party bashes ruling party hopefuls for Seoul mayor

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) attacked the ruling party's contenders for mayor of Seoul on Monday as public opinion surveys showed they could pose a serious threat to the incumbent mayor seeking re-election on the DP ticket. The criticism was mostly directed at seven-term lawmaker Chung Mong-joon and former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik of the ruling Saenuri Party, both big names with a strong chance of winning their party's nomination for the June 4 local elections.

Former PM Kim officially announces candidacy for Seoul mayor

SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- Former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik officially announced his bid for mayor of Seoul on Sunday, pledging to turn the capital into a city that saves lives. "I will engage in the Seoul mayor race with the determination that I will give my all," Kim, 65, said at a news conference at the headquarters of the ruling Saenuri Party. He also said that he will make efforts to improve the municipal government's welfare safety net, citing recent group suicides of financially distressed families.

Former PM Kim announces bid for Seoul mayor

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Former Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik announced his bid Friday for mayor of Seoul, saying he will try to deliver a "come-from-behind, walk-off hit" in the race for his party's nomination. Kim, who served as prime minister under former President Lee Myung-bak, made the announcement at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, after returning from an academic visit to the United States.
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