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    A summary of Korea
    Korea is a peninsula in eastern Asia and was once a unified country that had governed territories in Manchuria. Politically it is currently divided in the communist country of North Korea and the capitalist country of South Korea, since the 1950s when the Korean War occurred. The national staple dish is kimchi (see Korean cuisine) - which was developed by an innovative and unique process of preserving dietary vegetables before electric refrigiration became popular.

    Names

    Korea is referred to differently in the Korean language in the North (as Choson) and the South (as Hanguk). Interestingly, current Chinese newspapers use Chaoxian to refer to North Korea and Han-guo to refer to South Korea.

    In the travels of Marco Polo, Korea was called "Cauly" in the early 14th century. It was further called Corea from the 17th to the late 19th century in Europe and England.

    Although it is not sure, many think that the name Korea was created by the Japanese in the colonial era. Since Japan was below Corea in alphabetical order, Japanese nationalists decided to change the upper-case "C" into a "K", thus changing Corea into Korea.

    A minority of authors also write "north" and "south" in lowercase because they are not part of the countries' official names, and because of the belief that Korea should be considered as one connected socio-cultural nation.

    History of Korea

    There exists archaelogical evidence of how people had lived in Korea during the Palaeolithic period - i.e., before the last ice age (or roughly 18,000 to 12,000 years ago). According to classic legend, the Joseon Kingdom (a.k.a. Chosun) (Land of the Morning Calm) was founded by the man-god Dangun in 2333 BC.

    In the period 57 BC to AD 668, the Three Kingdoms of Silla (or Shilla), Goguryeo, and Baekjae existed. All three kingdoms were influenced by China. Buddhism was introduced in 372. In 660 Silla allied with China (Tang Dynasty) and overthrew Baekje and Goguryeo by 668. While Silla was forging diplomatic ties with China, Baekjae had sustained a close relationship to Japan - and helped build the Nara Period - before it completely fell to the Silla-Tang alliance. During the Unified Silla Kingdom period (681 to 935) Buddhism expanded, and culture developed substantially.

    The Goryeo Dynasty, ruled the nation of Goryeo from 918 to 1392. During this period laws were codified, and a civil service system was introduced. Buddhism flourished, and spread throughout the peninsula. In 1231 the Mongols invaded Korea and after 25 years of stuggle the royal family surrendered. For the following 150 years the Goryeo ruled, but under the control of the Mongols. The word Goryeo became etymology of the word Corea, now Korea.

    In 1392 a Korean general, Yi Songgye was sent to China to campaign against the Ming Dynasty, but instead he allied himself with the Chinese, and returned to overthow the Goryeo king and establish a new dynasty.

    The Joseon Dynasty (also known as the Yi Dynasty) moved the capital to Hanseong, which is modern day Seoul in 1394 and adopted Confucianism as the country's official religion, resulting in much loss of power and wealth by the Buddhists. During this period, the Hangeul alphabet was introduced by King Sejong in 1443.

    The Joseon Dynasty suffered invasions by the Japanese (1592 to 1598). Korea's most famous military figure, Admiral Yi Sunsin was instrumental in defeating the invasion. The Manchus (1627 to 1636). Throughout most of its rule, the Joseon Dynasty were in a tributary relationship to the Chinese.

    During the 19th century, Korea tried to prevent the opening of the country to foreign trade by closing the borders, resulting in it being called the Hermit Kingdom by many. In 1871, the United States first met Korea militarily, in what the Koreans call the Shinmiyangyo(????, ????). Beginning in 1876 the Japanese forced trade agreements on Korea, and following the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) Japan established dominant influence in Korea after assasinating Queen Min - Korea's Last Empress. Korea then became a protectorate of Japan on July 25, 1907 and in 1910 the country was officially annexed by Japan establishing the Colonial Period in Korea.

    Japanese Occupation (1910 - 1945)

    Korea regained its independence in 1945 from Japan --- one of the "Axis Powers" --- when Japan's ruler unconditionally surrendered. This ended the brutal treatment of Koreans by Japanese reign, which was as cruel and inhumane as the handling of Jews by Nazi Germany.

    Japan's main intent of occupying Korea was to exploit its natural resources (e.g., rice/food, metal and coal) after finding itself in a desperate situation. Its central economy was on the edge of bankruptcy due to expenditures for fighting the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

    The results of two atomic bombs, and earlier collapse of Nazi Germany, combined with fundamental shifts in global politics and ideology, led to the division of Korea into two occupation zones, with the United States administering the southern half of the peninsula and the Soviet Union taking over the area to the north of the 38th parallel. This division was meant to be temporary and was first intended to return a unified Korea back to its people until the US, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and Chiang Kai-Shek's China (also see Kuomintang) under Taiwan's current national flag could arrange a trusteeship administration.

    At a meeting in Cairo, it was agreed that Korea would be free "in due course as one unified country;" at a later meeting in Yalta, it was agreed to establish a four-power trusteeship over Korea. In December 1945, a conference convened in Moscow to discuss the future of Korea. A 5-year trusteeship was discussed, and a joint Soviet-American commission was established. The commission met intermittently in Seoul but deadlocked over the issue of establishing a national government. In September 1947, with no solution in sight, the United States submitted the Korean question to the UN General Assembly.

    Initial hopes for a unified, independent Korea quickly evaporated as the politics of the Cold War and domestic opposition to the trusteeship plan resulted in the 1948 establishment of two separate nations with diametrically opposed political, economic, and social systems. In June 1950 the Korean War broke out, ending any hope of a peaceful reunification for the mean time. See History of North Korea and History of South Korea for the post-war period.

    South Korea

    The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a country in eastern Asia, covering the southern half of the peninsula of Korea. To the north its borders North Korea with which it formed a single nation until 1948, while Japan lies across the Korea Strait to the southeast. It is commonly known locally as Han-guk , meaning "The Nation of Han". It is called South Choson or Nam Choson in North Korea.

    After the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones of influence, followed in 1948 by two matching governments: a communist North and a United States-influenced South. In June 1950 the North invaded the South igniting the Korean War. The United Nations-backed South and the Chinese-backed North eventually reached a stalemate and an armastice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarised zone at about the 38th parallel, which had been the original demarcation line.

    Thereafter, the southern Republic of Korea achieved rapid economic growth, while autocratic governments and civil unrest dominated politics until protests succeeded in starting democratic reforms. A potential Korean reunification has remained a prominent topic and no peace treaty has yet been signed with the North. In June 2000, a historic first North-South summit took place, part of the South's continuing "Sunshine Policy" of engagement, despite recent concerns over the North's nuclear weapons programme.

    Politics

    Head of state of the republic of Korea is the president, who is elected by direct popular vote for a single five-year term. In addition to being the highest representative of the republic and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president also has considerable executive powers and appoints the prime minister with approval of parliament, as well as appointing and presiding over the State Council or cabinet.

    The unicameral Korean parliament is the National Assembly or Kukhoe, whose members serve a four-year term of office. The legislature currently has 273 seats, of which 227 are elected by popular vote and the remainder are distributed proportionately among parties winning five seats or more. This system, possibly along with the number of seats, will be revised starting in 2004. The highest judiciary body is the Supreme Court, whose justices are appointed by the president with the consent of parliament.

    Provinces and Cities

    South Korea consists of 9 provinces and 7 metropolitan cities:

    • Busan
    • North Chungcheong
    • South Chungcheong
    • Daegu
    • Daejeon
    • Gangwon
    • Gwangju
    • Gyeonggi
    • North Gyeongsang
    • South Gyeongsang
    • Incheon
    • Jeju
    • North Jeolla
    • South Jeolla
    • Seoul
    • Ulsan

    Geography

    Korea forms a peninsula that extends some 1,100 km from the Asian mainland, flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west and the Sea of Japan (a disputed name, called the East Sea by Koreans) to the east, and terminated by the Korea Strait and the East China Sea to the south. The southern landscape consists of partially forested mountain ranges to the east, separated by deep, narrow valleys. Densely populated and cultivated coastal plains are found in the west and south.

    The local climate is relatively temperate, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called jangma, and winters that can be bitterly cold on occasion. South Korea's capital and largest city is Seoul in the northwest, other major cities include nearby Incheon, central Daejeon, Gwangju in the southwest and Daegu and Busan in the southeast.

    Economy

    As one of the four East Asian Tigers, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and integration into the high-tech modern world economy. Three decades ago GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP per capita is roughly 20 times North Korea's and equal to the lesser economies of the European Union.

    This success through the late 1980s was achieved by a system of close government/business ties, including directed credit, import restrictions, sponsorship of specific industries, and a strong labour effort. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model, including high debt/equity ratios, massive foreign borrowing, and an undisciplined financial sector.

    Growth plunged by 6.6% in 1998, then strongly recovered to 10.8% in 1999 and 9.2% in 2000. Growth fell back to 3.3% in 2001 because of the slowing global economy, falling exports, and the perception that much-needed corporate and financial reforms have stalled. Led by industry and construction, growth in 2002 was an impressive 5.8%, despited anemic global growth.

    Demographics

    Korea's population is one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogenous in the world, with the only minority being a small Chinese community. Koreans have lived in Manchuria for many centuries, who are now a minority in China, and Joseph Stalin sent thousands of Koreans, against their will, to Central Asia (in the former U.S.S.R.) from Vladivostok, while the Korean population in Japan moved there during the colonial period.

    Political, social and economic instability in South Korea have driven many South Koreans to emmigrate to foreign countries, amongst which the friendship, freedom and opportunities provided by the United States and Canada render popularity.

    The city of Seoul is the most populated single city (excluding greater metropolitan areas) in the world that human civilization has yet to build. Its density has allowed it to become one of the most "digitally-wired" cities in today's globally connected ecomony.

    The Korean language is a member of a wider linguistic family of the Altaic languages. The Korean writing system, Hangeul, was invented in 1446 by King Sejong to widely spread education --- as Chinese characters were thought to be too difficult and time consuming for a common person to learn --- through the Royal proclamation of Hoonminjungeum [????/????)] which literally means the "proper sounds to teach the general public." It is different from the Chinese form of written communication as it is phonetically based.

    Numerous underlying words still stem from Hanja and older people in Korea still prefer to write words in Hanja, as they were strictly forbidden to study and speak the Korean language when Japan ruled. Koreans are the only people in the world who fully understand how, when and why their written language was created through the transcripts of King Sejong's innovative contribution.

    In 2000 the government decided to introduce a new romanisation system, which this article also uses. English is taught as a second language in most primary and intermediate schools. Those students in highschool are also taught 2 years of either Chinese, Japanese, French, German or Spanish as an elective course.

    Christianity (49%) and Buddhism (47%) comprise South Korea's two dominant religions. Though only 3% identified themselves as Confucianists, Korean society remains highly imbued with Confucian values and beliefs. The remaining 1% of the population practice Shamanism (traditional spirit worship) and Cheondogyo ("Heavenly Way"), a traditional religion.


    North Korea

    The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in eastern Asia, covering the northern half of the peninsula of Korea. To the south its borders South Korea with which it formed a single nation until 1948, while its northern border is predominantly with China, with a small section bordering Russia. It is more commonly known locally as Buk Choson ("North Choson";). Buk Han ("North Han";) is commonly used in South Korea, as is the revised romanisation of Chosun Minjujui Inmin Gonghwa-guk for the official name.

    History

    Traditionally said to have been founded in 2333 BC, Korea was divided into the three kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla during the 1st to 7th centuries, of which the latter alone remained. It in turn was replaced by the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties, during which Korea was under extensive Chinese influence and Buddhism and Confucianism became part of Korean life. Known by the 19th century as the Hermit Kingdom because of its reclusive attitude, it was forced to open up at the end of that century, and was annexed by Japan in 1910.

    The oppressive Japanese occupation ended after World War II in 1945, after which Korea was occupied by the Soviet Union in north of the 38th parallel and by the United States south of the 38th parallel. Rising tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States led to, in 1948 the establishment of two governments claiming to be the sole government of all of Korea: a communist North and a United States-influenced South. In June 1950 the North invaded the South igniting the Korean War. The United Nations-backed South and the Chinese-backed North eventually reached a stalemate and an armastice was signed in 1953, splitting the peninsula along a demilitarised zone at about the 38th parallel, which had been the original demarcation line.

    North Korea was ruled from 1948 by Kim Il Sung until his death in 1994. He was named posthumously "eternal president." North Korea is officially lead by a Prime Minister, but real power lies with his son Kim Jong Il and the military. Despite a detente in international relations, including a historic North-South summit in June 2000, tensions have recently increased in the wake of the resumption of the North's nuclear weapons programme.

    Politics

    North Korea has a centralised government under the control of the communist Korean Workers' Party (KWP), to which all government officials belong, though a few minor political parties exist in name only. The exact structure of power is somewhat unclear. Following the death of Kim Il Sung, his son, Kim Jong Il, was named General Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1997, and in 1998, the legislature reconfirmed him as Chairman of the National Defence Commission and declared that position as the "highest office of state."

    North Korea's 1972 constitution was amended in late 1992 and again in 1998. The government is led by the prime minister and, in theory, a super cabinet called the Central People's Committee (CPC), the government's top policymaking body headed by the president, who also nominates the other committee members. The CPC makes policy decisions and supervises the cabinet, or State Administration Council (SAC). The SAC is headed by a premier and is the dominant administrative and executive agency.

    Officially, the parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly (Ch'oego Inmin Hoeui), is the highest organ of state power. Its 687 members are elected every 4 years by popular vote. Usually only two meetings are held annually, each lasting a few days, though it mostly ratifies decisions made by the ruling KWP. A standing committee elected by the Assembly performs legislative functions when the Assembly is not in session.

    Provinces and Cities North Korea consists of 9 provinces and 7 special cities:

    • Chagang
    • Chongjin
    • North Hamgyong
    • South Hamgyong
    • North Hwanghae
    • South Hwanghae
    • Kaesong
    • Kangwon
    • Namp'o
    • North P'yongan
    • South P'yongan
    • P'yongyang
    • Yanggang

    Geography

    Main article: Geography of North Korea Korea forms a peninsula that extends some 1,100 km from the Asian mainland, flanked by the Yellow Sea and the Korea Bay to the west and the Sea of Japan (a disputed name, called the East Sea by Koreans) to the east, and terminated by the Korea Strait and the East China Sea to the south. The northern landscape consists mostly of hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys in the north and east, coastal plains are found most prominently in the west. The highest point in Korea is the Paektu-san at 2,744 m. Major rivers include the Tumen and the Yalu that form the northern border with Chinese Manchuria.

    The local climate is relatively temperate, with precipitation heavier in summer during a short rainy season called jangma, and winters that can be bitterly cold on occasion. North Korea's capital and largest city is P'yongyang, other major cities include Kaesong in the south, Sinuiju in the northwest, Wonsan and Hamhung in the east and Chongjin in the north.

    Economy

    North Korea ranks among the world's most centrally planned and isolated economies. The resulting economic distortions and the government's reluctance to publicise economic data limit the amount of reliable information available. Publicly-owned industry produces nearly all manufactured goods, and the regime continues to devote its focus on heavy and military industries at the expense of light and consumer industries.

    Economic conditions remain stagnant at best and the country's deepening economic slide has been fueled by acute energy shortages worsened by the breakdown of the Agreed Framework under KEDO, poorly maintained and aging industrial facilities, and a lack of new investment. The agricultural outlook, though slightly improved over previous years, remains weak. The combined effects of serious fertiliser shortages, successive natural disasters, and structural constraints - such as marginal arable land and a short growing season - have reduced staple grain output to more than 1 million tons less than what the country needs to meet even minimum international requirements.

    The steady flow of international food aid has been critical in meeting the population's basic food needs. The impact of other forms of humanitarian assistance such as medical supplies and agricultural assistance largely has been limited to local areas. Even with aid, malnutrition rates are among the world's highest and estimates of mortality range in the hundreds of thousands as a direct result of starvation or famine-related diseases.

    Demographics

    North Korea's population is one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogenous in the world, with only very small Chinese and Japanese communities. The Korean language is not a member of a wider linguistic family, though links to Japanese and Altaic languages are being considered. The Korean writing system, Hangeul, was invented in the 15th century by King Sejong to replace the system of borrowed Chinese characters, known as Hanja in Korea, which are no longer officially in use in the North. North Korea continues to use the McCune-Reischauer romanisation of Korean, in contrast to the South's revised version.

    Korea is a traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist country, with some Christian and the traditional Chondogyo ("Heavenly Way") minorities present, though autonomous religious activities are now almost nonexistent.

    An official escort/guide is compulsory when visiting the country. Citizens of the US and South Korea may or may not be allowed to visit the country, depending on the diplomatic relations.

    Culture of North Korea

    Since the establishment of the Han Dynasty colonies in the northern Korean Peninsula 2,000 years ago, Koreans have been under the cultural influence of China. During the period of Japanese domination (1910-45), the colonial regime attempted to force Koreans to adopt the Japanese language and culture. Neither the long and pervasive Chinese influence nor the more coercive and short-lived Japanese attempts to make Koreans loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor, however, succeeded in eradicating their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic distinctiveness. The desire of the North Korean regime to preserve its version of Korean culture, including many traditional aspects such as food, dress, art, architecture, and folkways, is motivated in part by the historical experience of cultural domination by both the Chinese and the Japanese.

    Juche's ideology asserts Korea's cultural distinctiveness and creativity as well as the productive powers of the working masses. The ways in which Juche rhetoric is used shows a razor-thin distinction between revolutionary themes of self-sufficient socialist construction and a virulent ethnocentrism. In the eyes of North Korea's leaders, the "occupation" of the southern half of the peninsula by "foreign imperialists" lends special urgency to the issue of culturalethnic identity. Not only must the people of South Korea be liberated from foreign imperialism, but also they must be given the opportunity to participate in the creation of a new, but still distinctively Korean, culture.

    Contemporary Cultural Expression

    The role of literature and art in North Korea is primarily didactic; cultural expression serves as an instrument for inculcating Juche ideology and the need to continue the struggle for revolution and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. There is little subtlety in most contemporary cultural expression. Foreign imperialists, especially the Japanese and the Americans, are depicted as heartless monsters; revolutionary heroes and heroines are seen as saintly figures who act from the purest of motives. The three most consistent themes are martyrdom during the revolutionary struggle (depicted in literature such as The Sea of Blood), the happiness of the present society, and the genius of the "great leader" or "dear leader." Kim Il Sung himself was described as a writer of "classical masterpieces" during the anti-Japanese struggle. Novels created "under his direction" include The Flower Girl, The Sea of Blood, The Fate of a Self-Defense Corps Man, and The Song of Korea; these are considered "prototypes and models of chuch'e literature and art." A 1992 newspaper report describes Kim in semiretirement as writing his memoirs--"a heroic epic dedicated to the freedom and happiness of the people."

    The state and the Korean Workers' Party control the production of literature and art. In the early 1990s, there was no evidence of any underground literary or cultural movements such as those that exist in the Soviet Union or in the People's Republic of China. The party exercises control over culture through its Propaganda and Agitation Department and the Culture and Arts Department of the KWP's Central Committee. The KWP's General Federation of Korean Literature and Arts Unions, the parent body for all literary and artistic organizations, also controls cultural activity.

    The population has little or no exposure to foreign cultural influences apart from performances by song-and-dance groups and other entertainers brought in periodically for limited audiences. These performances, such as the Spring Friendship Art Festival held annually in April, are designed to show that the peoples of the world, like the North Koreans themselves, love and respect the "great leader." During the 1980s and the early 1990s, the North Korean media gave Kim Jong Il credit for working ceaselessly to make the country a "kingdom of art" where a cultural renaissance unmatched in other countries was taking place. Indeed, the younger Kim is personally responsible for cultural policy.

    A central theme of cultural expression is to take the best from the past and discard "reactionary" elements. Popular, vernacular styles and themes in literature, art, music, and dance are esteemed as expressing the truly unique spirit of the Korean nation. Ethnographers devote much energy to restoring and reintroducing cultural forms that have the proper "proletarian" or "folk" spirit and that encourage the development of a collective consciousness. Lively, optimistic musical and choreographic expression are stressed. Group folk dances and choral singing are traditionally practiced in some but not all parts of Korea and were being promoted throughout North Korea in the early 1990s among school and university students. Farmers' musical bands have also been revived.

    P'yongyang and other large cities offer the broadest of a necessarily narrow selection of cultural expression. "Art propaganda squads" travel to production sites in the provinces to perform poetry readings, one-act plays, and songs in order to "congratulate workers on their successes" and "inspire them to greater successes through their artistic agitation." Such squads are prominent in the countryside during the harvest season and whenever "speed battles" to increase productivity are held.

    Literature, Music, and Film

    Literature and music are other venues for politics. A series of historical novels--Pulmyouui yoksa (Immortal History)-- depict the heroism and tragedy of the preliberation era. The Korean War is the theme of Korea Fights and The Burning Island. Since the late 1970s, five "great revolutionary plays" have been promoted as prototypes of chuch'e literature: The Shrine for a Tutelary Deity, a theatrical rendition of The Flower Girl, Three Men, One Party, "A Letter from a Daughter, and Hyolbun mangukhoe" (Resentment at the World Conference). "Revolutionary operas," derived from traditional Korean operas, known as ch'angguk, often utilize variations on Korean folk songs. Old fairy tales have also been transformed to include revolutionary themes. As part of the chuch'e policy of preserving the best from Korea's past, moreover, premodern vernacular works such as the Sasong kibong (Encounter of Four Persons) and the Ssangch'on kibong (Encounter at the Two Rivers) have been reprinted.

    Musical compositions include the "Song of General Kim Il Sung," "Long Life and Good Health to the Leader," and "We Sing of His Benevolent Love"--hymns that praise the "great leader." According to a North Korean writer, "Our musicians have pursued the party's policy of composing orchestral music based on famous songs and folk songs popular among our people and produced numerous instrumental pieces of a new type." This music includes a symphony based on the theme of The Sea of Blood, which has also been made into a revolutionary opera.

    Motion pictures are recognized as "the most powerful medium for educating the masses" and play a central role in "social education." According to a North Korean source, "films for children contribute to the formation of the rising generation, with a view to creating a new kind of man, harmoniously evolved and equipped with well-founded knowledge and a sound mind in a sound body." One of the most influential films, "An Chung-gn Shoots It Hirobumi," tells of the assassin who killed the Japanese resident-general in Korea in 1909. An is depicted as a courageous patriot, but one whose efforts to liberate Korea were frustrated because, in the words of one reviewer, the masses had not been united under "an outstanding leader who enunciates a correct guiding thought and scientific strategy and tactics." Folk tales such as "The Tale of Chun Hyang," about a nobleman who marries a servant girl, and "The Tale of Ondal" have also been made into films.

    Architecture and City Planning

    Arguably the most distinct and impressive form of contemporary cultural expression in North Korea is architecture and city planning. P'yongyang, almost completely destroyed during the Korean War, has been rebuilt on a grand scale. Many new buildings have been constructed during the 1980s and 1990s in order to enhance P'yongyang's status as a capital. Major structures are divided architecturally into three categories: monuments, buildings that combine traditional Korean architectural motifs and modern construction, and high-rise buildings of a totally modern design. Examples of the first include the Ch'llima Statue; a twenty-meter high bronze statue of Kim Il Sung in front of the Museum of the Korean Revolution (itself, at 240,000 square meters, one of the largest structures in the world); the Arch of Triumph (similar to its Parisian counterpart, although a full ten meters higher); and the Tower of the Chuch'e Idea, 170 meters high, built on the occasion of Kim's seventieth birthday in 1982. According to a North Korean publication, the tower is covered with 25,550 pieces of granite, each representing a day in the life of the "great leader."

    The second architectural category makes special use of traditional tiled roof designs and includes the People's Culture Palace and the People's Great Study Hall, both in P'yongyang, and the International Friendship Exhibition Hall at Myohyang-san. The latter building displays gifts given to Kim Il Sung by foreign dignitaries. In light of Korea's tributary relationship to the China during the Choson Dynasty, it is significant that the section of the hall devoted to gifts from China is the largest.

    The third architectural category includes high-rise apartment complexes and hotels in the capital. The most striking of these buildings is the Ryugong Hotel, still unfinished as of now (with contruction halted), and noted by some observers to be clearly leaning and perhaps not able to be completed. Described as the world's tallest hotel at 105 stories, its triangular shape looms over north-central P'yongyang. The Kory Hotel is an ultramodern, twin-towered structure forty-five stories high.

    A flurry of construction occurred before celebrations of Kim Il Sung's eightieth birthday, including the building of apartment complexes and the Reunification Expressway, a four-lane road connecting the capital and the Demilitarized Zone. According to a journalist writing in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the highway is "an impressive piece of engineering" that "cuts a straight path through mountainous terrain with 21 tunnels and 23 bridges on the 168 kilometers route to P'anmunjm." As in many other construction projects, the military provided the labor.



     
     

     


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