Today in Korean history (May 17)
May 17, 2017
•1973 -- North Korea joins the World Health Organization. South Korea acquired membership in 1949.
•1980 -- South Korea's then military government, led by Chun Doo-hwan, expands its enforcement of emergency martial law nationwide and arrests two leading opposition leaders, Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil, on charges of rebellion, conspiracy and illegal profiteering.
The government orders Kim Dae-jung to be put to death but later commutes his sentence to life imprisonment. Kim later won the Nobel Peace Prize during his presidency in 2000 for his reconciliation efforts with North Korea.
•2007 -- South and North Korea conduct test-runs of two railways -- one linking Seoul with Sinuiju, a North Korean border city with China, and the other linking Wonsan, a city on the eastern coast of the North, to Goseong, an eastern coastal city of the South.
The two train lines were cut during the 1950-53 Korean War, but they were partly restored in 2005 under an agreement sealed during the two countries' first summit in 2000.
•2016 -- South Korean fiction writer Han Kang wins the 2016 Man Booker International Prize for her novel "The Vegetarian." It marked the first time a South Korean won the prestigious literature award.