Today in Korean history (July 6)
Jul 6, 2017
•1905 -- Syngman Rhee, who later became the first president of South Korea, pleads for American support for Korea's independence in a letter to U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt while the former was still a student at George Washington University. The two later met in person, but Rhee's petition did not have any effect on Japan's move to colonize the Korean Peninsula. Korea lost its sovereignty to Japan in 1910 and was occupied for 35 years.
•1953 -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) establishes a branch in Seoul.
•1962 -- South Korea and Morocco establish diplomatic relations.
•1970 -- The U.S. government notifies South Korea of its plan to cut the number of its troops stationed here. Then U.S. President Richard Nixon reduced the U.S. forces by about 20,000 at the beginning of the year, and by July 1979, U.S. forces were down to about 38,000.
The United States has had a military presence in the country since September 1945, when 77,000 soldiers arrived on the peninsula following the surrender of Japan in World War II. Troop levels gradually swelled to 302,000 during the Korean War (1950-53) but declined in the mid-1950s and 1960s. As of 2014, some 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the Korean War that ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.
•1978 -- Then President Park Chung-hee is elected to a fifth term. After rising to power through a military coup in 1961, Park changed the Constitution to allow him to secure the presidency for life. A year after his ninth term began, however, he was assassinated by his chief intelligence officer, Kim Jae-kyu.
•2002 -- Banks begin a five-day workweek, allowing their employees to take Saturdays and Sundays off. Essential services are provided at a limited number of branches. The National Assembly passed a bill in August 2003 permitting companies with more than 1,000 employees, as well as all public corporations, to apply the five-day workweek starting in July 2004. Civil servants were allowed to follow suit in 2005, with employees of smaller companies having to wait until 2011.