South Korea. Visit Countryaah official website to get information about the capital city of South Korea. South Korea’s economy has recovered significantly faster than expected, following the financial crisis of 1997 and 1998. Growth in gross domestic product is estimated to be at least 8% in 1999, compared with a decline of nearly 6% in 1998. Increased demand, both domestic and international, has contributed to the success. Despite the hopeful economic situation, unemployment is still high, following the mass redundancies that were the result of corporate austerity and the crisis settlement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1998. In June 1999, the official figure was still 6.4%, compared to the record level of 7.9% in December 1999.
South Korea’s national trade union federation KCTU (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions) announced a general strike in the spring in protest of mass unemployment, but the turnout was weak. However, the disappointment among the many South Koreans who are unable to take part in the economic upswing is great and is taking place, among other things. expression in a reduced support for the president, Kim Dae Jung. He announced in May a major government transformation when eleven of the eighteen ministers were replaced, which is interpreted as a way of giving continued importance to economic reform.
One of the most pressing reforms is the restructuring of the large corporate conglomerates, the so-called chaebols. In August, the president announced plans to reduce the power of conglomerates, not least their influence in the financial markets. Several conglomerates were severely affected by the Asian crisis, and their debt burden is one of the most serious obstacles to continued economic recovery. During the autumn, Daewoo’s largest lenders presented a restructuring plan for the company, which aims to remove all activities that are not related to car manufacturing.
The government coalition between Kim Dae Jung’s party NCNP (National Congress for New Politics) and Prime Minister Kim Jong Pil’s ULD (United Liberal Democrats) in July postponed the planned constitutional reform that is supposed to give the president less power. The motivation was that economic reforms and relations with North Korea should be given priority.
The relaxation policy towards North Korea continued, and in addition to the United States, the President sought support from the Russian Federation. Kim Dae Jung visited the Russian Federation in May, and in September the Russian Defense Minister visited South Korea.
Relations with China were also strengthened, as the first meeting of the two defense ministers took place in China’s capital Beijing in August. Relations with North Korea consisted in the usual order of both peace messengers and incidents. In February, 17 North Koreans were released from prisons in South Korea, this time without having to renounce communism and assert their loyalty to South Korea.