South Korea: Hope in the Hermit Kingdom

SOUTH KOREA

To the spartan people who have lived there for 4,000 years, to the Japanese conquerors who ruled it for 35 years ending in 1945, to the U.S. troops who fought there in the 1950s, Korea usually seemed a land of painful yesterdays and even darker tomorrows. Recurrent wars, occupations, famines and coups sapped its spirit and resources. For a generation, it has been split into two bitterly hostile parts: the Communist North and the non-Communist South.

But today, South Korea can take credit for some remarkable gains in the difficult task of nation-building. The picture is not all bright;...

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