June 2000, as part of president Kim Dae-jung’s “Sunshine Policy” of engagement, a North–South summit took place in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Later that year, Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize “for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular”. However, because of discontent among the population for fruitless approaches to the North under the previous administrations and, amid North Korean provocations, a conservative government was elected in 2007 led by President Lee Myung-bak, former mayor of Seoul. Meanwhile, South Korea and Japan jointly co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup. However, South Korean and Japanese relations later soured because of conflicting claims of sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks.
Korea was the first chair of the G-20 during the 2010 Seoul summit
In 2010, there was an escalation in attacks by North Korea. In March 2010 the South Korean warship ROKS Cheonan was sunk with the loss of 46 South Korean sailors, allegedly by a North Korean submarine. In November 2010 Yeonpyeong island was attacked by a significant North Korean artillery barrage, with 4 people losing their lives. The lack of a strong response to these attacks from both South Korea and the international community (the official UN report declined to explicitly name North Korea as the perpetrator for the Cheonan sinking) caused significant anger with the South Korean public. South Korea saw another milestone in 2012 with the first ever female president Park Geun-hye elected and assuming office. Daughter of another former president, Park Chung-hee, she carried on a conservative brand of politics. President Park Geun-hye’s administration was formally accused of corruption, bribery, and influence-peddling for the involvement of close friend Choi Soon-sil in state affairs. There followed a series of massive public demonstrations from November 2016 and she was removed from office. After the fallout of President Park’s impeachment and dismissal, new elections were held and Moon Jae-in of the Democratic party won the presidency, assuming office on 10 May 2017. His tenure so far has seen an improving political relationship with North Korea, some increasing divergence in the military alliance with the United States, and the successful hosting of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Geography, climate and environment