South Korea 2014
South Korea. According to Countryaah.com, South Korea population in 2020 is estimated at 51,269,196. A ferry disaster that occurred in April became a national trauma that caused great anger against the government and the authorities. More than 300 people, the majority of schoolchildren, were killed when the Sewol ferry sank off the coast in the southwest. The rescue work was slow and characterized by chaos. The anger was great when it became apparent that passengers were being asked to stay in their cabins while crew members put themselves in safety.
Prime Minister Chung Hong Won resigned as a result of the government’s poor handling of the disaster. But President Park Geun Hye’s attempt to appoint a replacement failed, two candidates whom she appointed withdrew after criticism and in June the president decided to retain Chung. The National Assembly’s work was paralyzed for several months as the dominant parties entered an investigation into the accident and a new disaster authority. As a result of the accident, it was also decided that the Coast Guard would be reorganized and a couple of senior intelligence and security officers resigned.
The judicial aftermath also became dramatic. An extensive police hunt was started after the main owner of the shipping company, Yoo Byung Eun, who was suspected of gross negligence until the death of another. He was a wealthy businessman and known as the leader of a religious sect. The hunt was interrupted after a couple of months when Yoo was found dead.
Fifteen crew members were sentenced in November to prison, mainly for neglect and for abandoning the passengers. The captain and chief engineer received 36 and 30 years respectively, while the others were sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. The government finally decided to post an investigation into the disaster following strong pressure from relatives of the victims. Most of it pointed out that the accident was mainly caused by the ferry being rebuilt illegally and being overloaded and the crew being inexperienced.
Pope Francis visited South Korea in August and led a mass for 80,000 Catholics in Seoul. The Pope blamed 124 Korean martyrs who were murdered in the 18th and 19th centuries when the rulers tried to stop the spread of Christianity on the Korean Peninsula.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 2,035,000,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||3.10%|
|GDP per capita||$ 39,500|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||16.5%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||1.80%|
|Investment volume||29.3% of GDP|
|National debt||39.50% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 374,800,000,000|