Seoul, Dec 27 (EFE) .- In a year of very little diplomatic progress under the Pyongyang regime, South Korea has once again focused its efforts on controlling the pandemic, having to impose restrictions for months that have ended up yielding good results. in health.
SOUTH KOREA: A MODEL IN CONTAINING THE PANDEMIC
The Asian country has had to take hold of tough restrictions – advancing the closure of the hotel industry and limiting the number of people who can meet – for much of the year to face the new waves of infections.
Although the service sector has suffered, the authorities, aided by a sophisticated tracking system, have managed to control infections, especially in the capital region (which has a very high population density), and today the country only totals about 600,000 cases and just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
NORTH KOREA: CONTINUES TO TEST WEAPONS AND REFUSES TO DIALOGUE WITH THE US
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un promised earlier this year to develop more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction in the absence of progress in the denuclearization dialogue with the US.
In this way, it has ended up testing several recently developed missiles (including a supersonic one) and has rejected the hand extended by the Biden Administration, arguing that it will not return to the negotiating table until Washington modifies its “hostile policy” towards the regime.
ARMAMENTAL RACE IN THE PENINSULA
Seoul has decided to respond this year to Pyongyang’s weapons trials with its own tests and new developments, including its first ballistic missile for a submarine, which exacerbates the military escalation in a region that is itself another part of the conflict. maintained by China and the United States.
A RESISTANT SOUTHERN GDP
After the initial shock caused by the pandemic, South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) has added five consecutive quarters of expansion and accumulated growth in all of 2021 is expected to be around 4% thanks to the strength of exports, which have added record volume, has offset the drop in consumption.
THE BANK OF KOREA RAISES RATES DUE TO INFLATION AND HOUSEHOLD DEBT
The Bank of Korea (BoK) has raised rates twice this year, finally placing them at 1% after 20 consecutive months with the benchmark around 0%, a decision aimed at combating post-pandemic inflation and growing debt of the South Korean households, one of the largest in the OECD.
SAMSUNG GETS BACK ITS LEADER AND INCREASES PROFITS
Samsung Electronics, the largest South Korean company, has maintained its growth trail in 2021 thanks to the persistent demand for chips motivated by the forced popularization of non-face-to-face activities.
It has also recovered its leader, Lee Jae-yong, pardoned in August after spending more than a year and a half in prison for his role in the “Rasputina” corruption scheme, at a key moment for future capital investments by the company, which aims to improve its market share in a product as coveted as integrated circuits.
PERFORMANCE BELOW EXPECTED IN TOKYO 2020
South Korea achieved 20 medals (6 golds, 4 silvers, 10 bronzes) and finished sixteenth in the medal table of the Tokyo Olympic Games, numbers below what was harvested in the three previous appointments, in which it always exceeded 30 metals and he finished between ninth and fifth place in the medal table.
However, the Asian country once again reaffirmed its absolute dominance in archery (it won gold in four of the five categories) and also showed its good level in fencing, where it took five metals, and in its national martial art, taekwondo, achieving a silver and two bronzes.
NORTH KOREA WITHDRAWS FROM TOKYO GAMES DUE TO PANDEMIC
North Korea, which since the beginning of the pandemic has closed its borders tight and closed and has not allowed its athletes to enter and leave the country to compete, announced in April that it would not compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to “protect “to their athletes from possible COVID-19 infections.
As a consequence, the Executive of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended North Korea until the end of the year 2022, preventing the country from taking part in the Winter Games in Beijing, where in any case it never showed any intention to participate either.
ABUSES IN VOLLEYBALL
The local sports news story of the year has focused on the abuse scandals that have plagued the men’s and women’s volleyball leagues, beginning in February, when twins Lee Jae-yeong and Lee Da-yeong were accused of physically abusing female partners. from school during primary and secondary school.
Their team, Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders, fired them, and months later the MVP of the men’s league, Jung Ji-seok, was investigated for allegedly mistreating his ex-girlfriend, with whom he reached an out-of-court settlement that allowed him to continue playing to the anger of many fans.
THE GOBAL SUCCESS OF “SQUID GAME”
Released in September, “Squid game” has been the series of the year globally, becoming the most watched fiction to date on the Netflix platform (more than 142 million subscribers have viewed it) .
This violent story about a group of people competing to the death for a prize money to alleviate their debts has put the South Korean audiovisual industry on the map again after the victory at the 2020 Oscars of another production with a critical undertone. social, the movie “Parasite” (“Parasites”). EFE
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