An extract on #instavaperz
Because of South Korea's tumultuous history, construction and destruction has been repeated endlessly, resulting in an interesting melange of architectural styles and designs.
Korean traditional architecture is characterized by its harmony with nature. Ancient architects adopted the bracket system characterized by thatched roofs and heated floors called ondol. People of the upper classes built bigger houses with elegantly curved tiled roofs with lifting eaves. Traditional architecture can be seen in the palaces and temples, preserved old houses called hanok, and special sites like Hahoe Folk Village, Yangdong Village of Gyeongju and Korean Folk Village. Traditional architecture may also be seen at the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Korea.
Western architecture was first introduced to Korea at the end of the 19th century. Churches, offices for foreign legislation, schools and university buildings were built in new styles. With the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 the colonial regime intervened in Korea's architectural heritage, and Japanese-style modern architecture was imposed. The anti-Japanese sentiment, and the Korean War, led to the destruction of most buildings constructed during that time.
Korean architecture entered a new phase of development during the post-Korean War reconstruction, incorporating modern architectural trends and styles. Stimulated by the economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, active redevelopment saw new horizons in architectural design. In the aftermath of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has witnessed a wide variation of styles in its architectural landscape due, in large part, to the opening up of the market to foreign architects. Contemporary architectural efforts have been constantly trying to balance the traditional philosophy of "harmony with nature" and the fast-paced urbanization that the country has been going through in recent years.
Active South Korean-Chinese people-to-people contacts have been encouraged. Academics, journalists and particularly families divided between the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China were able to exchange visits freely in the late 1980s. Nearly 2 million ethnic Koreans especially in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China's Jilin Province have interacted with South Koreans.
Trade between the two countries continued to increase nonetheless, Furthermore, China has attempted to mediate between North Korea and the United States and between North Korea and the State of Japan also initiated and promoted tripartite talksbetween Pyongyang Seoul and Washington United States of America.
The Republic of Korea had long been an ally of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Diplomatic ties between Seoul and Taipei Republic of China were nevertheless severed in 1992. Formal diplomatic relations were established between Seoul and Beijing People's Republic of China on August 24, 1992.
In 2004 the PRC government began the Northeast Project This sparked a massive uproar in South Korea when the project was widely publicized.
After the KORUS FTA (United States-South Korea Free Trade Agreement) was finalized on June 30, 2007 the Chinese government has immediately begun seeking an FTA agreement with South Korea. The FTA between Korea and China are under discussion South Korea has been running a trade surplus with China which hit a record US$32.5 billion in 2009.