May - August 2022
The circle formed by the intersection of the Earth's surface with a plane perpendicular to its axis is called the parallel. It would seem that the task of parallels is to separate specific geographic areas. But it turns out that this is not the case. They can also divide nations, ideologies, religions, societies and even families. This is what the 38th parallel does. Circling the globe, the 38th parallel also runs through the Korean Peninsula, dividing one nation into two very different countries - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and South Korea.
Korea's history is both long and turbulent. Its origins date back to 2333 BC. The first Korean kingdom was Joseon (Dzoson), also called the ”Land of Morning Freshness." Despite harassment by Chinese outlaws, it reached its heyday in the 4th-5th centuries BC. Two countries, Shilla and Koryo, made a special mark in the history of Korea in our era. The country that modern Koreans particularly refer to is Koryo. The modern name, Korea, is also derived from the name Koryo. For nearly five centuries, this state went down in the history of its nation with the development of statehood, science, art and religion.
The past centuries were the time of brutal interventions into the statehood and independence of Korea, by England, France, China, Japan, the Soviet Union and the USA. The latter two countries influenced the current status of the Korean nation. It happened after World War II, when two Korean states, separated by the 38th parallel, were created in the clash of two ideologies and warfare on the Korean Peninsula.
How long will the 38th parallel exist in the minds of politicians? What will be the price to pay for its removal from the political map of the world? Let us hope that the Koreans, despite such a deep ideological division, will be able to bear witness to their national homogeneity in an atmosphere of reconciliation. May the 38th parallel become the domain of geographers and not politicians as soon as possible, and let Korea open its doors wide to the world.