weidong asked in TravelAsia PacificKorea · 1 month ago

Why doesn't Korean move its capital from Seoul to somewhere else since it's near 38`N so much? ?

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
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    Relocating the capital has been a topic of discussion here in Korea for a long time. There are several arguments for it and several arguments against it. While Seoul's proximity to the DMZ is a major factor, there are other issues as well - notably the fact that Seoul is becoming increasingly more congested. Relocating the capital somewhere else would not only enable the government to situate itself in a place where it would be more difficult for the North to strike it, but it would also lead to the city becoming less congested as well. 

    While both of those arguments are fair, the truth is that logistically, relocating the capital is probably more trouble than it's worth. Why? Well, firstly, the DPRK has the capability to strike any spot on the peninsula. It's true that the artillery pieces embedded in the hills north of Seoul could pose a very big problem in the event of any conflict, but the North Koreans could hit Pusan or Jeju f they wanted to, so relocating the capital isn't going to make the government impervious to attack. And just because the government moves its ministries to another site, that doesn't mean that Seoul is going to become less crowded or that a considerable percentage of the population will leave. 

    Several different sites have been suggested as being possible contenders for a new capital, notably the city of Daejeon located close to the geographic center of South Korea, but some people argued that shifting the capital to an existing city would greatly benefit that city to the detriment of all of the others. It was seen to be unfair and nobody could agree where the capital ought to go, so in the end it was decided that a planned city - built from the ground up on undeveloped land, would be the fairest compromise. But consider this: Seoul has long been the political, economic, and cultural heart of Korea. Approximately half of this country's 50 million people live in or around Gyeong-gi do  and the Seoul Metropolitan Area is the hub of everything. Relocating government offices to Sejong City is not going to detract from Seoul's dominance. 

    Now imagine that you are a government official living in the heart of Seoul... Your wife enjoys shopping in fashionable boutiques and frequenting trendy restaurants and whiling her time away in swanky cafes in places like Gangnam, Apgujeong, and Mokdong... Your children attend a top school and associate with other well-educated young people of high status... Then one day you are told that you must relocate your family to a small city in the middle of the country... The city has been standing for about ten years and it's still relatively under-populated... There's very little in the way of culture there. It's a city that's still finding its footing and building an identity for itself. There is no art scene. There are no top universities there. There's very little in the way of nightlife. Do you think that your wife and kids would be ecstatic about the move? Of course not. Sejong City doesn't even have a high speed train connecting it to Seoul - at least not yet. 

    That's why it hasn't happened yet. SOME government offices have been moved there, (to Sejong City), but it's likely that eventually it will be relegated to being the legislative or judicial capital rather than the executive capital. 

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