The National Flag - Taegeukgi

The National Flag - Taegeukgi

Origin

Following the trend for modern states to adopt national flags, the decision to create a national flag for Korea emerged with the ratification of the Korea-United States Treaty of 1882. No accurate records remain of the Korean flag chosen for use at the signing ceremony; however, some argue that the flag was si milar to the ensign flag featured in the Flags of Maritime Nations issued by the U.S. Navy Department’s Bureau of Navigation and found in 2004. In his capacity as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary under King Gojong, Park Yeong-hyo kept a record of his diplomatic mission to Japan in 1882.

In his capacity as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary under King Gojong, Park Yeong-hyo kept a record of his diplomatic mission to Japan in 1882. According to his journal, known as Sahwagiryak, in September of that year while aboard the ship to Japan, Park created a four-trigram flag with a taegeuk circle (instead of the flag with eight black bars that had been used prior to 1800). The flag was used from September 25, 1882, according to Park’s report to the government on October 3 of that year. By royal order on March 6, 1883, King Gojong promulgated that Park’s flag with a taegeuk circle in the center and four trigrams around it (the flag named Taegeukgi) be the national flag. However, due to a lack of specific guidelines, the flag design took different forms. On June 29, 1942, the Provisional Government issued a national flag style guide to ensure that subsequent flags would be created in a consistent manner. Despite these efforts, however, ordinary people were unaware of these guidelines.After the establishment of the Republic of Korea on August 15, 1948, the government felt an increasing need to standardize flag construction. Thus in January 1949, it formed the National Flag Correction Committee, which announced the National Flag Construction Guidelines on October 15 of that year. A number of regulations were later implemented, providing for the systematic management of the flag: the Act on the Flag of the Republic of Korea, enacted in January 2007; the Enforcement Decree of the Act on the Flag of the Republic of Korea, in July 2007; and the Regulations on the Hoisting, Management, and Promotion of the National Flag in September 2009 (by instructions from the Prime Minister).

Symbolism of the flag

The Taegeukgi consists of a white background, a red and blue taegeuk circle in the center, and four black trigrams (collectively called geongongamri), one in each corner of the flag. The white background represents brightness, purity, and peace, qualities that are highly valued by the people. The taegeuk, which has long been a commonly used motif, denotes the harmony between the negative cosmic forces (yin : blue portion) and the positive cosmic forces (yang : red portion), depicting the truth of nature that all things are created and evolve through the interaction of yin and yang. The four black trigrams are specific representations of the movement and harmony of these forces. In detail, the geon symbolizes the sky, the gon the earth, the gam water, and the ri fire. Together, they create harmony around the taegeuk mark. In short, the Taegeukgi flag embodies the vision of the Korean people who, like the universe, seek continuous creation and enrichment. By upholding the spirit and significance of the Taegeukgi, the people seek to realize unity and unification and contribute to the happiness and peace of humanity.

Construction of the Flag of Korea

Construction of the Flag of Korea

  1. ① Diameter of circle x 3
  2. ② Diameter of circle x 2
  3. ③ Diameter of circle x 1/2
  4. ④ Length of flag x 1/2
  5. ⑤ Right angle (90 degrees)
  6. ⑥ Diameter of Circle x 1/24
  7. ⑦ Diameter of circle x 1/4
  8. ⑧ Diameter of circle x 1/3
  9. ⑨ Diameter of circle x 1/12

Pledge of allegiance to the flag (revised on July 27, 2007)

I, standing before the noble Taegeukgi, solemnly pledge allegiance to the Republic of Korea, to its glory, liberty and justice.

 

Government

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Executive Branch

The President

Cheongwadae (Office of President) Cheongwadae
(Office of President)

The President of the Republic of Korea, elected by nationwide, equal, direct and secret ballot, stands at the apex of the executive branch. The President serves a single five-year term, with no additional terms being allowed.

This single-term provision is a safeguard for preventing any individual from holding the reins of government power for a protracted period of time. In the event of presidential disability or death, the Prime Minister or members of the State Council will temporarily serve as the President as determined by law.

Under the current political system, the President plays five major roles. First, the President is the head of state, symbolizing and representing the entire nation both in the governmental system and in foreign relations.

He receives foreign diplomats, awards decorations and other honors, and grants pardons. He has the duty to safeguard the independence, territorial integrity, and continuity of the state and to uphold the Constitution, in addition to the unique task of pursuing the peaceful reunification of Korea.

Second, the President is the chief administrator and thus enforces the laws passed by the legislature while issuing orders and decrees for the enforcement of laws. The President has full power to direct the State Council and a varying number of advisory organs and executive agencies. He is authorized to appoint public officials, including the Prime Minister and heads of executive agencies.

Third, the President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He has extensive authority over military policy, including the power to declare war.

Fourth, the President is the chief diplomat and foreign policy maker. He accredits or dispatches diplomatic envoys, and signs treaties with foreign nations.

Finally, the President is the chief policy maker and key lawmaker. He may propose legislative bills to the National Assembly or express his views to the legislature in person or in writing. The President cannot dissolve the National Assembly, but the Assembly can hold the President ultimately accountable to the Constitution by means of an impeachment process.

Cabinet

OPC & PMS(Prime minister's office) OPC & PMS
(Prime minister's office)

Under Korea's presidential system, the President performs his executive functions through the Cabinet made up of 15 to 30 members and presided over by the President, who is solely responsible for deciding all important government policies.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and approved by the National Assembly. As the principal executive assistant to the President, the Prime Minister supervises the administrative ministries under the direction of the President. The Prime Minister also has the power to deliberate major national policies and to attend the meetings of the National Assembly.

Members of the Cabinet are appointed by the President upon recommendation by the Prime Minister. They have the right to lead and supervise their administrative ministries, deliberate major state affairs, act on behalf of the President and appear at the National Assembly and express their opinions. Members of the Cabinet are collectively and individually responsible to the President only.

In addition to the Cabinet, the President has several agencies under his direct control to formulate and carry out national policies: the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea, the National Intelligence Service, and the Broadcasting and Communications Commission. The heads of these organizations are appointed by the President, but the presidential appointment of the Chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection is subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

The Board of Audit and Inspection has the authority to audit the financial accounts of central and local government agencies, government corporations and related organizations. The board is also vested with the power to inspect abuses of public authority or misconduct by public officials in their official duties. The results of audits are reported to the President and the National Assembly, although the board is responsible only to the chief executive.

The National Intelligence Service is authorized to collect strategic intelligence of internal as well as external origin and information on subversive and international criminal activities.

It also plans and coordinates the intelligence and security activities of the government.

The Korea Communications Commission comprises five standing members who run the committee on consensus-basis. It's a Korean, central administrative organization that carries out works necessary to maintain the independence of broadcasting, regulate broadcasting and communications and to protect the users.