History of the Drug Trade in Korea

Published: 2021-01-25
History of the Drug Trade in Korea
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Drug
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 907 words
8 min read

Ancient Korea before 4000BC was occupied by Stone Age farmers who advanced from using bronze to make tools and weapons using the iron. Korea was initially divided into tribes but there was the emergence of more organized kingdoms. These kingdoms were Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje. The Silla in Korea was in 668-935 united under one monarch underlined by the existence of Hwa Baek. The Korean community was hierarchical and council of nobles could decide who was to take over power. Buddhism was introduced and many temples were built but Silla broke down due to fights of who succeed the throne. Goryeo came in between 918-1392 where it faced hostile neighbors. Jurchens fought China and often attacked Koreans where China fell to Mongols. Mongols attacked Koreans but they fought back and subdued Korea but they later surrendered resulting to Neo- Confucianism. This was the era when celadon pottery was made and Kim Bu-Sik wrote a history of the three kingdoms called Samguksagi. Joseon was in Korea in 1392-1910 where a Yi ruler Confucianism was made the official religion in Korea. Exams had to be taken for one to become an army soldier. Japan invaded Korea but Japan was defeated and forced to withdraw. (K. Grafton 23)

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We later see the arrival of Europeans in Korea where Korea signed a treaty with the USA, Russia and USA. Soldiers were rebellious burning down Japanese soldiers which they were forced to compensate. By 1900, many missionaries were Protestants in Korea. Korea later fell under Japanese domination. 1910-1945 was the colonial period in Korea by the Japanese who were then conquered by Koreans. Korean War began and it was divided into two zones, Russia and Americans. These two regions then came to be North and South Korea where South Korea did not flourish regarding democracy. Today both countries are economically stable with a population of 22million for North Korea and 48million for South Korea. (A. Richards 1)

History of drugs in Korea

In the 1990s, there was a devastating famine, where North Korean began manufacturing narcotics and later methamphetamines in government factories to create revenue. In todays North Korea, met is offered as a cup of tea while as well as boosting energy and treating cold; students use it to work late in the night. Although Korean marijuana grew wild, there was a rise in recreational smoking in 1960s and1970s. The presence of U.S soldiers and artistic community influenced the movement. In the 20th century, Korea became the largest producer of opium under the Japanese colonial rule. After world war 1and Japanese failure to grow opium due to poor soils, they turned to Koreans for cheap labor. There was dramatic increase and by 1941 total drug in Korea was 50,000 kilograms. There was also increased trading of morphine Japanese and Taiwan which were controlled by Manchuria.

Although the government enacted the Opium law to restrict cultivation to only farms owned by the government, opium had a way of slipping in the hands of citizens. Before the Japanese occupation, Koreans smoked opium and during the invasion, the numbers began to decrease. When the government and officials were on the verge of banning opium in 1914 in Korea, there was the rise in morphine addiction. A large number Koreans became addicts to morphine, heroin or cocaine where they bought products decorated as cure-alls. By 1924, there were 4,000 morphine addicts. To curb this havoc, the government instituted drug policies and drug treatment rehabilitation centers and programs. With time the number of drug users reduced and the only thing government was left with was morphine and heroin surplus. They ceased the production in 1935. As World War II was coming to an end, Korea was known as the number one exporter of narcotics which was sent abroad. (Korea Customs Service)

Korea's involvement with the international drug trade

North Korea makes money through smuggling, counterfeiting and drug dealing. Initially, North Korea was a powerhouse where it fed its people but now the cities are in darkness every night due to lack of electricity. The countrys economy name is juchemeaning self-reliance. North Korea is well known for drug smuggling and counterfeit goods. Korea has been trading drugs for other goods with China such as magnesium and coal. In 2009, Korea brought in $2 billion through legal exports and addition of more thorough illegal activity. Small-time drug dealers prevent the North Korean government from making any profits due to their illegal sales. Of late North Koreans have been shipping in 110 pounds of heroin worth $50 million through the Australian Navy. (L.Barton 28)

North Korea diplomats are also said to carry illegal drugs in diplomatic pouches across borders. In 1994, North Korean embassy employees were stopped by China while smuggling 6 kilograms of opium in China. In the following year, North Korean officials of Peoples Armed Forces Ministry were arrested by China. North Korea ships drugs in all locations and countries everywhere. In my opinion, the government of Korea has failed to put in strict measure or policies to curb this problem. If tight government control is exercised, then smuggling of drugs would reduce or stop altogether.

Works Cited

Barton, Lee V. Illegal Drugs and Governmental Policies. New York: Nova Science Publ, 2006. Print.

Combat against Drug Smuggling in Korea. Seoul: Korea Customs Service, n.d.. Print.

Griffiths, Megan O, and Dylan A. Richards. Drug Trade, Trafficking and Policies. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2011. Internet resource.

Han, U-gun, and Grafton K. Mintz. The History of Korea. Seoul: Eul-Yoo Pub. Co, 1970. Print.

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