The Republic of the United States of America, and its Europeon antecedent communities, only go back 400 years.
Though this introductory section ostensibly has little to do with the contemporary situation in Korea, in fact it is very important for understanding the rich history and unity of the Korean culture.
For as we are beginning to realize more and more, the presence of the past is always here. We can only ignore this principle at our own peril, which in turn robs us of the incredibly profound input of a vast sea of indispensable wisdom.
It helps explain how deep is the passion for the reunification of a people who share a long, evolved history with one another.
There are no regions in the Western world that possess a million-plus year history of human activity as does the Korean Peninsula.
And the Korean culture possesses a 5,000 year distinct, unified homogenous history devoid of ethnic minorities.
Never was Korea divided until the 38th Parallel was cruelly imposed upon it in 1945 by the United States. Instead, it has suffered a long history of being aggressed upon by other outside nations, both Asian and Western.
In contrast, the earliest record of human activity in the Western Hemisphere according to carbon dating is no more than 45,000 years, but most evidence makes a more comfortable estimate of 30,000 years or less.
And since there were no Eurocentric or New World societies until after the Conquest of the original Indigenous societies that occurred from the late 1400s through the 1700s, the longest period of organized society we in the West possess is no more than 500 years old.
A peninsula 600 miles long, north-south, with an average width of 150 miles, it is separated from China by as little as 130 miles on the west by the Yellow Sea (and Korean Bay, a northern section of the Yellow Sea) while sharing a 500 mile northern boundary with China marked by the great Yalu River.
It also shares an 11 mile northeast boundary with Russia marked by the Tumen River.
It is separated from Japan on the east by the Sea of Japan.