Infobox Korean settlement
logo=Gongju logo.gif

pop=130957 |popnote= [ [http://www.gongju.go.kr/cityhall/cityhall-13-01.htm] Dead link|date=March 2008]
divs=1 "eup", 10 "myeon", 6 "dong"

Gongju (Gongju-si), also spelt Kongju, is a city in South Chungcheong province, South Korea. It is located at coord|36|27|N|127|7|E|region:KR_type:city(130,957).


Gongju was formerly named Ungjin and was the capital of Baekje from AD 475 to 538. In this period, Baekje was under threat from Goguryeo. Goguryeo had overrun the previous capital of Hanseong (modern-day Seoul), which forced Baekje to find a new center of strength.

In 538, King Seong moved the capital to Sabi (in modern-day Buyeo County). However, Gongju remained an important center until the kingdom's fall in 667.

New capital

On August 11, 2004, the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan announced that the country's capital will be moved from Seoul to Gongju (approximately 120km south of Seoul) and Yeongi commencing in 2007. A 72.91 km² (18,016 acre) site was chosen for the project, which was scheduled to be completed by 2030. It was envisaged that government and administrative functions will move to the new capital, along with (possibly) the National Assembly and supreme court, although no sizable relocation was expected until the first phase of the project has been completed by 2012.

The move was intended to reduce Seoul's overcrowding and economic dominance over the rest of South Korea; perhaps not coincidentally, it would have also moved the government and administration out of range of North Korean artillery fire.

The projected cost of the project ranged from $45bn to as much as $94bn.

The plan has aroused controversy, with opposition parties calling for a referendum to see whether it is endorsed by the population. Some civic groups have also launched a constitutional appeal, and on October 21, 2004, the Constitutional Court ruled that the special law for the relocation of the capital is unconstitutional since the relocation is a serious national matter requiring national referendum or revision of the constitution, thus effectively ending the dispute. Opinion polls showed that a slight majority of South Koreans are opposed to the move, both before and after the ruling.

However, late in 2004, the government announced yet another plan that will allow Seoul to be a capital in name only by retaining the Executive Branch in Seoul, while moving all other branches of government to Gongju. The question remains unresolved to date. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3554296.stm BBC News: S Korea chooses new capital site] ]

Tourists' sites

Gongju was a capital of Baekje, and was a provincial city governing Chungcheong provinice. So it has lots of good places to visit. King Muryeong's tomb is the most famous site to visit and Gongsan Castle was the remained site of Baekje's palaces.
Gongju National Museum displays the treasures found in King Muryeong's tomb.

Famous people

Famous people associated with Gongju include member of popular boy band TVXQ, YoungWoong JaeJoong, and professional baseball player Chan-ho Park, who were both born there.

ee also

* List of cities in South Korea
* Geography of South Korea
* Chungcheong


External links

* [http://www.gongju.go.kr/english/index.html City government website]
* [http://english.kongju.ac.kr/ National Kongju University website]
* [http://dmoz.org/Regional/Asia/South_Korea/Chungnam/Gongju/ Open Directory category]

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