Uijeongbu | South Korea

Uijeongbu is located north of the Korean capital Seoul; it lies inside a defile, with mountains on two sides, and commands a natural choke point across the main traditional invasion route from the North into Seoul. As such it has a continued military significance and it contains U.S. and Korean military bases, positioned for the defense of the Korean capital. The U.S. Second Infantry Division has established a headquarters post in Uijeongbu, with the main troops being deployed from Dongducheon city.

Despite being known for its military presence, the area has boomed into a satellite community of Seoul with shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars, PC bangs and DVD Bangs. In addition to U.S. personnel, it is popular with the English hagwon (a for-profit private institute, academy or cram school). There are several mountains such as Mt. Dobong (Dobongsan), Mt. Surak and Mt. Soyo. The mountains are popular recreational areas for hiking and are frequented by residents living in the Seoul Metropolitan area.

This city is also famous for its budae-jjigae (lit. "army base stew"), made with hot dogs and SPAM. In the late 20th century, many wanted the dish to be referred as Uijeongbu jjigae to remove the military or war-time connotations it had associated with it. However, not many restaurants followed this guideline. Some restaurants have begun calling their product Uijeongbu budae jjigae. The city also contains what locals refer to as "buddaejjigae street", a street where there is a high concentration of army base stew restaurants.

Gyeonggi-do (Hangul: 경기도, Korean pronunciation: [kjʌŋ.ɡi.do]) is the most populous province in South Korea. Its name, Gyeonggi means "the area surrounding capital". Thus Gyeonggi-do can be translated as "province surrounding Seoul". The provincial capital is Suwon. Seoul—South Korea's largest city and national capital—is in the heart of the province but has been separately administered as a provincial-level special city since 1946. Incheon—South Korea's third-largest city—is on the coast of the province and has been similarly administered as a provincial-level metropolitan city since 1981. The three jurisdictions are collectively referred to as Sudogwon and cover 11,730 km2, with a combined population of 25.5 million—amounting to over half of the entire population of South Korea.

Gyeonggi-do has been a politically important area since 18 BCE, when Korea was divided into three nations during the Three Kingdoms period. Ever since King Onjo, the founder of Baekje (one of the three kingdoms), founded the government in Wiryeseong of Hanam, the Han River Valley was absorbed into Goguryeo in the mid-fifth century, and became Silla's territory in the year 553 (the 14th year of King Jinheung). Afterward, the current location of Gyeonggi-do, one of the nine states of Later Silla, was called Hansanju.

The Gyeonggi region started to rise as the central region of Goryeo as King Taejo of Goryeo (the kingdom following Silla) set up the capital in Gaesong. Since 1018 (the 9th year of Goryeo’s King Hyeonjong), this area has been officially called "Gyeonggi."

During the Joseon, which was founded after the Goryeo, King Taejo of Joseon set the capital in Hanyang, while restructuring Gyeonggi's area to include Gwangju, Suwon, Yeoju, and Anseong, along with the southeast region. Since the period of King Taejong and Sejong the Great, the Gyeonggi region has been very similar to the current administrative area of Gyeonggi-do.

In 1895 the 23-Bu system, which reorganized administrative areas, was effected. The Gyeonggi region was divided into Hanseong (modern Seoul; Hanseong-bu; 한성부; 漢城府), Incheon (Incheon-bu; 인천부; 仁川府), Chungju (Chungju-bu; 충주부; 忠州府), Gongju (Gongju-bu; 공주부; 公州府), and Kaesong (Kaesong-bu; 개성부; 開城府).

During the Japanese colonial period Hanseong-bu was incorporated into Gyeonggi-do. On October 1, 1910, it was renamed Keijo and a provincial government was placed in Keijo according to the reorganization of administrative districts.

As the backbone of Seoul in the means of manufacturing complex, Gyeonggi-do is evenly developed in heavy industry (electronics, machine, heavy and chemical industry, steel), light industry (textile), and farm, livestock and fisheries industry. Due to the influence of recent high wages, the weight of manufacturing industries has decreased in Korea's economy. Gyeonggi-do is making efforts in many ways to improve and modernize the conventional industry structure. Gyeonggi-do is unsparingly investing in the promotion of service industries related to soft competitive power such as state-of-the-art IT industry, designing, conventions and tourism, along with its great leap as a commercial hub in Northeast Asia using the Pyeongtaek Harbor.

Besides this, it is famous for its special local products such as Icheon rice and Icheon/Gwangju ceramics. The manufacturing base of global IT corporations that represent Korea, such as Suwon Samsung Semi-conductor, Paju's LG Corporation LCD Complex, and Icheon's SK Hynix are in Gyeonggi-do.

The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup matches were held in Suwon World Cup Stadium. As for the professional soccer teams with Gyeonggi-do as their home ground, there are the Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Seongnam FC. Also, there is the professional basketball team of Guri Kdb Life Winnus, sponsored by Kdb Life Insurance.

Korea's foremost thoroughbred horse racing track Seoul Race Park is in Gwacheon.

Sailing is a high-profile sport in Gyeonggi. Gyeonggi-do's location on the bank of the river Han makes it an ideal venue for the sport which is host to the prestigious Korea Match Cup event which is a part of the World Match Racing Tour. The event draws the world's best sailing teams to Gyeonggi in a gladiatorial battle of nerve and skill on the water. The identical supplied (KM-36) boats are raced two at a time in an on the water dogfight which tests the sailors and skippers to the limits of their physical abilities. Points accrued count towards the World Match Race Tour and a place in the final event, with the overall winner taking the title ISAF World Match Racing Tour Champion. Match racing is an ideal sport for spectators in Gyeonggi. Racing in such close proximity to the river bank provides excellent heart of the action views for the audience. Highlights of the event can be seen on KBS World television and via the official World Match Racing Tour website.

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