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Seoul (Kyongsong) Capital of South Korea, on the River Han. The political, commercial, industrial and cultural centre of South Korea, it was founded in 1392 as the capital of the Yi dynasty. It developed rapidly under Japanese governorship (1910–45). After World War 2, Seoul was the headquarters for the US army of occupation. Following the 1948 partition, it became capital of South Korea. Seoul's capture by North Korean troops precipitated the beginning of the Korean War (1950–53), and the following months witnessed the city's virtual destruction. In March 1951, it became the headquarters of the UN command in Korea and a rebuilding programme commenced. By the 1970s, it was the hub of one of the most successful economies of Southeast Asia. In 1996, Seoul was the scene of violent student demonstrations for reunification with North Korea. The city hosted the semi-final of the 2002 World Cup. Pop. (2000) 9,853,972.