Yesterday, Obama returned 9 Korean royal seals during his visit with President Park Geun-Hye. He then became the first US President to tour Gyeongbok Palace, the famed royal residence of the Joseon Dynasty. The Korean government has been making extra efforts to locate and recover missing cultural treasures in recent years.
Three of the seals were state seals and the other six were ceremonial seals. The three state seals were used directly by former kings of the Korean Empire and Joseon Dynasty. The Hwangjejibo seal, dating back to 1897, was used by King Gojong after establishing the first post-Joseon kingdom. It is known as the Seal of the Emperor.
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Park Geun-Hye’s administration is on the brink of issuing 6,000 pardons for minor offenders in honor of the Lunar New Year. These pardons are a power of the President and are often handed out twice a year. This year was notable as she excluded politicians and high-profile businessmen.