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Korea: 5 Things to Expect in 2013 Updated: 2013-01-01 00:00:00 KST

Every long journey begins with one step, and many of the changes that will be carried out in 2013 had their beginnings in 2012.
Here are the top five changes Korea will see over the next 12 months.
First,…a crackdown on sex crimes.
Starting in March, chemical castration will be on the table as a punishment for all repeat sex offenders in the nation.
Despite concerns over human rights, the government isn't backing down.
Their motive is to reduce the number of sex offenses.
The National Police Agency says Korea has the highest number of sex offenders per 100-thousand children in the developed world.
A second change: the government will impose heavier sentences on sex offenders, a move made in response to criticism that leniency in the courts has contributed to the high level of sex crimes.
Currently, those convicted of sex offenses against children generally receive a sentence of FIVE years behind bars.
Starting in June, they'll face up to LIFE in prison.
Third, a system to prevent crimes against women and children is being expanded.
When in trouble, a person using the "SOS Public Relief Service" can send their location to police through mobile phones with the click of a button.
The service will provided through an application that can be downloaded on all types of wireless phones starting January 1st.
Fourth, Hangul Proclamation Day will be re-designated as a national holiday.
It is celebrated on October 9th each year to mark the invention of Hangul, the Korean alphabet.
It returns to being a national holiday in 2013, 22 years after being taken off the list because the country had too many national holidays.
The National Assembly passed a bill in November and the Cabinet passed it earlier this month, giving Hangul Day the distinction of being a national holiday again.
Finally, Korea will take its seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Korea won a spot with votes from more than two-thirds of members in the second round of voting this past October.
It is expected that South Korea will take a more active role on the Council with matters related to North Korea.
That's just a handful of the achievements made by Korea over the past year.
We'll have to wait and see what 2013 has in store.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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