The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
April 28, 2017, 6:00 P.M. CST
Early Saturday morning, April 29th, local time, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile, near Bukchang, South Pyeongan Province. The missile was supposedly fired in the direction of the Sea of Japan (East Sea), and it's actual distance traveled has yet to be determined, while some news outlets are reporting that the test failed. The missile test occurred several hours after U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, addressed the United Nations during a special meeting to call for increased pressure on North Korea. As recently as Wednesday, April 26th, the Trump administration noted that it was still focusing on economic and diplomatic resolution to the increased tension with North Korea, though both U.S. and North Korean leaders continue to exchange rhetoric.
At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.
April 18, 2017
Recent weeks have seen an increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula in addition to an increase in rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea (DPRK). ISA has been closely monitoring these developments, in addition to the upcoming election for a new South Korea president, and any impact these events may have on our Seoul programs. The U.S. State Department has not issued any travel alerts or warnings for South Korea, nor have there been any recommendations that U.S. citizens stop traveling to South Korea at this time. ISA Seoul resident staff has reported that daily life in Seoul remains largely unaffected by recent events, and our spring programs have proceeded uninterrupted. The Seoul staff has been in regular communication with spring students to remind them of ISA safety procedures, offer support, and advise students to keep their families back home updated on their well-being.
ISA's Office of Health, Safety and Security is continuing to monitor the security situation in South Korea, including, but not limited to, reviewing any travel recommendations provided by the U.S. and other relevant governments, analysis by trusted security resources, and the most up-to-date information on the situation on the ground provided by the Seoul resident staff. Currently, all ISA Seoul programs, current and upcoming, are expected to continue as planned. ISA will promptly communicate with students, their home universities and emergency contacts should there be any changes to the security situation in South Korea or our programs.
April 28, 2017
On Friday, April 28th, the Central Workers' Union (CUT) launched a nationwide strike opposing President Michel Temer's social security reform. Brazilian workers belonging to varying unions, including within the public transportation sector, will be organizing demonstrations throughout Brazil. The ISA Florianópolis resident staff have reported significant traffic delays as a result of the strikes as public transportation is temporarily suspended. ISA host university, Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL) remains open, however, classes for international students have been suspended. ISA students have been notified of the cancellations and will communicate with their professors directly to recuperate class time.
ISA students have been advised of the potential disruptions due to the strike and reminded that it is against the ISA Code of Conduct to participate in strikes, demonstrations, or other political gatherings of any kind. The ISA Florianópolis resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students as necessary.
April 24, 2017
At approximately 6:40pm local time, an earthquake of an estimated 7.1 magnitude occurred 38km offshore, west-southwest of Valparaiso, and movement could be felt as far away as the Santiago metropolitan area. Seismic movement began on Saturday evening when an estimated 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck around the same area, resulting in multiple aftershocks. Reports indicate that continued aftershocks are likely. No tsunami alerts have been issued and there have been no reports of damages or injuries thus far. The ISA Chile resident staff reported that the Ministry of the Interior (ONEMI) briefly issued a preventative evacuation alert for the coast lines in the Valparaiso and O'Higgins regions, but the alert was soon called off. Valparaiso's public metro system has suspended services until further notice and nearby cities of Concón and Quintero are currently without electricity. ISA staff are checking in with students and host families, and students are being reminded of safe practices. Students are also being advised to check in with family back home, however, communications could be delayed as a result of over usage through local providers.
April 20, 2017
On Thursday evening, April 20, a police officer was fatally shot on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris. Reports indicate that the suspect was brought down by police, and police have closed off the area. The ISA Paris staff have communicated with students to make them aware of the incident, advise them of areas to avoid, and and instruct them to continue to heed the council of local authorities. Several ISA Paris spring programs are currently on spring break, and many students are traveling outside of the city. All students have been asked to check in with their families back home to let them know they are safe. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
March 10, 2017
Following President Park Geun-hye's impeachment yesterday, demonstrations in Seoul are continuing to occur in the areas near Gwanghwamun Plaza and Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Approximately 4.4 miles from Korea University and 9.2 miles from Konkuk University). ISA students continuously have been advised to avoid the areas mentioned above. ISA's host universities stayed opened, and no classes were canceled on Friday, March 10th. ISA Seoul staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
March 9, 2017 updated 10:00 P.M. CST
The Constitutional Court unanimously voted to uphold President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, removing her from office. As a result, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will continue to serve as acting president until a special election is held in 60 days.
Police officers in the capital of Seoul and throughout the country are on standby for anticipated protests. Since the National Assembly initially voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye on December 9, 2016, protests have occurred throughout the country but primarily have been peaceful. ISA students have been notified of the court's ruling and reminded to avoid any protests. Classes at Konkuk University and Korea University are running as normal. The ISA Seoul resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students appropriately.
March 9, 2017
The Constitutional Court of South Korea is expected to announce the results of the impeachment trial of President Park Geun-hye at 11 AM KST on Friday, March 10th (8PM CST on Thursday, March 9th). If President Park is acquitted of all impeachment charges, her presidential authority will be immediately reinstated and she will serve out the remainder of her presidential term through February 2018. If President Park is found guilty, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will continue to serve as acting president until a special election is held within the next 60 days.
Large protests are expected in Seoul regardless of the outcome of the impeachment trial. Previous protests have been centered around the Gwanghwamun Plaza, City Hall, and the area near Anguk station where the Constitutional Court is located. ISA Seoul students have been advised to avoid potential protest areas and have been reminded that ISA students are prohibited from participating in demonstrations. ISA Seoul staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly once the court's decision is announced.
December 9, 2016
South Korea's President, Park Guen-hye's impeachment vote has passed the National Assembly on December 9, 2016, and Park's presidency has been officially suspended. While the Constitutional Court of Korea reviews the endorsed motion to justify the impeachment, the Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will be acting President for the duration of the court's deliberation. A large protest is currently planned for December 10, 2016 at Gwangwhamun area and sporadic protests in Seoul and other cities may continue to occur while the Constitutional Court of Korea is reviewing the motion, ISA students have been advised not to participate in any protests and to limit their time near the city hall in the Gwanghwamun area and near Anguk station where the Constitutional Court of Korea is located.
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