Former South Korean army strongman Chun Doo-hwan, who crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1980, has died
Emergency officers mentioned Chun died at his dwelling. Police earlier mentioned Chun suffered a cardiac arrest and emergency officers rushed to his Seoul residence.
Going through huge criticism after he left workplace in 1988, Chun took refuge for 2 years in a Buddhist temple earlier than being arrested. He was tried for corruption, mutiny and treason and was sentenced to demise upon conviction. He was pardoned in 1997 in a bid for nationwide reconciliation.
Chun was a military main normal when he seized energy in December 1979 along with his army cronies. Tanks and troops rolled into Seoul in a coup that got here lower than two months after his mentor, President Park Chung-hee, was assassinated by the intelligence chief throughout a late-night consuming celebration.
Chun shortly consolidated his energy by suppressing a civil rebellion within the southern metropolis of Gwangju, then spelled Kwangju. His authorities additionally imprisoned tens of 1000’s of scholars and different residents, saying it was rooting out social evil.
Authorities data present the army crackdown on Gwangju resulted within the deaths of about 200 individuals. Activists, nonetheless, say much more civilians died. Chun’s army tribunal arrested opposition chief Kim Dae-jung and sentenced him to demise for allegedly fomenting the Gwangju rebellion.
After the USA intervened, Kim’s sentence was lowered and he was later freed.
South Korea’s economic system boomed throughout Chun’s tenure. The nation additionally efficiently held the 1986 Asian Video games and received the rights to host the 1988 Summer season Olympics, which started after he left workplace.
Chun launched a number of liberalizing measures, together with an finish to a Korean Conflict-era curfew and an easing of restrictions on abroad journeys. To get Washington’s endorsement of his military-backed authorities, he reportedly dropped plans to develop atomic bombs and longer-range missiles.
Chun sought reconciliation with North Korea by searching for summit talks with then-leader Kim Il Sung, the late grandfather of present chief Kim Jong Un. He additionally permitted exchanges of visits by households separated by the Korean Conflict and accepted a uncommon supply of flood support from North Korea.
North Korea, nonetheless, repeatedly challenged South Korea throughout Chun’s rule. In 1983, North Korean commandos triggered a bomb assault that focused Chun throughout a go to to Myanmar. Chun narrowly escaped harm within the assault, which killed 21 individuals, together with a number of South Korean authorities ministers. In 1987, North Korean brokers bombed a South Korean airliner, killing all 115 individuals on board.
At dwelling, public anger and demonstrations over human rights abuses and an oblique presidential election system led to Chun finally accepting a constitutional revision for a direct election system.
Roh Tae-woo, Chun’s military colleague who assisted throughout his coup, received the 1987 election, largely due to a vote cut up amongst liberal opposition candidates.
Calls mounted for Chun to be punished for corruption and human rights abuses.
Former pro-democracy fighter Kim Yong-sam grew to become president in 1993 and had each Chun and Roh stand trial as a part of a reform drive.
They have been convicted of mutiny and treason over the coup and Gwangju crackdown, in addition to corruption. Chun was sentenced to demise and Roh to 22 1/2 years in jail.
These sentences have been later lowered by the Supreme Court docket. Kim pardoned the 2 former presidents in late 1997 on the request of President-elect Kim Dae-jung, the once-jailed activist, who sought nationwide reconciliation and the revival of the economic system hit by an Asian overseas change disaster.
Roh died final month at age 88 from problems from varied diseases.
Earlier than Chun was launched, the courtroom ordered him to pay again $190 million he had amassed in a slush fund throughout his rule. He returned solely a portion, arguing he was broke, till his household mentioned in 2013 that it might hand over actual property, work and different belongings to pay again the rest.
Related Press author Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.