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Koreas Development Under Park Chung-Hee Rapid Industrialization, 1961-79 (Routledge Asian Studies Association of Australia (Asaa)East Asia Series) by Kim Hyung-A (z-lib.org)

Based on personal interviews with the principal policy-makers of the
1970s, Korea’s Development under Park Chung Hee examines how the president sought to develop South Korea into an independent, autonomous sovereign state both economically and militarily. Kim brings a new narrative
to the complex task of exploring the paradoxical nature and effects of
Korea’s rapid development which maintains that any judgment of Park
must consider his achievements in the socio-economic, cultural and political context in which they took place.
Aspects of Park’s government analyzed include:
his abhorrence of Korea’s reliance on US aid;
the Korean model of state-guided industrialization;
Park’s rapid-development strategy;
the role of the ruling elites;
Park’s clandestine nuclear development program;
the heavy and chemical industrialization of the 1970s.
The prevailing popularity of Park in the eyes of the Korean public is
significant and relevant to their acceptance of how their national development was achieved. This book tells that story while simultaneously recognizing the flaws in the process. With a great deal of material never before
published, scholars of Korean politics and history at all levels will find this
book a stimulating account of South Korea in the 1960s and 1970s.
Kim Hyung-A is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Asia Pacific Social
Transformation Studies (CAPSRTANS), University of Wollongong,
Edited by Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Morris Low
Editorial Board: Dr. Gemerie Barmé (Australian National University), Professor Colin Mackerras (Griffith University), Professor Vera Mackie
(Curtin University), and Associate Professor Sonia Ryang ( Johns Hopkins
This series represents a showcase for the latest cutting-edge research in
the field of East Asian studies, from both established scholars and rising
academics. It will include studies from every part of the East Asian region
(including China, Japan, North and South Korea and Taiwan) as well as
comparative studies dealing with more than one country. Topics covered
may be contemporary or historical, and relate to any of the humanities or
social sciences. The series is an invaluable source of information and challenging perspectives for advanced students and researchers alike.
RoutledgeCurzon is pleased to invite proposals for new books in the
series. In the first instance, any interested authors should contact:
Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Division of Pacific and Asian History
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200
Dr. Morris Low
Department of Asian Language and Studies
University of Queensland
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
RoutledgeCurzon/Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) East Asia Series
Power and public policy
Vera Mackie
The development of management strategy in Hyundai
Seung Ho Kwon and Michael O’Donnell
Nationalism as aesthetics
Yumiko Iida
Sandra Wilson
Rapid industrialization, 1961–79
Kim Hyung-A
Rapid industrialization, 1961–79
Kim Hyung-A
First published 2004
by RoutledgeCurzon
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Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
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© 2004 Kim Hyung-A
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Kim, Hyung-A, 1948–
Korea’s development under Park Chung Hee : rapid
industrialization, 1961-1979 / Hyung-A, Kim.
p. cm. — (RoutledgeCurzon/Asian Studies Association of Australia
(ASAA) East Asia series ; 5)
1. Park, Chung Hee, 1917–1979. 2. Korea (South)—Politics and
government—1960–1988. 3. Korea (South)—Economic policy—
1960– 4. Presidents—Korea (South) I. Title. II. Series:
RoutledgeCurzon/Asian Studies Association of Australia East Asia
series ; 5.
DS922 .42. P34K547 2004
ISBN 0-203-35642-X Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-38722-8 (Adobe eReader Format)
ISBN 0–415–32329–0 (Print edition)
For my mother, Yi K umwol
My son, Eugene Gregory van Leest
List of illustrations
Road to military revolution
Park: a colonized soldier
The eve of the military coup: intellectual
debate on national reconstruction
Military rule and nation-building
The military junta: a quest for legitimacy and
The leap forward: alliance with the US
Global change: the nation in transition, 1968–72
All-out reform
Saemaul movement: from top-down rural
development to Yusin reform
The Yusin state
Presidential guidance and heavy and chemical
Military modernization 1974–9
Conclusion: The legacy of the Park era
10 Conclusion: the legacy of the Park era
1 Long-term Industrial Development Policy 1973
2 Three stages of industrial development in Korea:
for selected industries
3 Long-term National Industrial Plan
Chronologies of the HCI Triumvirate
Park with short hair as a school teacher
Park in teaching days dressed in military-style uniform
The house in which Park was born
Park and his mother, when he was a student at Taegu
Teachers’ College
President Park and his eldest brother, Pak Tonghui
Park and his family soon after he became president
Park meets President John F. Kennedy and his wife in
Kim Chongp’il receives medal from Park soon after
coup in 1961
Chong Chuyong, founder of Hyundai Conglomerate,
briefs President Park
Front left: Park T’aejun, first president of POSCO,
President Park and Kim Hang’yol, Deputy Prime
Minister 1969–72
Park inspects Korean-made weapons
Park inspects Korean-made tank
A.1.1 Long-term development policy
A.2.1 Three stages of industrial development in Korea:
for selected industries
5.1 South Korean exports 1963–71
5.2 Deputy prime ministers and ministers of Commerce
and Industry (1964–79)
Park Chung Hee, South Korea’s dictator from 1961 to his assassination in
1979, left a legacy mired in controversy. Was he a bloody dictator who
kept his country enthralled in a police state, repressed all dissent, and prevented his own people from aspiring to a political system of democracy,
justice, and civil liberties, or was he an ingenious mastermind of rapid,
state-led industrialization inspired by nationalistic sentiment that propelled his country to the second rank of industrial nations? He was both,
says Hyung-A Kim, in an excellent book that instructs the reader that Park
was not a political megalomaniac devoted to the aggrandizement of his
own power, but a determined nationalist who believed that only a centrally organized political system under a dictator who believed in recruiting a central core of planners and administrators could carry out
forced-draft industrialization and the improvement of military defense.
Of course, state leadership in late industrialization involving either the
control or guidance of the economy – what has lately been dubbed “developmentalism” – in contrast to liberal, free-market capitalism is by no
means a new phenomenon. What is interesting about the South Korean
case, however, is that Park’s project was carried out under the thumb of its
long-term protector, the US, despite American objections to his repressive
politics, his rejection of free-market principles, and his periodic forays
into an independent defense and armament policy. Park was determined
to carry out rapid industrialization after he seized power to pull his
country out of the mire of poverty, and he chose to achieve this by intensifying the concentration of power at the center. He probably was motivated
in doing so by his observation of Japanese development as an officer in
the Japanese Army in Manchuria in the late 1930s and early 1940s, an
observation that many scholars have already made, but Hyung-A Kim has
discovered that the push for powerful leadership from the top was by no
means confined to military officers like Park, but to leading members of
the presumably liberal intellectual community in the 1950s who had no
use for the dictatorship of Syngman Rhee, the first president of the
Republic of Korea because of his repressive and undemocratic methods.
Although these liberal intellectuals soon became the vocal protesters
against Park’s dictatorial methods as well, Park was responding to a widespread demand for leadership.
After his coup d’état in 1961 Park was forced to reinstate civilian government with elections for the presidency and National Assembly by the US
in 1963, but when he was almost defeated by the main opposition politician of the time, Kim Dae Jung, in 1971, he quickly turned further to the
right by instituting an even more centralized and despotic regime under
his Yusin (Revitalization) system in 1972. Several hypotheses about why he
did so have been voiced in the past, but Hyung-A Kim has posited the
most persuasive hypothesis of them all. Park was so shocked by what he
perceived as the American failure from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s to
respond to North Korean provocations, to stay the course in Vietnam, and
to maintain a solid commitment to the defense of South Korea, that he
decided to institute a more determined policy to achieve the next phase
of the industrial revolution by creating a heavy and chemical industrial
sector. In doing so, he carried out a restructuring of the government by
concentrating power in the economic sector to an uneven narrow core of
power – a triumvirate of himself, Kim Chóngnyóm, and O Wónch’ól, with
full power to design and carry out fund-raising, factory construction, and
the choice of products to be made without interference from the political
parties (including his own), the National Assembly, the businessmen he
had created and supported in the first decade of his rule, and least of all,
the factory workers, students, and intellectuals who protested his draconian methods and tyrannical repression. What was even more significant
was that Park chose an engineer like O Wónch’ól to run his economic
development program rather than the free-market economists of his own
Economic Planning Board (EPB) because he was more interested in
people with a record of accomplishment willing to carry out his plan
rather than economic theoreticians who objected to his violations of USinspired economic theory. As Hyung-A Kim points out, this concentrated
system of control under Park himself and his two economic tsars was
something that even the Japanese had not been able to create even under
state-directed economic policy during the heyday of Japanese militarism
in the 1930s.
Not satisfied only with industrial development for economic growth
because he truly feared that US presidents from Nixon on could not be
counted on now that they were initiating relations with Communist China,
ending the war in Vietnam and threatening to withdraw US forces from
South Korea, and calling on South Korea to assume greater costs in
“burden sharing,” Park not only pressed ahead with his economic juggernaut, but began an open program of conventional weapons manufacture
and secret plans for developing a nuclear weapons and missile capability.
The problem was that Park’s repressive dictatorship antagonized many
Americans at the same time that he wanted a firm US commitment for the
support of South Korea. Of course, support for South Korea meant
support for Park’s dictatorship, but this only created a crisis when Jimmy
Carter became president of the US.
Park survived Jimmy Carter’s threat to withdraw US troops thanks to
opposition within his own administration committed more to maintaining
stability in South Korea than to causing disruption to further democratic
politics. Nevertheless, Park’s political policies created an adverse reaction
by the late 1970s which spread from the activist students, intellectuals, professors, and progressive Christians to the workers and petty urban bourgeoisie. One could say that Park’s system imploded in 1979 because the
dictator had become so remote from popular sentiment and seemed to be
under the influence of trusted bodyguards and confidants that his inclination to call out the troops to repress protest in a bloodbath contributed to
his assassination at the end of the year.
In short, what Hyung-A Kim has been able to do is to provide a convincing explanation of the strategy and tactics of Park’s successful economic
development policy, connect it to his nationalistic drive to achieve his own
goals of national construction and defense in the face of what he believed
was an undependable US, and defy the growing clamor for democratic
process and civil liberties growing under his nose and without much
support from the US government. Had Park lived a century ago in the last
dynasty in an age when popular participation and democratic procedure
were unheard of, he might have gone down in the history books as one of
the greatest leaders in all of Korean history. Now, however, his obvious
leadership skills in creating a modern economy have to be offset by his
nefarious record of persecution, with one important proviso. His negative
record in politics created a reaction that achieved a democratic politics on
the part of the South Korean people through three decades of heroic suffering without which democracy might never have been achieved. Certainly the US had done little to further their efforts during the Cold War.
In any case, this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to
understand the nature and complexities of Park Chung Hee and his policies.
Professor James B. Palais
Department of History
University of Washington
Seattle, USA
From the outset I should say that this work was not a well-planned longterm dream, but a project that developed progressively as I moved in my
research from mask-drama, to political satire, to the minjung movement, to
self-reliance ideology in Korea, and finally to rapid industrialization under
Park. And I am sure my path will not end there. However, I am certain
that this work will prove for me, and for many others, to be a valuable
source of understanding development in Korea, which can be applied to
many issues facing Korea today and into the future.
In the arduous task of writing this book, I received help and advice
from many people. Without them, this book would have been a somewhat
different product. I owe special thanks to James Cotton, who initially suggested to me that I should undertake a study of President Park Chung
Hee. His suggestion ultimately led me to the luxury of writing over several
years on the immensely complex story behind Park and his key technocrats, especially in the course of Korea’s heavy and chemical industrialization during the 1970s.
Much of this book was written and rewritten at the Research School of
Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. There I
have been exceptionally fortunate to have the support of so many inspiring teachers and friends, who have provided me with a wealth of knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm. I am particularly grateful for
everyone there in the History Division, especially Professors Geremie
Barmé, Gavan McCormack, Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Ken Wells, and many
friends in the office including Marion, Dorothy, Oanh, and Caroline.
Unexpectedly, I also found a new friend, Stephanie Anderson, who
poured much energy and effort in proofreading my manuscript, for which
I am deeply grateful. Every single pencil stroke she made on the manuscript gave me a fresh perspective and helped me to polish extensively the
text for the completion of the final version.
At a vital stage of finalizing this work, I was fortunate in being
appointed to the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies
(CAPSTRANS), a joint initiative between the Universities of Newcastle and
Wollongong, where Professors Jim Hagan and Andrew Wells recognized
the significance of this project and allowed me the widest scope possible
to complete it for publication. I will always remain indebted to their generosity and support. I also thank Christoph Antons, the new Director at
CAPSTRANS for his enthusiasm and support for this book.
In the United States, my thanks go to Professors Robert Scalapino,
Michael Robinson, Younghwan Kihl, Mark Seldon, and Gordon M.
Berger. In each of their different ways, I have been greatly encouraged by
these eminent scholars who generously offered me their support, as well
as many invaluable suggestions. During my teaching appointment at
Linfield College in Oregon in 1998–9, I also received heart-warming
support from my colleagues there, especially John Fincher and Ellen
I have been extremely fortunate to receive the support of Professor
James B. Palais who read the entire manuscript twice, and provided me
with most detailed and substantive comment, suggestions and advice. His
assessment of my work as a worthy contribution to understanding Korea’s
rapid-development strategies under Park, was a great inspiration and
source of encouragement to me, as I struggled to examine and incorporate where appropriate the reams of notes he compiled on early drafts.
I was also fortunate to receive unreserved support from Korea, especially in gathering material and being introduced to many relevant and
interesting people over the last decade or more. I owe many thanks to the
members of President Park’s family, Pak Kunhye and Pak Chiman, who
opened many doors for me. In particular, I owe special thanks to Yi
Kwanghyung from EG Corporation who, along with several members of
their staff and colleagues, including Yi Sangyo, made extraordinary efforts
to support this project. Were it not for their selfless help and support, my
fieldwork in Korea would have been much less inspiring and productive. I
also owe much to Mr Chong Yonghui who worked tirelessly to send me
photographs and to obtain clearances for their publication, in the midst
of difficult security concerns in the course of the “war on terrorism” and
hold-ups in the mail. I am grateful also for the enduring support of Paik
Nakchung, Cho Kapche, Kim Hakjun, Kang Kiwon, and Han Chiyon.
I owe immeasurable thanks to many distinguished former officials,
including Kim Chongnyom, Kim Songjin, Pak Chinhwan, and Cho Hyongsop, who most generously responded to my requests for interviews and
questionnaires. My biggest thanks goes to O Wonch’ol who believed in me
and graciously endowed me with his personal papers, rare documents
and, above all, unrestricted interviews and countless faxes, phone calls
and personally handwritten letters.
My editor, Stephanie Rogers, her staff, as well as Sarah Coulson, helped
me throughout the publication process in an understanding and professional manner, patiently responding to my numerous questions on design,
format and style. I was especially appreciative of Stephanie’s belief in the
value and importance of this book.
Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders for their permission to reprint material in this book. The publishers would be grateful
to hear from any copyright holder who is not here acknowledged and will
undertake to rectify any errors or omissions in future editions of this
Finally, I thank my family members. My brother Kim Iksang and his
wife Sujong looked after me whenever I visited Seoul during the entire
period of my research from 1990. Since my mother passed away in 1997,
my sister Taesun and my niece Hyanghee have been a major source of my
strength, especially when lost in self-doubt. I also could not have got
through my self-doubt if not for Miriam, my dearest friend whom I
proudly call my sister. Many hours of long-distance heart-to-heart talks
with her saved me from the darkest hours of despair and desolation.
Above all, I owe my biggest debt to Adrian, my husband, and Eugene, my
son. For better or for worse, they stood by me all the way, and for that I
am grateful.
Agency for Defense Development
Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Meeting
American Military Government
Advanced Research Projects Agency
Asian and Pacific Council
Blue House Secretariat
demilitarized zone
Democratic Republican Party
Emergency Decree
export-oriented industry construction
Economic Planning Board
Federation of Korean Industry
Five-Member Committee
foreign military sales
Five-Year Plan
heavy and chemical industrialization
Heavy and Chemical Industry Promotion Committee
International Economic Cooperation Organization on Korea
International Monetary Fund
Investigation and Research Committee
Korea Central Intelligence Agency
Korean Constabulary Officers’ Training School
Korea Democratic Party
Korea Institute of Science and Technology
Korea Military Advisory Group
Korean Nuclear Fuels Development Corporation
Military Assistance Program
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of International Trade and Industry
Manchukuo Military Army
Ministry of Construction
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of National Defense
National Council for the Protection of Democracy
National Congress for the Restoration of Democracy
National Conference for Unification
New Democratic Party
National Industry Standard Model
new mainstream faction
National Security Council
New Village Movement
old mainstream faction
People’s Revolutionary Party
presidential special assistant
Supreme Council for National Reconstruction
Second Economy Movement
Second Economic Secretariat
Saemaul Leaders’ Training
Urban Industrial Mission
US Operations Mission
Yulgok Enforcement Agency
Yusin Policy Council
Scratch a modernizer and find a nationalist.
(Morley 1971: 3)
In the early twenty-first century, Korea, South and North, has become the
scene for a “new Cold War” (Reifer 2001; Johnson 2000). With the hardening of the US war on terrorism, US President George W. Bush’s labeling
of North Korea as a part of an “axis of evil”1 is seen as a challenge not only
to the Korean people of both the North and the South, but also to nations
throughout the region. Has North Korea been pushed into this position
by virtue of the demise of the USSR and the ongoing alliance between the
US and South Korea? Since the great powers see the possession of an
independent nuclear capability as a crucial component of their power,
lesser nations might be forgiven for reaching the conclusion that this
capability might equally give them greater autonomy in international
affairs. Yet, at the same time, they know that such a course is likely to
make them the target of surrounding nations and the focus of US security
interests. Therefore, regional security policy and strategy, especially in
regard to the Korean peninsula, now more than at any period since the
1970s, needs to be reassessed and revised.
This study examines how in the 1960s and 1970s Park Chung Hee
sought to develop South Korea (hereafter Korea) as an independent,
autonomous sovereign state, economically and militarily. It also examines
how Park came to abhor the fact that Korean security relied on a US military presence and associated aid and assistance programs, and how in the
process of building Korea’s economic and military capability, he exploited
the US commitment to defend Korea by pushing ahead with a secret
nuclear weapons program. Park took this course without any communication with the US. It is notable that even when Park moved in this direction, the US did not contemplate withdrawing from Korea. Park was,
however, assassinated when it became clear that he meant to persist with
his clandestine nuclear plans.
By the time Park came to power in 1961, holding a strong antiCommunist line, Korea had become an indispensable part of US security
policy in the region, especially following the Korean War (1950–3). In
particular, Korea was believed to be indispensable to the security of Japan. It
may be that the extent of the dependency on the US that this role created
frustrated Park’s ambitions of “chajusong” (independence) and his desire
to be able to deal with the North as he saw fit, without US interference.
Exactly what drove Park to pursue his nuclear weapons and missile plan
independently may never be known, but his policies were certainly not the
most adequate for Korean security, not to mention regional and global
While recognizing this ultimate flaw in Park’s approach, due recognition has to be given to what he accomplished in terms of Korea’s modernization in a relatively short period of time. Any assessment of Park must
take into account his considerable achievements in this respect as well as
the socio-economic, cultural and political context in which they took
place. American liberal democracy is not easily imposed on a society such
as Korea with its centuries-old tradition of Confucianism. And Park certainly found a new way forward. The continuing popularity of Park in the
eyes of the Korean public is significant and relevant to their acceptance, in
the Korean cultural context, of how national development was achieved.
This study aims to tell that story while also recognizing the mistakes made
by Park and his followers in the process.
Much of the text is devoted to Korea’s state-led industrialization. There
is, of course, much debate in the economic literature about the efficacy of
state-guided developmentalism. East Asian newly industrializing countries
(NICs) and Japan all followed the model of state governance of the
economy, with differences based on their special circumstances. As Robert
Wade (1990) notes, Park chose big conglomerates, or chaebol, as his industrial partners, and technocrats rather than economic bureaucrats as his
policy advisers. The “engineering approach” thus adopted by Korea to
industrial development, especially to heavy and chemical industrialization
(HCI) in the 1970s, is a core topic of discussion in this study. This
approach was possible because of the degree of control that Park was able
to maintain throughout his presidency, especially under the Yusin
(Restoration) system,2 which focused the entire nation on clearly defined
and planned goals as set out by elite technocrats.
By tracing and analyzing Park’s centralized governing structure, therefore, I aim to explain the way in which Korea’s state-guided industrialization, especially the HCI program, was conducted, while I also explore the
connection between political repression and HCI policy. I shall pay
particular attention to Korea’s ties to US policies, which emerged during
Park’s rule, especially in the 1970s. This study will be directed toward two
goals. The first is to give a detailed account of the Korean model of stateguided industrialization, especially in regard to its fixation on a planned
economy, and consider at the same time why Korea industrialized in the
way that it did and did not replicate exactly the methods used in Taiwan,
Japan or Hong Kong (Wade 1990). The other goal is to analyze Park’s
rapid-development strategy and the role of the ruling elite. Among the
questions to be considered are: what factors led to Park’s formula for
rapid industrialization and why did he insist on a centralized command
structure? Who were the main actors behind Park’s Yusin system and what
changes did the ruling elite bring about in terms of economic bureaucracy? Why did Park have so little tolerance for business leaders? Why did
he have such disdain for political parties, even his own? Why did he rely so
heavily on the KCIA (Korean Central Intelligence Agency), police and
other security agencies?
As the two key areas of this study – the Korean model of state-guided
industrialization and the role of the ruling elite in Park’s rapiddevelopment strategy of this study – are complex, this study offers assessments that are sometimes necessarily tentative. In its analysis of Korea’s
national development under Park, it does not set out to provide a comprehensive history of the Park era, or a biography of Park. Rather, it is
intended as a first step toward providing a new framework for exploring
the paradoxical nature and effects of Korea’s rapid development. The
study is based largely on personal interviews with Park’s principal policymakers in the 1970s, personal accounts of the period by participants and
observers published in newspapers and journals, as well as archival documents from both Korea and the USA, including Park’s own version
expressed in his speeches between 1963 and 1979. One key source is the
personal papers of O Wonch’ol, the author of the government’s blueprint
for Korea’s heavy and chemical industrialization. Entitled Chunghwahak
kongophwa chongch’aek sonon e ttaron kongop kujo kaep’yonnon (On the
Restructuring of Industry in Accordance with the Declaration on Heavy
and Chemical Industry Policy), this text, which is reported to have been
kept in the Korean Government Archives and Records Service (Chongbu
kirok pojonso), was long unknown to the public.3
O’s role as Park’s senior economic secretary from 1971 to 1979, during
which he planned and managed the implementation of the HCI program
as well as Park’s defense program, has remained obscure in the Englishlanguage literature on Korea’s rapid development. Some researchers have
suggested that Kim Yonghwan, then presidential economic secretary in
charge of foreign loans who carried out the radical financial bailout under
the August 3 Decree in 1972 was the chief manager of the HCI program
( Jung-un Woo 1991: 129). In fact, Kim headed the HCI program for only
about eight months from the initial HCI implementation in June 1973
to February 1974 (discussed in detail in Chapter 8). Others note O’s
role in the HCI program, but limit it to that of a “cheerleader” (Clifford
1994: 186).
A joint publication of the Korea Development Institute and Harvard
University in 1995 was the first to acknowledge O’s role as the “architect” of
the HCI program but did not explain how O came to lead the HCI
program or discuss the role of other technocrats, primarily those in the
Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Stern et al. 1995). Even the latest
(2002) English-language publication minimized the role of O and his team
of technocrats in the HCI program (Kang 2002: 93). This imperfect understanding concerning the workings of Park’s inner circle reflects the profound political reprisals that occurred in the immediate aftermath of his
assassination on 26 October 1979. It also reflects the favorable reception
generally accorded to the program of economic restructuring led by the
EPB in the early spring of 1980. Although O Wonch’ol was not the only
technocrat with a key influence on the HCI program, and while Korean
technocrats as a whole were not always predominant in national development, engineer technocrats, especially of the Ministry of Commerce and
Industry (MCI) – hereafter MCI technocrats – were a crucial force behind
Park’s rapid industrialization and authoritarian “capitalist developmental
state” (Johnson 1982). Their role in Korea’s rapid development was so
significant that any analysis that neglects it is incomplete.
This study argues that Korea’s export-led industrialization was so distinctive in the 1960s because of the pragmatic and hands-on approach of MCI
technocrats. It was they who, as ardent economic nationalists and key economic reform planners, led heavy and chemical industrialization in the
1970s. The difference in economic thinking and approaches between the
MCI technocrats and the economists of the EPB was never a secret, even at
that time. While the role of EPB economists is commonly seen as
representative of Korea’s technocracy in the post-Park era (Stern et al. 1995:
31–3; Jung-un Woo 1991: 190–1; Clifford 1994: 177–85), the role of the MCI
technocrats has yet to be adequately explained. In addressing these issues, I
show that MCI technocrats played a critical role in Korea’s high-speed development and that they implemented Park’s ideas of Korea’s “modernization”
(kundaehwa) under the draconian Yusin Order (1972–9).
Theoretical perspectives
Development studies since the late 1970s have tended to interpret the
economics of the Korean case in terms of either a market-oriented neoliberal approach, or a statist approach in which the state’s role is regarded
as the key to the politics behind the “economic miracle,” as was the case
not only in Korea, but also in other NICs in Asia. The former approach
has been adopted by many free-market economists and international economic organizations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and the World Bank, who argue that Korea’s economic success was
“broadly in line with market based outcomes” (World Bank 1990: 299)
and that the state played only a supplementary role in supporting the
market for its best performance. The World Bank’s 1993 study, however,
modified its earlier position by recognizing the significance of the state’s
role in East Asian high-speed economic development (World Bank 1993;
Rowen 1998).
The statist approach focused on the issue of why NIC governments
chose the policies they adopted and how they were able to sustain them.
Proponents of this school, most notably Amsden (1989) and Wade (1990),
emphasized the role of the state and its policies while providing detailed
critiques of the market-oriented approach to Korea’s and Taiwan’s economic success respectively. Similarly, Johnson’s (1982) analysis of the
state’s role in Japan’s economic miracle made a major contribution to this
approach. In the 1990s, at least up until the Asian financial crisis of 1997,
this approach dominated academic debate. Its key proposition is that the
effectiveness of industrial policy depends on:
how exactly it is designed and implemented; how realistically the
“target” industries are selected in light of the country’s technological capabilities and world market conditions; how closely the
policy is integrated with an export strategy so that there is some
“objective” criterion to judge enterprise performance; how politically willing and able the state is to discipline the recipients of the
rents that it creates; how competent and politically insulated the
bureaucracy that implements the policy is; how closely the state
interacts with the private sector while not becoming its hostage;
and so on . . .
(Ha-Joon Chang 2000: 775–88)
A third school of thought focused not on the internal – political or
policy – arrangements of the system, but on its location in the world
economy and thus on the interface between those who dominate the local
economy on the one hand and the dominant powers in the global
economy on the other. Cumings, among others, argued that US regional
hegemony in the economy of North-East Asia, with Japan playing a subordinate role, was the key to understanding Korea’s economic trajectory,
with Korea first located on the periphery of the world system and then
moving to the semi-periphery (1987: 44–84). Cumings’ account places
South Korea in a dependent or semi-dependent position determined by
factors beyond government control, and irrespective of its planning or
thinking in regard to national development. In the era of globalization,
Cumings’ account remains compelling because, like many capitalist
countries in the world, Korea is more dependent on the global economy
than ever before and has little ability to control its own destiny through
protectionist measures. Most notably, Korea is still heavily dependent on
the US for its defense.
Despite this obvious reliance on the US, Park’s version of rapid industrialization took place largely because he and his developmental elites, the
MCI technocrats, did not blindly follow US advice but planned and
pursued their own independent agenda even to the point of provoking
conflict between Korea and the US. Of course, Korea profited enormously
from the favorable conditions of the international economy tied to US
Cold War security and financial linkages to North-East Asia. US tolerance
of Park’s economic protectionism together with the maintenance of an
open US economy receptive to Korean exports was one of many benefits
on which Park capitalized. (This era ended in the 1980s, with the 1997
financial crisis as the clearest example.) Nevertheless, it was Park and the
developmental elites who put the nation on a path to economic independence and political sovereignty, even though neither Park nor any president after him carried it to completion.
A further theoretical approach emphasizes culture and ideology, concentrating on Confucian values as key factors in economic development in
Asia, especially among the NICs. Vogel’s work is characteristic of this
approach (1991). However, I shall argue that Park succeeded not by utilizing Confucian culture but by drawing on post-Confucian values with an
emphasis on technology and technical specialists. His methods of organization and decision-making were militaristic, and in the 1970s he tended
to turn his advisers into something akin to the servile officials of Choson
dynasty kings.
Within Korea, the most influential theory opposing Park’s rapiddevelopment policies was that taken in the name of the Korean working
masses or minjung. The minjung advocates believed that Park was responsible for Korea’s “dependent capitalism” which resulted in social divergence between the ruling class and the ruled, in particular between
employers and the minjung (Han’guk minjungsa yon’guhoe 1993).4 Their
key tenet, which owed something to the bureaucratic–authoritarian school
(Hyug Baeg Im 1987, 231–57; Cotton 1992: 512–31), was that autonomous
economic and political development in Korea was impossible because of
American imperialism (Pak Segil 1989). According to these minjung advocates, Park’s national development policy, especially the Yusin system, was
the desperate recourse of a regime offering nothing beyond its intensive
but hopeless drive to achieve economic results and hammer home antiCommunism.5
While this approach correctly characterized these two major priorities
of the Yusin system, its interpretation of Park’s development policies and
strategies is too simplistic. In any event, the minjung theorists’ dependency
approach lost its appeal when Korea enjoyed phenomenal success in economic, cultural and political transformation between the achievement of
“democratization” in 1987 and the financial crisis in December 1997
(Amsden 1989: 341–80). Ironically, in the midst of the country’s nearbankruptcy, which necessitated a call for rescue by the IMF, Park emerged
from the grave as the “Father of Modernization” and the historical
“Leader” of the Korean people, especially as the champion of their
unyielding “Can-Do” (hamyon toenda) spirit.6 What does this popular perception of Park’s role in Korea’s rapid development mean?
The Park syndrome
Korea may be the only country in the world where, little more than two
decades after his death, a former dictator is repeatedly acknowledged by
its people as their “best president ever.” Park’s reputation in international
circles is also high. In August 1999, US weekly news magazine, Time,
included him as the only Korean in its list of the twenty most influential
leaders in Asia in the twentieth century. Inside Korea, Park’s reputation
began to soar from early 1997 when most Koreans became utterly disappointed with the economic failures and corruption of the Kim Young Sam
government. A survey conducted by the prominent daily newspaper,
Tonga Ilbo, in April that year, showed that 75.9 percent of respondents
approved Park as the “most effective president ever” (cited in Newsreview
22 May 1999: 8). Another survey carried out at Korea University found
that students ranked Park third in a list of Korean and world figures identified for “cloning” for posterity, after Kim Ku, the nationalist leader assassinated in June 1949, and Mother Teresa (Newsreview 19 April 1997: 32–3).
Many critics dismissed this phenomenon as a temporary “syndrome”
which, they argued, held very little significance as a reflection of the longterm view of the Korean public. Yet Park’s popularity remains unchallenged. The latest survey conducted in July 2001 by the monthly journal,
Sindonga, showed that 58 percent of respondents – out of 3,644 university
professors – chose Park as “the president who played his role the best”
(Choson Ilbo 5 March 1995; Kyonghyang sinmun 16 August 1994) followed
by Kim Dae Jung with 22 percent (Tonga Ilbo 19 July 2001). Park’s popularity contributed in large measure to the rapid rise of his daughter, Pak
Kunhye. Twice elected representative of the National Assembly, she also
served as vice-president of the conservative opposition, the Grand
National Party (Hannara-dang).
The Park syndrome reached its peak in December 1997 when Korea
experienced a financial crisis which led to the borrowing of US$58 billion
from the IMF. Large numbers of Koreans began to revisit the Park era,
especially his economy-first leadership. Park, to many of them, came to be
seen as the infallible modernizer. They believed that Park had succeeded
in bringing out the best in the Korean people. This was especially true of
the large enterprises or chaebol which, during the 1970s, were seen as
Korea’s leading industrial pace-setters but, in the 1990s, when performing
at their worst, were blamed for the 1997 financial collapse. Public
adulation for Park rested primarily on his commitment to, and competence in, national development.
As we shall see, financial corruption among chaebol and high-ranking
officials was rife in the 1960s and early 1970s, especially in connection
with political funds. In the course of heavy and chemical industrialization,
however, Park exercised supreme authority, labeled “Presidential Guidance” (taet’ongnyong chisi), which he used as a tool to discipline the state as
well as individual officials, leading chaebol, high-ranking bureaucrats and
military generals. Under the Yusin system, Park functioned as the state
itself and as such no one was exempt from his scrutiny, especially in
respect of financial improprieties. Park demanded, and largely succeeded
in arousing, a shared sense of “mission” for national development among
the Korean people. Yi Kwanghyong, an army major who had been seconded to serve as Park’s personal aide soon after the assassination of the
First Lady in August 1974, sums up the attitude of the presidential staff in
the 1970s:
As the President’s private secretary residing in the Blue House, I
was on stand-by even during off-duty hours, in case the President’s
bell might ring. I was just married, but I was totally committed to
my duty as was everyone around the President. We had a mission
greater than our own, a cause to which, we believed, all of our
private interests and concerns had to be subordinated.
(Interview with Yi Kwanghyong, October 1996)
The commitment Yi describes here reflects, in essence, the zeitgeist of
the Park regime. In reference to similar attitudes shown by Japanese
reformists of the Taisho/Showa era, Minichiello appropriately modifies
James Morley’s phrase, quoted at the beginning of this chapter, to:
“Scratch a reformist and find a nationalist” (1984: 7). In the Korean case,
Park and his elite technocrats were both “modernizers” and “reformists”
who, above all, saw themselves as committed nationalists. At the same
time, it has to be acknowledged that the price of commitment to Park-style
industrialization – also known as the “Korean Way” (Han’guksik) development – was high in terms of political reprisals, not only for Park who was
assassinated, but also for leading technocrats. O Wonch’ol’s testimony
illustrates the dramatic downgrading of the HCI program immediately
after Park’s assassination, from the state’s symbol of national power to
principal factor in the Park Government’s “excessive” investment. It also
shows how the elite technocrats who led the HCI program were silenced
on the night of May 17 1980 in the military coup which enabled MajorGeneral Chun Doo Hwan to become president:
On 10 May 1980, I think, a plain-clothed American came to my
house in the middle of the night and told me that I should hide
somewhere away from my house, or I would be arrested. At about
11 o’clock at night on 17 May, two men grabbed me at the front
of my apartment and brought me to the Defense Security Headquarters in Kwanghwamun. On this day, Kim Chongp’il, Yi Hurak
and Kim Dae Jung were also arrested. The May 18 Kwangju Uprising broke out the following day. I was the only non-political civil
servant among the group arrested. I was interrogated for amassing “40 billion won” [equivalent to $100 million] from political
funds. I was interrogated for eight weeks. Even after my release, I
was forbidden to contact any outsiders. I was totally barred from
doing any work until 1992.
(Interview with O Wonch’ol, November 1998)
It would be a mistake to assume, however, that such political reprisals
and oppression occurred only under the two generals-turned-Presidents
Chun and Roh Tae Woo (No T’aeu). Before them, Park tortured numerous people for various reasons. Even the Prime Minister’s personal staff
were watched and interrogated, just as many National Assemblymen were
“taught lessons,” in other words, tortured. So, why should we now revisit
the 1980 political reprisals? One reason is that doing so will help to elicit
the hitherto repressed inside story about Park’s rapid-development
agenda, including the HCI program. It will also bring out into the open
the story of Korea’s military modernization, especially Park’s secret
nuclear missile development plan which came to threaten the US security
commitment in Korea in the aftermath of Park’s assassination.
In May 1980, the thirty-one-member Special Committee for National
Security Measures led by the Command of National Security and MajorGeneral Chun Doo Hwan denounced the HCI program on the grounds
that “excessive investment, inefficient management and substandard productivity of the [heavy and chemical industry] sector all combined to seriously threaten the wholesome development of the Korean economy”
(Clifford 1994: 186). This was also the official rationale for the radical
restructuring of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI, or former Ministry of Commerce and Industry), and the Ministry of Finance (MOF). In
this way, Korea’s industrial and financial management shifted entirely
from Park’s presidential economic secretariat, more commonly known as
the Blue House Secretariat (ch’ongwadae pisosil), to the EPB. Throughout
the Chun regime (1980–8), Park and his MCI technocrats were heavily
criticized for “excessive spending” under the HCI program while, at the
same time, these technocrats were removed from their office and prevented from engaging in public debate. Given the highly controlled political climate in the aftermath of Park’s death, any available material
regarding the HCI program could hardly have escaped censorship by the
Chun regime and the new economic elites of the EPB.
In conducting the research on which this study is based, I have been
made acutely aware of the dualistic character of Korea’s development
under Park. The authoritarian methods of the Park regime – and the
benefits it brought – have been clearly delineated by Yi Hungwu, a veteran
journalist and poet, as follows:
He [Park Chung Hee] seized power by the drastic measure of a
military coup d’état which, according to the principles of liberal
democracy, was evil. He created unprecedented economic construction within a very short term in a poor country with no
capital, resources, technology or infrastructure. Making less sacrifices in comparison with [Stalin, Ceaucescu or Kim Il Sung],
[Park] achieved extraordinarily high-speed growth. That was
good for both the nation and its people.
(Yi Hungu 2001: 349–50)
As North and South Korea grapple with their respective problems and
dilemmas, especially in the context of US security policy over North
Korea, the urgency of understanding and distinguishing between the
positive and negative elements of Park’s rapid-development model is
obvious. The history we are concerned with here is not “mere” history, just
an episode in Korea’s past, but is crucial to understanding the present and
facing the future. The strong need for Koreans to understand the good
and the bad of the Park era, the achievements of Park and his technocrats,
as well as the contradictions inherent in their program, has been the
driving force behind this study of Park-style industrialization.
Part I
A colonized soldier
Everybody has a dream and hopes. My dream was to become
a great soldier and thus I became a soldier.
(Park Chung Hee Korean Herald 27 October 1978)
regardless of how soon or how violently the colonized rejects
his situation, he will one day begin to overthrow his unlivable
existence with the whole force of his oppressed personality.
The two historically possible solutions are then tried in succession or simultaneously. He attempts either to become different or to reconquer all the dimensions which colonization
tore away from him.
(Memmi 1967)
Undernourished child
Park Chung Hee (Pak Chonghui) was born on 14 November (the 30th
day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar) 1917 in Sangmo-ri, a village
in Kumi-myon, Sonsan-gun (county) in the Province of North Kyongsang in
South-East Korea. Born to poverty-stricken country folk, he was the
youngest child of seven. In the year of Park’s birth, his father, Pak
Songbin (1871–1938), was 46 and his mother, Paek Namui (1872–1949),
In handwritten memoirs about his childhood, Park wrote: “My mother
often joked that, because she became pregnant in her old age, and in the
same year that her own daughter was expecting, she felt very awkward.
And thus as soon as I was born, she was going to throw me, wrapped in a
blanket, into the kitchen furnace” (Park Chung Hee 1997: 245–6).
Despite these inauspicious beginnings, Park instantly became the love of
his mother who “regretted” her attempts to abort the baby. There are
many anecdotes that have been provided by Park’s own family members
but with very little verifiable evidence. Some caution is therefore necessary
when making a sketch of Park’s childhood. However, his alleged undernourishment appears to have had significant repercussions later in life, to
which he himself openly referred (see below).
The role of Park’s father in the community of Yongwol warrants
mention. There are three versions of Pak’s role, including one written by
Park himself. The first version portrays Pak as a “fallen official yangban”
who fought against the Tonghak Peasants’ Revolt (1894–5) and, for his
achievement, was appointed “mayor” (kunsu) in Yongwol, Kangwon
Province (Chong Kwangmo 1967). The second version portrays Park’s
father as a revolutionary activist who fought as a chopchu (group leader) in
the Tonghak Peasants’ Revolt against official corruption. As a result of his
fall following this Revolt, he is said to have lived the rest of his life in
poverty and insobriety (Chong Chaegyong 1992: 26–7).
The third, and Park’s own, version portrays Pak as a scholar-bureaucrat,
yangban, who passed the mukwa (military division) State Examination and
was appointed “mayor” in Yongbyon in south P’yongan Province (now in
North Korea). Pak was unable to take up his appointment because of the
dissolution of the Tonghak Peasants’ Revolt. Park also claimed that in 1892
his father, at the age of 22, became “leader” (chopchu) of the Tonghak
rebels in Songju, the Pak family’s original home town (Park Chung Hee
1997: 247). This third version is inscribed on Pak’s tombstone erected in
Sonsan in November 1964, a year after Park became president and twentysix years after Pak Songbin’s death in 1938. However, there is no independent verification of the claims regarding Pak Songbin’s supposed official
role made in Park’s own handwritten memoir about his childhood. Nevertheless, these versions all agree that Pak Songbin sustained his livelihood as
a tenant farmer of a small rice paddy (approximately 4,450 sq meters)
located below his wife’s family burial ground.
However that may be, Park Chung Hee recalled his father as having
neither farming skills nor any interest in his household. He is said to have
spent his time drinking, ultimately squandering the family assets to the
extent that the family had to move to Sangmo village (dong) in 1916, the
year before Park was born. The extent of the Pak family’s struggle seems
to be reflected in their non-existent official status within Sonsan county
even after ten years of residency in Sangmo village. Cho Kapche noted
that the county records published in 1926 show 97 family names registered in that county. Cho asserted that Pak’s family clan, Koryong Pak, was
not included (Choson Ilbo 31 December 1997). In other words, Park’s
family clan, in terms of the Sonsan county records, were simply regarded
as temporary vagabonds.
Despite his low social standing and his indifference to his family affairs,
Pak Songbin displayed a certain progressiveness in sending two of his children to a “new-style school” rather than to the traditional Confucian
sodang or hyanggyo, where the Chinese classics were taught. However, as a
schoolboy, Park Chung Hee was always short of the basic necessities.
Growing up under these conditions must have left an indelible mark on
him psychologically as well as physically. He may have been diminutive in
size, but Park showed early signs of academic potential at Kumi Normal
School,1 which he entered in April 1926 at the age of nine. He was the
first student from his village since his older brother, Sanghui to attend this
school.2 Park traveled to and from school on foot for six years, a distance
of approximately 40 li each way (approximately 16 kilometers), yet rarely
missed attendance. He grew just 5.9 cm during these years, from 129.9 cm
in first grade to 135.8 cm in sixth grade. His weight almost doubled in this
period from 15.4 kg to 30 kg (Cho Kapche 1992: 60). Clearly, Park was not
a well-developed young man.
Park is said to have been a quiet and reticent boy with an “unyielding
obstinacy” (ogi). He appears to have exercised his ogi character particularly effectively to compensate for his physical smallness when pitted
against his opponents. Under the subtitle, “Remembrance of [my] class
captain days,” Park wrote:
I had a classmate who was physically strong and had a very poor
attitude to following my instructions [as a class captain]. But, after
I saw him always being scolded by [our class] teacher for his poor
maths performance, I thought of an idea to persuade him to pay
attention to me. During recess, I taught him some numerical
questions as well as helping him to complete his homework
several times. Thereafter, I remember that he would submit
unconditionally to whatever I said.
(Park Chung Hee 1997: 267)
Instruction at primary school was entirely in Japanese and focused on
Japanese culture. Park recollected that becoming a soldier had been his
childhood dream from the moment he encountered Japanese troops, the
80th Infantry Regiment located at Taegu, which often carried out field
training in Kumi. Park admired the Japanese heroes whom he had learned
about through Japanese history but, he claimed, he particularly idolized
Korea’s own Admiral Yi Sunsin, as well as Napoleon, after reading their
biographies in fifth and sixth grade (Park Chung Hee 1997: 268). Overall,
this relatively sheltered childhood, although strewn with many hardships,
seems to have provided the young Park with reasonably stable surroundings, enabling him to nurture his immediate ambitions and self-esteem.
Recalcitrant adolescent
In April 1932, Park now aged 15, entered Taegu Teachers’ College (TTC
– Taegu sabom hakkyo), one of the three teachers’ colleges in colonial
Korea which, as part of Japanese colonial policy, were sponsored by the
colonial state.3 Successful candidates were guaranteed low school fees,
accommodation and, most attractive of all, employment after graduation.
For this reason, competition for places at the TTC was severe, particularly
among the bright but economically poor Korean students.4 Park was one
of the hundred successful candidates – 90 Koreans and 10 Japanese – who
were admitted to the fourth class of the TTC. As a colonial state-sponsored
student, Park’s primary task involved learning to become a thoroughly
“Japanized” teacher in accordance with the colonial government’s assimilation policy better known as naisen ittai (unity of Japan and Korea) or
kokoku shimminka (transform [the Korean people] into imperial subjects).5
This required Park, like other students, to undergo a path of total
transformation, of rebirth. Mentally, he was obliged to think “Japanese,”
especially in terms of the yamato spirit of “one hundred million hearts
beating as one” (Dower 1993: 272) and loyalty and self-sacrifice to the
emperor. Physically, all his activities were strictly controlled, watched, and
tested by the college authorities, even during holidays. The district police
also acted on behalf of the authorities. Thus, teachers’ college itself
represented an officially institutionalized course of Japanization and colonization. The college expelled anyone who failed to comply with its
Nevertheless, from a number of Korean teachers at the college, including Yom Chonggwon who taught Chinese classics, Park is believed to have
gained a sense of national consciousness different from that of Japanese
consciousness. To what extent Japanese militarism influenced Park as a
student under the colonial education system and later as an officer of the
Japanese Imperial Army cannot be established precisely. However, there is
ample evidence in records of his academic and social activities in his youth
and early adulthood, to show that Park had progressively imbibed a Japanese militarist mentality, with or without Japanese nationalism. In particular, he immensely admired Colonel Arikawa Hiroshi, the military officer
attached to Park’s college who was known as an elite radical militarist
(Interview with Yi Kwanghyong May 1996). Outwardly, however, he was
pensive and revealed little of his inner thinking.
It seems that Park soon lost interest and confidence in his cadet teacher
training. This was particularly evident in his discouraging academic results
and frequent absences throughout his senior years at college. His ranking
quickly dropped to 60th out of 97 in the first year; 47th out of 83 in the
second year; and 67th out of 74 in the third year. In the fourth year, he
was ranked last of his class, 73rd out of 73; and in the fifth year, 69th out
of 70. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, Park was far from a model
student. At best, he barely satisfied his course requirements. Evidence suggests, however, that Park was acutely attuned to the consequences of
Korea’s colonial situation at that time. The following short verse, written
in Korean (a practice which was forbidden to all students) in his third year
at college on an excursion to Mt Kumgang, shows Park’s harboring of
nationalistic sentiments as a 17-year-old.
Mount Kumgang, twelve thousand peaks,
The world’s most famous mountain.
Ah, your features are so splendid and solemn
And you spread your fame all over the world,
But we, who live in the same land, Korea, are so destitute
That we are ashamed to lift our heads to look at you.
Mount Kumgang, we too will exert ourselves
To shine out to the world, alongside you.
At Onjongni, [Park] Chung Hee.
The complexity of Park’s character is seen even more clearly in these
three verses which were featured in the 1936 Alumni Bulletin of Taegu
Teachers’ College.
Great Nature
Rather than a beautiful rose in a garden,
An unknown wild flower
Blossoming shyly in the corner of the wilderness
Is more elegant and beautiful.
Rather than a noble lady beautifully adorned
Or, a hero made a slave of honor,
A farmer who reclaims the earth with back against the sun,
Is more noble and splendid.
Like the Sun, even if spending only a day,
Like the waves, even if living only a night,
Contentedly, in a leisurely way,
I’d like to farewell the passing day,
And greet the coming day.
(Cited by Cho Kapche Choson Ilbo 26 January 1998)
Park wrote the poem at a time when his academic ranking was either last
or second last and thus there was very little reason for him to have been
content in himself, either in terms of his career prospects or his personal
safety. After all, Japan was at the peak of its military expansion in China
following the Manchurian Incident of 1931 and only two years later, in
1938, Japan would publicly declare its policy of the New Order in East Asia.
And yet Park’s poems show no sense of fear or anxiety but instead an
unusual degree of calmness and maturity in their reflective romanticism.
They suggest that Park inwardly rebelled against the colonial subjugation at
the college and this may well have been to his own detriment.
In March 1937, aged 20, Park began his career as a primary school
teacher in a remote mountain village called, Mungyong in North
Kyongsang Province. His character, according to the Taegu Teachers’
College records, had been assessed as “moody, discontented, lacking devotion/loyalty,” and “quiet and inactive” (Cho Kapche 1992: 68–9). Given
this assessment together with his equally poor academic results, it is no
surprise that Park was posted to one of the remotest places in South
Korea. Park taught for about three years, from 1937 to September 1939,
when he “suddenly” resigned and, a few months later, entered the
Manchukuo Military Academy (MMA) in Xinjing/Hsinking (formerly
Colonized soldier
There are many competing explanations for Park’s sudden resignation
from teaching and his decision to enter the MMA. One is that Park had
encountered personal conflict with his headmaster and resigned to travel
to Manchuria; a second is that he went to the MMA in order to learn
certain military skills and “leadership” as a means to leading the Korean
Army after liberation; a third is that he entered the MMA because of economic hardship; and the last, that he entered the MMA because he
wanted “to choose a career which would suit his aptitude.”6 Besides these
explanations, many of Park’s biographers consider his frustration with his
marriage, which had taken place in the summer of 1935 at the demand of
his father, to have greatly affected him. Park was 18 when he married and
his bride, Kim Honam, just 16.7 Park is said to have resented this marriage
immensely and spent very little time with his wife.
The marriage officially ended on 1 November 1950 when the couple’s
divorce was finalized. By then, Park had a daughter, Chaeok, born in September 1938, who is believed to have been registered for some time as the
child of Park’s eldest brother, Tonghui (1895–1972). On 12 December
1950, 40 days after the divorce from his first wife, Park married Yuk
Yongsu, his wife for 24 years until she was assassinated on 15 August 1974.
Park had three children, two daughters and a son, from his second marriage. (Park also had a de facto wife, Yi Hyonnan, an Ehwa Women’s University dropout. This relationship ended sometime in early 1949. It is
reported that the two were engaged in 1948, but their relationship ended
abruptly when she learned that Park had been charged with Communist
activities (discussed below).)
Whatever the factors involved, the widely held view is that Park resigned
from his teaching position after quarreling with his Mungyong village
school headmaster who scolded him for having long hair. Park’s long hair
is supposed to have led him into deeper trouble when the Provincial
Schools Inspector visited Park’s school and commented on his long hair as
“evidence” of his “inability” to adjust to the government’s education policy
of Japanization (Chong Chaegyong 1992: 65–6). It is alleged that that
night Park was again criticized by both the inspector and headmaster
during a dinner party which the headmaster had hosted in his house for
the inspector. Although commentators are divided on Park’s reaction
toward his superiors on that night, Park’s sudden resignation from teaching could have been related to an incident such as this, as well as a desire
to go elsewhere. In any event, Park left immediately for Manchuria after
his resignation and, in October 1939, he passed the entrance exam to the
MMA, ranking fifteenth of the 240 successful applicants. Five months
later, at the age of 23, Park was admitted to the second class of the
This dramatic change in his career came about as a result of the personal intervention of his former mentor at Taegu Teachers’ College, the
Japanese Army Colonel Arikawa, who was in Manchuria as a senior officer
in the Kwantung Army. It would seem that Park went to Manchuria only
because Arikawa was there.8 According to Park’s supporters, Colonel
Arikawa took pity on Park and thus became Park’s referee for the
entrance exam to the Academy. This story was repeated by many biographers during the 1990s.
In 1998, however, in his popular unauthorized biography of Park entitled, Spit on My Grave (Neamudom e ch’imul paet’ora!), Cho Kapche very convincingly argued that Park did not choose to become a soldier as a
consequence of the dispute with the headmaster, but because of Park’s
long-held ideals. As a means to persuading the Academy to accept him,
Cho asserted, Park wrote a “letter in blood from his little finger” which
stated that “he would do his best ‘to serve the country loyally and die for
the benefit of the public (chinch’ung poguk myolsa ponggong)’ .” As a result,
sometime in March 1938, Park reportedly learned, according to Cho, that
his “blood letter” had been published in a newspaper in Manchuria. Some
days after this news, Park received a letter from Colonel Arikawa, his
former college mentor, who advised him to “visit him if he was so anxious
to become a soldier.” Park is believed to have visited Arikawa, taken the
entrance exam in the autumn of 1939, and “then returned to work in
Mungyong, before leaving for the military academy in March the following year [1940]” (Choson Ilbo 11 and 12 February 1998). In this account
Cho has Park leaving Mungyong not hastily as a reprobate, but with many
dignitaries, parents and students gathered (at the bus stop) to see him off.
Cho’s new findings may well be proved correct, but they do not answer
one fundamental question. What changed Park from an underachieving,
unmotivated and recalcitrant youth into the exemplary, self-motivated and
highly popular teacher that Cho claimed he became? Moreover, why then
should Park choose the military, especially the Japanese Army, in
Manchuria? There must have been some reason more compelling than
those that have so far been suggested for Park’s dramatic change in
career. The real truth may never be known. Park himself painstakingly
suppressed information about this decision throughout his life. However,
what is obvious beyond doubt is Park’s awakening to what he came to see
as his own reality. In other words, after enduring an unlivable existence
under colonial rule as a “colonized” youth and then again as a “colonized”
teacher in one of the remotest locations in the country, he had to find a
solution to his condition. Albert Memmi’s description of the “colonized”
man’s mentality mirrors the image of Park’s personal struggle.
Indeed, Park certainly pursued what Memmi saw as the “two historically
possible solutions” to the trauma of colonization. Park first rejected his
situation as a college student to his own detriment, and was subsequently
sent off to a remote country school where his life was far from what he
would have considered “heroic.” He then tried the alternative solution
which, in line with Memmi’s description, was “to reconquer all the dimensions which colonization tore away from him.” If this was what Park
sought, he certainly picked the ultimate route to achieving such reaffirmation: joining the almighty Japanese Imperial Army in Manchuria. After all,
the only reason Park entered the Academy, in his own words, was “because
I wanted to wear a long sword” (Kim Chongsin 1997: 199–200).
According to Michael Keon, the Australian author of Park’s biography,
Park had decided to enter the MMA because he believed that “the acquisition of military skills and disciplines was the only road that promised eventual freedom from alien domination” (Keon 1997: 62). Whether Park was
motivated nationalistically as Keon suggests, or otherwise, is not relevant.
What is relevant, however, was Park’s ambition to reinvent his personal
identity as a “victorious” Japanese Army officer. Thus in April 1940 when
Park was admitted to the MMA, he wasted no time in demonstrating, in
Keon’s words, “his capacity to best others.” Most notably, within just three
months, Park voluntarily Japanized his name to Takaki Masao.9 By the time
he graduated from the Academy as dux of his class, Park was awarded a
gold watch by Emperor Henry P’u-yi for academic excellence.
In October 1942, Park, with three other Korean graduates, was admitted to the Japanese Military Academy in Tokyo, as was customary for tophonored students.10 Although the program of training and study at the
Tokyo Academy involved thorough Japanization, Park appears to have had
a wider agenda. According to Yi Sopchun, one of the four Koreans admitted that year, Park was deeply interested in the “February 26 Uprising,”
the failed military coup by young Japanese Army officers on 26 February
1936. The influence of the February 26 Uprising, especially on Park’s
reformist thought, seems to have been far greater than some have
asserted. According to Park’s close associates, his mission-focused
approach to socio-political and economic reform in his latter years was
largely the product of self-taught lessons he had drawn from this incident,
even though he publicly referred to the Japanese Meiji Revolution as his
model (Interview with O Wonch’ol February 1995).
In April 1944, after graduation,11 Park was assigned as Second Lieutenant to the 8th Corps of the Japanese Kwantung Army in Jehol Province
near the Great Wall of China. A Chinese Colonel, T’ang Jirong, was the
chief of the corps and under him were four Korean officers, including
Park.12 Park was Colonel T’ang’s aide-de-camp, responsible for managing
personnel and operational matters. According to Pang Wonch’ol, one of
the four Korean officers in the 8th Corps, who has recently revealed this
information, Park’s main duty was to deliver the chief’s orders to the
troops. The 8th Corps was well known for its suppression of Korean and
Chinese anti-Japanese guerrillas in the Manchurian region. One of the
two most contentious versions of Park’s military activities in the Kwantung
Army portrays him as a “front-man” for the Japanese. As intelligence
officer, according to this version, Park played a key role in purging
Korean liberation fighters (Chung Kyungmo 1987: 146). The other
version portrays Park as a “secret agent” of the Korean Liberation Army in
Manchuria (cited in Cho Kapche Choson Ilbo 27 and 28 February 1998).
The latest evidence unearthed by Chungang Ilbo (Central Daily), however,
shows that Park cannot escape the moral responsibility for his intelligence
role in the 8th Corps.
Because he carried out intelligence activities in office does not mean he
was less guilty. The claim that Park was a “secret agent” of the Liberation
Army is not proven, despite the latest analysis, which argues that Park
played his “secret role” through the Manchurian subcommittee of the
Korean National Foundation League (Choson kon’guk tongmaeng) in the
year before liberation.13 Park, in fact, was a thoroughly colonized soldier
whose attempt to deny essential elements of his personal identity through
his membership of the Japanese military ended when Japan surrendered
unconditionally on 15 August 1945.
Liberation and a new start
Park reportedly returned to his home in Kumi on 8 May 1946 on an American LST ship, from Tianjin, China (Chungang Ilbo 1998: 98). On 23 September 1946, he entered the second class of the newly created Korean
Constabulary Officers’ Training School (KCOTS) (Choson kyongbi sagwan
hakkyo) in Seoul which later became the Korean Military Academy. The
KCOTS enrolled 263 entrants. Of these, 36 were former officers of either
the Japanese Army, the Japanese Kwantung Army, the Chinese Army or
the Korean Liberation Army. KCOTS recruits also included many individuals with leftist backgrounds, a large number of whom harbored
extreme hatred toward the avowed or alleged pro-Japanese officers who
played a dominant role in the Korean National Police.
To understand this indiscriminate blending of ideological extremes in
the KCOTS, not to mention the Korean Constabulary and the subsequent
Republic of Korea Army, it is important to note the revolutionary post-liberation conditions in South Korea after 1945. As the sole tutelage of South
Korea during the transitional period (1945–8), the American Military
Government (AMG) established the Korean military forces, the KCOTS,
in 1946 as a “back-up resource for the Korean National Police” (Cumings
1981: 169). In this process, the AMG not only allowed Cho Pyongok,
Minister of the Korean National Police, to maintain his protection of
rightist military groupings, groups of Korean officers from both the Japanese and the Japanese Kwantung Armies, but also “selected leaders of
private military groupings ‘who agreed with the plan’ to be the new
leaders of the Constabulary” (Cumings 1981: 172).
Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that Park, as a former lieutenant in the Japanese Kwantung Army, was not only recruited to the
KCOTS, but was also encouraged to re-establish military ties with his
former comrades from the Kwantung Army. The composition of the
KCOTS, especially Park’s Second Class, represented a classic example of
the strong group relationships that characterize the Korean people’s
approach to social interconnection, either through school links (hagyon)
or blood relationship (hyoryon) or regional connection (chiyon). The case
of the Second Class provides a vivid illustration of hagyon, producing a
total of six four-star generals, including Park, and nine three-star generals
in the Korean Army hierarchy. After three months of officer training,
Park, as a second lieutenant and as a platoon officer, was assigned to the
8th Regiment in Kangwon Province to guard the 38th Parallel. He was
then aged 29, an older lieutenant among his peers who had an average
age of 22–3. Park, as an elite militarist who had by then completed training in three military academies, would naturally have been resentful of his
relatively lowly position.
Personal crises and war
In the course of Korea’s transition from a colony to a republic, the nation
became divided into the two politically hostile entities of North and South
Korea, and then embroiled in civil war from 1950 to 1953. This turbulent
ideological and political transition resulted in a profound personal crisis
for many Koreans, including Park, who sought radical change by joining
the South Korean Workers’ Party (known also as Nam Choson nodongdang
or Namnodang). But exactly when Park joined the Workers’ Party is
unknown, although many commentators observed that his Communist
activities occurred while he was attending the KCOTS, sometime between
September and December 1946.
A key factor in this step seems to have been that only ten days after Park
entered the KCOTS on 4 October 1946, his older brother, Sanghui, was
executed by police in Kumi, where he had joined in the Communist riots
instigated in Taegu on 1 October. His brother’s execution had an immediate impact on Park, both mentally and physically. At this time, Park is
reported to have developed an intense resentment toward rightist Korean
police and American military officers in Korea, both of whom he believed
to have caused his brother’s death. His hatred toward the latter was so
intense that, during his first posting at the 38th Parallel, he not only
insulted his superior, a US military adviser, by dismissing the adviser’s suggestion as “Yankee interference” (Migug’nom kansop), but also objected to
his regiment commander’s directive that all officers learn English. He
allegedly asked: “Is this the American or Korean Army?” (Cho Kapche
Choson Ilbo 12 March 1998).
Ultimately, Park became a member of the Communist Party while training at the KCOTS. He thus played an active role, from the very start, in
establishing the Communist network within the KCOTS. According to the
retired general Yi Hallim (a former classmate of Park at the military academies in both Manchuria and Japan, and also first lieutenant and adjutant
while Park was a cadet at the KCOTS), Park and First Lieutenant Yi Pyongju,
a colleague in the Manchurian Army, tried to persuade Yi to become a
Communist. Park even suggested to Yi, although in jest, “to bombard the
Kyongmudae” (currently the president’s Blue House) where General John
Reed Hodge, Commanding General of the United States Armed Forces in
Korea, was in residence (Cho Kapche Choson Ilbo 11 March 1998).
Park’s Communist activities at the KCOTS intensified when he was promoted to Captain14 and was assigned to cadet commander of the KCOTS –
hereafter the Korean Military Academy. As cadet commander, especially
during the training of the Fifth Class (of 420 cadets admitted on 23
October), Park consolidated his Communist network among his colleagues at the Academy. The four key training officers of the Fifth Class,
including Park himself, for example, were members of the South Korean
Workers’ Party. They were consequently arrested during the military
purge of 1948 and all were executed except Park.15 The most notable
factor about Park’s Communist connection was that those involved were
mostly officers he knew from his Manchurian Army days.
On 11 November 1948, Park was arrested in Seoul by a military investigation team on a charge of engaging in Communist activities in the army,
including involvement in the Yosu-Sunch’on Military Revolt of 19 October
1948 (Cumings 1990: 259–67). Ironically, he had just returned from his
posting as major (promoted on 1 August 1948), where he had been especially appointed as leader of operations in the suppression campaign
against guerrilla movements set up in Kwangju in South Cholla Province.
Park was charged with “mutiny” at the order of Colonel Ch’ae Pyongdok,
then chief of staff. Park was sentenced to penal servitude for life on 8 February 1949 in a general court martial, having avoided the death sentence
demanded by the prosecution.
Articles in Kyonghyang sinmun on 17 February 1949 and in Seoul sinmun
on 18 February 1949 are the only known surviving records of the case.
According to the former, Park was one of four officers sentenced to “life
imprisonment.” Park not only escaped execution by firing squad, but was
also allowed to continue to work at Army Headquarters, albeit unofficially
and unpaid, even after his “dishonorable discharge” from the army on 10
May 1949. It was even more bizarre that, on the day of Park’s dismissal, he
was appointed head of the Operations and Intelligence Unit at Army
Headquarters. Was Park guilty as charged or not? From the outset, the
Korean Army appears to have worried little about Park’s security clearance, and seems to have been at pains “officially” to dismiss him and
“unofficially” to assign him to the army’s highly sensitive anti-Communist
counter-intelligence operations. These contradictory actions were taken at
an extremely volatile time, less than a year before the outbreak of the
Korean War, when Korea had already become caught up in the Cold War.
Park’s trial and escape from execution was a lesson to him about the
priority of survival, a lesson which his subsequent career shows he took to
heart. Kim Anil, a retired brigadier-general who had investigated Park in
1949, claimed that by unconditionally collaborating with the AMG antiCommunist purge promoted by American policy shifts, and reportedly
prompted by electric torture, Park impressed his investigators who, in
turn, advocated that he should survive. However, in my view, the key
factor that enabled Park to obtain clemency was neither his unconditional
collaboration with the investigators nor any “proven” innocence regarding
his alleged crime. It was, rather, the collective forces of Park’s personal
connections. Those with the Manchurian group were especially important, both his “academy connection” and his military connection with the
Kwantung Army.
The campaign for Park’s clemency was entirely organized by the
members of his own investigation team, namely Colonel Paek Sonyop,
Major Kim Anil, and Captain Kim Ch’angyong.16 Paek played the key role,
as the Chief of the Army Intelligence Bureau, recruiting Major Kim Anil,
the second in charge, and Captain Kim Ch’angyong. Together, as joint
surety liable for Park, they aligned other supporters of Park such as
Colonels Chong Ilgwon, Kim Paekil, Won Yongdok, and Kim Chongyol,
all of whom had developed their comradeship with Park through their
postings in the Kwantung Army.
The collective power of this Manchurian connection was even more
potent when one considers the importance of the position each of these
officers held in the Korean Army. In addition to Colonel Paek who, as far
as Park’s case was concerned, held the most powerful position, Colonels
Chong Ilgwon and Kim Paekil were also highly influential. They, together
with Colonel Paek, were the “three top suppression commanders” of guerrilla movements in the South, including the Yosu-Sunch’on rebellion, and
they worked closely with American military advisers (Cumings 1990: 287).
Thus they had ready access to American advisers in the Korea Military
Advisory Group (KMAG) which held supreme power in the Korean Army
and was in a strong position to influence the President to grant Park
clemency. Nearly forty years later, in 1989, Paek Sonyop, then a retired
four-star general, recalled that he had not only campaigned internally but
also lobbied external authorities, mainly the US military advisers in Korea,
especially Captain James Hausman and General W. L. Roberts, to persuade President Rhee to grant clemency to Park (Paek Sonyop 1989: 348).
Ko Chonghun, former assistant to both Ch’ae Pyongdok, the Chief of
Staff, and W. L. Roberts, Commander of the KMAG, reportedly stated that
one of the main factors which saved Park’s life was the attitude of certain
Americans, including Hausman, toward him (Cho Kapche 1992: 164).
According to Ko, American advisers warned President Rhee several times
that an unreasonable degree of purification would destroy outstanding
officers in the Korean Army. Another key determinant often overlooked
was the personal relationship between President Rhee and the two leading
campaigners for Park, Colonels Paek Sonyop and Chong Ilgwon. The
influence of these officers over President Rhee was substantial because
they, as the most well-known anti-Communist crusaders and as the most
loyal generals of the rightist President, controlled the army at that time.
On 30 June 1950, for example, Chong Ilgwon at the age of 32, became
the army chief of staff for a year until June 1951. And Paek Sonyop, also at
the age of 32, was promoted to army chief of staff on 23 July 1952, a post
he held until 13 February 1954.17 Given their standing with the president,
it is most likely that Park’s clemency was largely given to the two colonels
as a personal favor by the president. In particular, Paek’s sponsorship of
Park Chung Hee ranged from allowing Park to continue his duties as a
“civilian officer,” albeit without salary, in the Army Intelligence Bureau
after Park had been officially dismissed from the army in 1949, to his
promotion to major-general in 1958, although it was categorized as “temporary” until 20 February 1961.
Overall, Park certainly played his cards well: on the one hand, he disclosed all his secrets about the Communist network, thus betraying his
comrades; and on the other, he impressed many important people,
particularly his key investigators, appealing to their sympathy through his
calm manner, even when facing the possibility of execution. Although Park
saved himself from life imprisonment through his Manchurian connection,
he was nevertheless dismissed from the army. As a result, he was forced to
survive on the charity of others, mainly his colleagues and senior officers in
the Army Intelligence Bureau where Colonel Paek Sonyop had given him
shelter and allowed him to work as an unpaid civilian. According to one
author, because of his “incorruptible character,” Park’s economic circumstances were close to “threatening his livelihood” (Yi Sangu 1993: 29).
In addition to his economic difficulties, Park experienced profound
disillusionment because of two incidents which, to a large extent,
occurred as a result of his trial. First, on 13 August 1949, Park’s mother
died as the result of an illness that had developed following the “shock” of
learning about his military trial.18 Second, Park’s de facto wife, Yi
Hyonnan, left him after discovering that he had been charged with Communist activities. (It is reported that the couple had been formally
engaged since early 1948 and lived together until Park was arrested later
that year.) Park’s psychological and economic traumas during this period
seem to have toughened him further – by now he was a very experienced
survivor – not just in defense of his life but in pursuit of his revolutionary
reformist ideas. He is believed to have developed a view that Korean
society at the time was plainly “rotten.” During this period, Park also
uncannily demonstrated his capacity for obdurate self-management. On
the one hand, for example, he thoroughly avoided open scrutiny and confrontation with those in power19 and, on the other, he developed a special
circle of comrades, especially among junior officers from the 5th and 8th
class of the military academy, which in fact provided two of the three most
crucial groups involved in Park’s military coup of 1961.20 Kim Chaech’un,
Pak Ch’iok, and Kim Chongp’il were among those included in this circle
in late 1949.
The outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June 1950 gave Park the
opportunity to revive his career.21 In fact, Park was officially reinstated,
under National Special Order No. 1, as head of the first section of the
Army Intelligence Bureau on 30 June. Retired Lieutenant-General Chang
Toyong, in recalling Park’s reinstatement, commented that on the
morning of 30 June, he arrived in Suwon and saw Park and other officers
in his temporary office set up at the Suwon Primary School. Chang was
then chief of the Army Intelligence Bureau and Park was under his supervision. Park, added Chang, could easily have taken a different path, such
as joining the North Korean Communists, because only two days earlier in
the early morning of 28 June, North Korean soldiers had raided Seoul.
This meant, claimed Chang, that he immediately ceased to have doubts
about Park’s ideological soundness.22
As we have seen, however, the army was perfectly comfortable with
Park’s “officially” tainted record. In fact, the army’s confidence in Park
grew so fast that in less than a year after he had been reinstated, he had
been promoted twice: from major to lieutenant-colonel in September
1950 and to colonel in April 1951. In this context, the Korean War provided Park with an extraordinary stroke of luck, enabling him to pull
himself from the brink of personal disaster by saving his career, as well as
creating rare opportunities for him to improve his military ranking. Park
returned to Taegu as a colonel and as superintendent of the Army Intelligence School on 25 May 1951.23
The transfer had been especially arranged as a personal favor by
Brigadier-General Kim Chongmyon, then chief of the Army Intelligence
Bureau, who had recently been Park’s supervisor as deputy commander of
the 9th Division. Park’s activities during the Korean War reflected his
unusual character. On the one hand, he was easily content with the simple
pleasures of life and, on the other, he was extremely restless and liked to
take risks. Unlike most soldiers who were at the frontline of the Korean
War, for example, Park was at home enjoying family life with his new
wife.24 On 10 December 1951, just six months after his transfer to the
Intelligence School, he again secured a new post, this time as deputy chief
to his former superior and long-time mentor, Brigadier-General Yi
Yongmun,25 then chief of the Operation Training Division at Army Headquarters. This reunion with General Yi would develop into a partnership
to plot a military coup.
The coup plot
On 25 May 1952, President Rhee unilaterally declared Martial Law,
without consulting UN military authorities, in three Provinces and Pusan,
ordering the army to transfer two combat divisions to Pusan, where the
government temporarily resided. This edict, designed mainly to advance
the president’s personal plan of changing the constitution,26 was rejected
by Lieutenant-General Yi Chongch’an, the Army Chief of Staff, who ostensibly insisted on the army’s neutrality in political affairs. Moreover, Yi challenged the president’s authority by issuing a special message to all army
service personnel (classified as Army Headquarters Instruction no. 217) in
which he stated: “The Army’s only mission is to guard the nation and its
people. Thus the army does not belong to any institution, organization or
person. It is not to be controlled by ever-changing politics.”27 Behind this
bold statement lay the somewhat unfinished story of a plot by military generals to mount a coup against President Syngman Rhee, in which Park was
allegedly involved.
There are two versions of the level of Park’s involvement in the plot.
One version portrays Park as a supporter of General Yi Chongch’an’s neutrality movement. The supporters of this version claim that Park was the
author of Yi’s Message no. 217 (Chong Chaegyong 1992: 130). The other
version goes further than just acknowledging Park’s role in drafting this
message, by claiming that he was involved in the army’s coup conspiracy
led by two generals, Yi Chongch’an and Yi Yongmun, Park’s chief. According to this version, Park was one of two key men selected to lead troops to
Pusan and “volunteered” to lead the anti-government troops as long as his
safety was guaranteed. As evidence, the supporters of this theory provide
comments from several witnesses, including Chong Naehyok, then chief
secretary to the chief of staff (also a former Minister of Commerce and
Industry, from May 1961 to July 1962, and now a retired lieutenantgeneral) who mentions that he had given the coup plan the code name
“panjong” (Cho Kapche 1992: 207).
The conspiracy theory involving the two army generals is very persuasive, especially when we consider the Korean Government’s disclosure of a
supposedly “declassified” document concerning the US Government’s
plan to remove President Rhee from power during the Korean War.28 The
generals’ conspiracy plan, nevertheless, was short-lived, and brought about
an immediate reshuffle of three generals: Yi Chongch’an, Yi Youngmun,
and Kim Chongp’yong.29 And, three months after the reshuffle, in
October, Park was also moved. He was transferred to the artillery, a field
totally new to him. It turned out, however, to be a lucky break for Park
who was promoted to brigadier-general just over a year later, on 25
November 1953.30 And then, on 1 July 1955, Park, for the first time in his
career, was appointed as commander of a combat unit, the Fifth Division
(in Kangwon Province). Despite his promotion, Park was far from content
with the army. In particular, he seemed particularly unhappy about the
army’s trailing of his Communist record (although it was standard practice) which officially labeled him as “accomplice of those purged in the
Army” (sukkun yolluja).
In short, Park was never fully trusted by other elite military officers.
Most commentators share the view that the Communist tag followed Park
mainly because he had an unfriendly relationship with US military advisers. A veteran reporter of the Tonga Ilbo, Yi Sangu goes further by arguing
that the US advisers repeatedly impeded Park’s promotion by acting
through the commander of the UN forces, who was involved in the selection of generals in the Korean Army in the governments of both Rhee and
Chang (1993: 30). In fact, US military advisers pressured the Chang Myon
Government in many ways. General Carter B. Magruder, the UN commander in Korea, for example, demanded Park’s retirement on the grounds of
his Communist past. He was suspicious of Park’s involvement in the young
colonels’ reform campaign against corrupt generals – also known as the
Haguksang Incident – in early spring and autumn 1960 (see Chapter 2). It
seems clear, then, that Park’s resentment toward US officials must have
been exacerbated by the exercise of American power over the Korean
Park’s resentment about American power over Korea, however, appears
to have stemmed from more than just his lack of career opportunities or
prestige due to American influence. As one who had been tortured and
sentenced to life imprisonment for his Communist activities, he seems to
have developed a deep-seated animosity toward any person or any institution he regarded as a threat to his independence. He showed no mercy to
any individuals he viewed as a threat, even if they had once been the most
trusted supporters of his military coup. His ruthless elimination of former
comrades from his Manchurian connection after the May coup, for
example, shows the extent of Park’s paranoia (Chungang Ilbo 1998:
100–5). Moreover, from childhood, Park had always been well known for
his “unyielding spirit” (ogi). It seems that to Park American power stood as
a reminder of his ill-fated past, his humiliating dependency during his lifethreatening trial, and his utter poverty immediately following his release
from jail.
In March 1958, Park was promoted to “provisional” major-general at
the personal recommendation of the Army Chief of Staff, LieutenantGeneral Paek Sonyop. Park thus became the first to be appointed to the
rank of major-general from the second class of the Korean Military
Academy. His reputation in the army, by then, was well established in two
regards. First there was his probity, reflected in his lacking the financial
means to provide adequate support for his family. Yi T’agwan, who was
Park’s driver for nearly twenty-five years from 1954 to 1979, recalled a
prime example of Park and his family’s living conditions at that time. On
1 July 1955, according to Yi, Park’s family had to move to Seoul because
Park had been appointed to the Fifth Division in Kangwon Province as
division commander. Five days after Park had left Kwangju in south Cholla
Province, his family received the message that he had found a place for
them. Mrs Park and her two daughters, her mother and younger sister
were driven by Yi T’agwan to Seoul. Yi’s recollection of that move sheds
light on the early stages of Park’s penny-pinching family life in Seoul:
When we arrived in Seoul, we found that the rented house was
not yet vacant. Mrs Park and her family stayed at her brother’s
place and I slept in a warehouse [at the Naryangjin train station]
. . . Five days later, the family moved into a rented room attached
to the front gate, with no kitchen. We cooked meals on a portable
cooker because . . . the fireplace was located under the entrance.
(Cho Kapche 1992: 223)
The second reason for Park’s well-established reputation in the army
derived from his “strong leadership,” especially among young reformist
colonels, including the Eighth Class of 1949 of the Military Academy.
Park’s “strong leadership” among these reformist colonels can best be
understood in the context of his role in the army’s reform campaign
known as “Clean-up the Military” in the aftermath of the April Student
Revolution. In retrospect, this campaign appears to have been a contingency strategy to fill the hiatus left by the aborted coup planned for May 8
1960 (see Chapter 2), and as a lead up to the May 16 military coup in
1961. Park in fact initiated the army’s reform drive on 2 May 1960 when
he demanded the resignation of the Army Chief of Staff, LieutenantGeneral Song Yoch’an, for his failure to prevent corruption in the army in
the course of the presidential election of 15 March 1960. Park reportedly
made this audacious move through a formal letter delivered to Song by
Park’s aide on that day. Then, on 8 May, eight reformist colonels openly
launched their “Clean-up the Military” campaign.
On 20 May, General Song suddenly resigned. There followed a major
shake-up in the Korean military hierarchy following the departure of the
chiefs of staff of the air force and the navy, as well as the replacement of
the Marine Corps Commandant and the deputy chief of staff of the navy,
all less than two months after Park and the reformist colonels had
engaged in their reform campaign.31 Despite Park’s daring activities
behind the reformist colonels’ clean-up campaign, which developed into a
military revolt known as the “haguksang sagon” (Revolt Against Seniors),
however, the government did not take any firm action against either Park
or the rebellious officers.
On the contrary, the government appears to have been utterly misinformed, if not deceived, by its military advisers. At best, the government
seems to have been left uninformed about the confused state of the army,
especially concerning the reasons for Park’s frequent transfers. Within five
months of his Pusan posting in January 1960, for example, Park was transferred three times: first, on 30 July, as commanding-general of the First
Military District Command in Kwangju; second, on 11 September, as chief
of staff for operations, ROK Army Headquarters in Seoul; and third, on 25
December 1960, as deputy-commander of the Second Army in Taegu. By
being transferred to Taegu with the help of Major-General Chang
Toyong, as we shall see in the following chapter, Park’s ambition to stage a
military coup had come a step closer.
The task of assessing the earlier part of Park’s career is contentious. The
question it raises inevitably provokes emotive or judgmental responses. We
saw that in his early career, first as a teacher and then as a soldier in the
Japanese Imperial Army, Park pursued “two historically possible solutions”
to his condition as a colonized man. But his subsequent capacity to
change positions was quite extraordinary. He moved from the Japanese
Army to the Korean Army, he joined the Namnodang Communists in the
South while still in the Korean Army, he betrayed his Communist comrades to avoid execution, and then, relying on the influence of his old
Manchurian connections, he rose to become a high-ranking officer in the
conservative anti-Communist Rhee regime. Park’s switch in allegiances
and his succession of ideological associations suggest that he was essentially a survivor, but a survivor who had a sharp eye for identifying emerging opportunities for his own betterment. There was almost nothing he
would not do in order to save himself, to change his personal circum30
stances and to follow his own path, no matter how risky or volatile the situation in which he found himself.
For these reasons, Park’s critics view him as a collaborator and opportunist, who readily changed his ideological allegiance whenever his survival was threatened. Clearly this view is not unwarranted. In fact there is
little evidence to suggest that Park at any stage abided by any given set of
principles. It may be that it was the volatility of the Korean political scene
over this period that motivated him to respond so instinctively to the rapid
changes that confronted him, to make choices that were adapted to each
new situation. We have seen that in his youth, Park was not at all the sort
of exceptional individual who stood out among the crowd and showed
potential as a future national leader, so his ultimate career trajectory is all
the more extraordinary.
And while Park was undoubtedly a skilled soldier with an eye for survival and the determination to further his ambition, he displayed many
shortcomings and failures that could well have led to personal disaster at
several stages. But he did survive and he always seized the moment, learning some salient lessons along the way. Park undoubtedly paid the price
for his uncertain sense of identity as a young man, the disrupted state of
the “colonized” soldier who is in need, as Memmi puts it, of “changing his
skin.” But what is equally beyond doubt is Park’s development from a
young and naive colonial “subject” into a reformist army general who, as
this book will show, taught himself to draw lessons from his own history of
survival and to apply those lessons in pursuit of his agenda in national
development. In this process, he mastered the art of calculated risk-taking,
right to the brink.
Figure 1 Park (second row, second from the right) with short hair as a
school teacher.
Figure 2 Park in teaching days dressed in
military-style uniform.
Figure 3 The house in which Park was born.
Figure 4 Park and his mother, when he was a student at Taegu Teachers’ College.
Figure 5 President Park and his eldest brother, Pak Tonghui.
Figure 6 Park and his family soon after he became president.
Figure 7 Park meets President John F. Kennedy and his wife in 1963.
Figure 8 Kim Chongp’il receives medal from Park soon after coup in 1961.
Figure 9 Chong Chuyong, founder of Hyundai Conglomerate, briefs President Park.
Figure 10 Front left: Park T’aejun, first president of POSCO, President Park and
Kim Hang’yol, Deputy Prime Minister 1969–72.
Figure 11 Park inspects Korean-made weapons.
Figure 12 Park inspects Korean-made tank.
Intellectual debate on national
Again, let’s have another revolution. Revolution is the only
way. If someone is suffering with an internal disease . . . the
only way to [cure it] is to open his stomach and fix it, even
though he might die in the middle of the operation
(Ham Sokhon 1961a)
While there were undoubtedly many intellectuals who
mourned democracy’s passing, the coup was accepted with
resignation by most of the populace, including the students.
How did it happen that the obliteration of the whole apparatus of democratic government in one stroke elicited hardly
a murmur when the rigging of a vice-presidential election
under Rhee had led to a massive convulsion?
(Palais 1973)
The eve of Park’s military rule, from April 1960 to May 1961, was marked
by two revolutionary failures. One was the failure of the April Student
Revolution of 1960 to bring about change in the national leadership elite,
despite bringing down the Syngman Rhee regime (1948–60). The other
was the failure of the new government (April 1960–May 1961) and ruling
Democratic Party leadership to build public confidence in the government’s reform program, and to root out corruption and build the
economy. In response, there emerged three notable developments: the
rise of progressive reformist forces; the liberal intellectuals’ debate on
national reconstruction; and the military reformists’ “Clean-up the Military” campaign which ultimately led to Park’s military coup of May 16,
A careful consideration of these phenomena, as well as of the legacy of
the Rhee regime, especially in terms of the continuance of conservative
politics in a Cold War context, is important to understanding Park’s
military coup and his management of national development built on
nationalism. Despite the different priorities held by the various interest
groups, the pre-1961 debate on national reconstruction that involved
liberal intellectuals, progressive reformists, leading academics, media
commentators and other politically active groups, such as the students, by
and large reflected the view of the populace about national priorities,
especially those that had prompted the April Student Revolution. The pre1961 debate, especially among liberal intellectuals, articulated the need
for another “nationalist” revolution. The deliberations of the liberal intellectuals provided the basis for an ideology that Park would exploit for his
military coup and subsequently in his approach to national development.
Park, as we have seen, had been conspiring for a long time, waiting for
the right opportunity to join with other disaffected military officers. He
and his military reformist clique were fortunate in that the intellectual
and political ferment that followed the April Student Revolution provided
a convenient pretext for continuing his reform campaign in the military,
and then the coup. Although initially second-in-charge of the coup, by
offering strong leadership with economic development as the key national
priority among others, Park was able to project himself as the type of
leader demanded by many Koreans at that time. He was undoubtedly
opportunistic, but he also had a genuine capacity to harness the people’s
revolutionary expectations.
This chapter explores the relevance of the pre-1961 intellectual debate
to the revolutionary environment and the subsequent military coup, by
analyzing its central issues and implications based generally upon materials published in Sasanggye (World of Thought), the most highly regarded
monthly journal of that time among politically conscious Koreans, including liberal-thinking intellectuals.1 Although Sasanggye represented the
thought of a group of liberal intellectuals, which may not necessarily have
been the overall view of the populace, it is nevertheless a valuable record
of the intellectual discussion which influenced, and reflected, public
expectations of a “nationalist” revolution. Park later reflected:
The intellectual activity at that time [pre-1961] was in fact exceptional, especially that of media commentators who put themselves
on the line with the same patriotic sense of duty as that prevalent
during the Japanese occupation. During this period they
unearthed all forms of corruption and injustice while at the same
time reproving political degeneration, and they implanted in the
hearts of the people hatred and antipathy toward the Syngman
Rhee Government.
(Park Chung Hee 1971: 112)
Post-April Revolution critique of government
The April Revolution
The anti-government student protests, known as the April Revolution, or
simply sa-il-gu (4.19), came to a head on 19 April 1960. On that day, some
20,000 university and high school students, as well as citizens, marched on
the presidential mansion, Kyongmudae (the old name of the Ch’ongwadae), demanding the censure of sitting politicians and a new election.
The riot broke out in response to two main public concerns: first, the
Rhee Government’s rigging of the election of 15 March and second, the
discovery of the body of a 16-year-old high school student, Kim Chuyol, on
the shore at Masan, South Kyongsang Province. Kim’s body had allegedly
been thrown into the bay by police after he had been killed in a demonstration.2 Public outrage intensified into a revolutionary situation when,
on 18 April, after three days of nation-wide student protests, a group of
Korea University students was attacked, in the midst of their demonstration, by the Anti-Communist Youth Corps, an organized group of political
By midday 19 April, more than 100,000 citizens had joined the demonstration, but were met by a hail of police bullets. Across the city, about 130
demonstrators were killed and more than 1,000 were wounded (Yoksa
pip’yongsa 1992: 381). The populace was outraged and horrified, and the
United States was quick to express its concern over the Rhee Government’s actions. On 22 April, many eminent citizens began to demand
President Rhee’s resignation and, indeed, three days later, about 300 university professors marched in the streets of Seoul and met in front of the
National Assembly to demand that Rhee resign. The US also officially
demanded the president’s resignation. Against this background, the
Korean Martial Law Commander, Lieutenant-General Song Yoch’an,
ordered his troops not to fire on anti-government demonstrators. On 26
April, Rhee resigned, placing government in the hands of his foreign
Minister, Ho Chong.
The Rhee legacy
Many of the problems faced by Koreans after the War (1950–3) were, in
their own eyes, attributable to the sheer incompetence of the Rhee
Government and its monopoly control over political power. With antiCommunist Western-style “democracy” as his political ideology, Syngman
Rhee was one of the most prominent Korean political leaders since the
Japanese colonial era.3 He was inaugurated as the first president of South
Korea on 15 August 1948. The problematic nature of Rhee’s idea of antiCommunist democracy derived from its feeble imitation of some elements
of American-style liberal democracy. At the same time, the AMG in Korea
(1945–8) had introduced a form of Western-style democracy under its
strict occupation policy which, in effect, reduced Korea to the status of a
colony of the US. This combination of democratic objectives, however,
ran counter to Rhee’s personal ambition to rule Korea as an indigenous
leader in typically East Asian fashion. Rhee’s attempt at imitating American-style democracy, while pursuing an anti-Communist policy in the
Cold War context, highlights the political reality of that time, namely, the
monopolization of political power by the conservatives.
The conservatives generally comprised representatives of the landlord
class, or “liberation aristocrats,”4 who formed political alliances such as the
Korean Democratic Party (KDP – Han’guk Minjudang) which, by the end
of 1947, had almost 86,000 members, including Kim Songsu, Cho
Pyongok, Ho Chong, Yun Poson and many well-educated individuals.5 The
KDP was especially popular among conservative Korean capitalists, with a
US Army intelligence pamphlet describing it as a group of successful businessmen. In short, the conservatives maintained political control after liberation as a coalition, irrespective of political party affiliation, and many of
them had been seen as “collaborators” by Korean standards in the late
1940s. Rhee’s success in acquiring his first presidency was due largely to
his alliance with the KDP, which not only enjoyed a virtual monopoly of
political power by holding key positions in the AMG in Korea, but had
also secured Rhee as president to maintain its vested interests in Korean
politics (Sim Chiyon 1983: 199–207). Having lived in the US for nearly
four decades, Rhee had no particular base for his political activities when
he returned to Korea in October 1945.
Once he became president, however, Rhee effectively excluded the
KDP from his cabinet by admitting just one KDP member, despite the
KDP’s demand, as the largest elected group having 80 of the National
Assembly’s 198 members, that they hold at least half of the ministries,
including the post of prime minister (Han T’aesu 1961: 113). The establishment of the Liberal Party in March 1952, during the Korean War,
reflected Rhee’s relentless efforts to maintain control over opposition conservatives. By the late 1950s, Rhee managed Korea’s political system
without any serious rivals. Even the Democratic Party, which emerged in
September 1955 from the old KDP in an effort to compete against Rhee’s
Liberal Party, did not offer a significantly different political vision.
In any case, Rhee ruthlessly crushed any opposition to his antiCommunist conservatism, and focused on his unification policy known as
“March North and unify Korea” or simply the kugsi (national policy). The
execution of Cho Pongam for alleged violations of the National Security
Law just eight months before the 1960 presidential election was the clearest example of Rhee’s oppressive control over his potential rivals. As
leader of the Progressive Party, Chinbodang, founded in November 1956,
Cho had promoted peaceful unification in his 1956 presidential campaign
and had surprised Rhee and his Liberals by obtaining more than 30
percent of the total vote.6
There were thus no real rivals to Rhee. As the most prominent Elder7 of
Korean politics and society, Rhee commanded unchallenged respect and
obedience from his subordinates, just as a traditional Confucian father
governed his family. This phenomenon arose partly because the conservatives, including many prominent opposition leaders, had served Rhee at
one time or another, and partly because, in accordance with Korea’s Confucian cultural and political tradition, the junior served the senior unconditionally. Pluralism in ideology and equality in human relationships were
foreign concepts. Rhee’s image as a ruler of an autocracy, however, left
him wide open to criticism. The influential US report by Conlon Associates in 1960, entitled “United States Foreign Policy – Asia,” observed:
“Korea, as the opposition is threatened and suppressed, is a one-and-a-half
party system, rather than two political parties” (K’onlon ossosieissu pogoso
1960: 122–9).8 This report by Professor Robert Scalapino and his team was
frequently cited by Park in an effort to justify his coup. A summary made
in 1967 by Ch’a Kibyok, a prominent political scientist, on the characteristics of the conservatives is revealing:
The political power which has ruled this nation since liberation
was the Conservatives, mainly the landlord class who were nurtured by the Japanese [colonial government]. Conservative power
is the only one which has maintained its existence in the midst of
national division devised by foreign powers and in the midst of
the critical circumstances which resulted from the Leftists’ and
the Rightists’ struggle to the extreme . . . In short, Dr Rhee made
the privileged class his basis from which the Korean Government
echoed the voice of foreign powers, but was separated from the
people. The April 19 [Revolution] and the May 16 [military coup]
were revolts against this conservative power . . . [and] saw the reappearance of nationalism.
(Ch’a Kibyok 1967: 20–1)
In the aftermath of the April Student Revolution, many Koreans,
particularly urban citizens and students, concluded that their sitting politicians were untrustworthy and incapable of rooting out political corruption
and exposing business leaders who had acquired assets illegally. In this
context, some liberal intellectuals, including Chang Chunha, the ownereditor of Sasanggye and a staunch nationalist, regarded the April Student
Revolution as an expression of collective feeling on the part of the citizens, defining it as a “simin hyongmyong” (civilian revolution), as well as a
“chisongin ui hyongmyong” (intellectuals’ revolution) for democracy (Chang
Chunha 1960: 36),9 a democratic revolution aimed especially at achieving
political and economic freedom. Pak Chonghong, Professor of Philosophy
at Seoul National University, stated:
It is indisputable that through the April Student Revolution there
emerged genuine intellectual thought, which was as yet obscure
and immature, because it was only a bud. As an ideology, this
intellectual thought had not yet reached the level of theory with a
systematic structure. Nevertheless, it was an invaluable guide, a
new thought that we must not throw away.
(Pak Chonghong 1961: 46–7)
Pak argued that the April Student Revolution succeeded because of
“creative intelligence” and “many objective conditions.” According to him,
the April Student Revolution was a genuine manifestation of Korean ideology, transforming into action the Korean people’s sense of justice in
regard to their “minjokchok chuch’esong,” that is, their national independence or national self-reliance. He therefore identified the emergence of
this populist “Korean ideology” as “our ideology” (Pak Chonghong 1961:
46–7). Its content was quick to find expression in the debate on national
reconstruction that was to follow. The irony of the April Student Revolution, however, was that while the students were the victors, the spoils of
victory again went to the conservatives, although this time to remnant conservatives who made up the Interim and Chang Myon governments.
The Interim and Chang Myon governments
Sin Sangch’o, a prominent political analyst in the 1960s, suggested that
the April Student Revolution had four aims: to overthrow the dictator,
President Rhee; to eradicate the old ruling power linked to Rhee; to establish a new economic order; and to reorganize the societal system which
had provided the supporting framework for the dictator (1960a: 86). Of
the four, only the first aim was achieved. Ham Sokhon, a well-known
Quaker and a writer who was regarded by many leading intellectuals as an
“elder of the eminent persons out of office” (Song Konho 1983: 162),
argued that the April Student Revolution stopped with its first goal
because both the Interim and Chang governments were too weak to take
resolute action against corrupt politicians while exercising opportunism
and factionalism for their own interests (1961a: 31). In a similar vein, Sin
Sangch’o observed that changing government from one headed by the
Liberal Party to one headed by the Democratic Party would achieve
nothing (1960b: 87).
For two main reasons, the Interim Government of Ho Chong had
limited capacity to carry out the revolutionary tasks demanded by the
people. First, Ho Chong, an old friend of President Rhee and a member
of the former ruling Liberal Party, retained primary loyalty to his party.
Second, the new Democratic Party, soon to constitute the Chang Government, put the Interim Government under pressure as early as July 1960.
Nevertheless, the Interim Government quickly drafted a new constitution
in order to redress the imbalance between executive and legislative power.
Yun Poson (1897–1990) was elected on 29 July as a figurehead president
devoid of effective power, while genuine political power was vested in the
State Council headed by the Prime Minister, Chang Myon (John M.
Chang). What was assumed in this process was Korea’s preparedness for
liberal democracy or, at least, its readiness to adopt a democratic sociopolitical framework.
Despite this bold beginning, the Chang Myon Government was inundated with challenges from within its own ruling Democratic Party as well
as from the three major external reformist groups: the progressives, the
Teachers’ Union which led the labor movement, and university students.
Within the party, the challenges arose entirely from factional strife that
had reached an irreconcilable stage when Chang Myon, leader of the
“New Faction,” only succeeded by a margin of three votes in acquiring the
prime ministership. Consequently, the government lacked the unity, political integrity and discipline necessary for exerting leadership. Members
formed a divided and directionless legislature, which the media characterized as a body that, possessing no ideology, no integrity and no ability,
behaved like a Don Quixote without self-understanding (Om Kihyong
1961: 131). Chang was not unaware of the task before him and, to his
credit, his government introduced long-term economic planning for the
first time, while also pursuing the decentralization of the political system.
Despite these efforts, however, many critics, including Sin Sangch’o,
argued that if the two factions of the Democratic Party had been united
and had exercised their revolutionary power, the people’s enthusiasm
would have been satisfied (Sin Sangch’o 1961: 146).
Finally, in addition to political factionalism, the economy was far from
healthy. Inflation was crippling: the price of rice increased by 60 percent
and coal and oil prices by 23 percent in four months, from December
1960 to April 1961. Between November and February, national production fell more than 12 percent (Han’guk Ilbo April 23 1961). Simultaneously, the recorded crime rate more than doubled, while the felony
arrest rate dropped from 90 percent to 68 percent. The rate of unemployment lingered at the unacceptably high levels of 23.4 percent in 1959 and
23.7 percent in 1960. At about the time of the April Student Revolution,
the number of unemployed had reached two and a half million. The
underemployed in rural areas numbered almost two million, with the
rural economy in a perilous state (Han Wansang et al. 1983: 74–5). Some
historians state that over a million farming households suffered food
shortages in the spring of 1960 and more than nine million children
throughout the country regularly went without lunch (Han’guk yoksa
yon’guhoe 1992: 382).
Clearly, a vicious circle of poverty had set in. This was exacerbated by
low social morale which was not helped by the government’s inability to
take the strong action necessary to achieve the sweeping changes that the
public demanded. They wanted a thorough and rapid purging of all individuals and groups who were closely connected to the Rhee Government’s
election-rigging, illicit profiteering and other forms of official corruption
at high levels. Prime Minister Chang and his party, however, repeatedly
compromised their position in this regard by tampering with the list of
suspects, especially those who were high-ranking military officers and
leading businessmen. In disgust, Ham Sokhon wrote:
What is the achievement of the government of Chang Myon to
date, not to mention the Interim Government of Ho Chong?
Winter is nearly here while [the politicians] are busy with factional strife. There is not a single production line which runs
properly while the minjung (masses) cry out only about their
plight. The rats [corrupt politicians] captured in the cabinet have
all run away. Not to mention the fact that they [the members of
the government] are not capable of catching additional new rats
while they lose those that were caught by others! . . . Anyhow, why
is the government so hesitant to deal with the trapped rats? Is it
that the cat is already too old or is it too stuffed with stolen food?
(1961a: 31)
The contrast between the clarity of this insight and the lack of strong
action in the government is stark and shows why the public demanded the
sweeping reform which then became unstoppable. In fact, their demand
for revolutionary change inspired urban citizens, including the students,
to accept the military coup less than nine months after the inauguration
of the Chang Government with, in James B. Palais’ words, “hardly a
murmur” (1973: 328)
Progressive reformist movements
One of the hottest socio-political issues of the pre-1961 intellectual debate
was the progressive reformists’ campaign for the “peaceful unification” of
North and South Korea. The left-inclined progressive reformists and nonpolitical groups, including university students, exploited the openness of
the Chang Government. As discussed above, peaceful unification as an
alternative policy had been quashed when Cho Pongam, leader of the Progressive Party, was executed in July 1959 and the progressive forces were
thereby muted. In the campaign prior to the national election in July
1960, however, the issue of peaceful unification was again promoted by
both the ruling Democratic Party and the progressive political parties,
such as the Socialist Mass Party (Sahoe taejungdang), the Socialist Reform
Party (Sahoe hyoksindang) and the Korea Socialist Party (Han’guk
A notable characteristic of these so-called “progressive political forces”
was that, as one observer pointed out, they did not necessarily share the
same ideological goals or background (Song Yubo 1983: 141). Members of
the Socialist People’s Party, for example, included former members of the
Progressive Party. In contrast, the Korea Socialist Party led by Chon
Chinhan included former members of the right-wing union movement
after Liberation. Thus the progressive forces at the time represented
nothing less than every political group that had been excluded from the
political system under the Rhee Government. While progressive reformists
debated Korea’s unification, university students campaigned even more
vigorously for this outcome. More than a dozen universities throughout
the country, for example, formed the Society for the Study of National
Unification (Minjok t’ongil yon’guhoe) within a few months of the formation
of the League of National Unification (Minjok t’ongil yonmaeng or simply
mint’ongyon) by Seoul National University students on 1 November 1960.
By early 1961, more than twenty high schools had formed their own
Society for the Study of National Unification. Amidst this unification
craze, many Koreans, especially conservative politicians, intellectuals, businessmen and military officers, became increasingly anxious about the
threat to socio-political stability posed by the widespread rejection of antiCommunism. Some of the media, such as the Minjok Ilbo (National Daily),
first published in February 1961, followed a pro-active left wing policy.
Communist sympathy, from the viewpoint of the conservative Koreans,
had progressed far enough when, on 3 May, the members of the
mint’ongyon from Seoul National University called for a meeting among
students from both North and South Korea. The students openly
appealed to North Korea: “Brothers, come to us and let us march
together! . . . Let’s go to the North! Come to the South! Let us meet in
P’anmunjom.” (Song, Konho 1983: 150)
The anxiety of Koreans about the growing social unrest reached new
heights when, on 13 May, over ten thousand citizens and students staged a
public rally chanting “Old Generation Get Out!” and “Yankee Go Home!”
and calling for unification.10 Despite serious problems and contradictions
in the Korean social system, most Koreans were not prepared for the
social disruption that came with free expression, especially the controversy
surrounding the unification campaigns conducted by progressive
reformist forces. Given that the military coup was staged amidst this social
turmoil, it is not too difficult to understand how the coup leaders would
have won over the public, particularly the conservatives, by their massive
purge of left-wing progressive reformists just three days after their seizure
of power,11 and how they were able to promote their coup as an act of
“patriotism” to save the nation from crisis.
Debate pre-1961
Irrespective of the unification issue, by April 1961 many leading liberal
intellectuals sought to build Korea around two themes: construction of
economic prosperity and reformation of the national character. The
minimum expectation of the April Student Revolution had been “a society
which is at least capable of feeding and clothing its people” (Hong Isop
1961: 54). To achieve this goal, intellectuals argued for national stability
and autonomy through labor management and free enterprise within a
planned economy. In a special feature article in the March 1960 edition of
Sasanggye entitled “Chayu kyongjenya, kyehoek kyongjenya?” (A free
economy or a planned economy?), economic commentators, including Yi
Ch’angyol, Professor of Economics at Korea University, argued that Korea
should utilize a “mixed economic system” (honhap kyongje ch’eje) in which
Korean industry would seek to absorb the unemployed most efficiently by
focusing on certain industries. Furthermore, according to Yi, Korean
industry also needed to find the most effective means of allocating materials, resources and demand to allied industries. Yi argued:
The economic direction that we require must be a kind of mixed
economic system. We obviously lack the necessary accumulation
of national capital. We also lack endeavor and our natural
resources are scarce. But we have an excessive surplus of labor. In
order to lead this labor force near to full employment, there
needs to be a kind of “supply effect.” This effect can be regarded
as a form of imbalanced development. By selecting a certain
group of industries, regardless of whether a market exists or not,
and by maintaining their development through intensive investment, even by force – not through so-called free competition but
through planned investment, it is intended to stimulate the productivity of other industries spontaneously with the supply of
materials that would be produced through such development . . .
It should be clear that it is very difficult to expect balanced economic growth in our current condition.
(1961: 108)
The planned economy argument was largely, although not exclusively,
based on the West German model, seen by intellectuals as pre-eminent in
the ideological conflict between East and West Germany. The much discussed “German economic miracle” was viewed as having been achieved
by “developing economic strength to the maximum, utilizing a strategy
which, on the one hand, adopted the principle of democratic free enterprise and, on the other, managed a planned economy under rationalized
control” (Cho Kagyong 1961: 76). In viewing the Korean condition of
Cold War politics, however, Cho Kagyong, Professor of Philosophy at
Seoul National University, argued in Sasanggye in April 1961, “Communism is not a force which can be eradicated by [a theoretical] opposition.
The infiltration of Communism can be blocked only by the strength of an
economy which is self-reliant (charip) and self-sufficient (chajok)” (1961:
Similiary, leading historian Hong Isop in his 1961 essay, “Re-evaluation
of the April Student Revolution” (Shawl hyongmyong ui chaep’yongkka),
argued that Korean society must be “revolutionized” in order to establish
economic prosperity. Referring to the Korean economy under various
political systems throughout history, from the feudal dynasty to the Rhee
Government, Hong observed that the present government (of Chang
Myon) must concentrate immediately on changing economic structures.
He called for reform in order to tackle three major tasks: first, the reorganization of debts in all farming and fishing villages; second, the reallocation of land to tenant farmers; and third, securing both fishery and
agricultural products including fertilizer (1961: 58).12 In the end, many
leading academics and intellectuals shared the economists’ view that, “All
problems are due to economics” (modun munje nun kyongje ro t’onghanda)
(Kim Sanghyop et al. 1960a: 54).
The call for chuch’esong
At the core of the call for Korea’s “chuch’esong” (independence/autonomy)
in politics and the economy, especially government decision-making,
there emerged a strong sense of self-awakening, as well as resentment
about dependence on the United States. Many educated urban citizens
argued that Korea’s foreign policy needed revision, particularly the lopsided ROK–US Status-of-Forces Agreement which proved incapable of preventing criminal activity by US soldiers in Korea, let alone respecting the
Korean Government’s sovereign right to govern without US domination.
In the May 1961 edition, Sasanggye published a letter submitted by a firstyear student from Korea University. It stated:
It is said that Korea’s foreign policy is a ‘Yes, Sir’ policy . . . At a
time like this when Korea is not even at war after the establishment of the armistice, US soldiers stationed in Korea cut Korean
women’s hair at random and deliberately kill a perfectly normal
boy. And yet, the Korean Government has neither the right to
punish those criminals nor the status to voice its views on such
conduct. [Under these conditions], how can Korea be an
independent nation and not a dependency of the US?
(Yi Sokhwan 1961: 31–2)
An equally upsetting aspect of US policy in Korea, according to one
technical executive, was US management of aid which, he argued, was lopsided, unilateral and managed with political coercion to maximize
America’s own national and commercial interests (Yi Tonghong 1960:
62). Similarly, another economic observer argued that while the structure
of the US aid program established an initial framework for the Korean
economy, it nevertheless created what he termed, “dependent state monopoly capitalism” (chongsokchok kukka tokchom chabonjuui) (Im Wont’aek
1960: 78). (This phrase became one of the most powerful dicta of Korean
democracy activists and university students in their struggle against Park’s
state-led economic development during the 1970s.)
By November 1960, criticism of US aid policy by intellectuals complemented the anti-American mood of the general public, with Sasanggye featuring this theme in its November 1960 and March 1961 issues. Under the
heading “Is it Autonomy or Dependency?” (Charip inya? Yesok inya?), Pu
Wanhyok, an economic analyst, and Cho Tongp’il characterized American
aid policy in Korea and its inevitable consequences as the major factor
weakening and undermining Korea’s political and economic chuch’esong,
especially in terms of decision-making on national affairs. Cho commented:
The American aid program hitherto implemented in Korea has
failed to achieve any particular effect in creating economic conditions conducive to building economic independence. Instead, it
has increased the degree of Korea’s economic dependence and
intensified Korea’s dependency on the American economy . . .
Because of this, the masses in Korea would, I suspect, think that
the [Korea–America] Economic Aid Agreement this year was also
intended to intensify Korea’s dependency [on America] even
(Cho Tongp’il and Pu Wanhyok 1961: 207)
Cho argued that Korea needed to take a new direction in accepting
American aid if it aimed to establish national autonomy. He identified US
aid policy as the main reason for the backwardness of countries in other
regions such as Latin America and Southeast Asia. He believed the emergence of anti-Americanism among some countries was due to American
aid policy designed primarily for America’s own economic interests (Cho
Tongp’il and Pu Wanhyok 1961: 206–7). This criticism was not restricted
to a handful of liberal intellectuals and their supporters. By March 1961,
public resentment to the US aid program became so intense that it popularized anti-Americanism coupled with a new wave of nationalism emphasizing Korea’s chuch’esong. In observing this nationalistic anti-American
climate, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul reported to its State Department as
During recent months there has been a growing questioning of
the U.S. [sic] position in the ROK, focusing on the question of
ROK sovereignty, U.S. economic aid, and on demands for a Status
of Forces Agreement. In this climate of criticism there has
developed a public hypersensitivity regarding the effectiveness of
U.S. aid, especially as concerns a lack of long range economic development
and of our involvement in the ROK economic decision-making
process. The controversy over ratification of the economic aid
agreement, the negative public reaction to press reports of Under
Secretary Ball’s speech on March 7 in Chicago, and the disproportionately extravagant, favorable press treatment of the recently
concluded ROK–West German Technical Aid Agreement, are
illustrative of this public climate.
(Macdonald 1992: 289; emphasis added in source text)
It is true that the anti-American climate became a recognizable social
phenomenon only after the April Student Revolution. But this does not
necessarily mean that the Korean people as a whole bore no deep-seated
resentment toward the US, particularly regarding its role in the division of
their country into North and South Korea. In fact, just a month after the
April Student Revolution, Cho Sunsung, Professor of Political Science at
Seoul National University, openly blamed the US for the division of the
Korean nation. He argued:
Korea’s division was a tragedy created by the ‘politics of power’
between the Great Powers, which Korea could not help avoid . . .
As a victorious nation of World War Il, America held hegemony in
world politics through which she could exercise her dominance
in any way she wished . . . [Therefore,] today’s tragedy [of Korea]
would have been avoided if America had thought through the
future implications for Korea and prepared for it by planning a
resolute policy toward Korea, to defend her against the diplomatic offensives of the Soviet Union.
(Cho Sunsung 1960: 57)
Cho concluded that Korea had been a victim of the particular style of
US foreign policy. President Harry Truman’s foreign policy, according
to Cho, had been one of military diplomacy predominantly focused on
producing immediate victories rather than long-term outcomes. As a consequence, Cho asserted, America made a “big mistake” when it suggested
the 38th parallel to the Soviets, thereby scattering the seeds of tragedy on
the Korean peninsula (1960: 65). This open criticism by liberal intellectuals of American foreign policy clearly influenced the Chang Myon Government and the ruling Democratic Party. On 18 April, for example, the
National Assembly passed a three-point resolution which, in the words of
MacDonald summarizing US State Department archives:
(1) urged long-range economic planning by both the ROK and
the United States to produce economic self-sufficiency and
improved living standards; (2) asked the United States to ‘give the
fullest consideration to the sovereign rights of the Korean
Government in the administration of the economic aid plan,’
while Korea paid full respect to American advice; (3) called for a
nation-wide austerity drive, emphasizing rehabilitation of the
rural economy and of basic industries, with U.S. policies to
support this goal.
(Macdonald 1992: 289)
This resolution is noteworthy because it showed the characteristic of
the Chang Government’s long-range economic planning after Prime
Minister Chang had instructed the Economic Development Council to
draw up a five-year development plan at the end of 1960 (Wolf 1962: 23).
In fact this resolution, according to Macdonald, did not reach the US
Embassy until three days after the military coup. By then, Park and his military junta had already adopted its key elements as their platform for
reform, including the first Five-Year Development Plan (discussed further
in Chapter 3).
The call for a people’s revolution
Rather than looking for solutions in specific problem areas of the
economy or particular aspects of national dependency, Ham Sokhon
called for an all-out people’s revolution. Building a new nation, according
to Ham, could not be achieved without a revolution of the national character. Historically, the fundamental cause of the Korean people’s sufferings, he argued, was due mainly to the weakness of their national
character and the only way to change the national character was to have a
people’s revolution (1961a: 31). Ham’s call for another revolution first
appeared in the January 1961 edition of Sasanggye, and again in a threepart series of his essay entitled, “How Do We Build a New Nation?”
(Saenara rul ottokke seulkka?) published in the April to June editions of the
journal. In his discussion of the Chang Myon Government’s National
Land Construction Movement, Ham called for what he termed a “revolution of the national spirit”:
The National Land Construction [Movement] itself is in fact a
revolution. This project cannot be accomplished without a revolutionary spirit. This is a bloodless revolution . . . Therefore, there
are things to throw away and things to build anew. What should
we throw away? Let us throw away our habits of factionalism, flunkeyism, fatalism and idleness, our prestige-oriented life principle and dependent mentality . . .What should we build anew? Let each of us develop
ownership of ‘self’ before anything else; let us have the spirit of unity; let us
cultivate an enterprising spirit; let us have a more inquiring mind; and
let us positively build a new confidence.
(Ham Sokhon 1961b: 50;13 emphasis added)
Ham believed that a new revolution must be managed differently so
that the ordinary people would be educated and empowered to participate in “nara il” (national tasks). According to Ham, this revolution
required a change in the people’s attitude, including that of intellectuals:
“no revolution is possible without intellectuals who represent the middle
stratum of society. However, they have a weakness for wanting to rise up
like a balloon. As a result, the people always become deluded” (1961b:
42). Stressing education, equality, and the need to instill a national sense
of self-worth, Ham asserted that Korea’s social system, which he referred
to as the “master frame,” had to change before anything else. He wrote:
Men are the servants of a system, of a [value-system] framework,
because they are social beings. There cannot be a society without
a certain framework just as an individual cannot conceive his or
her own mind without possessing a body. Although men create
the [social] framework, it also in turn creates men . . . if anyone
desires to form newborn babies into a new people, one must first
of all change the whole framework of society.
(1961a: 31)
Ham added that this frame had to be built on two common principles:
“hamyon pandusi toenda” (it will certainly happen if you try) and “minjung
ui kasumman pogo kara” (proceed focused only on the feelings of the
working masses) (1961a: 31). These mass-oriented community ideals subsequently became the conventional rhetoric of Korean nationalism as promoted by two major camps: the student-led working masses’ human rights
campaign and their democracy movement, and state-led rapid development under Park and his successors. The fact that Ham never approved of
Park, or served under him, is not important. What is significant, however,
is that Ham’s call for a people’s revolution to rebuild the national character and spirit provided a basis for Park to justify his reform agenda after
the coup – even though Park’s idea of reform was all top-down and thus
the complete opposite of Ham’s idea of revolution in values from the
bottom up, in which the mass of the people would undergo a transformation of values. In other words, Park used Ham’s language to appeal
for “bottom-up” public support for, and confidence in, his junta leadership and his subsequent development policies.
By October 1960, the established terminology of national independence/autonomy, whether expressed as minjokchok chuch’esong or minjokchok
chajusong, referred to the state and the people’s pursuit of a “Korean-style”
philosophy of life, ethics and social order. Professor Pak Chonghong’s
interview with An Pyonguk, entitled “Philosophy Exists within Daily Life”
(Ch’olhak un saenghwal sog e itta), discussed the search for “a new world
view, a new value-system, new behavioral rules and a new morality, all of
which had to be based on minjokchok chuch’esong” (Pak Chonghong and An
Pyonguk 1961: 164). In a related article, Pak outlined his thoughts on why
a nation requires an ideology and its essential criteria, and on the need
for the Korean people to identify an ideology as “our ideology.” Pak
Ideology is something which can entirely determine one’s action
and direction and something to which one cannot help but
respond completely because it thoroughly touches one’s heart
and soul. Ideology must therefore not only be part of one’s flesh
and blood, but must also be defined in terms of matters which,
for this nation, have been the subject of a universal cry from the
heart . . . our ideology must be unearthed from our own thought
and be defined by ourselves, not by others. In this way, our ideology becomes something by which we live and to which, if possible, we will give our lives without a second thought and for
which we would die gladly with no regret. Only that sort of ideology can become our [very own] ideology.
(Pak Chonghong 1961: 45)
Accordingly, the terms minjok chuch’esong and Han’gukchok chuch’esong
implied “our ideology.” These fundamentally nationalistic terms symbolized a new Korean perspective, which not only emphasized the importance of national autonomy and the rejection of foreign dominance,
dependency and flunkeyism, but also promoted the value of hard work,
creativity and patriotism. Importantly, historical and cultural tradition was
called upon to serve as a foundation to the new ideology. The use of the
words chuch’e and chuch’esong, however, calls for particular attention, especially when it is juxtaposed to North Korea’s adoption of “Juch’e sasang”
(self-reliance ideology) as its “only ideology” after the Communist Party’s
Fourth Congress in September 1961.14
I have found no evidence, however, of South Korean intellectuals
during that period focusing on Kim Il Sung’s Juch’e (chuch’e) ideology. At
the same time, it is reasonable to assume that intellectuals in South Korea
were not entirely unfamiliar with North Korea’s promotion of the term
minjok chuch’esong which was based on the historical notion of antiflunkeyism and national independence that held sway in the 1920s.
Although Park may well have been familiar with the Japanese concepts of
shutai and shutaiteki15 from his colonial days, he also adopted Pak Chonghong’s interpretation of the term chuch’esong as the official stance for the
state’s economic nationalism. It was no coincidence that Pak Chonghong
later authored the National Charter of Education which, in December
1968, was officially declared as a manifesto of Park’s leadership ideology.
Agenda for national reconstruction
Chang Chunha, an ardent nationalist liberal intellectual and the
publisher–editor of Sasanggye (1953–67), informed his readers in his
February 1961 editorial that, “Hard Work is the Only Means for Survival”
(1961a: 24–50). He argued that constructing an efficient labor system was
the only way to transform Korea into an “Advancing Fatherland.” Chang
called for a change in social ethics so that the nation would develop a
genuine appreciation of diligence and hard work. To achieve such
change, and in order to rebuild a society that was sluggish and lacked will,
the government needed to cultivate a strong ethos among the people to
promote practicality, plainness, saving, stability, trust and constructiveness.
He stated that it was economically essential to establish a labor management system. However, Chang believed that in backward nations such a
system was only possible:
under a farsighted plan and thought-out policies provided by an
empowered government [under] strong leadership . . . Therefore,
Korea needs more desperately than ever a government that will
effectively implement our historical tasks according to a plan
which is not weak or temporary but thoroughly tested, and with
strong leadership.
(Chang Chunha 1961a: 24–50)
By referring to “liberal democracy” as a precondition for national
reconstruction, Chang’s prescription for social reform, proceeding under
a “strong leader” and “guided democracy,” called for a morally superior
political leader who would direct his people in the task of nation-building.
Likewise, many other leading liberal intellectuals, including Kim
Sanghyop, Sin Sangch’o and Han T’aeyon, also used the term “liberal
democracy” in conjunction with “strong leadership.” Under the slogan
“changing the national character for the better,” these intellectuals highlighted the fundamental necessity for the Korean people to adopt a spirit
of “diligence and frugality.” They argued that a new Korean ethos
founded on these two virtues, combined with strong leadership, was
crucial for national reconstruction.
The building of a “liberal democratic nation-state,” according to these
liberal intellectuals, required a “young and revolutionary leader” (Kim
Sanghyop et al. 1960b: 35). In the April 1961 issue, Sasanggye published the
full text of “On heroic leadership and the dilemma of strong men and
weak peoples” by Arthur Schlesinger Jr, aiming to reinforce public feeling
about the government’s weak leadership. Sasanggye, attempting to stimulate intellectual debate, also featured the article, “A theory on the Korean
people’s inferiority complex” (Chong Yangun 1961: 111–17).
In the following month, Sasanggye focused on the Korean value-system
by introducing five feature articles under the theme of re-examination of
[Korean] value consciousness. The chaotic condition of Korean society
was believed to be mainly “due to the absence of [strong] leadership” and
to the “loss of harmony and consistency in new value-systems which have
spread widely in Korean society” (Yi Man’gap 1961: 70). Intellectuals
argued that the problems of weak leadership and poor national character
were responsible for the low self-esteem of the Korean people. In examining the causes of the Korean inferiority complex and its psychological
processes, Chong Yangun, a professor of psychology, described the
contemporary images of Korea pre-1961 as follows:
In the olden days, we were told that our neighboring countries
admired our civilization so that they wished to learn from us.
They regarded our nation as the ‘Eastern Land of Refinement.’
But what is the current situation? Some comments we occasionally
hear about Korea from abroad indicate that Korea is seen as a
nation similar to hell on earth: it is a nation of thieves, it is packed
with beggars and vagrants, and it is a smelly nation covered with
(Chong Yangun 1961: 111)
Chong proposed three reasons for the inferiority complex. The first
was Korea’s long history of playing second fiddle to superior powers in the
arena of world politics. Korea served China as her “servant” throughout
the five hundred years of the Yi Dynasty (1392–1909); was then subject to
Japanese colonial rule (1910–45) which led the “nation to her critical
stage of ruin”; and finally was liberated, except that liberation was not
obtained by the Koreans themselves, but rather was given to them by the
American forces as an outcome of the US victory in the Second World
War. Chong argued that the image created by the global perspective that
Korea, historically, was an inferior nation inevitably affected the psychology of the Korean people.
The second reason, Chong suggested, was the Korean people’s disillusionment with their own culture which, he asserted, seemed to be dispensable whenever a foreign culture invaded Korea. This phenomenon was
blamed on the historical perception that Korea possessed no distinct
culture of its own and consequently possessed no indigenous cultural
basis. As a result, Chong concluded, Koreans were inevitably burdened
with an inferiority complex caused by self-disillusionment. Chong’s third
reason was Korea’s economic inferiority which, he argued, rendered the
nation too easily subject to foreign dominance (1961: 116).
Chong had put his finger on three factors which combined to produce
a massive Korean inferiority complex. The intellectuals accordingly called
for the Korean people to undertake a search for self-knowledge and
understanding. Yi Man’gap, Professor of Sociology at Seoul National
University, asserted that whoever wished to know the workings of the
Korean mind had to “discover the psychological characteristics of the
Korean people and know the objective circumstances in which Koreans
are placed” (1961: 64). The “objective circumstances” referred to the
complex and oppressive history of Korea’s “pre-modern value-system.”
According to Yi’s school of thought, the Korean people’s self-image,
especially that of the commoners, had been shaped entirely by despotic
Confucian feudalism. In the words of Ham Sokhon, “the minjung [masses]
were treated like filthy maggots” (1961b: 95) and so they perceived themselves. Up until the 1960s, common terms used by Koreans for describing
themselves were “cheap cash” (yopchon) and “straw shoes” (chip’sin), which
represented prevalent self-images of the ordinary Korean working masses.
Yi Man’gap linked these perceptions of the Korean people to their
On the one hand, [the Koreans] abuse their own people but, on
the other hand, cringe to powerful foreigners; or they tend to
heckle and seek concessions relying on the influence of foreigners. In so doing, the Korean people willingly surrender unconditionally to powerful nations externally and, internally, to those
who are in high-ranking offices, powerful, and senior.
(Yi Man’gap 1961: 66)
This introspective analysis of the Korean people’s national pride and
character manifested a strong resemblance to that prevalent in China in
the 1930s when the mood of cultural despair was so pervasive that it led to
a period of “remorseless national self-flagellation” stimulated by Chinese
intellectuals. Lloyd E. Eastman discusses the despairing assessments of the
Chinese people’s character by many intellectuals of that time. He states:
The Chinese were indolent, they feared difficulties, they lacked
any progressive spirit, they assumed no responsibility but waited
for others to act for them, they had no concern for the collective
welfare, they lacked human-heartedness.
(Eastman 1974: 158)16
Hu Shih, a prominent Chinese intellectual, argued that the Chinese
failed to meet the new challenges of modern times because they had
become “a spineless, worthless people” and because “our rottenness is so
deep” (cited in Eastman 1974: 158). Therefore many writers and scholars
concluded that the Chinese were becoming an “‘inferior race’ (lieh-teng
min-tsu).” Some went further, drawing the radical conclusion that the
“inferior races will inevitably be destroyed in the struggle for survival,”
implying the inevitable ruin of the Chinese nation. The most radical
analysis by intellectuals of the “despair and humiliation that Chinese felt
in the early 1930s,” however, proposed a so-called “new style” dictatorship
or despotism. Chang Hung, a writer and former student of Hu Shih,
described the type of despotism that the Chinese wanted as follows: “[It]
must not be a barbaric despotism, lawless despotism . . . a stop-freedom-ofspeech despotism, but an enlightened despotism, a meaningful despotism,
a put-public-welfare-first despotism” (Eastman 1974: 145).
No Korean intellectual, of whatever conviction, supported the idea of a
dictatorship or despotism as openly and explicitly as the Chinese. Nevertheless, their idea of a strong leader was almost identical to that cited by
Eastman as the Chinese intellectuals’ version of “the ideal dictator” who
had to be “a national leader who stood above class strife, above economic
interests, and would strive for the welfare of the entire nation. He would
be . . . a ‘new-style’ dictator” (Eastman 1974: 145).
Military reappraisal and the May 16 coup
“Clean-up the Military” campaign
While most of the populace was demanding “total reform,” as expressed
and articulated by many liberal intellectuals, what were members of the
Korean military doing? Their activities, especially in terms of the military’s
own demand for radical reform, were extremely audacious, much more so
than those of any civilian progressive reformist or political group at that
time. As early as 8 May 1960, less than two weeks after President Rhee
resigned on 26 April, and just six days after the then Major-General, Park
Chung Hee, had demanded the resignation of the Army’s Chief of Staff,
General Song Yoch’an, eight lieutenant-colonels, who were also graduates
of the Eighth Class of the Military Academy, launched their petition for
what later became known as the “Clean-up the Military” campaign. The
target of their campaign was the corruption, financial irregularities,
incompetence and factionalism of a number of commanding generals.
In fact, this intra-military campaign developed rapidly into an extramilitary clean-up movement of the entire armed forces, including the
Marine Corps. This campaign, as noted in the previous chapter, resulted
in the replacement of the three Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces (army,
air force and navy), as well as the Marine Corps Commandant, within two
months of its commencement. Of these changes, the replacement of the
Marine Corps Commandant, Lieutenant-General Kim T’aesik, resulted
not only in his retirement, but also in an open challenge, led by BrigadierGeneral Kim Tongha, the Commander of the First Marine Division,
against his superior, alleging both political and financial corruption. Kim
Tongha pushed for military reform among junior officers. When he was
confronted with forced retirement, however, Kim Tongha aligned himself
with other reformist colonels in the army and just one year later played a
key role in the May 16 military coup.
The military’s reform drive was determined and daring and, in retrospect, needs to be looked at in the context of the reformist colonels’ military coup plot, originally set for 8 May 1960 and known as the
“May-8-Plan.” This coup plan was allegedly cancelled because of the unexpected student revolt of 19 April, which turned into the April Revolution.
The army’s “silence” or “tolerance” toward the student demonstrations
during this time was highly praised by the public, with some portraying
the army as the “angels from Heaven” (Yi Man’gap 1960: 78). However,
the real reason for the army’s silence and tolerance had less to do with the
army being the “angels from the Heaven,” than with the army’s division
into two camps, the mainstream group and non-mainstream group, each
sitting on the fence protecting its longer-term interests.
The mainstream group – largely senior-ranking generals who had been
personally nurtured in their careers by President Rhee – did not wish to
jeopardize their careers by supporting him since, by the late 1950s, Rhee
was no longer favored by American policy-makers. The non-mainstream
group – largely the reformist colonels and other junior-ranking officers in
the army – was heavily involved in its own coup attempt. In any case, most
Koreans believed – and rightly so – that the success of the April Revolution was due to America’s “moral and political support” (Pu Wanhyok
1960: 133). Some argue that the reformist colonels aborted their planned
coup because they, especially Park Chung Hee, believed that they would
have had no credibility with the public if they had carried out a military
coup in the midst of the Students’ Revolution.
Military grievances
Of course, while the coup was cancelled for the time being, the reformist
colonels’ coup plan was never entirely thrown out, but skillfully altered to
incorporate a contingency plan in line with the popular demand for total
reform. According to Kim Chongp’il in 1998, the “Clean-up the Military”
campaign intended to “bring out into the open their method of reform
struggle” so that the reformist colonels could promote the unity of officers
in the armed forces.17 Kim’s claim need not be the only explanation. What
it reveals, however, is the reformist colonels’ highly calculated, although
extremely risky strategy, for mobilizing the military as their power base. In
other words, the reformist colonels drew their power mostly from the
collective grievances of the Korean military, especially those of junior level
officers who, in the course of the rapid growth of the military,18 had been
grossly disadvantaged in their career opportunities due to the lopsided
hierarchical system.
Most higher-ranking generals, for example, were the least trained
(most for just forty-five days), and yet had been promoted to senior ranks,
their experience of military service being for the most part in either the
Japanese Imperial Army or Japanese Manchurian Forces. By 1960, all
graduates of the First and Second Classes of 1946 had been promoted to
ranks ranging from major-general to general. In contrast, graduates from
later years, especially the Academy’s Eighth Class of 1949, had attained
ranks from lieutenant-colonel to full colonel (Kang Ch’angsong 1991:
351).19 The difference in age between Lieutenant-Colonel Kim Chongp’il,
who was undoubtedly the most well-known member of the Eighth Class,
and the army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Chang Toyong, was
only one year, the former aged 36 and the latter 37 at the time of the
May 16 coup in 1961. Despite their obviously checkered career paths,
however, the Eighth Class was a highly respected elite group in the
army with a strong sense of nationalism and an egalitarian mentality.
They were immensely proud and ambitious and, interestingly, had mostly
rural backgrounds (Nobyongdul ui chungon 1992; Hahn-Been Lee 1968:
The Eighth Class had the largest number of graduates of all the Classes
in the Academy, a total of 1,345 officers of whom less than 450 survived
the Korean War. Against this background, the lieutenant-colonels of the
Eighth Class exerted themselves as a reformist pressure group, whose
opportunity to exploit the military’s reform mood increased dramatically
when the newly inaugurated Chang Government (23 August 1960)
replaced the Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Yi Chongch’an, with a
civilian, Hyon Sokho. This was particularly evident when, on 10 September, eleven colonels, including Kim Chongp’il, Kim Hyonguk, Kil Chaeho,
and others who had been involved in the “Clean-up the Military”
campaign, pledged themselves to an armed revolution, thus forming the
nucleus for a military coup known as the Ch’ungmujang kyorui.20
These reformist colonels claimed that they were driven to making their
pledge after they had failed to see the Minister of Defense, Hyon,21 who
had been out of his office when they had called on him. They reportedly
planned to demand that all three-star generals – lieutenant-generals –
transfer to the reserve army, and that the future army chief of staff and his
deputy be appointed from within the rank of two-stars, which included
Major-General Park Chung Hee (Yi Sangu 1993: 54). Such a daring challenge was now conceivable because, in the eyes of these campaigners, the
government no longer held the authority to which they had formally owed
allegiance once Lieutenant-General Yi had been removed from the
Defense Ministry.22 These colonels, who were promised by Minister Hyon
that a clean-up exercise would be carried out, became even more aggressive, despite being briefly interrogated by the military police, when the
next Defense Minister, Kwon Chungdon, another civilian, announced that
he would appoint a military screening committee to clean up the military,
especially its upper echelons.
Concurrently, Park Chung Hee, the ultimate leader of the clean-up
campaigners, who had been demoted to the First Military District
Command in Kwangju, a post known to the army as absurdly insignificant,
was moved back to Army Headquarters on 11 September as Deputy Chief
of Staff, Operations. This dramatic turnaround in Park’s posting was
effected by the new Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Ch’oe Kyongnok, who, on 29 August, had replaced Lieutenant-General Ch’oe Yonghui,
yet another new chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. From the campaigners’ perspective, this appointment had a psychological impact and signified a real change in military policy. Ch’oe Kyongnok publicly announced
that, as the new army chief of staff, he supported the military’s clean-up
campaign which eased the immediate pressure from the army hierarchy to
contain the reformist campaigners.
In this context, Park Chung Hee’s new assignment to Army Headquarters in Seoul was itself symbolic of Ch’oe’s intention to clean up the
army.23 Psychologically, Park’s transfer from the First Military District
Command in Kwangju to headquarters as the new deputy chief of staff
had the immediate effect of lifting the spirit of the military clean-up campaigners “sky high.”
Despite Choe’s initiatives, however, the fabric of the Korean military
had begun to unravel by mid-September 1960. The progressive build-up of
grievances among the two major groups within the military in the years
immediately preceding this era of liberal thinking, and then the calls for
reform, had led to a loss of stability and unity. The senior officers were
aggrieved because of the military’s conflicting systems of seniority which
made them feel resentful and insecure about their rank. And junior
officers were aggrieved because of the stagnation of the military hierarchy.
To them, the whole system was based on factionalism and favoritism which
they saw as largely the product of the actions of both President Rhee and
the US military advisers in Korea.24 The multiplicity of military grievances
increased dramatically when the government notified the United States at
the Korea–America high-level talks on 25 August 1960 that it planned to
reduce the armed forces by 100,000 personnel – initially it had aimed at a
reduction of 200,000. This reduction meant that 17 percent of the entire
officer corps was under threat of losing their livelihood without the protection of a pension. In this context, the collective grievances of the military became a decisive factor underpinning the reformist colonels’
“Clean-up the Military” campaign.
Plotting the military coup
As if this were not enough to divide the military’s unity and harmony, an
unexpected conflict emerged between high-level officials in Korea and the
United States following a statement by General Williston B. Palmer, director
of military assistance in the Defense Department. Palmer had visited Seoul
for two days from 18 to 20 September 1960 as a personal guest of General
Ch’oe Yonghui, chairman of the chiefs of staff. On the day before his departure, he made a public statement with the endorsement of General Ch’oe
that he was personally opposed to the army’s purification campaign and
that he also had doubts about the Korean Government’s policy of reducing
military manpower. These remarks immediately sparked strong reactions
from both the Army Chief of Staff, Ch’oe Kyongnok, and the Defense Minister, Hyon Sokho. The former condemned it as a “clear violation of Korean
sovereignty” (Hapdong yon’gam 1961: 162) and the latter as “interference in
internal affairs” (Han’guk Ilbo 22 September 1960).
The loudest protest came on the morning of 24 September when
sixteen colonels, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Kim Chongp’il, demanded
the resignation of Ch’oe Yonghui on the grounds of alleged financial
irregularities. This was a blatant counter-attack by the reformist colonels
on Ch’oe, who had attempted to prevent Park Chung Hee’s return to Military Headquarters in Seoul and continued to be unsympathetic toward
their clean-up campaign. This revolt, known as haguksang sagon (revolt
against seniors), not only led to Ch’oe’s fall from his post on October 15,
but more importantly accelerated the young colonels’ plot to overthrow
the Chang Government (Kim Hyonguk and Pak Shawl 1985: 40). In February 1961, the two key players in the haguksang sagon were discharged
from the army, albeit officially through “voluntary” resignations. One of
these was Kim Chongp’il who offered his resignation under the strict
agreement that the army would not punish Park Chung Hee for his connection with the haguksang sagon.
Paradoxically, as Kim returned to civilian life, the reformist colonels’
military coup plot became even more audacious, but no one in the military or the government took any firm measures against it. The only plan
the military contemplated, and then only briefly, was Park’s retirement in
May 1960. According to Yi Ch’olsung, then chairman of the Armed Forces
Committee in the National Assembly, who led the influential junior
members’ faction, Sinp’unghoe (New Breeze Club) of the ruling Democratic Party, Park’s scheduled retirement was confirmed by Prime Minister
Chang Myon when Park was at Army Headquarters in Seoul as chief of
staff for operations. Yi went on to say that, instead of being retired, Park
was transferred to Taegu as a result of his recommendation to the Prime
Minister (1994: 254–6). A counter-claim was made by former LieutenantGeneral Chang Toyong, one of Park’s long-time supporters, who was then
commander of the Second Army in Taegu. Chang claimed that he had
directly requested Headquarters to appoint Park as his deputy commander after hearing that Park was about to be discharged (Cho Kapche
Chosun Ilbo 18 July 1998).
Although both claims need to be considered with caution, it is obvious
that Park had received extraordinary support from someone in power, if
not General Chang himself, who appears to have deliberately spread the
rumor of Park’s imminent removal from active duty in an effort to camouflage Park and his reformist colonels’ secret coup plan. This hypothesis
warrants close scrutiny because, by being transferred to the Second Army
as Chang’s deputy commander, Park not only avoided retrenchment, if in
fact the rumor was true, but also and more significantly, obtained his permanency as major-general on 20 February 1961, just one day before
Chang’s appointment to Army Chief of Staff.
Most notably, by being transferred to the Second Army under Chang’s
obvious protection, Park was reunited with Major-General Yi Chuil,
Chang’s chief of staff, who was one of Park’s oldest friends from their
Manchukuo military training days, and who also played a key role in the
May 16 military coup. Although the accounts surrounding this particular
issue have never been questioned by anyone to date, Park’s transfer to the
Second Army less than five months before the May 16 military coup seems
too neat, in its timing and cause and effect, to accept at face value. But
whatever the reason for the transfer, there is no doubt that the belief that
these events underscore the final preparations for Park’s military coup has
firmly taken root in the popular mood of the country.
In regard to the timing of Park’s coup in May, insiders have portrayed
Park as a desperate general trying to save his career by locking himself
into a do-or-die race against the clock from the moment, on 12 January
1961, that he and his reformist colonels learned that the army had
included him on a list of 153 officers to be moved to the Reserve Army in
late May. These insiders argue that Park had no option but to pre-empt
the army’s decision by staging a military coup before he was removed from
the army. The transition from words to action was abrupt. And so it began:
in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, 16 May, Park led a military coup by
crossing the Han River into Seoul with a bandit-size revolutionary force of
just 3,600 troops.
The background to the May 16 military coup of 1961 needs to be understood in two contexts: the Korean popular demand for total reform, and
the increasingly destabilized military after the April Student Revolution,
due largely to a major shake-up of the military hierarchy. In the case of
the former, demands for reform were expressed by civilians, especially
liberal intellectuals, politically sensitive urban citizens and students who,
in reality, had very limited means, if any at all, to put their demands into
effect. The only means at their disposal was to promote a popular consensus for total reform.
In the case of the military, however, the demand was quite specific:
clean up the military. This demand was the subject of a bold campaign by
Park and his reformist colonels who, in effect, caused significant disruption within the military hierarchy, and enough confusion in the ranks of
the government to bring about its very downfall.25 Yet the coup was generally seen as inevitable and necessary to bring about change in Korean
society. Even the most reputable daily newspaper, Tonga Ilbo, stated that
Korean society at that time required total reform because it had lost its
way due to “incumbent politicians’ corruption, incompetence, inefficiency
and . . . chaotic factionalism” (Editorial 19 May 1961).
As tempting as it is to dismiss this view as all too obviously biased, and
perhaps written under the coercion of the military junta, it nevertheless
reflects an important aspect of the popular mood concerning the Chang
Government. Similarly, the liberal intellectuals’ demand for strong leadership (perhaps more so than their desire for liberal democracy) provided a
strategic basis for Park to seize upon that demand. Most notably, Park justified the coup on the same grounds that the liberal intellectuals had provided, the need for national reconstruction, while also pursuing his own
reform agenda right to the brink on the same grounds, in both rhetoric
and action. This is not to say, however, that the thought of liberal intellectuals focused on national reconstruction, which is discussed in this
chapter, is a comprehensive representation of their ideas, or fully explains
the overall opinion of the majority of Koreans in the aftermath of the
April Student Revolution.
I have deliberately focused here on the intellectual debate on national
development during the eleven months between the April Student
Revolution and the May 16 military coup because of its relevance to Park’s
reform agenda after the coup and to his subsequent policies. To appreciate and understand the intellectual debate of the time, it is important to
note that little did the intellectuals know, especially those whose articles
on national development had been published in Sasanggye and who
actively participated in the debate, that their ideas would be misappropriated to justify a military coup. This was evident when, in the July edition of
Sasanggye, drafted in June – only one month after the coup – Chang
Chunha argued that the military had to return to democratic politics as
soon as possible, and Ham Sokhon bluntly stated that the people were
silent because they were anesthetized by the sound of gunfire and that
true revolution was something that neither students nor the soldiers could
achieve, but only the people.26 What Ham and most Koreans did not
realize, however, was that the road to the Korean people’s revolution had
already begun and that Park would be at the helm for the next eighteen
Part II
A quest for legitimacy and control
I want to emphasize, and re-emphasize, that the key factor of
the May 16 Military Revolution was to effect an industrial
revolution in Korea . . . I must again emphasize that without
economic reconstruction, there would be no such things as
triumph over Communism or attaining independence.
(Park Chung Hee 1963a: 259)
Following the military coup, Park immediately sought international legitimacy by adopting a strongly anti-Communist stance and policies focused on
economic development and national reconstruction. Park’s “Administrative
Democracy” or “Koreanized Democracy” was the public rationale for his military-style administration which, he claimed, was necessary to root out the past
and to construct a new generation of national leadership comprising former
military officers, technical engineers and other experts with professional
qualifications. In his reconstruction, Park established a new bureaucracy
which, even though it had a number of internal contradictions, promoted
an achievement-oriented approach with military-style discipline and
efficiency. Park’s most serious challenge, however, came from Korea’s ally,
the United States, which had revised its policy on Korea under the Kennedy
administration. Park’s efforts to establish political legitimacy, without compromising national security given the threat posed by North Korea and the
unacceptability of loss of US aid, generated direct conflict with US policy
advisers. They, for their part, understood and accepted that Park and his
junta supporters were conducting a nationalist campaign for economic
development focused on “anti-flunkeyism” and associated themes of national
A question of legitimacy
As seen in the previous chapter, Park’s military career had reportedly been
scheduled to end by late May 1961. At the same time, social and political
chaos had made Korea’s conservative establishment extremely nervous and
unstable. Park therefore claimed to have “disregarded the peril to my life”
(Park Chung Hee 1963a: 153) and led the military coup of 1961. He saw
his mission as that of finding a solution to the prevailing socio-political and
economic chaos, and ultimately removing the Communist threat from
North Korea. Of course, he also saved his own career and those of his colleagues. He claimed that his “revolutionary tasks” were also to “eliminate
corruption and eradicate other social evils . . . [and to] inculcate [a] fresh
and wholesome moral and mental attitude among the [Korean] people”
(SCFNR 1961: title page). The objectives of the coup, as shown in the
junta’s Six Pledges included: anti-Communism; strengthening international relations, anti-corruption, economic reconstruction, unification
and returning power to a civilian government (MHHCPW 1962: 26).
The first task of the coup leaders, however, was to consolidate power.
To do so, they needed to obtain the acquiescence of both the populace
and the international community as quickly as possible. It was especially
important to reassure the US, which financed over 50 percent of Korea’s
national budget and 72.4 percent of the defense budget (Korea Annual
1969: 109). The pledges, therefore, largely addressed immediate concerns
rather than enunciating long-term strategies to solve national issues. Similarly, the tough anti-Communism and anti-corruption pledges were
intended to give public credence to the junta’s commitment to addressing
these concerns, and to establish the junta’s legitimacy in government and
its ability to command public compliance to the new order.
Securing US approval was more difficult. The pledges, therefore,
gave priority to anti-Communism and to a reaffirmation of the UN
Charter, emphasizing the friendship between Korea and the US. The
US apparently acquiesced in the establishment of the junta as early as
20 May 1961, when President Kennedy sent a message to the Supreme
Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR), the interim governing
authority formed two days after the coup, confirming the friendship
and cooperation between Korea and the US. On this day, the SCNR and
General Carter B. Magruder, commander-in-chief, United Nations
Command, jointly announced the return of all rights of operational
command of the Korean Army, temporarily in abeyance during the
coup, to the United Nations Command in Korea (MHHCPW 1962:
Such a rapid and positive response to the perpetrators of the clearly
illegitimate, treasonous coup shows that Kennedy was more interested in
his Cold War policy of maintaining anti-Communist regimes around the
periphery of the Soviet empire than concerned about the US commitment
to creating democratic politics in South Korea. In fact, Kennedy’s Cold
War policy that US interests would be best served by not interfering in
domestic politics has been consistently maintained by US policy-makers
ever since.1 Thus US acquiescence in Park’s military coup would further
encourage him to plan his future political ambitions, mainly by positioning himself as a caretaker of the Cold War political paradigm instructed by
the US.
On 3 July, Park Chung Hee consolidated his leadership over the junta
government when he was appointed Chairman of the SCNR, with the
support of Kim Chongp’il. Park took steps to convince US representatives of
his political intention by relaxing the extreme anti-Communist purges that
he had imposed and by declaring his willingness to return power to civilian
control. These gestures were mainly in response to pressure from the new
American Ambassador, Samuel D. Berger who had arrived in Seoul on 24
June 1961. Berger had recommended easing US pressure on the Park
regime to allow him “a breathing spell to work out his problems and test his
sincerity and ability to deliver on his assurances” (Macdonald 1992: 219). In
Berger’s second meeting with Park, he reportedly stated that the US would
like to support Park’s junta leadership publicly “to give it strength and reassurance, but could not do so while arrests, purges and recriminations continued.” Responding to Berger’s statement, Park announced the release of
1,293 individuals held without charge for left-wing activities, plus other commutations of sentence (Macdonald 1992: 217).
Park’s anti-Communist policy was also calculated to conceal his personal vulnerability over his Communist past. On 9 June 1961, when Park,
as deputy chairman of the SCNR,2 first met with the American Chargé
d’Affaires, Marshall Green, the main concern he raised was the effect in
the United States of allegations of “former Communist connections.” In
response, Green reportedly reassured Park that there was no need for
repressive measures to prove his anti-Communism (Macdonald 1992:
216). Earlier, American officials in Korea had voiced their disapproval of a
possible coup and announced that the US would only “support duly constituted authorities here [in Korea]” (Macdonald 1992: 208). US suspicion
was understandable because its involvement in the Cold War left it vulnerable to exploitation by strategically located countries. Moreover, Park’s
purging of forty generals from the military in July raised speculation
among US policy advisers in Washington that Communists might have
been behind the May 16 coup.3
Park, however, treated the priorities of anti-Communism and economic
development as inseparable prerequisites for national reconstruction and
he depicted his military coup as the “only means” to save the nation and
the people, who were pushed to the limit. He developed his antiCommunist stance into a dogma and promulgated it as a precondition for
the people’s “freedom and democracy.” Park declared:
Compromise with the Communist Party is the beginning of
defeat. It must be remembered that the advocacy of territorial
unification while the society is in a state of chaos – as it was under
the Chang Regime – is the way to national suicide. Theories about
unifying the country under neutralism, such as those loudly proposed by the students, provide the opportunity for a bloodless
Communist coup d’état. We must defend to the last the democracy and freedom that we now enjoy.
(Park Chung Hee 1962a: 184)
It was highly contentious for Park to portray his military regime as a
defender of democracy and freedom when, in reality, these two essential
elements of the Korean people’s social and political life had been abrogated by the military coup. Park’s portrayal of his military regime,
however, reflects the capricious condition of the Cold War in Korea, in
which the illegality of Park’s military coup was willingly traded for the antiCommunist aims of US foreign policy. At a press conference on 27 July,
US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, officially acknowledged US acquiescence in Park’s leadership, welcoming Park’s “prompt and vigorous steps”
announced on 19 July 1961 that promised the restoration of civilian rule
(Macdonald 1992: 217). On 12 August, Park further impressed the US
Government by reaffirming the pledge that his regime would transfer
power to a civilian government in May 1963, a step to be preceded by a
referendum on a new constitution in March the same year. Park obtained
the ultimate form of US approval when President Kennedy invited him to
Washington for a working visit from 14 to 16 November 1961.
“Administrative democracy”
Despite his public pledges to return to a civilian government, however,
Park set about tightening his grip on the institutions of government. His
mode of military junta rule, known as “administrative democracy”
(haengjonggok minjujuui) was, according to Park, intended to meet Korea’s
“social and political reality, and not to introduce unworkable West European democracy” (Park Chung Hee ONP 1962b: 198). Its stated objective
was to weed out corruption, strengthen the autonomous ability of the
people, and establish social justice. Park asserted that the fundamental
problem of Korean society under the Chang Myon Government had been
its failure to eradicate three major evils: (a) pro-Communism and antistate opportunism; (b) the mushrooming of political parties and newspapers, both of which he considered irresponsible and corrupt; and (c)
the indiscriminate acceptance of foreign culture (Park Chung Hee ONP
1962b: 188). Strong leadership in an “administrative democracy” was
deemed by Park to be essential to maintaining control as he went about
the task of national reconstruction.
On 22 May, exactly a week after the coup, the SCNR began its “cleanup” operation by arresting 51 illicit profiteers, 4,200 alleged racketeers
and 2,100 suspected Communist sympathizers (Han’guk Ilbo 22 May 1961).
Much of this process was symbolic. Many of those arrested were soon
released again under various amnesties. Businessmen among them were
also released, but under strict conditions. They were soon prominently
engaged in the national reconstruction program, under an economic
system that Park termed “guided capitalism.” During this period, the
martial law commander also issued a series of decrees covering a wide
range of social and political measures, including the dissolution of all
political parties and social organizations (Decree No. 6).4 Two months
after the coup, the SCNR announced the dismissal of 6,900 civil servants:
6,700 had evaded military duty and 200 had kept mistresses (MHHCPW
1962: 40).
An additional 1,863 civil servants were charged with offences by the
Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), established by Decree No. 619
on 10 June 1961 and headed by Kim Chongp’il. The KCIA, responsible for
domestic as well as international security, reportedly investigated 41,712
leading members of the civil service and other government-run businesses
(HKHPW 1963: 1746). These extreme measures were possible because the
SCNR had designated itself as the supreme power with the right to overrule the constitution if it “conflicted with the Law regarding Extraordinary
Measures for National Reconstruction” promulgated on 6 June 1961.5
Park referred to these measures as a “surgical operation,” a term which
Ham Sokhon had used during the pre-1961 period. As seen in Chapter 2,
Ham had urged the nation to undergo a major “surgical operation,” a
total reform of society to save Korea’s very existence. Park’s call for a total
reform of Korea, however, was aimed primarily at getting rid of old politicians and consolidating his political power base with members of a new
elite from the younger generation. The SCNR later banned 4,374 former
politicians from political activities for six years in accordance with the
political “purification” law declared in March 1962.6 Park called this
process “human revolution.” In order to counter public fear about the
impact of his junta government on democracy, Park stated:
The Military Revolution is not the destruction of democracy in
Korea. Rather it is a way of saving it; it is a surgical operation
intended to excise a malignant social, political and economic
tumor . . . Once the patient has recovered, the physician advises
him to return home for convalescence. It is for this reason that
the revolutionary troops have made a firm pledge to return governing power to civilians.
(Park Chung Hee ONP 1962b: 189)
Park’s reference to the need for a surgical operation reflected
the nationalistic rhetoric used by many world leaders in the late 1950s,
including Gamal Abdel Nasser. Park’s rhetoric also reflected that associated with Sun Yat-sen’s modernization of China and, as Park claimed, that
of the Meiji Reform in Japan. However, it would seem that Park’s administration, both in concept and structure, was most closely modeled on
Sukarno’s “Guided Democracy.” The junta’s “clean-up” operation was so
effective, in terms of public perception of prompt government action, that
even the popular conservative press expressed its support for the coup
(Tonga Ilbo 28 May 1961). The intellectuals’ principal mouthpiece, Sasanggye, congratulated the military for “making the citizens respect the law,
reinvigorating sagging morale, banishing hoodlums” (June 1961: 4), and
featured many positive comments from readers. One such comment stated:
Did they [old politicians] fail to run this country because its politics was too difficult? It was too difficult because they tried
nothing but stealing and cheating about matters that were selfevident . . . No doubt there will be danger ahead on this rough
road. This certainly is a miracle, even though danger risks failure.
Is it not a miracle for us to live?
(Won Songik 1961: 12)
Many Koreans believed the clean-up activities to be temporary prior to
the return of power to civilian government, as pledged. However, Park’s
restructuring of the state and his dismantling of democratic political structures was far from temporary. Park saw this restructuring as necessary to
empower the state, to carry out reforms in order to “systematize efficiency
in administrative management,” and to prevent the “personalization of
official positions” (Park Chung Hee 1962a: 234–5). Park’s strong state
nevertheless remains an enigma to many. According to one researcher,
the most “puzzling and intriguing aspects” of a strong state, such as the
Park regime, have to do with how such a government obtains “bureaucratic autonomy in the first place and why it was subsequently directed to
developmental goals as opposed to the self-maximizing or predatory forms
of behavior so common in other contexts” (Önis 1991: 114).
In the case of Park, the developmental goals were directly linked to
how he perceived his political leadership and thus his administrative strategy. Park was convinced that bureaucratic autonomy was the most effective means of achieving national reconstruction and the consolidation of
his own political leadership, for it established disciplined bureaucracy set
into a framework of reciprocal obligation. In other words, Park as the
political master, as the symbol of the state, empowered and guaranteed
bureaucratic policy autonomy in return for undiluted loyalty and productivity from bureaucrats.
What came to be termed “administrative democracy” established the
foundations of Park’s military dictatorship for many years to come. Park
repeatedly claimed that administrative democracy offered Korea the
opportunity to make a new beginning and to achieve closure with its past,
especially to bring an end to Korea’s “slavish mentality” toward strong
foreign countries and eradicate national poverty due to foreign dependence. He observed that a fundamental flaw persisted in Korea’s democracy as a consequence of two major national characteristics. The first was
the Korean people’s subservient mentality (sadae juui) toward the old
conservative “ruling forces” such as the “Liberation Aristocrats”, the
provincial landlord class and yangban who, after liberation, had dominated both the Rhee and Chang Governments (Park Chung Hee 1962a:
130). The second characteristic, Park observed, was “Korean-style capitalism” which had modeled itself on colonial capitalism following Japanese
colonial rule. It had led to collusion between government officials and
corporate entrepreneurs. Park argued:
Korean-style capitalism under Japanese colonial rule had guaranteed the pursuit of foreigner-colonialists’ interests and, post-liberation, had degenerated into a hot-bed of corruption and
dishonesty which assisted illicit profiteers who pursued profitmaking with their government allies.
(Park Chung Hee 1962a: 130–1)
Park demanded the elimination of the established conservative power
base which had been built on privilege, status, class and wealth, as a precondition to establishing “Koreanizing democracy.” He argued that the
construction of a non-elitist and “bottom-up” democracy in Korea must be
achieved over time, so that his military junta could implant “democratic
factors” in stages, which would then be “developed among the general
public as far as possible” (Park Chung Hee 1962a: 198). In this process,
Park blatantly contradicted all accepted democratic principles.
To explain why our [junta] activities must become an “administrative democracy,” I should say that it is our immediate goal to
materialize social justice by eradicating the corruption of the past
and by strengthening the people’s ability to be autonomous. As a
step toward this goal, we should not, during this transitional
period, aim to establish democracy in the political sense in all
respects, but rather in an administrative sense. This is so because
the democracy that we must aim to build is not one imposed from
“above,” but one that must emerge from “below”.
(Park Chung Hee 1962a: 229–30)
A key element in the attempt by Park to implement his idea of a
“bottom-up” democracy was the nation-wide program known as the
People’s Reconstruction Movement (PRM – kung’min chaegon undong)
launched on 12 June 1962. In practice, however, the PRM was used as a
means of building the military junta’s network at the local level and was
no reflection at all of the people’s voice. In just over two years, the PRM
claimed to have secured a body of solidarity for national capability and the
basis of national unity, with over 5,060,000 individuals trained in “democratic” national reconstruction (HKHPW 1963: 1,699–1,700). Despite its
massive structure and ambitious intentions, however, the PRM was dissolved on 24 July 1964, and converted into a private organization on 5
August 1964, mainly because of a critical shortage of government funds.
Park’s technocracy
In addition to pursuing reform at the local level, reform of the bureaucracy continued to be a top priority for the military junta. In conjunction
with the purges discussed earlier, the recruitment of new elite officers to
the junta government laid the foundation of Park’s strong state. According to one source, the number of professors involved totaled 470, many
already involved in sub-committees of the SCNR’s National Planning Committee, including sub-committees on politics, the economy, culture, law
and planning (Yi Sangu 1993: 320). This figure does not include professors who were invited separately by Park, then Chairman of the SCNR, and
his personal advisers, and those mobilized by Kim Chongp’il for the establishment of the Policy Research Institute, which became the Korean
Central Intelligence Agency on 10 June 1961. The SCNR undertook
further comprehensive restructuring of government administration in
October 1961, modeled ostensibly on US Military Planning and Programs
(Choson Ilbosa 1996: 228–31).
The SCNR had been particularly active in recruiting the nation’s outstanding talent to plan and implement economic and industry development programs. Many individuals from the private sector who became
leading technocrats, like Kim Chongnyom and O Wonch’ol, were among
those recruited. An examination of the structure of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI)7 prior to 1961 helps to understand the lack of
Korea’s bureaucratic capacity under post-war governments to boost industrial development. Until the May 16 coup in 1961, the MCI had been
headed by a minister and deputy minister and four directors-general who
managed four bureaus: Industry (Kongopguk), Mining (Kwangmuguk),
Electricity (Chon’giguk) and Commerce and Trade (Sangmuguk). Below
the directors-general stood middle-ranking officers, with the title of
kwajang (directors or heads of departments), and then kyejang (section
heads). Technological officers were graded under the category of
kukchang, with the highest rank in this category being that of kigam
(technological supervisor).8 Most senior positions in the ministry were
held by administrative staff while the technological experts were
systematically sidelined or weeded out. Against this background, Minister
Chong Naehyok, a Major-General and a graduate of the Japanese Military
Academy who took over the MCI in May 1961 under the junta administration, instigated a radical clean-up of the ministry, dismissing many senior
officers. This purge, undertaken under one of the Six Pledges of the junta
government, was carried out under the slogan, “Sweep away old evils”
(Kuak ilso). The outcome was a thorough restructuring of the MCI.
Two assistant deputy ministers, Ham Inyong and Song Ch’anyong, were
appointed, the former in charge of mining, industry and electricity, and
the latter in charge of commerce and trade.9 The Office of Planning and
Management was added in August 1962. The significance of Minister
Chong’s restructuring was that, unlike his predecessors of the First and
Second Republic (1948–60 and 1960–1), he appointed elite technicians as
director-general to three of the MCI’s four bureaus (other than the
Bureau of Commerce and Trade). As a result, both assistant deputy ministers and three out of the four directors-general in the MCI were highly
qualified technological experts, or simply technocrats. Director-level
appointments were also filled with young elite engineers and experts from
other areas, especially commerce and economics. Many had worked for
the US military in Korea. For example, a large number of senior officers
in the MCI in 1962 (including Deputy Minister Pak Ch’unghun, an assistant deputy minister, two directors-general and two directors) had been
technical officer cadets in the class of 1950 conscripted for the Korean
War who had worked with the US Air Force.10
A highly self-disciplined military-style administrative structure was thus
established with a range of extraordinary disciplines and controls on staff,
some of which were clearly politically motivated. In the case of the MCI,
the entire Ministry undertook compulsory “thought training” for a week at
the National Defense College in Susaek, Seoul. This “training” was, in
effect, similar to that required by Kim Il Sung in North Korea, and
amounted to a cultural revolution at the corporate level. In addition, the
entire public service was subject to tight scrutiny by the “Joint Investigation Team” led by the SCNR’s Inspection Committee on Irregularities of
the Public Service (Kongmuwon piwi chosa wiwonhoe).11
It has been claimed that in this process almost one-sixth of the entire
civil service of 240,000 was dismissed (Oh 1999:124). Indeed, the 1963
National Civil Service Law marked the beginning of Korea’s meritocratic
bureaucracy in which, according to Lee Hahn Been, civil servants were
promoted on the basis of merit rather than seniority (1982: 223–4).
Accordingly, the newly formed Park technocracy consisted of two “new
generation” elite groups: (a) technocrats and (b) a blend of former military generals, corporate managers and professional administrators. As a
whole, these groups displayed three distinct characteristics. First, they
were highly qualified professionals with a strong sense of self-discipline
and a focus on efficiency and achieving goals. Second, they had a clear
understanding of the essential difference between their own bureaucratic
managerial power and that of their political masters who held ultimate
governing power. Third, they had no illusions about Park’s national development agenda.
This is not to say that Park’s technocracy was not criticized for disturbing Korea’s value-system and for instilling a “short-cut mentality” (p’yonpob
juui) in the minds of the Korean people, the bureaucracy and the business
community (Han Wansang 1989: 194–202).12 Another source of criticism
was the application of familism and regionalism in Park’s technocracy.
The former applied familial or school ties to the allocation of career
opportunities in the bureaucracy and other state enterprises.13 Regionalism meant the allocation of sites for the construction of industrial complexes, as well as appointments to high-ranking political and military
positions, to Park’s home region, North and South Kyongsang Provinces,
which, by the mid-1970s, would become the center of Korea’s industrial
In addition to these areas of concern, the economic bureaucrats of
Park’s technocracy were divided, as early as the mid-1960s, into the economists of the Economic Planning Board (EPB) and the engineer technocrats of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI). This split
became particularly evident when, in March 1967, the Ministry of Science
and Technology (Kwahak kisulch’o) was established and the EPB was left
with no engineering technocrats after the closure of its Bureau of Science
and Technology. From that time, there emerged a difference in approach
to economic policy between the EPB’s economists and the MCI’s technocrats. Whereas the economists in the EPB preferred a macro-economic
approach, the technocrats in the MCI pursued micro-economic policies.
This difference in policy approach would subsequently lead to Park shifting his preference in terms of economic policy from the EPB policymakers on whom he had relied at first to those of the MCI, especially after
the appointment of Kim Chongnyom as his chief of staff in October 1969
(see Chapter 7).
Guided capitalism and the first Five-Year Plan
From the outset, Park planned to manage economic development
through state-led intervention in industrial enterprises under his guided
capitalism. According to Park’s writings in 1962, guided capitalism was a
system of economic management designed to create an economic order
that would guarantee the “equalization of income and public benefit from
the economy” (1962b: 217). Park claimed to uphold simultaneously the
egalitarian ideals of equality in distribution and free competition.
However, he saw the government’s role in the
ment as that of an industry manager or a
opportunities for all can be guaranteed by
218). Thus he contradicted his own rhetoric
ance and control. He noted:
course of national develop“guardian” so that “equal
free competition” (1962b:
with his concern for guid-
Where the appalling power of mammoth enterprise is concerned
only with private profit under a self-assumed assertion of contribution to national development, there is no free competition . . .
Therefore, the state’s coordination and supervisory guidance of mammoth
economic strength, especially that of private enterprise, becomes a key issue
in a free economic policy.14
The greatest challenge to Park in implementing his economic strategy
was to establish a bureaucratic system powerful enough to resist the “overwhelming pressure on legislative and administrative organs [from proprietors of large enterprises] to get laws favorable to them” (Park Chung Hee
1962b: 217). He believed that the negative activities of these business
tycoons in the past had simply represented “a head-on clash with free economic activities and . . . a betrayal of democratic principles” (Park Chung
Hee 1962b: 217). This is not to say that his own method was any different.
For example, Park introduced “guided capitalism” through the first FiveYear Economic Development Plan which, according to him, was designed
to ensure that the activities of leading businessmen (chaebol) did not
“betray” so-called “democratic principles.”
To initiate a draft of the first Five-Year Plan, Park is known to have
directed, within a week of the coup, three young economists – Kim
Songbom, 37; Chong Soyong, 29, who held a Ph.D. in economics; and
Paek Yongch’an, 32 – to complete a draft plan within 80 days, that is,
before 15 August, Liberation Day. Like many elite economists and technicians at that time, they had been specially recruited by the Supreme
Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR). According to Chungang Ilbo
(Daily), Paek was the only one of these with previous experience in longterm planning, having drafted two long-term seven- and five-year development plans under the Rhee and Chang Governments respectively
(Chungang Ilbo 1998: 124). The draft plan was in fact completed within
60 days and was designed to double gross national product (GNP) and
national income within ten years by maintaining economic growth at an
annual average rate of 7.1 percent.
On 22 July 1961, the SCNR officially announced the draft plan now formally known as the “Comprehensive Economic Development Five-Year
Plan” (Chonghap kyongje kaebal 5-gaenyon kyehoek), as well as the establishment of the EPB which took over responsibility for the Five-Year Plan. It
was at this time that Park apparently directed the EPB to draw up an
“operational plan” in detail. Song Chongbom, who was the first deputy
director of the EPB, stated that, in the course of drawing up the “operational plan,” the planners referred to several models, including the
Nathan Report (published in 1954 and the basis of the Rhee Government’s three-year plan that was overtaken by the April Revolution) and
the five-year plans of Malaysia and India (Chungang Ilbo 1998: 128).15
Thus Park’s five-year development plan was by no means the first in
Korea’s development planning history.16 However, some researchers’ suggestion that Park and his military junta’s final draft plan, known as the
“May 1961 plan,” “drew heavily” from the Chang Government (Wolf 1962:
24) needs to be understood in the context of the stage in planning
reached by the Chang Government. The Chang Government had no longterm development plan until April 1961 when the National Assembly officially adopted a resolution calling for “long-range planning” which did
not reach the US Embassy until two weeks after the military coup. Given
this background, it is reasonable to assume that the planners of the military junta’s final draft, the May 1961 plan, may well have drawn ideas from
available sources, including long-term plans of both the Chang and Rhee
The May 1961 plan, nevertheless, attracted severe criticism for various
reasons. Some members of the SCNR, for example, ridiculed it saying,
“What sort of happy-go-lucky Five-Year Plan is this, while right now [the
nation] has nothing to eat?” (Chungang Ilbo 1998: 127) In its first draft,
according to Professor Song Ch’anghwan, a member of the Advisory
Committee of the EPB at that time, the plan “tended to lean excessively
toward a planned economy (kihoek kyongje)” and thus, after some consultation, the EPB revised it so that it “focused on [the framework of] a mixed
economy (honhap kyongje)” (Chungang Ilbo 1998: 127). The harshest criticism, however, came from the US in November 1961 when Park took the
final May 1961 plan with him on his visit to Washington. The US State
Department reportedly labeled it a mere “shopping list.” The May 1961
plan was formally announced in January 1962 as the first Five-Year Plan
Despite radical revision in mid-1964,18 the first Five-Year Plan (FYP) was
a most important blueprint for the initial phase of Park’s guided capitalism, directing the workings of the Park administration, especially in its
dealings with owner–managers of leading business groups, the chaebol.
Park established a Confucian military-style master–student relationship
between the government and the business community. Moreover, the first
FYP provided Park with the public policy required to impose what he
termed “administrative controls” (Park Chung Hee 1962b: 214) over every
business group, and simultaneously shielded him from any unwanted challenges from the business community.
Nothing would illustrate the effectiveness of the “administrative con80
trols” on the business community more than the SCNR’s arrest of fifty-one
prominent businessmen on the charge of “illicit profiteering,”19 and thus
the confiscation of their property, following the “Special Measure for the
Control of Illicit Profiteering” on 28 May 1961. These leading businessmen were released on 30 June, only after they had signed an agreement
stating: “I will donate all my property when the government requires it
for national construction” (Cited in O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1: 19). Yi
Pyongch’ol, founder of Samsung and Korea’s largest business conglomerate, who was in Tokyo at the time, reportedly sent his agreement from
In effect, most Korean businessmen were placed on parole. Their
freedom depended strictly on their business performance and their
cooperation with the SCNR, which had to fit Park’s notion of “serving the
nation.” In return, Park’s guided capitalism offered extensive measures of
industry support, such as unprecedented protection and privileges,
including foreign loan guarantees, financial subsidies, protection from
independent unionism and a fixed-wage system.21 These measures were
specifically designed to create large-scale national enterprises through
existing chaebol. In particular, the government’s foreign loan guarantee
system (enacted in July 1962) allowed big business to access massive borrowings from abroad. O Wonchol commented in 1994:
On 16 August 1961, only three months after the coup and on the
date when the Promotional Committee for Economic Reconstruction was changed into the Federation of Korean Businessmen, the
race among business leaders had just begun not only for Korea’s
industrialization, but also for their own great leap to become
chaebol. This was so because these so-called “illicit profiteers” were
the government’s choice to become the owner-developers of
industries under the Five-Year Plan.
(Interview with O Wonchol, October 1994)
By convicting business leaders, nationalizing the five major banks
(Emergency Banking Measure, 16 June 1962) and declaring currency
reform (Emergency Currency Measure, 9 June 1962), Park swiftly imposed
government controls over the key mechanisms needed for state-guided
capitalism. The declaration of these Emergency Measures infuriated US
representatives in Seoul because the Park regime had neither consulted
nor informed the US before they were announced. In fact, the US became
so furious with Park’s currency reform that Edward Rice, Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State, warned Korean ambassador Chong Ilgwon that: “If U.S.
efforts are to be nullified, we must reassess assistance policy” (Quoted in
MacDonald 1992: 218). Five weeks later, on 13 July, the Park administration announced the cancellation of the currency reform.
Park’s attempts to raise domestic capital stirred up numerous political,
economic, social and diplomatic crises without achieving his primary
objective: to establish immediate economic capacity based on Korea’s own
“national capital” (minjok chabon). By recalling all Korean cash and
exchanging it for new cash, Park and his military clique aimed to trace
and mobilize the Korean people’s savings, whether deposited in the banks
or privately hidden. However, Park quickly discovered that no Korean,
regardless of whether rich or poor, had much cash in hand. As another
desperate effort to mobilize capital, Park also proclaimed the Stock
Exchange Act (on 15 January 1962), but this reform measure also failed to
help the state raise the required revenue. Nevertheless, by pursuing a
comprehensive strategy of guided capitalism through the first Five-Year
Plan and various reform measures, Park succeeded in establishing state
control over the banks, thereby laying the foundation for long-range economic development planning. A critical factor in stable control over longterm planning was the business agreement between Park and the thirteen
most prominent “illicit profiteers.”
Chaebol training
On 17 July 1961, three days after their release from nearly two months’
detention, Park commissioned thirteen “illicit profiteers” to establish
the Promotional Committee for Economic Reconstruction (PCER),
the forerunner of the Federation of Korean Industries. The thirteenmember PCER’s aim was to implement a program of industry development by drawing up a plan for six key industries: cement, synthetic
fiber, electricity, fertilizer, iron and oil refinery. The PCER decided
that these industries, except for oil refining, which was to be managed
directly by the government, would be divided among its 13 members.
Accordingly, cement went to Kumsong Textile (presently Ssangyong); fertilizer to both Samsung and Samho Textile; electricity to Taehan Milling;
iron to Taehan Cement, Kukdong Marine, Taehan Industry, and
Tongyang Cement; and synthetic fiber to Hwasin, Choson Silk Mill and
Han’guk Glass.
The business leaders, led by Yi Pyongch’ol, the first Chairman of the
PCER, proposed to build factories first in order to maximize their available capital, and after that to pay their allotted penalties, due by 31
December, by donating company shares. The requirement that they
venture into areas of production unfamiliar to their established operations appears to have been a deliberate tactic by the PCER to “force” new
commercial links, new ideas and new technology. Although the promise
to pay penalties by “donating company shares” was rarely kept, these
leading business leaders had no illusions about the state’s absolute power
over their businesses. The consequences of challenging or resisting the
state’s first Five-Year Plan were severe, whether in terms of their business
or their personal safety.
For example, Ku Inhoe, the founder of Lucky-Goldstar and one of the
“illicit profiteers,” was ordered to build a cable factory. He would have preferred to build a textile factory, similar to that operated by Pak Hungsik,
owner–manager of Hwasin Department Chain Stores. But in April 1962,
exactly four years before the completion of Lucky-Goldstar’s Han’guk
Cable Company, Ku was summoned by Colonel Yu Wonsik, Chairman of
SCNR’s Commerce and Industry Committee, and ordered to build the
cable factory. He was also ordered to conclude a foreign loan contract for
its construction “within a week” (Interview with O Wonch’ol, October
1997). Ku apparently struggled to explain to Yu the difficulty and complexity of loan negotiations with a foreign company, let alone completing
a loan contract within a week. All he achieved was a one-week extension
with some harsh “lessons.”
Although details of this episode are not documented, which is not
surprising, Ku, like many industrial proprietors at that time, seems to have
received much more than “verbal” lessons. It took around just ten days for
Ku’s company, Lucky-Goldstar, to complete a loan contract of US$2.95
million with Fuhrmeister, a West German company, which had clearly
taken extraordinary steps to help address Ku’s needs. This incident
undoubtedly was one example of what Park later termed a “surgical operation,” which he imposed on many prominent people, especially leading
chaebol who were “punished severely,” in Park’s words, “in the name of our
nation” (1962b: 201).22 Here Park’s low tolerance toward business leaders,
especially in the state’s planning and implementation of industry development, is noteworthy because it was the application of this state-guidance
paradigm that Park would further intensify from January 1973 when he
declared heavy and chemical industrialization under the Yusin system (see
Chapter 8).
After this incident, no business leaders, including Ku, dared to resist
directly the directives that emanated from the SCNR’s industrial planning
committees. Ironically, this less-favored option of a cable factory laid the
foundation of the Lucky-Goldstar chaebol. The most remarkable aspect of
Lucky-Goldstar’s building of the company Han’guk Cable, however, was
that it became a “test” case for Park’s single-minded industry development
carried out in Korea’s “own” national interest in the face of US opposition, and led to a court case that lasted for nearly three years from May
1963 to the company’s completion in April 1966.23 In this respect,
although it unfolded some years later, the widely known story behind the
construction of Pohang Iron & Steel Co., or POSCO, also reflects Park’s
mode of industry development, focused on Korea’s own interests and own
decision-making.24 The dramatic change in business leaders’ attitudes
toward the SCNR and, more specifically, to Park’s leadership, came about
through this process. Moreover, leading members of the Federation of
Korean Industry (FKI) such as Yi Pyongch’ol, Nam Kungyon, Yi Chongrim, and Chong Chaeho subsequently played active roles in both advising on industry development, as well as traveling overseas to attract
foreign capital for investment in Korea (Kim Yongt’ae 1990: 146–9).
Leadership challenge
On 27 December 1962, Park announced that the transfer of power to an
elected civilian government would take place in August 1963, and that
presidential and National Assembly elections would be held in April and
May 1963 respectively. This announcement was made on the day after
Park’s declaration of the newly revised national constitution. By then, Park
and his fellow junta leaders, especially the young colonels, already
intended to dominate any future “civilian” government. Park signaled this
future plan not only by announcing his own intention to retire from the
military to run for the presidency, but also by encouraging the SCNR
members to do likewise if they desired to run for the National Assembly
At this stage, however, Park had come up against many obstacles both
internally and externally. Internally, he was caught up in the power
struggle within the military junta between the progressive young colonels
led by Kim Chongp’il, then head of the KCIA, and moderate senior
members of the SCNR. This power struggle reached crisis point in early
January 1963, when the senior members or the Moderate Faction of the
SCNR joined the government’s newly formed Democratic Republican
Party (DRP), formally founded on 26 February 1963, and discovered that
the Party had already established a centralized structure, with Kim Chongp’il dominating its power base. Externally, and most relevant to his financial capacity, Park struggled with pressure from US policy advisers to
restore civilian government and to comply with changing US aid policy.
Park’s political leadership ambitions, however, were still far from realized.
The renewed crisis within the junta was primarily motivated by a
struggle for control over the DRP’s infrastructure and management and, in
this process, Park stumbled because of his own ambition. Park had made a
risky but very calculated choice to rely on Kim Chongp’il for consolidating
his leadership position, especially following the elimination of the initial
nominal coup leader, General Chang Toyong, and his supporters in July
1961. At this time, Park was managing most of his secret reform projects
and negotiations through Kim as his most trusted and astute chief negotiator and as director of the KCIA. One of the most controversial negotiations
Park initiated through Kim was the secret agreement with Japanese
Foreign Minister Ôhira Masayoshi – on 12 November 1962 – to outline a
basis for restoring relations between Japan and Korea.25
In late January 1963, however, this secret agreement, as well as the
“four big scandals”26 through which Kim had allegedly financed the DRP,
were brought into the open, especially with the resignation of Marine
General, Kim Tongha, from the DRP in protest on 21 January. Although
the party was not yet formally inaugurated, Kim Tongha’s resignation
stirred up many leading members of the Moderate Faction as well as many
top-ranking generals. On 17 February, a group of moderate leaders,
including Kim Chaech’un, a leading member of the SCNR, Pak
Pyonggwon, Minister of Defense, and four armed forces’ chiefs of staff
delivered their “ultimatum” to Park that he cancel his plans to run for the
presidency in the forthcoming election. They also demanded that Kim
Chongp’il withdraw from the new DRP and that he leave the country at
Having received an in-depth report on each of these moderate leaders’
recent activities and having briefed himself thoroughly through a lengthy
meeting on that same day with Kim Chongp’il and his other key supporters, Park apparently accepted their demands. He seems to have realized the overwhelming weight of opinion behind the moderate leaders’
ultimatum. He had also been under constant pressure from US Ambassador Berger who had repeatedly insisted on Park returning power to a
civilian government. Berger had also put pressure on Park, since the
announcement of currency reform in June 1962, to “downgrade” Kim’s
influence over the military junta (Macdonald 1992: 219).
On 18 February, Park announced that if civilian political leaders agreed
with “nine conditions” he would not participate in future civilian politics
and would completely nullify the blacklist of political leaders banned from
political participation. He also promised to postpone the date of the
general election until after May. Moreover, Park proposed to hold a
formal ceremony to which he promised to invite representatives of political parties, civilian political leaders, and leaders of the armed forces, to
pledge their agreement to implement the “nine conditions” for a return
to civilian government (Kyonghyang sinmun 18 February 1963). This epic
announcement quickly impressed civilian politicians and they agreed to
the “nine conditions.” The US also endorsed Park’s announcement. This
warm acceptance gave Park breathing space and time, which appears to
have been the primary motive for his announcement in the first place.
Two days later, Kim Chongp’il resigned from all public positions and, on
25 February, left the country. But the calm before the storm was brief.
Dependence on US aid
On 16 March 1963, Park announced a decree proposing a national
referendum to extend the military government’s term by an extra four
years. This announcement once again shocked the nation. Ambassador
Berger was particularly annoyed with Park because he realized that Park
had blatantly ignored his request to delay the announcement until the US
could prepare its position. After the announcement, Berger and other US
embassy officials in Seoul strongly urged Park to abandon his plan. When
Berger was informed that the date for the referendum would be
announced the following day, he threatened to withhold economic aid.
Berger also warned that if Park announced the referendum date, the US
would retaliate within an hour by publicly announcing that US support for
Park “had been predicated on the fulfillment of pledges given to the
Korean people and to us to hold elections and restore civil government. If
these pledges were not fulfilled, we would be forced to re-examine our
attitude toward Park’s regime.”27
Berger’s threat to withhold economic aid seems to have taken effect
immediately. From late March to early April, Tonga Ilbo reported that the
military government’s negotiations for food were being used by the USA
to force Park to cancel his March 16 announcement (Tonga Ilbo 19, 20, 22
March and 4 April 1963). Indeed, this was the beginning of what seems to
have been a US anti-Park strategy during the nine months from March to
November 1963 designed to force Park not to break his pledges to “hold
elections and restore civil government.” The anti-Park strategy had primarily emerged out of the Kennedy administration’s aim to redirect US
aid to economic development assistance, focused on long-term economic,
political and social development, and away from military development.
In their series of memoranda in March 1961 to Walt Rostow, who was
the deputy national security adviser to the White House, Robert Komer
and Robert Johnson, both of whom were National Security Council (NSC)
aides, had urged redirecting US policy from military aid to economic
development assistance. To secure aid money for economic development,
they supported Prime Minister Chang Myon’s proposal for a reduction of
100,000 in the Korean Army.28 Similarly, the outgoing US Ambassador,
Walter P. McConaughy, cabled a long report to Washington on 11 April
1961. In it, he reported on the Chang Myon Government’s weakness and
on the “absolute necessity” for a long-range economic development plan
for Korea, while at the same time pointing out the possibility of Japan
playing a key role in Korea’s economic development. To allow Japan to
take such a role, however, McConaughy stressed the need for the US to
play a more active role in bringing about a normalization treaty between
Korea and Japan.29
When Samuel D. Berger was appointed the new US ambassador to
Korea on 12 April 1961, his primary task, therefore, was to implement this
new US policy. This included proposals for Korea to obtain assistance
from Japan and Germany, for a substantial reduction in the Korean Army,
and for the USA to act as a catalyst for normalization talks between Korea
and Japan.30 What Berger could not have anticipated himself, however,
was the staging of a military coup in Korea, which forced him to pressure
junta leaders, especially Park, to return to a democratic form of civilian
government by election. Berger’s approach in this process appears to have
been too “heavy-handed” (Reischauer 1986: 252), to the extent that Park
not only stood up to US policy advisers, including Berger, but also promoted his counter-strategy using the rhetoric of “anti-flunkeyism.” In
October 1961, Park clearly feared a reduction in US aid and felt US pressure on him to effect a rapid return to civilian rule and settlement with
Japan, when the US invited him to visit President Kennedy the following
month. Berger was at pains to convince Park of the value of the visit, both
in terms of the world recognition that it would bring and the fact that the
State Department was examining ways to recompense Korea for the
reduced aid.31
Berger’s power over Korea at that time was extraordinary because, as
one researcher, basing his conclusions on US archival sources, pointed
out, Berger not only had “all non-military operations under his control as
a country team, but also had the overall authority given him by the
‘Kennedy Letter’ of May 1961” (Macdonald 1992: 290). On 8 April 1963,
Park rescinded his March 16 decree and deferred a decision on election
dates until September. Almost immediately, Berger recommended that
Washington should release an immediate grant of additional PL 480 [food
aid program] aid of wheat and barley to help the Korean Government
control a rice market racked by inflation. Berger suggested that US aid
during this period would assist in persuading Japan to settle a bilateral
agreement with Korea and pointed out that the Park Government was
already “intent on settling with [the] Japanese during these months.”32
Between late April and late May, Berger seems to have come to some compromise with Park, which was significant enough to warrant the ambassador making a special trip to Washington in order to urge President
Kennedy directly to provide additional aid.
This was a remarkable development because Berger’s assessment of the
Korean political situation at that time, which he discussed with Kennedy
on 31 May, was that it was extremely volatile, so much so that Roger
Hilsman, US Assistant Secretary of State, described it as “balanced on a
knife’s edge.”33 Berger’s changed attitude toward Park and his military
junta government appears even more remarkable when one considers
Berger’s awareness about his own government’s desire “to see Park
defeated in the election” (Macdonald 1992: 224). Berger nevertheless
believed that there was a strong need for political and economic stability,
and that Park had little option but to give priority to Korea’s economic
difficulties because he knew, just as the US did, that his country’s food
supplies would run out by mid-July if aid were not forthcoming.34 Berger
understood Park’s weakness accurately, at least concerning the critical
food shortage in Korea at that time. (From March 1963 Korea had faced
food shortages as a result of a severe drought in 1962 and floods in 1963
in the south-west Honam area.)
Berger’s sudden change of approach toward Park and his military
government appears to have been motivated by the US Government’s
deadline for the settlement of normalization between Japan and Korea.
On 12 February 1963, Berger and ambassador Reischauer in Tokyo
received firm instructions from the State Department that they should
“press hard on [the] Korean–Japanese negotiations despite political
factors.”35 On the same day, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Far
East, Averill W. Harriman, also sent a personal message to Berger. Harriman wrote: “[I] underline to you personally [the] importance which is
placed here at [the] highest level on the ROK–Japanese settlement being
achieved [by] this spring.”36 Therefore, it appears that Berger’s changed
attitude toward Park and his military government emerged out of mutual
self-interest, and that Berger agreed to release US aid in return for Park’s
agreement to settle Korea–Japan normalization as soon as the elections
were over.
This does not mean, however, that Park and Berger trusted each other.
Evidence shows that each honored his part of the agreement strictly on a
quid pro quo basis. For example, Park flatly refused to make an
“announcement of elections in the Fall . . . until Korean demands for U.S.
foodstuffs were met” (Macdonald 1992: 224). When they were met, but
only partially, Park announced the election dates on 27 July, but nonspecifically, by declaring, “mid-October for the presidential election and
late November for the National Assembly (NA) elections” (Chong
Chaegyong 1994: 115). In August, Park and Berger engaged in some more
incremental bargaining, including the temporary handing over of an
alleged North Korean “spy,” Hwang T’aesong, whose case is discussed
below, to US intelligence for questioning. The US, in return, released
115,000 tons of additional wheat under the PL 480 program.
At this point, Japan stepped in and also donated 40,000 tons of rice,
wheat and barley (Reischauer 1986: 252). Park finally announced the election dates as 15 October and 26 November for the presidential and the
NA elections respectively. Further aid was sought with Berger’s support,
but Washington rejected this request on the ground that unless Korea
drew up a sensible development plan and a balanced budget, additional
aid would only be misused and increase dependency on the US.37 On 31
August, one day after his resignation from the army, Park officially
accepted the DRP’s presidential nomination. His acceptance initiated a
new phase in Korean politics because, for the first but certainly not the
last time in Korea’s contemporary history, a military figure was nominated
for the presidency.
Anti-flunkeyism rhetoric in the presidential campaign
In contrast to his own position as military junta leader, Park characterized
the opposition’s stance, during the election campaign, as “pre-modern,
feudalistic and flunkeyist” in the face of foreign powers. He proposed to
introduce “a new uniquely Korean way” and a new political leadership
system opposed to “Western-style” democracy with a total transfer of political leadership from the old “privileged class” to the masses (Nam
Chaehui 1963: 54). With this rhetoric, Park launched his presidential election campaign which was focused primarily on Korea’s fundamental
problem: national dependence on the US and flunkeyism (sadae juui). He
built his campaign mainly on the national priority of winning Korea’s
autonomy over dependence, especially on US aid. Park argued:
The total size of the (1961) budget was 608,800 million hwan, of
which the United States counterpart funds supplied 316,900
million hwan . . . to finance national construction development
projects. This represents 52% of the total budget . . . Thus, more
than half of the national budget . . . depended upon the United
States . . . Though nominally independent, the real worth of the
Republic of Korea, from a statistical point of view, was only 48%
. . . In other words, the U.S. had a 52% majority vote with regard
to Korea, and we were dependent to that extent . . . It showed,
dramatically, that our government would have to instantly close
down if U.S. aid were withheld or withdrawn.
(Park Chung Hee 1963b: 21–2)
The key issue implicit in this statement, albeit carefully downplayed,
was US intervention with respect to Park’s leadership and his “dangerous
deficit for 1962” (MacDonald 1992: 294) due largely to the high investment level demanded by the first Five-Year Plan (1962–6). Park tackled
this issue on two fronts: he urged the Korean people to “wake up” from
old habits of dependence and to work for economic development, and he
demanded that the US Government change its aid policy to allow Korea to
“obtain more of the kind of aid we want and to utilize it independently”
(Park Chung Hee 1963a: 45). He declared, “We reject any begging-style
aid” (Nam Chaehui 1963: 57). In campaigning for Korea’s autonomy, free
from US intervention linked to foreign aid, Park set about systematically
eliminating US influence on Korean Government affairs.
To support his bid to win the presidency, Park introduced a new
concept of democracy in September 1963, termed “Nationalistic Democracy” (minjokchok minjujuui) or “Koreanized democracy” (Han’gukchok
minjujuui). According to Park, the future of Korea had to be built on two
priorities: “Korea-first” and “economy-first.” These two priorities were akin
to the agenda for national reconstruction articulated by leading Korean
intellectuals during the pre-1961 period (as outlined in Chapter 2). How,
then, was Park’s agenda different from the “liberal democracy” promoted
earlier by Korea’s intellectuals and what were Park’s key objectives for
Nationalistic Democracy? To address these questions, it is important to
consider Park’s second book, Kukka wa hyongmyong kwa na (The Nation,
the Revolution and I), released in September 1963, a day after his
announcement of the presidential election. This text was reportedly
drafted by a scribe who claimed that Park wanted to explain frankly to the
people the national condition at the time of the coup, especially vis-à-vis
North Korea’s economic and military power (Nam Chaehui 1963: 194–5).
In the book, Park launched into open criticism of US aid policy in
Korea and its management, especially through the United States Operations Mission (USOM). Park also declared his position on national reconstruction in terms of his political ideology, vision and strategy. Park’s
terminology of “Nationalistic Democracy” symbolized the primacy of
national independence and sovereignty over foreign dominance and
interference, especially in domestic affairs. He claimed to be a “commoner” (somin), and thus a protagonist of the people’s autonomy and
people’s democracy. The Korean people’s quasi-feudal and quasi-colonial
mentality toward their “Masters” in the past, whether pro-Japanese or proAmerican, reflected the extent of their economic deprivation.
To put it starkly, the government’s holdings of foreign reserves by the
end of 1961 were a mere US$205,206,000. By the end of 1962, the Park
administration, with its heavy investment in facilities and infrastructure,
held only US$166,793,000. National Treasury holdings, by September
1963, had been reduced to US$105,405,000, of which the holdings of US
currency amounted to a mere US$93,298,000 (Han’guk unhaeng chosabu
1994: 204). Plainly, Korea verged on bankruptcy. The election campaign
thus boiled down to an ideological debate on democracy. Park argued:
“This [presidential] election is . . . a contest between false liberal democracy, which has been based on forgotten nationalist ideals, and liberal
democracy based on intense nationalism” (Kim Kyongnae 1963: 103).
Park’s statement immediately stirred his opposition, especially Yun
Poson, former President and leader of the Civil Rule Party (Minjongdang), who represented one of the most conservative political groups in
contemporary Korean politics. Yun declared:
This election is a contest between democracy and impure democracy. Everything will be obvious when we examine each person’s
past record in regard to who is and who is not a nationalist, who is
and who is not an adherent to democracy and, who is and who is
not a Communist.
(Sin Sangch’o 1963: 119)
According to each candidate, the other did not represent the principles
of genuine liberal democracy, Yun arguing that Park’s concept of democracy was “impure,” and Park arguing that Yun’s was “hypocritical.” A
notable feature of this dispute was the public exposure (although
minimal) of Park’s Communist past (see Chapter 1). In particular, Ho
Chong, one of the seven presidential candidates and the leader of the
People’s Party (Kungmin ui dang) exposed the Democratic Republican
Party (DRP) links with a mysterious man known as “Hwang X” from North
Korea. Hwang X was quickly identified as Hwang T’aesong, the North
Korean Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade, who had supposedly arrived in
Seoul on 1 September 1961 to “propose” negotiations with the North.
Contrary to this purpose, however, Hwang was allegedly involved in the
DRP’s special training program undertaken in advance of the Party being
officially established. Ho Chong argued that the DRP’s prearranged
organization, with a “cell structure” framework known as chomjojik, had
been prepared by Hwang. This cell structure apparently had been
modeled on the structure of the North Korean Workers’ Party. Ho therefore demanded that the government should clarify the Hwang X Incident.
There emerged growing public criticism of Park, and Yun Poson exploited
this public mood in his campaign speech in Chonju on 24 September
1963 when he accused Park of “trampling on democracy” (Kim Kyongnae
1963: 104–5).
On 10 October, just five days before the election, Park revealed that
Hwang was an old friend of his elder brother, Sanghui, who had been
executed by police for his role in a Communist riot in October 1946. He
also revealed that Hwang’s secret mission to Seoul had been “to propose a
[political] negotiation between South and North Korea.”38 He had been
found guilty of spying for North Korea. Park insisted that, “It is also a fact
that a certain foreign organization was involved in the process of fabricating false facts and spreading them as if Hwang T’aesong was related to
me” (Yi Sangu 1993: 142). Park’s reference to a “certain foreign organization” pointed to the US Embassy in Seoul, especially the CIA which had
been pressuring Kim Hyonguk, then Director of the KCIA, to hand
Hwang over to US Army intelligence for questioning.
Park subsequently exchanged Hwang for large-scale economic and military assistance. In return, Kim Hyonguk claimed, a cargo of wheat,
brought in under the PL 480 program, which had been anchored offshore at Inch’on since early August, was also finally unloaded. Kim also
claimed that 115,000 tons of additional wheat were allocated as well, to
give effect to the fourth Korea–US Agreement for Surplus Agricultural
Commodities, which had been concluded on 13 August 1963 (Kim Hyongwuk and Pak Sawol vol. 2 1985: 60). Overall, the Hwang episode reflected
Park’s vulnerability to criticism for his Communist past. In order to rid
himself of this stigma, Park approved Hwang’s execution.39
In October 1963 Park won the presidential election over Yu Poson by a
mere 151,595 votes or 1.5 percent, obtaining 46.6 percent of the total vote
(Yun Hyongsop 1980: 332–3). As many commentators have noted, a
united opposition, instead of a field of six candidates (even though two of
them withdrew just before the election), would certainly have defeated
Park. Despite widely noted bribery, election fraud and irregularities, the
presidential election was generally seen as “fair.” On 18 October, the
United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of
Korea stated, “the voting was properly organized and held in an orderly
and regular manner” (Macdonald 1992: 225). Ironically, however, the narrowness of Park’s victory seems to have shocked ambassador Berger. He
seems to have been particularly worried about the Korean people’s lack of
confidence in Park and his military government as a result of the American anti-Park strategy and the withholding of US aid. What Berger wished
least was another narrow victory to the government party in the November
Berger therefore strongly recommended to Washington that the US
release economic aid prior to the Assembly elections. He believed that
such a demonstration of good faith was necessary because the American
Government’s “[anti-Park] attitude and withholding aid had become a
major issue in [the presidential] campaign” and that unless the US
defused the issue by releasing “some supporting assistance . . . the government party might not gain a majority in the Assembly” (Macdonald 1992:
226). Accordingly, the US released $10 million from its 1963 supplement
funds in November, even though “the $15 million of scheduled Fiscal Year
1964 US aid was still withheld” (Macdonald 1992: 226).
On 26 November, the DRP won an overwhelming victory in the
National Assembly elections, obtaining 110 of the 175 seats. By then, the
Party was once again under the management of Kim Chongp’il who had
returned from his short exile in the US just a week before Park’s election
in October, and subsequently ran for election to the National Assembly as
DRP chairman. To what extent the sweeping victory was due to the
urgently released $10 million in US aid is difficult to tell. At the least, it
could not have been entirely unrelated. The astounding victory was even
reported by the DRP itself as the result of “the timely and efficient distribution of campaign funds” (Joungwon A. Kim 1975: 254; Kwangbong Kim
1971). The victory confirmed the achievement of Park’s most important
priorities in his two-year military junta leadership: to establish his political
legitimacy and to obtain US support.
Park, improbably, had indeed got away with grand larceny. Why? Mainly
because President Kennedy was concerned with worldwide Cold War
policy, not with Korea’s domestic affairs. The US, therefore, wasted no
time in effectively endorsing Park’s military junta as the bulwark of its
Cold War bloc, focused on the maintenance of anti-Communist regimes
around the periphery of the Soviet empire. In this context, Kennedy
betrayed his own country’s commitment to creating democratic politics in
Korea by acquiescing to Park’s military dictatorship.
The flaw in US Cold War policy in Korea was that it not only enabled
Park to establish the legitimacy of his essentially illegitimate political
leadership, but it further encouraged him to insist on a measure of
independence in his negotiations with the Americans, especially on aid in
relation to Korea’s economic development. From the viewpoint of Washington policy-makers, Park was recalcitrant, to say the least. But, as we
have seen in this chapter, recalcitrance was Park’s tactic in order to win
“quid pro quo” negotiations with the Americans. Park thereby created his
own leverage, however annoying from the viewpoint of Washington officials, in insisting on Korea’s independence from US intervention, especially in Korean affairs.
Park’s “quid pro quo” approach upset Washington officials from the
very beginning. They were also suspicious about Park’s earlier record of
Communist activity. Yet, Washington had no illusions about the importance of Park’s role to its Cold War policy. Similarly, Park had no illusions
about the importance of Americans to Korea. He thoroughly appreciated
that without US support and cooperation he could not maintain and
strengthen his hold on power and his domestic and international legitimacy. Thus despite the continuing dominance of American policies
through the provision of aid, Park relentlessly promoted US-led antiCommunist capitalism, while also articulating economic nationalism in his
dealings with the US. For Park, the US represented an absolutely necessary resource for Korea’s economic development and the US presence in
Korean affairs therefore became a defining parameter in the formulation
of Park-style modernization.
Alliance with the USA
More than anything else, [we] need money. Even though the
US helps us, I can’t expect that the US would double its aid
and I can’t trust the US. But we can justifiably demand
money from Japan. It’s a huge loss for the nation if anyone
destroys that [financial source] in the name of anti-Japanese
sentiment or humiliation.
(Park Chung Hee)1
Once the elections were over, and his legitimacy confirmed as the newly
elected President of the Third Republic of Korea, Park wasted no time in
tackling his two most challenging tasks: reversing the direction of Korea’s
relationship with Japan and the development of Korea’s defense security.
With extraordinary prudence, Park sought to achieve these goals by
making his government’s priorities dovetail with US policy in East Asia,
especially as regards US interests in Japan and Vietnam. Park thus commenced fundamentally altering Korea’s relationship with Japan while at
the same time negotiating with the Americans about the terms and
conditions for the deployment of Korean troops to Vietnam. These
moves enabled Park to kick-start his national development program as an
integral part of the US-led Cold War initiatives in East Asia. They also
enabled him to play an active role in regional politics to the extent that, in
the words of James C. Thomson, “Korea [was] no longer a fragile and isolated U.S. ward, but reconciled with its traditional enemy and potential
protector [Japan], [and a] participant in [a] new Asian regional
For the Park Government, therefore, the first half of the Third Republic, from 1963 to 1967, was epoch-making, especially in terms of securing
US support for Korea, which was given as a “pay-off” by the US for Park’s
policy of alignment with US security policy in East Asia. For Koreans, this
period was marked by high expectations, as well as by misgivings about US
intentions, and by rapid economic growth mixed with a equally rapid
change in the character of Korean society. One change that was clearly
apparent was the rise of national confidence on the part of both the
government and the people. The reins of political power, however,
remained firmly in Park’s hands, as reflected in his overwhelming victory
in the 1967 presidential election. It was during this four-year period that
Korea’s development really took off. But the second half of the Third
Republic, from 1968 to October 1972, when Park declared the authoritarian Yusin Reforms, provided a radically different context for Park’s strategy internally and externally.
Internally, Park faced a number of problems due largely to the rapid
erosion of the people’s confidence in the government that occurred
during this period, while at the same time he struggled with factional
strife within the governing Democratic Republican Party (DRP). This is
not to say that Korea’s economic growth was in any way less impressive
than that of the first half of the Third Republic. In 1970, the government
achieved its third consecutive export goal. This goal of reaching one
billion dollars in annual export earnings had, in fact, been brought
forward by several months from the original set time frame as we shall see.
Rapid economic growth, however, generated a new social phenomenon:
the growing assertiveness of the workers in voicing their demands. They,
together with university students and many leading intellectuals, not only
demanded higher wages and better working conditions for workers, but
also conducted social campaigns for human rights based on democratic
The Korean people as a whole were discontented with the government.
Social discontent, especially toward Park, dramatically worsened in
October 1969 when he managed to win the national referendum for a
constitutional amendment, permitting him to run for the presidency for a
third term in 1971. The flaw in obtaining this constitutional amendment
was that the DRP had passed it unilaterally using irregular methods (see
Chapter 5). In this process, Park not only exposed his personal ambition
for prolonged one-man rule, but also ruthlessly purged anyone who disagreed, or was seen to disagree, with him. Therefore, political restructuring to consolidate the so-called “Guidance System” (chido ch’eje) within the
DRP and the state bureaucracy became inevitable, as did the introduction
of hard-line policies to constrain anti-government forces.
Externally, and with less opportunity for flexibility, Park faced
extremely challenging problems that demanded radical policies, especially
concerning national security. Two key conflicting factors contributed to
Korea’s security crisis: an increase in North Korea’s armed provocation on
the one hand and what was seen as a policy of appeasement by the US of
North Korea on the other. The former was a consequence of Kim Il
Sung’s hard-line unification policy which promoted the armed Communization of South Korea, and the latter was due to the changing focus of
US foreign policy introduced by the Johnson administration during its
very last phase. The US policy of disengagement from direct participation
in Asian conflicts became official in early 1969 when the newly elected
President Nixon announced his new foreign policy, the Guam (or Nixon)
Doctrine.3 In the face of apparently declining American hegemony in
North-East Asia, the Nixon Doctrine primarily aimed to reduce the cost of
military expenditure in Asia.
The Nixon Doctrine became a core element in the East–West détente
of the 1970s, when the United States and the Soviet Union globally
adjusted their diplomatic relations on the overt basis of peaceful coexistence, with China and Japan regionally following suit. However, these
countries’ motives had little to do with this rhetoric of peaceful coexistence at the global level. The Sino-Soviet dispute that had emerged
around 1959–60 was a significant factor in Nixon’s rapprochement with
China, for he saw rapprochement as an opportunity to promote the SinoSoviet split. Mao went along with this development because of the difficulty of his relations with the Soviet Union. This strategic maneuvering to
weaken the Soviet Union’s claim to control all of the Communist world
was something quite different to peaceful coexistence.
The changed relationship between world powers meant that the politics of the Cold War changed irrevocably, and was now dominated even
more by the US. There is no doubt that Western Europe’s economic
powerhouse and Japan’s emerging one made them important players on
the world scene. But Western Europe was tied up in US-dominated
NATO, with Eastern Europe part of the Communist bloc, and Japan was
by no means a world power with military control over its own destiny – a
control it still does not command to this day. The change was critical for
lesser powers around the globe, but it was especially critical for Korea,
where superpower intervention had resulted in national division and the
subsequent rivalry between the two Koreas in a zero-sum game. In this
strategic context, the second half of the Third Republic of Korea was a
period in which Park was driven to seek an alternative to the apparently
declining value of the US security commitment as a consequence of US
rapprochement with China, just as Kim Il Sung sought a way to guarantee
the survival of North Korea in this same context.4
Japan–Korea normalization
By February 1964, just a little over a month after Park’s presidential inauguration on 27 December 1963, normalization talks between Japan and
Korea were well under way, following heavy pressure from the Kennedy
administration, especially on the part of Secretary of State Dean Rusk.5 In
his first visit to Korea in November 1961, Rusk had personally assured
Park of continued US support and had promised that the Korean military
would not be “reduced.”6 Normalization of Korea’s relations with Japan
had been US policy from 1947 as part of the US containment strategy,
which was designed to make Japan a partner in the Cold War against
Communism. The US policy in regard to normalizing Korea–Japan relations also meant that the emphasis in US policy shifted away from demilitarization and democratization toward economic rehabilitation in order to
create a powerful anti-Communist force in North-East Asia. However, the
US Government made very little progress in bringing the Japanese and
Korean Governments together for normalization negotiations prior to the
Kennedy administration. Between 1951 and October 1960, for example,
there were a total of five meetings between the governments of Japan and
Korea, but no progress was made, mainly because neither government
showed the political will to tackle the controversial issues surrounding the
negotiations. President Rhee, in particular, maintained his uncompromising anti-Japanese stance despite his appointment to government positions
of many well-known former Japanese collaborators.
Park, on the other hand, visited Japan’s Prime Minister Ikeda in Tokyo
– even if this visit was brokered by Rusk – on his way back from Washington in November 1961. This visit was a bold move when one considers
the anti-Japanese sentiment of the Korean people and Park’s already
tainted reputation as a “Japanophile” if not “Japanese collaborator.” Park
not only held talks with Ikeda on two occasions, but also met many
Japanese business leaders, including Kishi Nobusuke, former Manchukuo
bureaucrat and postwar Prime Minister, who had been responsible for
initiating preliminary negotiations between Japan and Korea in October
1960. Why did Park so willingly expose himself when he was so vulnerable?
As the quotation heading this chapter shows, Park’s main interest in
normalizing the relationship with Japan was economic. His keen interest
in Japanese money is understandable in light of the near bankrupt state
of Korea at the time as well as the fierce struggle between Park and US
policy advisers who had been pressing Park to comply with their new aid
US economic aid under the Kennedy administration had fallen dramatically from $216.4 million in 1963 to $149.3 million in 1964, the largest
decrease since 1955 (Sungjoo Han 1978: 59). Hence Park needed an extra
source of economic and financial assistance that would be strong enough
to support Korea’s first Five-Year Plan and provide for his own political
survival. We should be careful, however, not to judge Park’s motive for
“quick normalization” to have been solely that of financial urgency, an
aspect of which was the need to address the substantial trade deficit with
Japan. For their part, the Japanese, especially private companies, were
quite willing to support Park and his ruling party. According to American
CIA information, Japan had provided the DRP with $66 million, two-thirds
of the party’s entire budget, between 1961 and 1965 (Jung-en Woo 1991:
A further pressing motive for Park’s push for normalization is to be
found in US policy in North-East Asia which, in effect, placed Japan in the
new role of economic power in North-East Asia and accordingly forced
Japan to share in the responsibility of regional economic development,
especially of Korea. Thus, according to the US embassy in Tokyo, strong
US pressure finally forced not only Park, but also the Japanese, “to push
ahead toward Korean settlement as necessary in Japan’s own interests”
(MacDonald 1992: 134). Japan’s readiness for normalization also came at
a price to the US, skillfully negotiated by Prime Ministers Ikeda (1960–4)
and Sato (1964–72). Ikeda in particular sought balance-of-payments concessions from the US. In addition to economic concessions, Sato also
sought the restoration of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty, on which he
had “staked his political future” (Havens 1987: 132). This latter objective
was finally achieved in May 1972. Therefore, Park’s interest in normalization with Japan was tightly balanced by trade-offs between Japan and the
US. Within this triad of interests, Park pushed toward normalization with
Japan but at great political cost, including head-on clashes with internal
opposition forces who rejected this policy.
Park reassigned Kim Chongp’il to Japan in March 1964 to negotiate
final arrangements for signing a treaty, despite mounting suspicion
among opposition parties over Kim’s activities, especially following the
“secret agreement” in November 1962 between Kim and Japanese Foreign
Minister Ohira Masayoshi. In this agreement, Korea agreed to restore relations with Japan in return for a total package valued at $800 million. Of
this, Japan agreed to provide $300 million in grants payable over ten years;
$200 million in government loans; and $100 million in commercial
credits, which amount was later increased to $300 million (Yi Tosong
1995: 124–40 and 266). On 23 March, Kim made a significant breakthrough in the negotiations during his meeting with Prime Minister Ikeda
and Foreign Minister Ohira, setting a timetable for concluding a treaty by
the end of May. But, on 24 March, this timetable was quickly annulled
when a nation-wide anti-treaty protest, involving university students, politicians, civic leaders, church leaders and high school students swept
through Seoul and other major cities (Ch’oe Ch’anggyu 1976: 208–324).
The protestors demanded the cancellation of the “secret agreement”
between Kim and Ohira, the details of which had been revealed, and
Kim’s recall from Tokyo. They also condemned the agreement as “humiliating and unequal diplomacy.”
On 27 March, Kim was recalled from Tokyo and, on 31 March, Park
suspended normalization talks. The most serious protests, however, broke
out on 3 June when university students calling for Park’s resignation
clashed with police in Seoul. These protests, later known as the June 3
Struggle (yuk-sam hangjaeng), had been building up since 20 May when
Seoul National University students conducted the so-called “funeral of
Nationalistic Democracy,” symbolizing the death of Park’s ideological flagship and his government. During this mock funeral service, the students
also conducted the now legendary shamanist ritual, Exorcism to Invoke
Native Land Consciousness (hyangt’o uisik ch’ohon kut), which, together
with mask-dance drama, marked the beginning of the Korean people’s
cultural movement, more commonly known as the Minjung Culture Movement (Minjung Munhwa Undong) in the 1980s (Van Leest, Kim Hyung-A
1992; Choi Chungmoo 1995: 105–18). From the viewpoint of the protesters, including the students, the state was selling national sovereignty to
Japan and the blood of Korean youth to serve the purposes of the US in
the war in Vietnam (see below). Therefore, in their eyes, the Park regime
was “traitorous” for having engaged in a “proxy war” (Sim Yungt’aek 1973:
341). Fearing another student revolution, Park declared martial law which
continued until 28 July.
On June 5, as the situation had become extremely volatile, Kim
Chongp’il resigned from his position as Chairman of the DRP and left the
country for a second exile, spent this time at Harvard University (New York
Times 7 and 15 June 1964). Even in this chaotic situation, however, Park
continued his push for early rapprochement. In addition to normalization
negotiations led by special negotiators stationed in Tokyo, Foreign Minister Chong Ilgwon engaged himself actively, visiting Ikeda and Ohira and
seeking their “sincere response.” Behind this move stood, as one Korean
researcher noted, the “invisible hand: America’s Mighty Force”(Yi Tosong
1995: 210–62).
Nevertheless, not much progress was made until 9 November, when
Ikeda resigned due to poor health and Sato Eisaku, a younger brother of
Kishi Nobusuke, became Prime Minister of Japan. Almost immediately,
Kim Tongjo, the newly appointed chief negotiator in Tokyo, successfully
sought Kishi’s help,7 and then convinced the newly appointed Foreign
Minister, Shiina Etsusaburo, a long-time confidant of Kishi since the
1930s, and Prime Minister Sato to resume direct negotiations from 3
December.8 The most decisive factor in enforcing these Japan–Korea
treaty negotiations, however, came from the US when Sato and Park were
invited, although without agreed dates, to visit President Lyndon B.
Johnson. This “carrot,” as the invitation was termed by McGeorge Bundy,
special assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, was strictly
conditional on progress toward the conclusion of the normalization
treaty. On 26 December, Bundy wrote to President Johnson regarding
Park’s visit:
We ought to use the carrot of such a visit to draw him toward the
Japanese–Korean settlement which means so much to us both
politically and financially. We propose therefore to keep this one
indefinite in the hopes of progress of this sort.9
Not surprisingly, Park was determined to take advantage of this
“carrot.” Japanese Foreign Minister Shiina’s four-day visit to Korea on 17
February 1965 was a significant step in Park’s efforts to this effect. To convince Shiina to accept the government’s invitation to visit Korea and to
make an “apology” to the Korean people for their oppression during
Japanese colonial rule, even though it was a diplomatic gesture, Park
released, as demanded by Shiina, the three Japanese fishing boats and
their sixteen crew members who had been recently captured for entering
Korean waters inside the “Rhee Line” (a fishing zone previously declared
unilaterally by President Rhee). In his statement of arrival in Korea, Shiina
made an official apology by stating that “[Japan] sincerely regrets that an
unfortunate period existed in the long history of the two countries, and
deeply reflects on such a past.”10 The Korean Government until then had
absolutely refused to release these boats and their crews, despite US pressure. Moreover, Park approved the initialing of a draft treaty by Shiina
and Yi Tongwon, the Korean Foreign Minister, in the face of mounting
anti-normalization protests and violent clashes between the anti-treaty
campaign group, the Pan-National Struggle Committee Opposed to
Humiliating Diplomacy with Japan (hereafter the Pan-National Struggle
Committee), and the police. Just two days after Shiina’s apology to Korea,
ambassador Brown delivered President Johnson’s invitation to the US,
setting 17 May as Park’s day of arrival. Park accepted the invitation immediately.11
One of the key objectives of Park’s visit to the US to meet with President Johnson was to “re-affirm” continued US commitment to Korea, especially military commitment, which, as Dean Rusk had already twice assured
him since November 1961, would not be reduced as a result of Korea’s
normalization with Japan (Yi Tosong 1995: 367–70). Park’s objective was
clearly understood by James C. Thomson, a member of the National
Security Council. In his memorandum to Johnson, Thomson wrote that
the “paramount reason” for Park’s visit was to secure “the strongest possible indication from us, both through our courtesies to him and through
tangible evidence of continuing U.S. assistance that we have no intention of
abandoning Korea to Japanese control in the wake of a Japan–Korea settlement [emphasis in original].”12 It is no surprise, therefore, that the normalization treaty and Korea’s participation in the Vietnam War were the
two topics that dominated Park’s two meetings with Johnson. Park’s scope
for bargaining leverage with the US increased, however, when Johnson
requested Park to deploy to Vietnam a division of Korean combat forces in
addition to the currently deployed non-combat troops.
Although Park did not respond with a firm offer, other than expressing
his personal hope that “Korea would increase its commitment to one division,”13 he appears to have taken very little time in deploying the
requested division. Considering the massive anti-normalization protests at
that time and a twenty-four-hour hunger strike by the entire opposition in
the National Assembly as well as the leaders of the Pan-National Struggle
Committee, on the day after the Kim-Ohira signing, Park’s action to
deploy troops could be seen as a tactic to temporarily divert public attention. But such a view is too simplistic. The key factor was the opportunity
afforded by the change in US policy in Vietnam, which led to an escalation in US troops there to nearly 75,000 by July 1965 (Pentagon Papers,
1971: 414). On 11 August, the ruling DRP gained approval in the National
Assembly for the normalization ratification bill through a highly orchestrated “lightning coup” (Kim Kwangbong 1971: 115) which took place
close to midnight. The following day, sixty-one enraged opposition
members resigned and walked out of the Assembly. The DRP quickly
seized this opportunity to have a “one party” sitting of the Assembly on 13
August to submit and pass the deployment bill and, on the following day,
to ratify the normalization bill. By the time Korea established diplomatic
relations with Japan on 18 December 1965, more than 18,000 Korean
troops, including a marine brigade, had been deployed to Vietnam.
The Vietnam War
Just as the various Korean governments have claimed, until recent times,
that the deployment of Korean troops to Vietnam was an act of patriotic
“mission” against Communist aggression, many observers, especially progressive leftist intellectuals in the West, have referred to the Korean troops
in Vietnam as “rented troops,” “hired guns” and “mercenaries.”14 This view
received prominence in Korea in April 2000, when the progressive Korean
newspaper Han’gyore Sinmun and its sister weekly Han’gyore 21 published
an exhaustive investigation into atrocities by Korean forces in Vietnam.
The Han’gyore 21 characterized the Korean troops in Vietnam as “mercenaries who were more cruel than US troops” (Cited in Yi Tongwuk 2000:
Such views take on an economic as well as moral significance when we
consider that Korea’s economic gain from the Vietnam War was greater
than $380 million by the end of 1968 and, as one researcher noted,
“represented 16% of the total receipts of foreign funds and 2.8% of South
Korea’s GNP” (Se Jin Kim 1970: 519). This huge increase in the availability of foreign currency reserves, which reached an “all-time high of $386
million in October 1968” (Se Jin Kim 1970: 520), compared to $138
million in 1965, and less than $100 million in 1963, provides an important
complementary perspective, in sheer economic terms to the ethical issues
concerning the Korean involvement in the Vietnam War. The total sum
Korea received from the US for dispatching troops to Vietnam between
1965 and 1970, according to a US Senate Committee inquiry, was
$927 million (Jung-un Woo 1991: Chapter 4, note no. 68). Thus the
deployment of Korean troops to Vietnam was undoubtedly one of Park’s
key strategies. It was aimed not only at securing US approval for his
regime, but also at maximizing the economic and security opportunities
to be gained from US policy, especially by tailoring Korean goals to fit US
Cold War policy in East Asia.
Although Park undoubtedly had economic motives for sending troops
to Vietnam, declassified (March 1991) sources reveal that he also sought
to secure US commitment to a continuing military security posture in
Korea, especially after the completion of the Korea–Japan normalization
treaty. What Park feared most, even more than American plans to reduce
the Korean armed forces at that time, was the withdrawal of US troops
from Korea to meet the rapidly escalating demand for US deployment in
Vietnam. Given the history of US–Korea policy at that time, Park’s fear of
a withdrawal of US troops seems to have been justified. In June 1963, for
example, President Kennedy had seriously considered the reduction of its
military forces in Korea.16 In fact, US plans to reduce its forces in Korea
remained under consideration until 1965 when ambassador Berger succeeded in blocking them, arguing that a reduction could not be concealed for long and would have adverse political as well as military effects.
Given these circumstances, it is questionable whether Korea’s bargaining with the US in order to prevent the “turning-off of the economic and
military aid spigot” (Jung-un Woo 1991: 121) really began in the late
1960s. Evidence suggests that Park actually began his bargaining with the
US in the early 1960s, very soon after he took power and learned about US
foreign policy, especially that which emanated from President Kennedy’s
Task Force on Korea. As early as 14 November 1961, for example, Park
had suggested to President Kennedy, at their first meeting, that Korea was
willing to deploy troops to Vietnam.17 This proposal was repeated by Prime
Minister Song Yoch’an on 17 March 1962, when US Assistant Secretary of
State, Averill Harriman, visited Korea. Although Park’s proposal was not
accepted by the US until 1964, these ongoing negotiations between Park
and the US Government demonstrate Park’s ability to anticipate US policy
maneuvers in East Asia.
By 1966, a total of 23,865 Korean troops had been dispatched to
Vietnam. Between 1969 and 1972 a maximum of 47,872 Korean troops
were based in Vietnam at any one time, and a total of more than 300,000
had served there by the time Korea withdrew its troops altogether in July
1971. Park’s well-anticipated and shrewd negotiations with the US not
only delayed the “turning-off” of US military and economic aid, but also
extracted a commitment from the US to modernize the Korean armed
forces, as outlined in the “Brown Memorandum.”18 Although the slowness
of the US commitment to Korean military modernization frustrated
Korean policy-makers, especially Park, to the extent that they were driven
to planning Korea’s “own” defense-related industries (discussed in
Chapter 8), under the provisions of this Memorandum, Korea is said to
have earned more than one billion dollars from Vietnam between 1965
and 1970.19
In addition, in February 1966, Park also began a network – building
campaign within East Asia through a carefully planned tour of three
key nations: Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. It was Park’s attempt to
establish an anti-Communist bloc among “free” nations through
economic, cultural and social ties. The establishment of the Asian and
Pacific Council (ASPAC) in June 1966, which Korea hosted for its first
meeting in Seoul with a membership of eight nations, was a direct
outcome of Park’s campaign. In October the same year, Park toured
another three countries, including the Philippines, where he attended the
Manila Conference alongside seven other Vietnam War allies. Although
this Conference did not play any specific role other than the staging of a
symbolic gathering of the US-led anti-Communist bloc in East Asia, Park
impressed President Johnson enough for him to pledge publicly that “the
United States has no plan to reduce the present level of United States
forces in Korea.”20
The relationship between Korea and the US was indeed cozy enough
for Johnson to describe it as a “brotherly relationship” for which Park was
willing to deliver many favors, although at a calculated price. In his reply
of 9 September 1967 to Johnson’s request for a dispatch of yet more
Korean troops to Vietnam, Park stated:
With regard to the question of an additional dispatch of our
forces to Vietnam, I have already instructed my Minister of
National Defense to examine and report on the possibility as to
what size of forces and how we would be able to contribute if we
are to make such an additional dispatch of forces to Vietnam. My
decision naturally will be based on such a report. As a prerequisite to
this, however, I am faced with two important problems which I must solve.
One problem is the apprehension widely entertained by the general public
here that our capability for Korea’s own defense might be jeopardized in
case additional Korean forces are sent to Vietnam. The other is another
apprehension that, in view of the marked increase of infiltration by Communist armed agents from the North, we are not yet psychologically accommodated to feel secure unless some effective counter-measures are taken in
this field if we are to send additional forces to Vietnam.21
(Emphasis added)
On 22 December 1967, Park struck a more specific deal with the US at
his meeting with Johnson in Canberra22 At this meeting Park agreed that
he would deploy Korea’s third “light division”23 to Vietnam, on the condition that the US, in turn, provide a wide range of assistance to Korea to
strengthen its military and economic security. In his letter to Park,
Johnson stated:
During our luncheon in Canberra you told me of the problems
that confront you in connection with the dispatch of additional
Korean forces to Vietnam. I fully understand the need for you to
be able to assure the Korean people that their country’s security,
political stability, and economic progress will not be adversely
affected . . . Towards meeting this goal, my government will provide
as promptly as possible appropriate assistance, including furnishing two
destroyers and helicopters for this purpose . . . I am prepared to provide a
special program of assistance . . . to strengthen the Korean national police
. . . to assist you in the construction of . . . a major modern highway
between . . . Seoul and . . . Pusan . . . I agree in principle to assist in the
establishment of a civilian Korean logistics service corps for the support of
the ROK armed forces in Vietnam. My government stands ready to help
you meet the costs of this corps.24
(Emphasis added)
This letter, however, did little to convince Park about US commitment
to Korean security. In fact, the harmonious relationship between the
Johnson administration and the Park Government came to an abrupt end
less than a month after Johnson had sent him this letter. Park was furious
at US indifference following an assassination attempt on his life by North
Korean commandos (see below). He immediately cancelled his agreement
to deploy a third division of Korean troops to Vietnam and instead began
a serious reassessment of US policy in Korea, while at the same time
launching his nation-wide mobilization campaigns for military, economic
and socio-political strengthening.
Strained alliance
On 21 January 1968, a squad of thirty-one armed North Korean commandos made a daring assassination attempt on Park by attacking the Blue
House, the presidential residence. Of the commandos, twenty-seven were
killed, three escaped, and one, Kim Sinjo, was captured. Twenty-three
South Korean soldiers, including one colonel, were also killed and fiftytwo injured.25 Park reportedly called for immediate retaliation against the
North and demanded US support from the US ambassador, William J.
Porter. Porter’s response was: “Do it alone if you want” (Chae-Jin Lee and
Hideo Sato 1988: 44; Yi Sangu 1984: 88–9).
The Park Government became even more alarmed about security when
it observed the unilateral response by the US to the North Korean seizure
of their spy ship, Pueblo, on 23 January, just two days after the raid.
Holding fears for the safety of the eighty-one crew members, the US
decided, less than a week after the seizure of the ship, not to retaliate
against North Korea. Furthermore, the US engaged itself directly in negotiations with North Korea, excluding the South, which shocked the Park
Government. Foreign Minister Ch’oe Kyuha stated: “[The Korean Government] is totally opposed to US policy which places higher priority on the
Pueblo incident than that of the presidential residence” (Yi Sangu 1984:
89–90). This statement pointed to two issues. The first concerned the
undermining of Korea’s defense system as a consequence of US reluctance to act in the face of a major provocation, which was demonstrated in
their refusal to retaliate against North Korea’s armed attack on the presidential residence. Ironically, the key reason Korea desisted from retaliation against the North was that the US (which held command over the
Korean Army) objected to it. The second issue concerned US unilateralism in its negotiations with North Korea on the Pueblo incident.
Bombarded with protests from Korea, President Johnson sent messages
of reassurance on 3 and 5 February, offering an immediate increase in US
military assistance. Park responded that he would not remain passive if the
North provoked the South again. Johnson, alarmed with Park’s response,
sent his personal representative, Cyrus B. Vance, to Seoul on 12 February
1968, to attempt to secure Park’s personal assurance not to take unilateral
action against the North. The key interest of the US had been to repatriate the captured crew members. Park reportedly demanded that Vance
provide a “written guarantee” of Korea’s defense security from the US
Government. He also demanded that the US hand over its operational
control of the Korean Armed Forces, and that the US provide the same
level of security as that held by North Korea through treaties with the
Soviet Union and China (Interview with Yu Hyogin, President Park’s
senior political adviser, May 1994).
Vance flatly refused. After acrimonious negotiations, however, Park and
Vance issued a joint communiqué which stated: “the two countries would
consult immediately whenever the security of Korea was threatened and
. . . annual meetings of defense ministers would be held to discuss defense
and security matters of mutual concern.”26 Although Korea received
several gifts as appeasement from the US, including financial support for
the construction of a munitions factory to manufacture M-16 rifles, plus
an extra $100 million in military aid, this assistance did very little to allay
Park’s doubts about US policy on Korea. In fact, Park quickly adjusted his
government’s priorities and decided to build a comprehensive defense
system, the Homeland Guard, with an armed militia of 2.5 million men (see
Chapter 5). He also intensified the government’s drive to promote nationalism by introducing the National Charter of Education, declared in December 1968, and a $1 billion export earnings target with the support of various
national mobilization campaigns (discussed in Chapter 7). Through his
meeting with Vance, Park seems to have confirmed his fears about
US policy on Korea, particularly in regard to North Korean armed provocation. At this critical point, Park repeatedly warned, “there is a limit to
[our] patience and self-restraint” (Chong Chaegyong 1994: 253).
In April 1969, US reluctance to take action against North Korean
provocation became even further apparent when North Korea shot down
a US spy plane, an EC-121, in the Sea of Japan. Despite Henry Kissinger’s
urging that the US should immediately retaliate by bombing several North
Korean airfields, Nixon refrained from confrontation. Kissinger, who
regarded the EC-121 incident as the first major crisis in the Nixon administration, later referred to the USA handling of the incident as “weak,
indecisive, disorganized.” Kissinger’s note, the contents of which were not
disclosed until 1979, ironically reflected the Korean view of the Nixon
administration. He stated:
[The spy plane incident] showed major flaws in the [US] decision
making – [the Nixon Administration] made no strategic assessment; no strong leadership; no significant political move; lacked
both machinery and conception; made no demands that North
Korea could either accept or reject.
(Kissinger 1979: 321)
To understand the US position on the Korean problem here, however,
it is necessary to appreciate President Nixon’s final decision to oppose any
military retaliation against North Korea. He may have cautioned strongly
against the US being dragged into another Korean War because of
feuding between North and South Korea. In any case, as Kissinger himself
pointed out, Nixon’s decision was unanimously shared by his key policy
advisers, including Secretary of State Rogers, Secretary of Defense Laird,
and Helms, head of the CIA (Kissinger 1979: 319). In retrospect, Nixon’s
non-retaliation approach to North Korea turned out to be only a prelude
to a dramatic change in US foreign policy on Far East Asia. On 29 July
1969, President Nixon announced his new foreign policy known as the
“Guam doctrine” or “Nixon Doctrine.” The New York Times of 26 July 1969
reported on the text of President Nixon’s statement given at an informal
news conference:
As far as the problems of international security are concerned, as
far as the problems of military defense, except for the threat of a
major power involving nuclear weapons, that the USA was going
to encourage and had a right to expect that this problem would
be increasingly handled by, and the responsibility for it taken by,
the Asian nations themselves.27
From the Korean perspective, this doctrine confirmed the long held
fear of a US withdrawal from its security commitments in Asia. The only
question was when. On 26 March 1970 Park was given advance notice by
US Ambassador Porter that the US was reducing its forces in Korea by one
infantry division (Clifford 1994: 78). Park was then already convinced that
Korea could no longer expect “miracles” from the US, especially in terms
of military security against Communist threats from North Korea. Therefore, he pushed all out for adjustments to the conduct of his government,
his party and foreign policy, especially where it focused on the hostile relationship between North and South Korea, this situation ultimately leading
him to propose North–South dialogue (discussed in Chapter 5). He also
began diversified negotiations with the US by utilizing a variety of tactics.
These ranged from making a personal appeal through carefully chosen
prominent US policy figures such as Professor Robert Scalapino, who was
at that time influential in the formulation of US foreign policy on the Far
East, to organizing daring lobbying activities through the CIA which was
becoming more powerful in the mid-1970s.28 In 1995, Scalapino described
his early 1969 meeting with Park as “most unforgettable,” especially in
terms of how precisely Park predicted the withdrawal of US forces from
Vietnam. Scalapino said:
In my meeting with the President, who was accompanied only by
an interpreter, he said, “I think that your government is soon
going to withdraw its forces from Vietnam.” I then replied, “My
government has no such plan in any circumstance.” Despite my
firm denial, the President repeated his position and said, “Please
tell your government I need more time.”
(Author interview, December 1995, in Canberra)
As early as April 1968, Park is reported to have anticipated the US
intention to withdraw forces from Vietnam after his meeting with President Johnson in Honolulu (Yugyong chaedan 1990: 298). On this understanding, Park increased his efforts to modernize the Korean military
while appealing for “more time” throughout the 1970s. The appeal always
had the same theme:
I do not expect the US forces to remain in Korea indefinitely. But
the timing is too early. It is truly awkward that such an issue has
arisen in the present circumstance while the modernization of the
Korean military is not yet on track.29
Park had three major concerns about the US decision to reduce its
forces at that time. First, the tension between the two Koreas was rising
rapidly; second, the North had far superior military capability to that of
the South; and third, the South Korean Army was simply incapable of
defending the country by itself with existing military equipment and
weapons because they were too antiquated and dilapidated. These critical
conditions ultimately led Park to establish the “Big Push” program for
heavy and chemical industrialization, which essentially constituted a largescale defense industry in the mid-1970s, and put in place Korea’s own contingency measures, including a nuclear weapons capability program in
case of the withdrawal of US forces from Korea. By the time the US
Government delivered formal notice of the withdrawal of its 7th Division
to the Foreign Minister Ch’oe Kyuha on 5 July 1970, the withdrawal had
already been under way for at least six months and the Park Government
had not even been officially informed. Park was “devastated” (Boettcher
with Freedman 1980: 95).
The US Government had taken this action unilaterally without prior
consultation, in breach of the agreement known as the “10-point List”
made five years earlier in June 1965, and “reaffirmed” in August 1965
when the US Government had made further concessions to Korea in an
attempt to prompt the earliest deployment of Korean troops to Vietnam.30
Given these circumstances, it is no wonder that Park was “brutal and
absolutely offensive” in his six-hour marathon meeting with US Vice
President Spiro Agnew on 24 August 1970 – a meeting conducted without
even a visit to the men’s room.31 The purpose of Agnew’s visit was to ease
tension between the two countries and to negotiate the terms and conditions attached to the planned US reduction of forces in Korea. In compensation, Park demanded, among other things, approximately $3 billion
over five years for the modernization of Korea’s military equipment.
Negotiations on this issue, however, turned out to require far more
time and effort than Agnew was prepared to give. After intense negotiations until mid-January 1971, for example, the US finally promised to pay
$1.5 billion, but the disbursement of these funds was so painfully slow that
Park ultimately introduced the National Defense Tax in July 1975, three
months after the fall of Vietnam, to finance the program of military modernization, including the procurement of high-technology military equipment, in the face of North Korean attacks on west coast islands (discussed
in Chapter 9). In any event, Agnew seems to have deliberately confused
the Koreans by reassuring them, on the one hand, that the US would not
withdraw more than 20,000 servicemen and, on the other, by indicating
that the US would withdraw all of its remaining troops in Korea within the
next five years which was, in fact, the actual plan (Kim Chongnyom 1990:
318). Three days after Agnew left, the Korean Government learned that
“some ten thousand American troops had already been withdrawn right
out from under their noses” (Boettcher with Freedman 1980: 95).
Because of the complete withdrawal of the US 7th Division from the
west coast of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) from a front of 29 kilometers,
Korean troops began to defend the entire DMZ – 250 kilometers – from 8
February 1971. Strategically, the withdrawal of US troops from the DMZ
meant that Korea would be left vulnerable without immediate US support
if and when war broke out between the two Koreas. Thus Park sought the
radical restructuring of Korea’s defense system, coupled with a comprehensive reform of the country’s political and economic systems, which he
saw as essential to building Korea’s own capacity to defend itself. Park’s
intensified rhetoric of economic nationalism echoed throughout the
country: “Independence is the only way for survival” (chaju mani salgilida).
Since the Korean War, US policy had been designed to strengthen South
Korea to the point where it could assume responsibility for its own
defense. Involvement in the Vietnam War, however, had put economic
pressure on the US and led to a shift in policy. President Johnson’s “guns
and butter” policy, which meant that the US Government had to fund
both the Vietnam War and an ambitious social welfare program, had led
to huge budget deficits. These deficits were pressing on Nixon and no
doubt were a major factor behind the Nixon Doctrine. Park clearly
believed that the US had failed to provide enough military aid to enable
Korea to defend itself before the Nixon Doctrine was declared. Thus he
may well have thought that Nixon, through his new Doctrine, could be
abandoning the US commitment to South Korea in the case of a North
Korean invasion of South Korea and that this would involve the breaking
of the armistice agreement. The US, for its part, may well have been guilty
of failing to build up the South Korean military because it did not trust
Park to pursue a rational policy toward North Korea, and may even have
thought that Park wanted to control crucial weapons necessary to pursue
an all-out war against the North. The irony of the US lack of trust in Park
was that in effect it increased Park’s resolve to build Korean capability to
conduct all-out war against the North.
The nation in transition, 1968–72
We must take [the lesson] to our hearts and minds that international society from now on will not spare either sympathy
or support to any nation which does not have a strong spirit
of chaju (independence) and charip (economic self-reliance)
. . . And we must also renew our determination and will to
maintain the spirit of self-reliant national defense by uniting
the government and the people.
(PPCHS vol. 8 1971: 102)
On 27 March 1971, just a month before Korea’s seventh presidential election, the US completed the withdrawal of one-third of its 62,000 servicemen in Korea. On this date, Park issued a “special statement” announcing
the government’s Five-Year Military Modernization Plan (1971–6) and
making an open appeal to the US Government to meet its obligations in
regard to Korea’s defense security. Park unambiguously demanded that
the US honor its Cold War commitment to the Korean problem and
accordingly give Korea a “guarantee of security first and then reduce the
Army.” He believed that the US had an obligation to help transform the
Korean Army into a modern force. Park’s statement was his first open
appeal to the Korean people in connection with the changing US policy
toward Korea which, he argued, had to be understood and responded to
in all seriousness in order to protect Korea’s independence (PPCHS vol. 8
1971: 102).
On 15 July 1971, just a little more than three months after the withdrawal, President Nixon made the historic announcement that he
planned to visit China, which he did in February 1972. By then, Park’s
campaign to build Korea’s independence in economic and defense capability, by mobilizing national reserve forces for both defense and industrial
construction, was in full swing. This radical campaign would develop into
the all-out reform known as Yusin (Restoration), less than five years after
Park had established the Homeland Guard with a 2.5 million civilian
reserve force following the North Korean commando attack on the presi110
dential Blue House in January 1968. Between 1968 and 1972 Park probably introduced more radical change to Korean politics and bureaucratic
management, especially in relation to industrial development, than most
observers appreciated at the time.
This chapter outlines key features of Park’s national mobilization
campaign in regard to defense and economic development during this
period, as well as of his restructuring of the ruling party, government and
relations with North Korea. Park sought to restructure the apparatus of
government into an emergency state system primarily as a counter to US
détente politics that, paradoxically, increased military conflict in Asia,1
while promising peaceful co-existence between the super powers at the
global level.
National mobilization: the Homeland Guard
On 7 February 1968, Park announced that the government would establish a civilian force of 2.5 million Homeland Guards (Hyangt’o yebigun)
throughout the country and would arm them with Korean-made weapons
to guard their own villages, towns and cities. Just as Kim Il Sung aimed to
build a “flawless defense system” through the establishment of the
Worker-Peasant Red Guards (Nonong chongwidae) with more than 1.2
million workers, peasants and civilians, and the Red Young Guards
(Pulgun ch’ongnyon kunwidae) with 700,000 members, so too was the
Homeland Guard in South Korea established in order to build a “flawless”
self-reliant defense force that would be especially trained and equipped to
combat Communist guerrillas from the North. Park called for fundamental change in the people’s attitude to national defense. Even farmers were
encouraged to carry weapons to rice fields and to apprehend strangers
suspected of spying (PPCHS vol. 5 1969: 80).
Park introduced slogans such as “construction on the one hand,
national defense on the other” (Ilmyon konsol, Ilmyon kukpang) and
“our national land, with our own strength” (Uri ui kukt’o nun uri ui
himuro). These slogans uncannily resembled those of Kim Il Sung, as if
Park had deliberately adapted Kim’s methods and language as an antiCommunist tactic. The well-known North Korean slogan, “arms on the
one hand and hammer and sickle on the other,” is a clear example. Park
The organization of the Homeland Guard . . . is targeted at a
national problem instead of a problem of individuals, and a
problem of [South Korea’s] survival instead of a political problem
. . . Only all-out defense, risking our lives, can protect our
(PPCHS vol. 5 1969: 146)
Two key factors motivated Park. The first was the need that Park perceived to prepare Korea for a final showdown with North Korea. Park
argued that the South faced an “unusual form of aggression” from the
North similar to the war in Vietnam. Second, he aimed to build up
Korea’s “own” defense system. He said:
What is the best way to fight [against North Korean Communists]?
Is it possible to compromise with them? There is absolutely no
possibility. If there were, would we be prepared to concede and
retreat? That would be as good as a death sentence for all of us. In
this case, there is only one solution: to fight with [our own]
strength! That is the only way for us to survive. The enemy will
hesitate to invade [us] only when they realize that we are
equipped with strength and determined to fight to the end.
(PPCHS vol. 5 1969: 117)
According to Park, the Homeland Guard represented the “pan-national
defense force of freedom” for national “self defense.” It in fact became the
most comprehensive anti-Communist intelligence network in Korea,
encompassing entire communities, even the smallest units in rural and
coastal areas, as well as government agencies and business communities.
In defining citizens’ responsibilities regarding national defense, Park
argued that “The primary responsibility for our national defense rests on
us, and it is the sacred and compulsory duty of each individual citizen”
(PPCHS vol. 5 1969: 142). By 1970, the government’s policy of antiCommunist vigilance had led to the introduction of weekly military drills
and lectures for all male high school and university students throughout
the country (Mun’gyosa 1974: 419–20). Following the same principle, all
female high school and university students also undertook education programs in first aid and nursing. The entire nation was engaged in Park’s
mobilization campaign, whether in the Homeland Guard or in achieving
increased export targets.
National mobilization: export targets
Much has been said and written about Korea’s rapid economic growth
based on export-oriented strategies. Some commentators argue that
Korea’s rapid expansion of exports was not the result of the Park Government’s economic planning but was due to “external forces,” namely “the
integration into the Japan-centered regional division of labor and the
demand generated by the U.S. intervention in Vietnam” (Lie 1998: 74).
According to this view, to portray Park’s policies as the main cause of
Korea’s economic growth spurt in the 1960s is misleading.
Others argue that the Park Government’s adoption of its export112
oriented strategy came about “almost by accident” (Clifford 1994: 54) and
that the “leading roles” in this strategy were played by the Agency for
International Development and the World Bank (Mason et al. 1980: 47;
Koo 1987: 169). Still other commentators argue that the Park Government adopted US advice, especially from Walt A. Rostow, then deputy
National Security Adviser to President Kennedy, who came up with the
idea of a “take-off” in economic development which, they say, led Korea to
take advantage of its underutilized human resources. According to this
argument, Korea’s initial development in the mid-1960s was unquestionably the outcome of Rostovian ideas on Korea and a form of “crash economic development” (Jung-un Woo 1991: 77).
The problem with this view, although it is superficially convincing, is
that it fails to present hard evidence of how exactly the early Korean
policy-makers reacted to Rostow and how they actually formulated economic policy. While its proponents provide US archival evidence of how
Korean policy-makers often quoted Rostow to argue their case with US aid
mission directors in Korea as early as 1966 (Jung-un Woo 1991: 99), this
does not of itself prove that they had necessarily adopted Rostow’s position. It is worth noting that in August 1964, soon after James Killen, director of the US Operations Mission (USOM), had left his post in Korea, the
Korean Government launched an open attack on his administration “as
unresponsive to Korea’s needs” (Macdonald 1992: 295). Referring to the
remark Killen made in his speech on the prospect of Korea attaining selfsufficiency in five to eight years, the editorial of Han’guk Ilbo, a newspaper
owned by Chang Kiyong, the then newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister
and the Minister of the Economic Planning Board (EPB), made these
If the United States is not to repeat her mistake in Vietnam, it is
hoped that the United States will not overlook the fact that many
economic tasks remain in this land – problems which are more
important than the financial stabilization program that US aid
officials in Korea would refer to so often. Unless this is solved,
economic self-sufficiency can hardly be expected even in ten
(Cited in Macdonald 1992: 295–6)
With this unabashedly critical attitude toward the US position on
Korea’s economic priorities, it seems highly unlikely that Korean policyplanners adopted US economic advice without question. The American
sources need to be consulted, but Korean sources are equally important in
determining the precise Korean reaction to Rostow and other US advisers.
Available Korean sources on the Park Government’s shift in policy from
an import–substitution to an export-led growth strategy paint quite a
different picture from that to be formed from US sources, and one that is
important in revealing the independence and creativity of Park and his
economic policy-makers. In light of the uncertainties and disagreement
that are apparent in regard to this change in fundamental economic strategy, Park’s export-oriented growth policy, later known as “export-oriented
industry construction” (EOIC), needs to be examined in some detail. I
shall focus particularly on two key issues: first, the timing of, and motives
for, the adoption of export-led growth policies, and second, the role and
influence of the economic managers.
The Park Government adopted an EOIC policy in mid-1964 as a radical
measure in the face of financial crisis. As noted in Chapter 3, Korean
National Treasury holdings had dropped to only $105.4 million by
September 1963, of which US currency amounted to less than $100
million. Korea was on the brink of national bankruptcy. This crisis
came just a month before the presidential election of 15 October, at a
time when Park was caught in the grip of dependence on US aid.
Moreover, the Korea–US relationship, especially between Park and US
aid authorities, was so strained that by October during the election campaign Park found it necessary to defend his position publicly by announcing: “I am not an anti-American.”2 Park’s financial and political isolation,
especially in respect of US support, had thus become very extreme
Forced with this set of circumstances, Park made a second cabinet
reshuffle in May 1964, in which two new economic ministers were
appointed: Chang Kiyong, the charismatic entrepreneur–owner of
the Han’guk Ilbo (Korea Daily) as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of the EPB, and (for the second time) Pak Ch’unghun as Minister of
Commerce and Industry. Within a month of their appointments,3 on
12th June, these two ministers handpicked Kim Chongnyom, the
former Vice Minister of Finance (1962–3) and an aspiring financial
technocrat, as Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry. Kim apparently
did not know of his appointment until it was announced because, in
his words, the two ministers “knew I would refuse if given the chance”
(Kim Chung-yum [Chongnyom] 1994: 37). In fact, Kim had earlier
been asked by Chang to become Vice Minister of his ministry, the
EPB, and refused because he had been appointed a Professor at Yonsei
Just as Chang had been forceful in recruiting Kim, Minister Pak was
also bold and strategic in appointing talented young technocrats to head
up his ministry’s new export policy team who were to focus on light indus114
EPB: economic
planning board
try development. The appointment of O Wonch’ol, then a 36-year old
chemical engineer, to director-general of the First Industry Bureau
(Kongop che-il kukchang) was one of Pak’s many such appointments. In fact,
Pak had a private discussion with O shortly after he learned about his
appointment to minister and exchanged ideas about export strategies as
the future direction for the MCI (Interview with O Wonch’ol, May 1995).
With this new team of economic mangers in charge, Park sought to
develop the Korean economy. His anxiety to have a genuinely capable
industry and export manager can be seen in the frequent turnover in the
post of Minister for Commerce and Industry. Five ministers held that
office in the three years from the May 16 coup in 1961 to 11 May 1964.4 In
the case of the minister for the EPB, turnover in that post was even more
The Minister for the EPB changed seven times within thirty-four
months from July 1961, when the EPB was established, to May 1964 when
Chang was appointed (discussed below).5 The three new Ministers, Chang
Kiyong, Pak Ch’unghun and Kim Chongnyom, apparently supported a
free-market system, which the government had been reluctant to introduce despite the International Monetary Fund’s recommendation,
because it feared that it would impose an intolerable burden on Korean
enterprises and generate a negative political response (Kim Chongnyom
1990: 110). The new ministers pushed economic liberalization through
“export-first,” or what Kim Chongnyom described as “liberalizing imports
and fulfilling export goals” (1994: 39). This policy led to the MCI becoming the driving force behind Korea’s EOIC-based industrial revolution
mainly because, according to Kim, “the liberalization of imports fell under
the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry” (Chung-yum
Kim 1994: 39). Many insiders within the MCI particularly noted the role of
Minister Pak Ch’unghun who became known as “the Export Minister.”
Pak apparently urged President Park as follows:
Exports are the only means to save us. I believe, from now on, we
as a nation must strive to implement the export-first policy by designating it as the supreme priority of the nation. And, I urge you,
Mr. President, that you lead us as the Supreme Commander. I
also urge you to encourage us as well to eradicate bottlenecks [to
facilitate exports.]
(O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1 1995: 229)
The extent to which Korea’s adoption of the EOIC policy was influenced by Minister Pak’s urgings cannot, of course, be quantified. President Park, for his part, certainly encouraged the bureaucracy to focus on
Korea’s export drive. By personally chairing the Monthly Export Promotion Meeting and many other regular reviews,6 Park not only directly
MCI: material condition
MCI: Ministry of Commerce & Industry
managed the performance monitoring of all firms in the “promoted”
industries, but also personally saw to the alignment of each ministry’s
plans with the state’s EOIC policy and strategies. In this context, Park’s
New Year Tour of Inspection of all ministries and provincial government
offices served the special function of officially “approving” or “rejecting”
each ministry’s yearly project plans. In the case of the MCI, for example,
its comprehensive export industry expansion plan for 1965 was
announced on 19 January immediately after Park had approved it during
his official New Year Tour of Inspection (O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1:
With the Pak Ch’unghun-Kim Chongnyom team as the driving force of
the MCI’s export targets, Korea achieved $100 million in export earnings
in the year to end November 1964. As a result, the MCI formally declared
5 December as Export Day. In January 1965, Park announced that increasing national exports would be the highest priority for his administration.
He also designated 1965 and 1966 as Working Years (Ilhanun hae) with the
goals of increased production, exports and construction (chungsan,
such’ul, konsol) (PPCHS vol. 3 1967: 29–48). By the end of 1967, under the
Pak-Kim team, with Pak as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the EPB
and Kim as Minister of the MCI,7 Korea had achieved the government’s
second export earnings target of $300 million. From 1968 to 1970, Korea
recorded an average annual increase in export earnings of 37.6 percent
(see Table 5.1).
This high-speed economic growth was not an accident of historical circumstance, or solely the product of technocracy. In many respects, it was
the result of innovation in industry development and a radical reform of
government institutions and economic management. Kim Chongnyom
wrote, “In 1968 exports reached a value of US$350 million, an eleven-fold
increase over 1962, but achieving the export goals of US$500 million in
Table 5.1 South Korean exports 1963–71
Export target ($m)
Exports ($m)
Growth rate (%)
Source: Bank of Korea, Monthly Economic Statistics, various issues as cited by Wan Soon Kim
1978: 138.
1968 and US$700 million in 1969 required an all out effort.” It followed
from this, Kim went on to say, that,
Export promotion policies were urgently needed to dispatch sales
missions to overseas markets, stage expositions and exhibitions in
Korea, send delegations to overseas functions, develop packaging
and product design, and modernize test equipment for exports
examination institutes.
(Chung-yum Kim 1994: 60)
The MCI’s twice “revised” $1 billion export target for 1970 reflected
not only Korean policy-makers’ strategic skills, but more importantly,
Park’s political will and his confidence in the feasibility of Korea’s rapid
growth. This does not mean, however, that the general public supported
Park’s EOIC policy. In fact, the government was subject to heavy public
criticism at that time due to discontent with its “preferential” foreign loan
arrangements and the associated corruption, especially between politicians and chaebol. Moreover, financial instability, due largely to economic
recession and excessive foreign loans in the late 1960s, became increasingly serious. The deregistration of thirty insolvent companies by Presidential Secretary Chang Tokchin in April 1969, was symptomatic of the
many problems underlying Korea’s rapid economic growth.8
In hindsight, despite the high risks accompanying EOIC, Park’s statement
delivered on the occasion of the Sixth Export Day on 1 December 1969 says
much about Korea’s strong sense of purpose and focus through economic
planning and target-setting, not just during the 1960s, but also in regard to
the heavy and chemical industrialization of the 1970s, and the radical measures that came with the declaration of Yusin reform in 1972. Park stated:
The government will achieve at any cost the $1 billion export
goal, which is a turning point of great importance, and is preparing a carefully thought-out plan based on 1972 as a new starting
point. In so doing, [the government will ensure] that by 1976,
when the third Five-Year Plan, which is focused on the development of fishing and agrarian villages and increased exports, is
completed, $3.6 billion [in exports earnings] will be exceeded.
(PPCHS vol. 6 1969: 325)
There is ample evidence to show that Korea’s plans and targets, as outlined by Park, were realistic and fully achievable. In fact, the Korean
economy even surpassed the goals Park originally set. Export earnings in
1976, for example, totaled $7,715 billion, more than double the figure he
projected in 1969 (Source: Economic Planning Board, cited in Sungjoo
Han 1978: 75).
Export managers
Policy cannot be understood fully without reference to policy-makers. To
understand the characteristics of Korea’s economic management in the
1960s, it is relevant to consider the personal backgrounds of Pak
Ch’unghun, Kim Chongnyom and, of course, Chang Kiyong, who headed
the EPB for more than three years (May 1964 to October 1967) during
the peak of Korea’s acquisition of foreign loans. Pak Ch’unghun was born
on 19 January 1919 on Cheju Island. He graduated from Toshisha Commerce College in Kyoto, Japan and entered the MCI in August 1948 at the
age of 29 as a director in the Trade Bureau. During the Korean War, Pak
served in the air force as officer-in-charge of accounting and ultimately
attained the rank of major-general. In May 1961, immediately after he
retired from the air force, Pak was appointed Vice Minister of Commerce
and Industry. He reportedly earned his staff’s respect almost immediately
when he supported a staff member’s proposal for the 1962 budget at a
meeting with the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR).
Opposing the SCNR’s decision that the Mining Bureau had to reduce
its budget by half, Pak apparently stood up to the Council by insisting that
the Bureau “could not work if the budget were reduced without proper
consideration.” Pak was adamant that “the SCNR must reconsider its
decision” (Interview with O Wonch’ol, May 1997). He was ultimately promoted to Deputy Prime Minister in October 1967 and he managed the
EPB as its head until his abrupt resignation in June 1969. Unlike his predecessor, Chang Kiyong, who, as we shall see, was a heavy-weight political
broker with an unusually bold character, Pak was well-known for his “textbook administration” and transparency, especially in his management of
foreign loans.
Minister Kim Chongnyom was born on 3 January 1924 in Seoul and
grew up in a strong financial environment as the third of four sons of a
banker. In fact, his lifetime ambition was to follow in his father’s footsteps.
At the age of 20 in 1944, Kim graduated from Oita College of Commerce
in Kyushu, Japan, and became a clerk at the Bank of Choson which had
been initially known as the Central Bank of Korea during the colonial
period and became the Bank of Korea (Han’guk unhaeng) after June
1950. He was simultaneously conscripted into the Japanese Army,
however, and after a short period of hospitalization as a victim of the
nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Kim returned to the Bank of Choson in
November 1945. As a section chief (kwajang) in the planning and research
department in 1952, he was responsible for drawing up a draft of Korea’s
first currency reform (carried out in February 1953).
In January 1958, as deputy chief of the research department, he
enrolled at Clark University Graduate School in Worcester, Massachusetts,
where he obtained an MA in economics, conferred in January 1959. Kim
studied under Professor James A. Maxwell, then Head of the Economics
Department of Clark University Graduate School and a well-known
scholar in the fields of fiscal policy and public finance. In April 1959, less
than three months after his return from the US, Kim began his career as a
bureaucrat in the Ministry of Finance as director-general of finance
(ichaegukchang), a post which, at that time, was equivalent to deputy governor of the Bank of Korea. He was personally recruited by Song Insang, the
newly appointed Minister of Finance.
In October 1961, Kim was recruited, like many other young, highly
qualified members of the Korean elites, by the military junta and began
working for the KCIA. In spite of his initial reluctance to enter the military
junta government, Kim’s career advanced very swiftly. In June 1962, he
was appointed as Vice Minister to the Ministry of Finance (June 1962 to
June 1963) and as Vice Minister to the Ministry of Commerce (June 1964
to January 1966) before he was promoted to Minister of Finance in
January 1966. In March 1967, six months after his resignation as Minister
of Finance in September 1966, Kim was appointed as Minister of Commerce and Industry. Kim’s role in Korea’s rapid economic development
increased dramatically from October 1969 when he was appointed chief of
staff of the Presidential Secretariat and was entrusted by Park with the role
of “Economic Manager” of all ministries, including the EPB. Kim managed
the Korean economy for over nine years until December 1978, an era
which many Korean policy-makers characterized as that of the “Kim
Chongnyom Economic Team,” or more broadly as that of the “Blue House
Secretariat” (ch’ongwadae pisosil) which will be discussed in Chapter 8.
Unlike Kim’s steady rise to the top of Korea’s bureaucracy, the promotion of Chang Kiyong in May 1964 to the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the EPB came about much more dramatically and in
desperate national circumstances. As noted above, the government was
experiencing a critical shortage of funds, and was close to bankruptcy.
Park had therefore staked the entire future of Korea’s economic development, not to mention his own political survival, on acquiring foreign
capital. To attract foreign investors, for example, the government had
introduced a foreign loan guarantee system in July 1962 because no individual Korean entrepreneur was financially strong enough to secure a
loan from the international money market.
Moreover, according to Kim Chongnyom, he had himself advised Park
in 1962 to adopt the foreign loan guarantee system, mainly due to the fact
that “the U.S. aid authority was planning to terminate grants by 1965
because Korea was considered hopeless in terms of economic development” (Chung-yum Kim 1994: 30). Once the gate was open to business
owners for foreign loans under the government’s guarantee, President
Park needed an extremely competent technocrat who, as Minister of
the EPB, could not only develop Korea’s acquisition of foreign capital,
but more importantly, could also improve Korea’s economic management, especially through the first Five-Year Plan. However, the EPB’s
management of the national economy showed no improvement and,
in 1963, the government was forced to revise dramatically the Five-Year
To solve this problem, as already noted, Park had resorted to changing
the Minister of the EPB seven times in just under three years from July
1961 when the EPB was established, to May 1964 (see note 5). The
average term served through each appointment was less than five months
and the shortest just twenty-two days. In an attempt to strengthen the EPB
Minister’s authority, from the appointment of Kim Yut’aek, the seventh
minister (December 1963 to May 1964), the government upgraded the
EPB minister’s status to Deputy Prime Minister. These efforts, however,
brought no improvement to Korea’s economic management. Thus when
Chang Kiyong was appointed as the eighth minister of the EPB in 1964, he
was apparently assured by Park of his full support on free market policy as
well as his willingness to provide an economic management team at any
time as Chang wished (Kim Chongnyom 1990: 111). Chang also convinced Park to guarantee his managerial control over the bureaucracy on
the grounds that:
The economy must be thoroughly consistent. And the ship will
run aground if each minister acts solely according to each ministry’s point of view.
(O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1 1995: 69)
Chang was known among his staff and upper echelon technocrats
as Wangch’o (Big Fish) or “bulldozer” for his heavy political influence
and unflagging energy in pursuing his goals. He did not report to
the Prime Minister on economic affairs. Instead, he reported directly
to Park and received direction from Park only. Similarly, Chang is said
to have “ignored” most standard rules of process and protocol in economic ministries and, when necessary, also used the EPB to complete
the business of other ministries, just as he mobilized staff, as he wished,
from other ministries. As a highly respected expert in managing the
“real economy,” Chang is said to have frequently ignored his vice minister,
Kim Hang’yol, a US-trained macroeconomist who, as a consequence,
had to endure a very bleak period (O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 3 1996: 80).
Chang regularly skipped consultation with Kim and often settled
business without any consideration of Kim’s opinion.9 It seems that Kim
was not the only economic minister Chang ignored or frustrated. Over a
little more than three years, from May 1964 to October 1967, while Chang
was Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance was changed six
A telling example of Chang’s unorthodox decision-making style was his
approval of the foreign loan of $4.1 million applied for by Han’guk
[Korea] Fertilizer Company in March 1966, then the largest cash foreign
loan ever borrowed by Koreans. Around the same time, Korea Fertilizer
Company – headed by Yi Changhui, oldest son of Pyongch’ol, founder of
Samsung – also obtained a $43.9 million business loan from the Japanese
business conglomerate (zaibatsu) Mitsui (O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1 1995:
200; Kim Hyongwuk and Pak Sawol vol. 2 1985: 145). It is hardly
surprising that the Chang-style selection and approval of business recipients of government-guaranteed foreign loans led to political–economic
collusion. Chang approved or allocated foreign loans mainly to chaebol,
who, in return, paid “commission” to the ruling party’s political fund.
The scale of corruption linked to foreign loans in the late 1960s was so
vast, and the returns to the fund so great, that Park’s victory in the 1967
election was seen as the clear result of kickbacks ( Jung-un Woo 1991:
108). An equally significant consequence of this loan arrangement, was
that it ignored due planning and evaluation processes which outraged
non-political technocrats. In 1999, O Wonch’ol, who had been directorgeneral of the First Industrial Bureau in the MCI in 1967, wrote:
The problem of the political fund led many technocrats in the
Ministry of Commerce and Industry to feel a sense of shame,
because pressure from Chang’s office came down demanding that
we implement the business he chose because he had already
received the political funds. He was stubborn, even if the business
did not coincide with the national interest . . . or even if the cost
of machinery [which he wanted to purchase] was absurdly expensive. The most blatant case was the construction of Korea Fertilizer Company. The order came down that we should complete
the technological examination of that giant factory within a single
day. In conclusion, as long as the issue of political funding intervened, no technocrat could examine business feasibility scientifically.
(O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 7 1999: 105)
Chang was dismissed in October 1967, more than a year after Korea
Fertilizer Company was caught smuggling saccharine and the subsequent
resignation of two cabinet ministers, including Kim Chongnyom of the
Ministry of Finance, in September 1966.11 Overall, as can be seen in Table
5.2, Korea’s high-speed development in the 1960s was managed by the
three ministers of the EPB and the three ministers of the MCI. Of these,
the role of the Pak Ch’unghun-Kim Chongnyom team was the most
prominent in achieving the export earnings targets, of $100 million
in 1964, $300 million in 1967, and $1 billion in 1970. Kim’s role in
Table 5.2 Deputy prime ministers and ministers of Commerce and Industry
Deputy prime minister/minister of
Economic Planning Board (EPB)
Minister of Commerce and Industry
Chang Kiyong
Pak Ch’unghun
Kim Hang’yol
T’ae Wanson
Nam Togu
Sin Hyonhwak
Pak Ch’unghun
Kim Chongnyom
Yi Nakson
Chang Yejun
Ch’oi Kaggyu
May 1964–Oct. 1967
Oct. 1967–June 1969
June 1969–Jan. 1972
Jan. 1972–Sep. 1974
Sep. 1974–Dec. 1978
Dec. 1978–Dec. 1979
May 1964–Oct. 1967
Oct. 1967–Oct. 1969
Oct. 1969–Dec. 1972
Dec. 1973–Dec. 1977
Dec. 1977–Dec. 1979
Korea’s high-speed development in the 1970s illustrates the prominent
role of the engineer–technocrats of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry – whom I have termed MCI technocrats – in heavy and chemical industrialization during the Yusin era (1973–9). It also illustrates the
bureaucratic authoritarian character of the Blue House Secretariat which
became a “cabinet behind the scenes” (paehu naegak) for Park’s quasiwartime state (chunjonsi chongbu), formally known as the Yusin State (see
Chapter 7).
Domestic adjustments
Despite the government’s strong economic performance, Park’s situation
on the political front at the beginning of the Third Republic was far from
secure. His restructuring of the Democratic Republican Party (DRP)
began in June 1964 immediately after the student protest of June 3 against
the Korea–Japan normalization talks (known as the June-3-Struggle), and
after the subsequent resignation of Kim Chongp’il as chair of the DRP.12
Park decided that he would reorganize his power base. Instead of relying
on the “young colonels’ group” – of the Eighth Class of the Army – or the
“mainstream faction” of the party led by Kim Chongp’il, Park equipped
himself with two main support groups: his own presidential guards made
up of members of the Presidential Secretariat and the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), and the “new mainstream” of the DRP. The Secretariat and KCIA, headed by Yi Hurak and Kim Hyonguk respectively, were
responsible for controlling the cabinet, bureaucracy and private sectors,
and the “new mainstream” looked after party management.
This new power structure inevitably reduced the power of the “old”
mainstream faction (OMF) led by Kim Chongp’il, particularly within the
DRP. The OMF was quickly dominated by the new mainstream. Kim
Songgon, a leading member of the new mainstream faction (NMF), for
example, was put in charge of the party’s finance committee, which had
the effect of significantly weakening Kim Chongp’il’s influence in the
party. By 1968, the factional struggle between the OMF and the NMF had
become critical. It is clear that Park’s restructuring of the party, as well as
his system of power management was strategically designed to achieve his
own political agenda: to build support for the constitutional amendment,
which would enable him to run for the presidency for a third time in
1971. In this context, the shake-up of the DRP under the so-called cleanup of “disobedient” party members between 1968 and 1969 had more farreaching political implications than was publicly appreciated at that time.
On 25 May 1968, Kim Yongt’ae and two other high-ranking members of
the OMF were expelled from the party for recruiting support for Kim
Chongp’il’s bid to succeed Park as President in 1971 (Ye Ch’unho 1985a:
195–202). They were charged with recruiting some 900 supporters from
within the party through an organization named “People’s Welfare Study
Association” (Kungmin pokchihoe) which Park reportedly believed to be “an
opposition party within the Democratic Republican Party . . . [which] had
been secretly developing operations to support Kim Chongp’il for the
1971 presidential election” (Yi Yongsok 1985b: 232). Subsequently Kim
Chongp’il, Chairman of the DRP, resigned from politics on 30 May 1968.13
The OMF’s prospects further deteriorated on 8 April 1969 when,
despite Park’s direction to reject it, a motion of “no confidence” against
the Minister of Education, Kwon Obyong, was passed in the National
Assembly. This “revolt” had been instigated by the OMF itself and involved
at least 48 of the 111 DRP members in an attempt to demonstrate the
strength of opposition to the constitutional amendment Park had been
seeking.14 Park immediately expelled five leading members of the OMF
from the party.15 Many leading members of the OMF were known to have
been tortured by the KCIA. Even Kim Chongp’il, who was related to Park
by marriage, was under severe scrutiny, as his house was searched seven
times and his chauffeur and personal secretary tortured (Yi Yongsok 1985:
184–5). The OMF ultimately supported the constitutional amendment
which was passed in the National Assembly on 14 September 1969.16 By
then, the OMF had clearly lost its leadership position in the party. By dissolving his alliance with Kim Chongp’il in the DRP and strengthening his
own support groups, Park changed the basic structure of the party so drastically that it became a mere rubber stamp to serve his own agenda. This
change was particularly evident in the DRP’s orchestration of the situation
in the National Assembly in order to pass the constitutional amendment.
Park’s shake-up of the DRP went further. On 2 October, he undertook
a comprehensive “clean-up” of the party when, despite his strong injunction, a motion against the Interior Minister, O Ch’isong, was passed in the
National Assembly at the instigation of the NMF. Two key figures in this
revolt, Kim Songgon, Chairman of the Central Committee of the DRP,
and Kil Chaeho, Chairman of the Policy Committee of the DRP,
were forced to resign from the party and from the National Assembly in
accordance with party rules (Yi Kyongjae 1985: 162–97). Their resignation
in the context of the NMF’s role in the motion, was a clear indication of
the demise of the NMF’s dominance within the DRP. It also signaled the
assertion of Park’s direct rule over the party under the principle of what
he termed the “Guidance System” (chido ch’eje).
As President of the DRP, Park demanded absolute obedience and
loyalty from all party members, just as Kim Il Sung expected it from the
Communist Workers’ Party. He left no room for challenge and, what is
more, made certain that no individual, especially his close associates,
could seize any opportunity to plot against him by virtue of their position.
As early as 20 October 1969, just three days after the constitutional
amendment was passed by national referendum, Park dismissed his two
most powerful guards who had served him since 1963: Yi Hurak, his Chief
of Staff, and Kim Hyonguk, Director of the KCIA. In so doing, Park not
only effectively removed any potential opposition to his national leadership, but also completely reneged on his initial commitment to two-party
politics in favor of his authoritarian “Guidance System.” The demise of the
so-called “gang of four,” namely Kim Chongp’il, Kim Songgon, Yi Hurak
and Kim Hyonguk, thus marked the beginning of Park’s new “Guidance
System.” To complete this system, however, he restructured the Presidential Secretariat which, as we shall see in Chapter 7, emerged as the headquarters of his highly centralized technocracy backed by the intelligence
By late 1970, however, challenges against Park were not restricted to his
party leadership. The strongest challenge came from workers who formed
a solidarity movement following the death of a young textile worker, Chon
T’aeil, who set fire to himself on 13 November 1970 in protest against the
poor working conditions at Seoul’s Peace Market. The workers’ challenge
impacted at the popular level in two distinct ways. First, it inspired university students, intellectuals and church leaders to link their human rights
and democracy movement activities with the workers’ labor movement
(discussed in Chapter 7). Second, it mobilized opposition politicians,
especially Kim Dae Jung, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP)
and President Park’s bitter opponent in the 1971 presidential election.
As key policies in the presidential election campaign, Kim Dae Jung
promoted what he termed “mass-participatory economy” and national
security built on the joint guarantee of the “Four Powers”: the United
States, the Soviet Union, China and Japan. In promoting these policies,
Kim generated a groundswell of popular support. The former policy,
according to Kim, would give effect to three major economic objectives:
growth efficiency, equitable distribution of income and price stability. The
latter policy proposed the total abandonment of unification by armed
force (Kim Dae Jung 1985: 2). Kim proposed accelerating national unification by utilizing more effective approaches such as reducing tension
between the two Koreas. He extended his peace proposals by pledging to
abolish the Homeland Guard as well as the military training program for
university and high school students.
Kim’s policies stood in sharp contrast to those of Park, and acted as a
rallying point in generating popular consensus against Park’s military
expansionist policies, especially the establishment of the Homeland
Guard and compulsory military training for university and high school students. Underneath his immensely nationalistic rhetoric, Park was clearly
unnerved by Kim’s progressive policies and his popular support. On 25
April 1971, two days before the election, Park pledged to the public, “this
is my last public campaign for politics wherein I would ask you: Please vote
for me once more” (PPCHS vol. 8 1971: 321). The narrow results of the
presidential election on 27 April 1971 undoubtedly eroded Park’s political
confidence. With Park receiving 51.2 percent of the vote and Kim Dae
Jung 43.6 percent, the margin was just 946,928 votes (Tonga Ilbo 29 April
1971).17 The poor results of the National Assembly elections on 25 May
1971 further deflated Park’s confidence when the DRP obtained only 113
seats, while Kim Dae Jung’s NDP obtained 89 seats, giving the DRP just
ten seats more than the minimum required for a majority. The NDP, in
contrast, exceeded by 20 seats the 69 required by the constitution to block
the ruling party whenever a two-thirds majority was required.
Park’s poor result, in retrospect, was no surprise, especially when we
consider the formidable role played by pro-democracy forces known as
the “extra-parliamentary opposition forces,” or “chaeya,” led by civic
leaders such as the clergy, academics, lawyers, writers and journalists, and
underpinned by increasingly militant student protests.18 The chaeya, in
fact, were responsible not only for increasing Kim’s popularity to such an
extent that his support was referred to as the “Kim Tae-jung Whirlwind,”
(Hak-kyu Sohn 1988: 78) but also for conducting a nation-wide “Election
Watch Campaign” through the National Council for the Protection of
Democracy (NCPD – founded in April 1971). Hak-kyu Sohn (Son
Hakgyu), an active student leader of the democracy movement, who later
became an influential politician in the 1990s and Governor of Kyonggi
Province (2002– ), summarized the role of the chaeya during the 1971
elections as follows: “It was the first time in the history of opposition movements that unofficial political organizations directly motivated by an election were formed and, in effect, explicitly supported one candidate”
(1988: 67). This “one candidate” was of course Kim Dae Jung.
The anti-Park campaign did not end with the presidential election. In
fact, it transformed into a widespread social and political protest movement following the election. After the journalists’ campaign for freedom
of speech in April and May 1971, a range of riots and protests challenged
the government for its failure to address the social and economic ramifications of rapid development. The residents’ riot at Kwangju Estate, a
suburb of Seoul, in August and the arson attack on of the Korean Airlines
building in September 1971 reflected the depth of popular discontent
with the government. Many people, especially from among the working
class and the poor, violently protested against their sub-standard working
conditions and fixed low wages. From 1970 to 1971, the number of labor
disputes increased tenfold, from 165 to 1,656, the highest annual level of
the decade (Han’guk Kidokkyo Kyohoe Hyobuihoe 1984). By the late
1970s, these protests turned into a highly organized and morally inspired
labor movement aligned with champions of the human rights movement,
including church leaders, intellectuals and university students.
At the same time, Korea’s financial crisis was especially manifest in economic recession and widespread failures of business firms capitalized by
foreign loans. These developments were the factors behind the rebellion
against Park by Korean capitalists who ultimately convinced him to declare
a massive state-sponsored bailout of Korean corporations on 3 August
1972 – known officially as the “August 3 Decree.”19 In the midst of these
crises, professionals, including judges, professors and medical practitioners, also protested against the state’s interference, especially against those
regulations that undermined their autonomy as professionals. University
students, however, led the most active and persistent protests of all. They
were particularly opposed to the requirement to undergo compulsory military training. They also campaigned against corruption among the privileged class. This had become one of the hottest social and political issues
at that time following the arrest in June 1970 of the young poet, Kim
Chiha, for the publication of his satirical poem, “The Five Bandits” (Ojok),
which satirized corporate owners, cabinet ministers, National Assemblymen, high-ranking government officials and generals (Kim Chiha 1974:
Social unrest deepened, student demonstrations intensified and, on 15
October 1971, the government declared a “garrison decree.” It was specifically aimed at controlling major universities in Seoul. As a result, 1,889
students were arrested and 177 expelled from universities, 74 student
circles were dissolved and 14 student publications were banned under the
category of “underground publications” (Tonga yon’gam 1972: 467).
Student demonstrations during 1971 reportedly involved 62,264 individuals in 225 rallies with 326 public statements issued (Tonga yon’gam
1972: 102). This was a period when every possible meeting place, whether
university campus, private company, government office, or even restaurant, was watched closely by a network of informers and intelligence
agents. University campuses were often covered by a smoky haze of tear
gas. Park’s most extreme measures, however, were yet to come.
On 6 December, Park declared a state of National Emergency and,
shortly after, the National Assembly passed the Law Concerning Special
Measures for Safeguarding National Security as well as other related
legislation, including the Military Secrets Protection Law, the Military
Equipment Protection Law and the Amendment to the Requisition Law.
These laws in effect vested Park with extraordinary emergency powers
which, as George Ogle noted, he used “to restrict civil liberties, mobilize
the whole populace for the purpose of national security and set wages and
prices for economic needs” (cited in Cumings 1997: 371). Park claimed
that these hard-line measures were necessary to prevent a “second Korean
War,” referring to the North Korean unification policy to “liberate” the
South by force (PPCHS vol. 8 1971: 369).
Park’s fear of a second Korean War should not be dismissed as a purely
self-serving excuse or as anti-Communist rhetoric. He was acutely aware of
the ongoing threat from the North, including to his own person, which he
had experienced in the commando attack on the Blue House in January
1968, the first of four North Korean assassination attempts on South
Korean presidents during a fifteen-year period (1968–83). While the 1968
raid may not have been an outright invasion of South Korea, it was certainly a clear act of aggression by North Korea on the South Korean
leadership. And in fact, in the course of a later assassination attempt on 15
August 1974, Park’s wife was killed when she was struck by a bullet that
had been aimed at Park by a Japanese–Korean with alleged links to North
Korea. This was the third North Korea-linked attempt on Park’s life.20
North–South dialogue
While Park seems to have accurately estimated Korea’s security dilemma
and as a response made substantial domestic efforts to secure political
stability and military superiority over North Korea, he also realized the
implications of changing US foreign policy. As early as December 1970,
Park had begun his own form of clandestine diplomacy, opening
North–South dialogue through Yi Hurak whom he had brought back from
Japan and appointed as head of the KCIA.21 Some months earlier, in his
address on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Korea’s liberation on
15 August 1970, Park announced a policy of “peaceful coexistence” with
North Korea. He proposed to the North a “well-intended competition,”
that is, that “the ROK would not oppose North Korea’s presence at the
discussion on the Korean issue at the United Nations, as long as the North
recognized the efforts of the UN to pursue democracy, unification,
independence and peace on behalf of Korea, as well as the authority and
competence of the UN” (PPCHS vol. 7 1970: 234).
Park’s proposal was a complete reversal of his earlier hard line antiCommunist policy, especially after the so-called “Hwang Yongju article
incident” in 1964, followed by the arrest of So Minho, National Assemblyman and Head of the Democratic Socialist Party in May 1965.22 The state,
before and after these incidents, had strictly implemented a single policy
in relation to North Korea under the ideological banner of “unification by
rooting out Communists” (myolgong t’ongil). North–South dialogue commenced on 12 August 1971, about three months after Park was elected to
the presidency for a third term, when Ch’oe Tuson, President of the
South Korean National Red Cross, proposed to convene Red Cross talks to
explore the possibility of reuniting families dispersed in the North and
South. By then, the North Korean attitude toward the South had changed
dramatically, with even Kim Il Sung expressing his willingness for dialogue. On 6 August 1971, in an address welcoming Prince Sihanouk,
Chairman of the National Unification Federation of Cambodia, Kim
stated: “In order to accomplish Korea’s peaceful unification, [I] am
willing to meet anytime with every political party, including the DRP, mass
organizations, as well as individuals in the South” (cited in O Silim 1984:
The sudden change in Kim’s attitude undoubtedly came about in
response to the official announcement on 15 July, of Nixon’s visit to
China. On 14 August, the North Koreans agreed to Ch’oe’s proposal and,
on 20 August, representatives from both Koreas met in P’anmunjom for
the first time since Korea’s division and exchanged credentials. At about
the same time, Prime Minister Kim Chongp’il made a speech to the
National Assembly stating that South Korea, in the course of pragmatic
diplomacy to pursue the national interest, was willing to open dialogue
with Communist countries, including China.
Behind the scenes, however, secret exchange visits were undertaken in
May 1972 by Yi Hurak, director of the KCIA, to Pyongyang, and by Pak
Songch’ol, Deputy Premier of North Korea, representing Kim’s younger
brother, Kim Yongju, to Seoul. Their specific mission was to pave the way
for discussions between Park and Kim on reunification. On 4 July 1972,
the two Koreas simultaneously issued a dramatic joint communiqué stipulating the three principles for achieving unification. The first principle
was that unification should come about through independent Korean
efforts without the interference of external forces; the second principle
was that of peaceful means; and the third, great national unity transcending ideological and systemic differences.23 In addition to the communiqué, both sides agreed to install a “hot line” between Pyongyang and
Seoul. On 4 November, they also agreed to establish a North–South
Coordinating Committee, which subsequently held its first meeting in
Seoul from 30 November to 2 December 1972.
Contrary to this ostensibly “peaceful” dialogue, however, the leaders of
both sides made no change in their old strategies concerning the other.
Just as Kim Il Sung continued his revolutionary tactics intended to achieve
unification with the South, Park remained firmly committed to his own
brand of anti-Communism. In fact Park stiffened South Korea’s antiCommunist laws by proclaiming several emergency decrees. The most
decisive move came in October 1972 when Park introduced a quasiwartime constitution, officially known as the “Restoration Constitution”
(yusin honpop), under martial law. Almost simultaneously, Kim reinforced
the North Korean Communist structure by himself declaring a new constitution in December. In the context of these dramatic changes in the political systems of both the North and the South, it is not surprising that the
dialogue between the two sides lapsed. It was officially suspended in
August 1973.
Having observed the brief encounter of their respective lieutenants we
might well wonder what motivated both Kim and Park in the first place.
Park’s primary goal, according to his policy-makers, was to “earn time” to
build up Korea’s defense posture, so that it was strong enough to stand by
itself (Interview with Kim Chongnyom, May 1994). Indeed, Park had been
searching for foreign loans since July 1970 to finance the construction of
four defense-related industries known as sadae haekkongchang. This defense
program ultimately led Park to create the Second Economic Secretariat in
the Blue House in November 1971. Thenceforth, the South Korean
defense industry program took off swiftly as a core component of the
heavy and chemical industrialization program, which Park finally unveiled
in January 1973 (see Chapter 8).
Overall, Park clearly sought time not just to build Korea’s defense
posture, but also to change the political system to guarantee his presidency for life with absolute supremacy and no time limit. This would
enable him to implement comprehensive rapid industrialization, combined with political reform, which he had repeatedly promoted as a
“national and historical task”: the task of Korea’s modernization. In this
context, Park’s well-known slogan, “Economic construction is the foundation of national strength” (PPCHS vol. 8 1971: 19), implied comprehensive strategic objectives, especially in terms of building the capability to
surpass North Korea in both economic and defense strength while also
reducing dependence on the United States. If this was what he sought,
Park certainly achieved it, but it came at the high price of both Korea’s
democracy and his own assassination seven years later.
Kim Il Sung’s self-interest in the North–South dialogue seems to have
been even more blatant than that of Park. Throughout the period of the
North–South dialogue, Kim maintained his fundamental animosity toward
the leaders and government of South Korea. Moreover, Kim’s motive in
opening the dialogue appears simply to have been to create opportunities
to condemn or to accuse South Korean leaders, especially Park. It became
clear that each leader was totally committed to his own system. Like Park,
Kim also effected dramatic change to his state’s political system by
introducing a new constitution in order to further strengthen his position.
Kim elevated his status from Premier to President while legalizing past
practices and strengthening his control over the North Korean Communist Government by shifting its emphasis from the operation of the party
to the affairs of state (Dae-Sook Suh 1988: 269–82). Overall, the unification talks represented a great paradox. Under the pretext of peaceful unification, both the North and the South in effect signaled the official
beginning of Korea’s reinforced “division system” which would see the
peninsula sundered indefinitely between “Kim Country” (McCormack
1993: 21–48) and Park’s Yusin State.
Part III
From top-down rural development to
Yusin reform
The Saemaul movement is a training ground for Korean
democracy to become acclimatized to our native soil. It is the
breeding ground for genuine patriotism, and at the same
time the workshop for putting into reality the spirit of the
October Revitalizing [Yusin] Reforms.
(Park Chung Hee 1972)
The paradox of a top down, centrally directed mobilization
campaign such as the Saemaul Movement is that it cannot
escape its essentially bureaucratic characteristics, even when
the policy goal is to create self-sufficient, independent, selfreliant villages . . . It [nevertheless] is probably unique in the
developing world in terms of results, as measured by rapid
improvement in the quality of rural life.
(Brandt 1981)
One of Park’s pledges in the Special Martial Law Declaration of 17
October 1972 was to give priority to Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement) in anticipation of the imminent Yusin (Restoration) reform
(PPCHS vol. 9 1972: 326). The pledge affirmed Park’s ongoing reform
program of mass training, especially as a tool for boosting the rural
economy and inculcating a new set of national values and mental discipline as a prerequisite for state-led rapid development and modernization.
This chapter describes and analyzes the Saemaul Movement, which Park
initially launched in April 1970 as a top-down rural development campaign and then, after 1973, broadened into a community mobilization
campaign to consolidate the “Yusin system” (yusin ch’eje). By promoting
the renewal of the Korean people’s spirit of self-reliance and independence (chaju) and their determination to strive for their own betterment
through national development, Park sought to build a new antiCommunist industrialized modern state as the means to solving the
“Korean problem,” namely the Communist threats from North Korea, in a
rapidly changing international environment, particularly vis-à-vis American policy in North-East Asia.
The Saemaul Movement: a top-down rural development
The inauguration of the Saemaul Movement (hereafter New Village Movement) was first announced by Park on 22 April 1970 in his address to a
meeting of provincial governors and mayors. It was seven months after
severe floods in the Kyongsang region of south-eastern Korea, which Park
had visited to make a personal assessment of the damage. There he had
visited an unusually tidy village. Despite the flood, this village had not only
recovered from the devastation, but had also constructed a noticeably
better standard of infra-structure and living conditions. There were wider
roads and each house had a tidy roof and walls. Park learned that the villagers had achieved this outcome mainly by volunteering their time and
labor for the community. Drawing on this experience, Park initially suggested a rural campaign under the title “New Village Furtherance Movement” (saemaul kakkugi undong) or “Campaign to Make Frugal Villages”
(alttulhan maul mandulgi) with the specific aim of improving rural living
During the initial period, from October 1970 to June 1971, the government distributed some 300 free bags of cement to each of 33,267 South
Korean villages, to be used only for communal projects. This governmentfinanced campaign, although supplied entirely from Korea’s surplus
cement at that time,1 stimulated a high degree of interest and enthusiasm
at the local government level in rural communities. Encouraged by this
somewhat unexpected response at the local level, the state, especially the
Ministry of the Interior, swiftly intensified state-guided activities in rural
communities using a relatively simple monitoring system (Naemubu 1973:
70; also 1981: 109).
On 12 March 1970, prior to the official unveiling of the New Village
Movement (NVM), Park had directed that, in future, government funds
for rural investment should firstly be given to those people who “demonstrate the spirit of self-help, participation, cooperation, unity and the
determination to work for themselves” (Park Chung Hee 1979b: 30–1).
Accordingly, the NVM was shaped into a strictly goal-oriented top-down
rural development program under which villages were ranked by the
state into three categories: basic villages (kich’o maul), self-helping villages
(chajo maul) and self-sufficient villages (charip maul). Thus classified were
18,415 basic villages, 13,943 self-helping villages and 2,307 self-sufficient
Government assistance was given mainly to “self-sufficient” and “selfhelping” villages, while those identified as “lazy” or lacking self-reliance
were repudiated.2 This unambiguous “sink or swim” strategy, based on
principles similar to those of the state’s export-oriented industry construction policy (see Chapter 5), primarily aimed to restructure the management of rural communities through a centralized system. The strategy also
established a competition dynamic between villages in the course of
implementing this centralized state-guided development program. By supporting village development projects financially and by sharing some of
the burdens of the rural community, the government rapidly consolidated
its centralization of the governing structure of rural villages, while at the
same time increasing its intervention in rural affairs. At the end of the
initial 14-month period (April 1970 to June 1971), the state estimated the
value of rural “improvement” projects to be almost three times the initial
investment, at $32 million. The state also claimed that some 16,000 of the
35,000 villages, about half the total rural populace, had been categorized
as having “very actively participated” in the NVM (Kyong-Dong Kim and
On-Jook Lee 1978: 27).
Although this claim may well be true, it should still be viewed with some
caution because, as Professor Han, among others, has noted (see below),
the extraordinary degree of mass participation did not necessarily mean
that the NVM in the countryside was effective (Han Sangbok 1987:
41–52). Rather, the mass participation in the NVM reflected the intensity
of state control in NVM projects, the government’s specific goals being
to develop the stagnant rural economy and integrate it into the national
economy. With these national goals in mind, state officials, and Park
in particular, heavily promoted and enforced the “cooperation” of
individual villagers as a prerequisite for the success of the NVM. They
insisted on villagers’ conformity to “community will” and “community
The more villagers conformed with “community will” – that is, with
administrative guidance from central office directed at the village level –
the more their villages were rewarded with financial support for local
development projects. Conversely, the consequences for individual villagers of refusing to conform were severe. They were subjected to various
forms of peer pressure and, in some cases, direct coercion by various
authorities, ranging from village leaders and/or leaders of the NVM
program – Saemaul Leaders – to numerous official and unofficial groups.
One telling example, reported by a Western observer, was that “several
recalcitrant families” who had refused to co-operate with community
decisions had been “evicted from the village – their belongings were taken
from their homes and they were told to move elsewhere if they would not
abide by community decisions” (Goldsmith 1981: 434).
Based on his study of the impact of the NVM program on 28 villages
(209 households with 551 persons) from seven provinces (excluding
South Cholla and Cheju Islands) over two consecutive years, Professor
Han Sangbok argued that the most active participants in the NVM programs over the ten-year period from 1970 to 1980 were in fact the leaders
of the Movement, more commonly known as Saemaul Leaders, and
wealthy farming households. In contrast, Han asserted, the less active
participants were poor villagers and non-farming households. This may
have been because the Saemaul Leaders and wealthy farmers stood to gain
significantly from NVM activities.
Increases in income in these villages, Han added, correlated closely to
the size of farm households during the ten-year period covered by his
study – that is, the larger the size of the farm household, the higher the
increase in income. The increase in income of the “poorest farmers”
(pinnong), for example, was 69 percent, the “medium-size farmers” 76
percent, “rich farmers” 99 percent, and “industrial farmers” (kiopnong) –
who ran businesses such as rice mills, dairy farms or orchids – 190 percent.
The agrarian capitalists therefore enjoyed increases in income of almost
three times that of poor traditional farmers. Thus Han concluded that the
NVM had resulted in “the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming
poorer” (Han Sangbok 1987: 48).
How did the NVM come about, and where did it fit within Park’s
overall national development strategies? The NVM was Park’s second
attempt, since the collapse of the People’s Reconstruction Movement in
1963 (see Chapter 3), to “make everybody well-to-do.” His first attempt,
known as the “Second Economy Movement” (SEM: che-2 kyongje undong),
was launched in January 1968 as an attempt to build the national ethos,
with a particular emphasis on Korea’s traditional spirit of self-reliance,
cooperation and frugality. Accordingly, he urged the people to “discard
the mental habit of dependency and explore a brighter future image of
the fatherland by uniting all our strength” (Sim Yungt’aek 1973: 227).
Park was particularly keen to promote the SEM in the rural community as
an income booster to assist the ongoing four-year rural development
program (1968–71) known as the “Special Project for Increasing the
Income of Agrarian and Fishing Villages” (Nongomin soduk chungdae
t’ukpyol saop).3
But, in contrast to earlier rural development efforts, the SEM mainly
concentrated on the people’s attitudinal change focused on the so-called
“second economy” ideals, such as frugality, diligence and saving-consciousness (Taet’ongnyong pisosil 1978: 15). Despite, or perhaps because of,
this elaborate rhetoric in its early stages, however, the SEM received a very
poor response from the public. The term “second economy” generated a
strong sense of cynicism and confusion among the media which saw Park’s
use of this term as typifying the government’s economy-driven priorities,
and thus questioned whether Park considered the human spirit to be subordinate to material things (Editorial of Kyonghyang sinmun 10 January
1968). Because of this criticism, the SEM barely survived several months
and, in December 1968 when the National Charter of Education was
declared, it quickly sank into obscurity.
Park’s interest in rural development through mass campaigns, in fact,
can be traced back to as early as 1961. Available documents show that
one of his official activities immediately after the coup was delivering
a personally drafted speech entitled “Campaign to make everybody
well-to-do” (Chal sara bojanun undong) which focused on the improvement
in farmers’ living standards (Park Chung Hee 1993: 520–1). Park seems
to have been genuine in wanting to boost the rural economy and to
achieve a more equitable balance in the income distribution between
the rural–agricultural sector and the urban–industrial sector. Having
come from an impoverished farming village, Park was driven by the
desire to improve the plight of the poor in both rural and coastal
areas. Moreover, his wider vision for the Korean people’s revolution was
built on his idea of the state of being “well-to-do” or “chalsalgi” which he
defined as, “for neighbors to love each other, by helping and supporting
each other and creating a village environment full of mutual care, governed by the cardinal rules of age-old good customs” (Park Chung Hee
1979b: 157).
Park’s idea of chalsalgi was also deeply rooted in traditional communal
values that promoted harmony in both the physical and spiritual sense. He
claimed that adherence to these customs encouraged a community spirit
of “mutual aid” (sangbu sangjo) and led to basic harmony at both the
village and national level through the practice of social ethics. These
customs, asserted Park, were an essential element in achieving the Korean
people’s “chalsalgi.” Park listed a set of values that were essentially ascetic
and egalitarian, such as self-help (chajo), diligence (kunmyon), cooperation
(hyoptong), unity (tan’gyol), independence (charip) and teamwork
(hyomnyok). These values were set down as criteria by which villagers would
be judged in order to qualify for government assistance to improve their
In particular, the principle of “self-help” became the focus of Park’s
NVM slogan. To sharpen his message, Park publicly denounced individuals who were seen to be lazy, observing that, “Even the government
can do nothing about lazy people” (Park Chung Hee 1979b: 42–3). In his
message to mayors and county commissioners on 17 September 1971,
Park defined the New Village Movement as “a fundamental concept of
national development, one in which economic development and spiritual
enlightenment go together hand-in-hand” (Park Chung Hee 1979b:
83–4). In the same month, Park also identified three specific qualities of
human conduct – “diligence, self-help and teamwork” – as synonymous
with the “Saemaul Spirit” (saemaul chongsin) or the “guiding spirit” of the
Saemaul Movement.4 In his New Year Press Conference on 11 January
1972, Park again referred to the Saemaul Spirit when presenting the
end-of-year report for 1971, as well as the report on the completion of the
second Five-Year Economic Development Plan (1967–71). He noted that a
substantial 10.2 percent growth in GNP had been recorded in 1971, with
the $1.35 billion in exports exceeding the government’s 1971 target, and
per capita GNP “doubling from $130 in 1966 to $253 last year (1971)”
(Park Chung Hee, 1979b: 108).
What he did not make public, however, was that this phenomenal
increase in GNP was due mainly to Korea’s rapid export growth which, in
reality, highlighted an increasing disparity in income between the rural
and urban population (or the industrial and agricultural sectors). Agricultural income, for example, declined substantially from 33 percent of total
national income in the period 1963–9 to 25 percent in the period 1970–5.
This decline is consistent with the findings in Professor Han’s study
referred to earlier, which found that the NVM had resulted in “the rich
becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer.” Han noted an unequivocal skepticism among rural people about their income and savings in the
course of the NVM. Of respondents in his study, 17.4 percent saw “no
change” in their income level and 5.4 percent concluded that their
income level had dropped. In regard to savings, 30.9 percent of respondents claimed to have made an “improvement,” 58.8 percent saw “no
change,” and 4.5 percent concluded that their savings had dropped (1987:
The gap between the industrial and the agricultural sectors was significantly widened by the focus of the third Five-Year Economic Development
Plan (1972–6) on the heavy and chemical industrialization program.
Without giving details, Park claimed in his 1972 New Year Conference at
the Blue House that the completion of the third Five-Year Plan in 1976
would increase per capita GNP to “around $400,” and achieve employment growth of “around 1.9 million to 2 million additional jobs” (PPCHS
vol. 9 1972: 57). The NVM may well have reduced the urban–rural income
gap initially (Wang In Keun 1986: 238), as it had been set up, in part, to
counter the impact on rural communities of the rapid expansion of the
industrial sector under Korea’s export-oriented industry development in
the late 1960s. This had resulted in a sharp decrease in the agricultural
population from 55.1 percent of the total population in 1965 to 43.8
percent in 1972, while the percentage share of agricultural employment in
the total labor market declined from 56.1 percent to 48.4 percent (and by
1978 had dropped further to 36.5 percent).5
Despite the rhetoric and aims of the NVM, the third Five-Year Plan
focused investment largely on industrial development, with very little
allocated to agricultural development. In reality, Park saw only limited
scope for growth in the rural sector where he focused rather on attitudinal change in local communities as a step toward supporting the state’s
rapid-development initiatives through a national mobilization of the
masses. In this context Park equated the state-led mass mobilization
through Yusin reform to the New Village Movement. He said:
The October [Yusin] Reforms are . . . the Saemaul Movement,
and the Saemaul Movement is the same as the October [Yusin]
Reforms . . . there should be no bystander or dropout in this
nation-wide movement, in which everyone should participate voluntarily and of his own accord.
(Park Chung Hee 1979b: 202)
The supposedly “voluntary” Yusin reform activities soon imposed a
structured program on the working masses about their attitudinal training, referred to officially as “spiritual enlightenment” or “spiritual revolution” (chongsin hyongmyong). The NVM was now no longer a rural
development campaign applicable mainly to the rural sector. It represented nation-wide spiritual mobilization for state-led heavy industrialization,
and for learning the required virtues of “Saemaul citizenship” associated
with Yusin reform.
Yusin: restoration reform
On 17 October 1972, Park declared martial law, dissolved the National
Assembly and announced that the Emergency State Council of Cabinet
would act with the Assembly’s authority. Ten days later, Park promulgated
the comprehensive reform known as the “Yusin” (Restoration) or the
“Siwol Yusin” (October Restoration) system. Inspired by the Japanese
Meiji Restoration (ishin in Japanese), the Yusin reform sought to achieve
comprehensive socio-political and economic reform. The ultimate aim of
Park and his key policy advisers was to “restore,” as they saw it, the prestige
and strength of the Korean nation. Their vision of Korea’s modernization
fundamentally rested on Park’s governing ideology: “Minjok Chunghung”
(National Restoration).
According to Park’s advisers, the Yusin system was initially designed to
establish a one voice system to prevent a split in national opinion in the
course of North–South dialogue (Kim Songjin 1994: 53–4). This claim
largely reflects Park and his advisers’ strategic stance at that time, given
that the Yusin reform was declared only three months after the announcement of the historic seven-point communiqué on North–South relations
of 4 July 1972. It also reflects, in part, a modification of Kim Il Sung’s
unitary self-reliance ideology, “Juch’e.” As I argued in the previous
chapter, however, the Yusin reform was, more than anything, the outcome
of Park’s adjustment of the state apparatus, including his party, the
bureaucracy and the Blue House Secretariat (discussed in Chapter 7), to
changes in US foreign policy, as well as to changes in domestic conditions,
including his dramatically weakened public support, which had almost
cost him the 1971 presidential election.
The Yusin system, in essence, was Park’s mechanism for restructuring
the apparatus of government into that of a quasi-wartime state. It was
aimed at minimizing national dependence on the United States on the
one hand, and maximizing his centralized governing structure on the
other. Behind these undoubtedly bold aims lay Park and his key policy
advisers’ ambitious plan for defense-related heavy and chemical industrialization. Park’s official declaration of the Yusin system, however, conspicuously said nothing about changes in US policy on Korea and the impact
on that policy of US rapprochement with China – mainly because US officials specifically requested that Park “omit” any mention of the subject
from his initial draft, which they had received three days before Park’s
official declaration on 17 October 1972 (Interview with O Wonch’ol,
October 1996). On 27 October, the Emergency State Council announced
draft constitutional amendments and the schedule for a national referendum, which was subsequently approved on 21 November 1972 with a 91.5
percent vote of support (Tonga Ilbo 24 November 1972). Such a high level
of support was no surprise considering public awareness of the activities of
the KCIA, and Park’s tight control over the bureaucracy and governmentowned or -controlled institutions, including the police, the army, army
security agencies, the media, the press, the banks and the chaebol.
Park’s statist supremacy now resembled that of many dictatorial heads
of state, including Kim Il Sung. On 27 February 1973, the ninth National
Assembly elections were held and a total of 146 members – or two-thirds
of the National Assembly members – from four political parties, were
elected, including seventy-three DRP members.6 According to the new
constitutional provisions, Park appointed a further seventy-three members
and fourteen reserve members – that is, about one-third of the National
Assembly. The appointed assemblymen made up the “Yusin Political Fraternity” (Yusin chonguhoe), the official rubber stamp for Park’s Yusin policies in the National Assembly. In summary, Park had unlimited power
with an absolute majority. The new Yusin constitution established the
President above the other two branches of government, the legislature
and the judiciary, and placed no restriction on the number of times he
could be re-elected. The Yusin constitution in effect also resulted in Park
gaining a two-thirds majority, enabling him to declare martial law whenever he saw it necessary.
The Saemaul Movement: mass mobilization for Yusin
Park’s declaration of the state’s heavy industrialization program in January
1973 effectively unveiled the conversion of the rural NVM into a national
campaign of mass mobilization for Yusin reform. As we have seen, Park
openly stated that the NVM was the same as the Yusin reform and vice
versa, the basic objective of both being to induce every Korean to work
hard to construct a prosperous welfare state (Park Chung Hee 1979b:
188–202). Accordingly, the NVM, as the state’s campaign of mass mobilization for Yusin reform, left no room for any loose ends in the government’s organization of the masses.
In this new universalized incarnation of the Saemaul Movement, the
entire nation was systematically organized under three categories: work
places and social institutions, broadly known as the Office Workers Group
Saemaul Movement; residential areas; and schools (Im Kyongt’aek 1991:
192–8). The armed forces were not exempt and were affiliated under the
Armed Forces’ Saemaul Movement. Each category had a strictly top-down,
pyramidal cellular structure resembling the totalitarian structure of the
Workers’ Party in North Korea.7 The resemblance was particularly notable
in the infrastructure of the “pansanghoe,” the government-led monthly
meeting of neighborhood meetings consisting of between ten and twenty
households, under which Saemaul Education courses were conducted on
the Yusin reform. There were reportedly 261,774 pan8 (the smallest
administrative zone) involving 7,027,078 households in pansanghoe by
April 1978 (Kim Chongho 1978: 67–8). The pan functioned as the basic
administrative unit of Park’s Yusin state.
The pansanghoe, in terms of its inner workings, also bore a striking
resemblance to the burakukai and chōnaikai in wartime Japan and Korea,
which, as Berger notes, the Home Ministry had created in 1939 “to carry
out the thrust of important national policies – the National General
Mobilization Law” (Berger 1977: 281). Indeed, Berger’s analysis of the
role of both burakukai (in the villages) and chōnaikai (in the cities), which
were designed to function as the principal channel through which the
people could “assist the imperial rule” identifies features with close parallels to the pansanghoe in the Yusin system. Ultimately the Saemaul Movement constituted nothing less than a cultural revolution imposed from
above, specifically aimed at inculcating a remodeled national ethos or
what Park termed “Saemaul spirit” or “the nation’s spirit.” In November
1973, Park noted:
We must somehow help our posterity learn how their forefathers
worked to build the country, how the entire village rose up,
without distinction as to sex or age and, fired by the Saemaul
spirit of diligence, self-help and teamwork, made it prosperous
and well-to-do. Then our descendants will know, ‘We too cannot
afford to remain idle. We would shame our forefathers.’ This is
what I mean by ‘the nation’s spirit.’
(Park Chung Hee 1979b: 207)
Park’s push for a cultural revolution, however dictatorial or contradictory in terms of democratic principles, grew more and more rigid as
the government’s tasks of economic mobilization and maintenance of
public order became increasingly critical as a result of the first oil crisis of
1973. The crisis not only left Korea in economic chaos but, more seriously,
led to a significantly increased national security threat from North Korea.
Against this background, the infrastructure of the Saemaul Movement
enveloped the entire country like a vast, densely woven web, from the
tiniest family unit to the Saemaul Movement Headquarters in the Blue
Similarly, structures such as the Urban New Community Movement
(tosi saemaul undong – hereafter Urban Saemaul Movement) and the
Factory New Community Movement (kongjang saemaul undong – hereafter
Factory Saemaul Movement) reflected the military-style organization of
the Saemaul networks after 1973. The Urban Saemaul Movement, for
example, incorporated many sub-organizations such as District Saemaul,
Suburban Saemaul, Business Saemaul and Residential Saemaul.10 The
Factory Saemaul Movement, in this context, was a special element of the
Saemaul Movement, aimed specifically at “guiding” the efficiency and productivity of industrial communities. Park stated:
The [Factory] Saemaul Movement as practiced in offices and factories is nothing different [from the Village Movement], since its
basic spirit is one of diligence, self-help and cooperation . . .
There should be close labor–management cooperation, with the
company president making maximum efforts to improve pay and
welfare for his employees and the latter fulfilling their duties with
a sense of responsibility and sincerity, doing factory work as if they
were doing their own personal work, and caring for the factory as
if it were their own.
(Park Chung Hee 1979b: 210 and 216)
The purpose of the Factory Saemaul Movement, in Park’s words, was to
instill a new family culture within the corporate state, incorporating
“family-like labor–management ties,” the philosophical nexus being that
“my cooperation ⫽ my family ⫽ my fatherland.” This Korean-style concept
was adopted as an official guideline for the Urban Saemaul Movement by
the Ministry of the Interior. The Factory Saemaul Movement was also a
mechanism used by Park for managing labor disputes and maintaining
industrial order, which proved particularly effective during the 1973–4 oil
crisis.11 Unlike the Saemaul Movements of other public and social organizations, the Factory Saemaul Movement was coordinated independently
by the Korean Chamber of Commerce, with a chapter established in each
province or city or equivalent area. Similarly, there were a total of twelve
Factory Saemaul education centers throughout the country. Of these, two
centers, located in Seoul and Pusan, were run by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which managed to train a total of 46,531 “high and
middle level managers” between 1973 and 1979. During the same period,
the other ten “private” centers, including Ganahan Farmers’ Schools,
trained a total of 144,733 leaders of the Factory Saemaul Movement (Ki
Hyuk Park 1981: 185).
Upon the completion of their training, these leaders were responsible
for organizing training for their fellow workers in their respective factories. The training aimed, as already noted, to promote harmony and unity
between employers and employees, while increasing productivity. Its ideals
were reflected in the slogan, “Sawonul kajok ch’orom, hoesarul naejip ch’orom”
(Employees like family; the company like my home).12 This slogan, and
others like it, spread widely among large-scale Korean chaebol companies
throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, and undoubtedly served a purpose,
especially for the state’s control over the labor movement. In fact, many
key policy-makers of the time claim that the phenomenal success of the
HCI program was due largely to the Factory Saemaul Movement, particularly in its “attitude” training for management. This view, of course, was
not that of the majority of workers, the “minjung,” who believed that the
success of the HCI program was due to their unmitigated exploitation.
The increasing industrial disputation and related activity of the labor
movement in the late 1970s, especially the female factory workers’
struggle that ultimately played an important part in Park’s demise (see
Chapter 7), reflected the severity of the impasse between the
state–employers and workers. As a means to solving the mounting conflict,
Park made Saemaul Leaders’ Training compulsory, the South Korean
version of Kim Il Sung’s political thought training of the masses.
Saemaul Leaders’ Training
Saemaul Leaders’ Training (hereafter SLT) began in 1972 and was
offered initially to leading participants in the rural Saemaul Movement. A
total of 85 SLT institutes were established around the country – forty-nine
government and thirty-six non-government. Directed by the Saemaul
Leaders’ Training Institute in Suwon (opened in July 1972), these institutes provided a strictly uniform two-week course for Saemaul leaders and
a one-week course for public officials, members of the social elite and
intellectuals. The course provided training in five main areas: military
discipline, “successful” Saemaul activities (presented by “selected” village
leaders), group discussion, meditation, and Saemaul training methodology (Ji Woong Cheong 1981: 558). Designed to promote the government’s Yusin policy, especially economic development and security
strengthening, the SLT provided the populace with formal training in
Park’s political thought, just as in North Korea mass training focused on
Kim Il Sung’s political thought. Participants in the course were required
to listen intently to Park’s speeches on the Saemaul Movement and then
analyze them, as well as to write a report on their own training experience,
with a critical self-examination and suggestions, if any, for the future
direction of the Movement at the end of each course.
In July 1974, two years after the commencement of SLT for leaders of
the NVM in rural areas, Park ordered the same training for those at the
managerial level in all sectors in Korea. The first SLT class under the category, “Saemaul Training for Minister and Deputy Minister Level, First
Class” – hereafter First-Class trainees – included fifty-three high-ranking
public figures for a one-week course. The First-Class trainees in this group
were aged between 39 and 65, and their high-ranking members comprised
twenty-eight cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, four religious leaders,
including a Catholic bishop and a senior Buddhist monk, nineteen presidents of universities and colleges, and two presidents of leading daily
newspapers in Seoul (Chang-ch’agwangup saemaul kyoyuk, che 1-gi,
This training aimed to educate the ruling elite about the Saemaul
Movement, especially in regard to the Movement’s execution of Yusin
reform. “Once the education is completed,” Park later claimed, “the
participants [should] go across the nation to disseminate what they have
learned and felt” (Park Chung Hee 1979a: 84). Given the opposition he so
often encountered from the universities, Park ranked intellectuals as “the
most important block of people” in Korea’s social leadership class, and
thus urged not only the ruling elite but also intellectuals to lead the state’s
Yusin reform campaigns in their communities.
The training for this “First-Class” group was also aimed at gathering
new ideas for the future direction of the Saemaul Movement. In fact,
participants were told that everyone’s final written report on their
Saemaul training experience, including any suggestions, would be personally “checked” by the President. Many officials therefore put in a special
effort, often exchanging ideas with one another. The idea of the Factory
Saemaul Movement, for example, was put forward by two prominent FirstClass trainees: Yi Nakson, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and O
Wonch’ol, President Park’s senior economic secretary, who was also in
charge of the HCI program (see Chapter 8).
By the end of 1974, all office workers, public officials and leading
corporate executives aged up to 65 had been conscripted into SLT. There
were virtually no exceptions other than those who were seriously ill. To my
knowledge, the only person other than Park who was exempt from this
compulsory training was Kim Chongnyom, Park’s chief of staff. Not surprisingly, this compulsory training raised much complaint among leaders
of the business community, as well as the heads of many leading economic
institutions. After receiving notice to undertake SLT, for example, Pak
Ch’unghun, former Deputy Prime Minister (1967–9) and then chairman
of the KITA (Korea International Trade Association), warned the officerin-charge of the SLT arrangements of a possible backlash. Nam Keyong,
then Director of the Business Guidance Bureau in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, recalled:
After I sent an admission notice [for the SLT] to heads of large
corporations, including Chong Such’ang, Chair of the KCCI
(Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Kim Yongwan,
Chairman of the FKI (Federation of Korean Industries) and Pak
Ch’unghun . . . [Pak] who has been always kind to me, said: ‘If
you push too far, it could cause you harm. It’s not good to ask
Elders [wollo] of the business community, who are now over sixty
years old, to undergo training of every sort, including early
morning jogging.’ Amidst this protest from the leading Elders,
even the Minister of the MCI, Chang Yejun, expressed his
concern and dissuaded me.
(O Wonch’ol 1997: 9)
But the Presidential Secretariat in the Blue House, known commonly as
the “Blue House Secretariat,” stood by this operation, and no exception
was allowed. Oral and documentary evidence13 indicates that the spread of
the SLT to the upper echelons of government and society was perceived as
the outcome of a “genuine demand” articulated at the grass-roots. Apparently, it was the rural Saemaul Leaders who initially requested, through
the self-evaluation of their own SLT, that their counterparts in their
communities, such as local officials at various levels, should be exposed to
identical “education.” Accordingly, when local officials completed their
training, they too requested that senior officials in the central government, including cabinet ministers, company executives and other
members of the elite should be given the same training. Thus the nationwide SLT operation was seen as a vox populi response, which indeed was
accurate in part. Unquestionably, though, this was the kind of outcome
that Park had sought for his ongoing socio-political reform agenda since
1968, if not earlier.14
The successful expansion of the Saemaul Movement meant that the
entire populace was submerged in political thought training, either
through SLT or, more generally, through Saemaul Education courses.
According to one report, the Saemaul Education courses amounted to an
average of 2.2 Saemaul Education courses per person over a six-year
period for the entire Korean urban population of 23,230,000 by the
end of 1978 (Im Kyongt’aek 1991). Schools also took an active part in
implementing “Schools’ Saemaul Projects,” as a compulsory part of the
curriculum (Kwon Kapchu 1974: 70–92). Universities concentrated on voluntary activities focused on the spirit of the Saemaul Movement and
national security.
The methods that Park employed in the Saemaul Movement appear to
have been drawn in part from the tactics of military-reformists in wartime
Japan and the Communist modes of mass mobilization promoted by Kim
Il Sung (and Mao). Indeed, Park’s tactics of rapid development through
the Yusin Reforms bear a striking resemblance to Japan’s Daisho Democracy characterized by Minichiello as “Totalistic Reform” (1984: 81–127).
As in wartime Japan’s Daisho Democracy, Park’s “Koreanized democracy”
during the Yusin Order was primarily focused on the building of national
power. The political concepts, implementation, and methods of the
Saemaul Movement are likewise reminiscent of Kim Il Sung’s mass mobilization campaign of the 1960s, the Ch’ollima (Flying Horse) Movement.
This Movement, according to Kim, represented “a great revolutionary
movement of the working millions of our country, sweeping away everything antiquated from all spheres of the economy, culture, ideology and
morality” (Kim Il Sung: Selected Works vol. 3: 100).15
Like Kim, Park also promoted the need for change in the people’s
“mentality” (chongsin) to create a collective mindset focused on national
strengthening and independence. They both sought to re-educate the
masses in accordance with their own “leadership principle.” Irreconcilably
opposed as each was to the other’s ideology, they both prescribed the
same principle of “self-reliance,” officially termed “Juche” (chuch’e) in the
North, and “Chaju” or “Minjok Chunghung” (National Restoration) in
the South. Park’s chaju/minjok chunghung ideology promulgated antiCommunism and guided capitalism, whereas Kim’s chuch’e ideology
sought to maintain one of the most rigid forms of political and economic
autarchy in the world, which, as many have noted, resembled an “emperor
system” or what Cumings characterized as the “Corporate State” (1993:
These two ideologies resembled one another as vehement expressions
of nationalism whose common terms were: Korea’s self-strengthening, cultural tradition, historical lessons learned from Japanese imperialism, ideological threats at the border, and the state’s commitment to
“anti-flunkeyism” (pan-sadaejuui) in relation to foreign powers. Both
leaders called for the “sacred mission” of national revolution in their own
way: Park through the Saemaul Movement and Kim through the Ch’ollima Movement. And in the process of revolution both leaders violated the
people’s democratic rights.
The effectiveness of Park’s education and indoctrination programs
through the Saemaul Movement, however, was in stark contrast to the
effectiveness of Kim’s programs. Unlike the North Koreans who had
adopted Kim as their “oboi suryong” (Father Leader) and who subsequently
became Kim’s “perpetual children,” the working masses (minjung) in the
South emerged as a political force against Park’s authoritarian rule. Paradoxically, the state’s education and indoctrination programs in the
Saemaul Movement taught ordinary people that political freedom was
inseparable from their pursuit of economic freedom, empowerment and
happiness. Thus the workers’ labor movement, coupled with the dissidents’ anti-Yusin campaigns, grew more and more influential, especially
following the notorious abduction of Kim Dae Jung in August 1973 by the
Korean CIA – so much so that it ultimately led to Park’s assassination in
1979. During this period, Park was under extreme pressure to “listen” to
the anti-Yusin forces and to abolish the Yusin system.16 Instead of tempering the Yusin system, however, Park bulldozed ahead enforcing draconian
measures, especially against demonstrations by university students. In this
regard, the declaration of Emergency Decrees 1 and 4 in early 1974 was
only the beginning of the tumultuous era of developmentalism under
Park’s Yusin State – and the beginning of Park’s own demise.
The imperial army if we succeed,
Bandits if we fail.
(“Kateba kangun, Makereba zokugun” in Japanese)
(Park Chung Hee)1
By mid-1974, the state and the Korean people were sharply divided. Park
had become increasingly isolated from the working masses (minjung), who
constituted a powerful and active anti-Yusin force. An unexpected
calamity was to give Park some breathing space – but it came at the cost of
his wife’s assassination by a bullet meant for himself. On 15 August, at the
ceremony for the twenty-ninth anniversary of national liberation in the
National Theatre, Park’s wife, Yuk Yongsu, was shot by Mun Segwang, a
Korean resident of Tokyo allegedly connected with North Korea. The First
Lady died later that night.
The Korean people were outraged by both North Korea and Japan,
believing that such an incident could have been avoided if the Japanese
Government had exercised appropriate measures to control North
Korean activities in Japan, particularly those of the League of Korean
Residents in Japan of which Mun was said to be a member. Nation-wide
rallies in ten major cities on 27–28 August, involving 1.5 million people,
reflected the groundswell of anti-Communist and anti-Japanese feeling,
even though these rallies may not have been entirely spontaneous (Tonga
Ilbo 6 September 1974). On 30 August, Park personally warned the Japanese Government, through its ambassador in Seoul, Ushiroku Taro, that
Japan must take responsibility for the death of his wife. He demanded that
Japan restrict the activities of the League of Korean Residents in Japan.
Minister Kim Tongjo of the Foreign Affairs Ministry publicly announced
that unless Japan changed its “insincere” attitude toward the murder of
the President’s wife Korea would sever diplomatic relations.2 The death of
his wife profoundly affected Park’s approach to national unity and
harmony, and led him to ease the emergency measures as a way of reaching out to the public. On 23 August, Park announced the withdrawal of
Emergency Decrees Nos 1 and 4 which prohibited anti-Yusin activities.
This undoubtedly conciliatory measure was also intended, in part, to
please the US Government, especially in deference to President Gerald
Ford, who had been scheduled to visit Korea on 21 September.
The delay of this visit by two months until 22 November 1974, however,
inspired anti-Yusin campaigners to “herald further activation” (Hak-kyu
Sohn 1988: 129). Support from external sources, especially from the US
Government, was linked to a series of House Committee Hearings in the
Congress from July 1974, headed by Donald Fraser, who argued that the
US Government should consider either a reduction or termination of military assistance to Korea (House Committee on International Relations
1974: 2–3). This period was one of the lowest of Park’s Presidency, as
it found him struggling for sheer survival, in the midst of his personal
grief over the loss of his wife.3 His grief, however, appears to have brought
about a profound change in his anti-Communist strategy. Park’s defense
policy, known as “Yubi muhwan,” meaning “Be prepared, and you will
have no cause for regrets,” became the ideological basis for the building
of a national defense state, or the Yusin State, a key element of which
was Korea’s defense-oriented heavy industrialization under the Yusin
Nevertheless, the dissidents’ campaign for human rights and freedom
rapidly increased. In particular, the united forces of the anti-Yusin movement targeted the abolition of the Yusin constitution. They were led by
eminent representatives of the Protestant and Catholic churches affiliated
to the National Council of Churches and linked to international church
organizations, including the World Council of Churches, the East Asia
Christian Conference,4 the National Council of the Churches of Christ in
the US and the National Christian Council in Japan. Furthermore, on 25
December 1974, 71 leading dissidents from various fields, including Kim
Dae Jung, Kim Young Sam (leader of the opposition New Democratic
Party) and Yun Poson (the former President), launched the National Congress for the Restoration of Democracy (NCRD), which was sponsored by
the Catholic Church in South Korea. The NCRD was further strengthened
by the mushrooming of branches throughout the country which numbered about 50 by March 1975 (Tonga Ilbo 8 April 1975).
In the face of this coordinated challenge from opposition forces, not to
mention the university students’ anti-government movement, the government resorted to counter measures. In order to control student demonstrations at Korea University, for example, the government declared
Emergency Decree No. 7 on 8 April 1975. Under this Decree, the government not only temporarily closed Korea University by authorizing the
army to occupy the campus but, by mid-April, the Decree had led to the
subsequent closure of all twenty-five major universities following the
suicide of the Seoul National University student, Kim Sangjin, in protest
against the government. Similarly, on 9 April, the government executed,
without appeal, eight of the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP: Inmin
hyongmyongtang or Inhyoktang) in an attempt to eliminate the public perception that “the PRP itself was a complete fabrication of the security services extracted under torture” (Hak-Kyu Sohn 1988: 146).
In this context, the declaration of the infamous Emergency Decree No.
9 of 13 May 1975 for national security and public order reflected the desperate position into which Park had locked himself to obtain national
stability and “unity.” Decree No. 9 prohibited any form of anti-government
activity, including fabricating or disseminating false facts, or making false
representations of facts as well as denying, opposing, distorting or defaming the constitution, or asserting, petitioning, instigating or propagating
the revision or repeal thereof, by means of assembly, demonstration or by
the use of mass media such as newspapers, broadcasts or news correspondence, or by making documents, pictures, records or other publications
(Korea Annual 1976: 328–9). Within the next two months, the National
Assembly had passed four wartime laws: the public security law, the civil
defense law, the defense tax law and an amendment to the education law,
the last of which enabled the revival of the student defense corps on the
one hand but restricted re-employment of university professors on the
The bureaucracy clean-up
The effect of Emergency Decree No. 9 (hereafter ED No. 9), as well as the
four wartime laws, was far-reaching, especially on public and private
organizations, as the state utilized these laws to restructure the bureaucracy, officially known as the “purification of officialdom” (sojong swaesin),
from March 1975. The state claimed that this bureaucracy “clean-up” was
aimed, inter alia, at establishing in Korean society the principle of “selfregulation” (chayul). On the socio-political level, the program was
allegedly aimed at “restoring” the bureaucracy by sweeping away opponents in all areas. Under this program, the state introduced the so-called
“interrelated collective liability system” (kyeyol yondae ch’aegimje) and the
“disciplinary system for both briber and bribee” (ssangbolche). The former
was a collective liability system, involving the official concerned and their
supervisors. Under this system, 17,562 bureaucrats were collectively punished over a three-year period from March 1975 to March 1978. Overall, a
total of 119,000 individuals in official positions were disciplined (Yi
Chongsik 1978: 366). This figure is comparable to Park’s claim that a total
of 127,000 people were disciplined over three years from 1976 to 1978
(PPCHS vol. 16 1979: 85).
This clean-up was undoubtedly a major program in Park’s socio-political and economic reform agenda, and was closely tied to the state’s HCI
program. In fact, in the midst of the oil shock and burgeoning foreign
and domestic debt, Park sought reform of the bureaucracy as a prerequisite to implementing his extremely bold Third Five-Year Plan (1972–6).
To Park and his policy-makers, Korea’s survival was at risk unless the stateled HCI program was successful. Hence, the state’s bureaucracy clean-up
campaign was extremely rigid, being especially directed against those
bureaucrats with a “negative attitude,” whether real or perceived, toward
the government’s Yusin policies. At the same time, Park relentlessly promoted a high standard of work performance by awarding material incentives, Saemaul awards, “export towers” of gold, silver and bronze, and
various medals for distinguished public service.
A total of 159,726 individuals received these awards in 1976 and 1977,
which, according to the Ministry of Government Administration, represented approximately 30.8 percent of public servants (519,000) as at end of
March 1978 (Yi Chongsik 1978: 371). Along with this carrot-and-stick
approach, the state implemented a comprehensive revision of administrative ordinances concerned with public welfare services. A total of 1,487
ordinances were amended between April 1975 and the spring of 1978.
Park commented on the importance of bureaucratic discipline under the
Yusin “Guidance System” (chido ch’eje) as follows:
In watching the rise and fall of many countries in history, one
realizes everything is dependent on one fundamental factor, that
is . . . a country’s official discipline . . . Everyone knows the old
axiom, “Only when upper [stream] waters are clean do down
[stream] waters also become clean.”
(Chong Chaegyong 1991: 127)
And in this Confucian patrimonial mode, the “upper” waters of Park’s
“Guidance System” signified none other than the office of the president,
especially the Presidential Secretariat known as Ch’ongwadae pisosil (Blue
House Secretariat).
The Blue House Secretariat
Until 1968, the Blue House Secretariat (BHS) comprised only one senior
staff member, the Chief of Staff, Yi Hurak (1963–9), whose rank was
equivalent to that of cabinet minister.5 However, the status of the BHS was
raised dramatically in October 1969 when Park increased its personnel to
nine senior-ranked staff and replaced Yi Hurak with Kim Chongnyom,
Minister of Commerce and Industry (1967–9). Kim subsequently became
Park’s official “Economic Manager” of all economic ministries, including
the EPB. As we saw in previous chapters, Park made this new arrangement
primarily to strengthen his executive power, which he saw as necessary in
order to reorganize Korea’s defense structure in the face of global
change, with US hegemony in North-East Asia declining and Korea facing
massive security threats, real and perceived, from North Korea.
In this context, the role of the BHS headed by Kim Chongnyom
reflected Park’s managerial system under what he called an “ultraemergency situation” (ch’o-pisang sat’ae) in which he governed the country
like a commander-in-chief and his secretariat acted as a quasi-wartime
cabinet. The BHS was highly centralized, tailor-made, and de-politicized.
Its most prominent characteristic, however, was that it managed economic
and industrial policy, especially the “Big Push” of HCI, strictly in accordance with Park’s “Presidential Guidance” (taet’ongryong chisi) or “Blue
House Guidance” (ch’ongwadae chisi). While the former referred to the
authority coming directly from President Park and the latter to that
coming from his secretariat, both carried Park’s presidential authority
based on the Yusin constitution including, most pertinently, his authority
in regard to the de-politicization of key economic and industrial decisionmaking.
Many Korean observers of recent decades are familiar with the
extraordinary circumstances that led to the rise of Kim Chaeik in early
1980. As a relatively unknown director-general in the EPB, Kim was
appointed by President Chun Doo Hwan as “president of economic
affairs,” and subsequently implemented a surplus national budget (Clifford 1994: 182). What these observers do not seem to appreciate, or
simply overlook, is that Chun was not the first president to adopt the
radical method of appointing a humble non-political technocrat as
“president of economic affairs.” In fact, Park had set such a precedent
more than a decade earlier. It was Park’s way of focusing his own
energies on politics and national security, while Kim Chongnyom, Park’s
newly appointed chief of staff, took charge of economic affairs. Kim
recalled Park’s reasons for this chief executive officer-like arrangement as
Because he [the President] had to occupy himself with national
defense and diplomacy, he would like to leave me the task of
dealing with the economy, which I should direct in co-operation
with the economic ministers. He asked me to create good policies
with an emphasis on export promotion and agricultural development, and brief him about them frequently.
(Chung-yum Kim 1994: 66)
This arrangement quickly became the basis of the “Kim Chongnyom
Economic Team,” the driving force behind Korea’s high-speed economic
development in the 1970s, at least until December 1978. Immediately
after his appointment, Kim took over the restructuring of the BHS, establishing four main divisions: the First Political Secretariat (Chongmu-1
pisosil), the Second Political Secretariat (Chongmu-2 pisosil), the First Economic Secretariat (Kyongje-1 pisosil), and the Second Economic Secretariat
(Kyongje-2 pisosil). The First Political Secretariat dealt with politics,
national defense, foreign affairs, political party matters and justice, while
the Second Political Secretariat was put in charge of home affairs, education, health and social affairs. The First Economic Secretariat managed
finance and the economy, agriculture, trade and commerce, and construction.
The Second Economic Secretariat (SES), which had been abolished in
November 1969, was re-created as the President’s “task force” in November 1971 to take charge of defense industry development, although the
SES was officially known to be in charge of heavy and chemical industry
development.6 The Third Economic Secretariat, another presidential task
force, which had been in charge of reorganizing insolvent companies
from April 1969, was closed in December 1970. The BHS was strengthened further in December 1970 when the post of presidential special assistant (PSA) was formally established and nine PSAs at the ministerial and
vice-ministerial level were appointed.
These PSAs were responsible for various policy areas, including
domestic politics, international politics, the agricultural economy,
tax reform, public opinion, national security and private affairs
concerning Park’s personal and family matters.7 They provided advice
and recommendations to Park on a more informal basis than that of
secretaries or cabinet ministers. As the headquarters of Park’s extremely
moralistic and achievement-oriented administration, the BHS took
little time to reinvigorate the bureaucracy and other governmentconnected institutions in accordance with Yusin policy. Just like a Confucian royal household, the BHS rigidly followed the traditional approach
to loyalty and hierarchy, and combined it with military efficiency and
Kim Chongnyom, for example, not only used royal household language
and etiquette in his relationship with Park, but he also regarded himself
as, in his own words, equivalent to the Tosungji, the Chief Royal Secretary
of the Choson dynasty (1392–1910), who was in charge of the transmission
of memorials from below and edicts from above (author interview with
Kim, January 2000). He adopted a military-style administrative approach
to such an extent that he, like any military officer before his general,
never failed to stand still with his hands to his sides when receiving Park’s
orders. Kim’s idea of efficient management, and most likely Park’s and
that of many of his top economic secretariat, including O Wonch’ol,
called for “a small number of elite officers” (sosu chongye) with proven
performance records. The primary reason for this essentially elitist
approach was, Kim believed, to produce the maximum result within the
shortest time available.
Contrary to his Confucian manners and widely admired “mild”
character, Kim was known to have been quite uncompromising, almost
“cold-hearted,” in managing his official duties. In an effort to continue to
work during lunch breaks, he is said to have “never” taken lunch outside
the Blue House throughout his entire term as chief of staff. Except when
there was an official lunch at the Blue House, he would lunch on noodles
– which Park apparently loved to eat, and for which the Blue House was
therefore well known. But for Kim Yonghwan, one of Kim’s aides, who
later became Minister of Finance (1974–8), eating noodles for lunch
everyday with Kim was the “drudgery of drudgeries” (O Wonch’ol HGKKS
vol. 3 1996: 227).
With this extremely self-disciplined approach, Kim managed not only
the BHS as Park’s highly centralized commanding agency, but also all economic ministries for over nine years, from 1969 to December 1978.
During this period, Kim managed three consecutive deputy prime ministers (who were also ministers of the EPB): Kim Hang’yol (June 1969 to
January 1972); T’ae Wanson (January 1972 to September 1974); and Nam
Togu (September 1974 to December 1978). In dealing with his staff, Kim
is said to have done nothing but issue orders to his underlings, never conceding anything to anyone, and acted as if he expected everyone to adopt
his own approach to Park, that of absolute obedience.
In this respect, Kim’s totally subservient approach to Park and his patriarchal approach to his own staff and to other ministries, as well as big
chaebol, reflected Park’s idea of “Koreanized democracy” (Han’gukchok minjujuui) or, more specifically, that of the “Yusin Guidance System” (Yusin
chido ch’eje). Kim’s concept of democracy, like that of many well-educated
Koreans, including many high-ranking officials, technocrats, business
leaders, and academics, placed more emphasis on conformity and selfdiscipline, and less on diversity. The primary goal of “Koreanized” democracy to Kim and to many senior Blue House elite technocrats was to
achieve Yusin reform as articulated by Park, namely to increase national
strength and to systematize national power. According to Park, the result
of this would be, in effect, “to afford a greater measure of stability and
prosperity for each individual and each family” (Park Chung Hee 1979b:
185 and 209). Thus the essential position of the BHS was statist: its
members believed that “The individual can thrive only when the country
prospers” (Park Chung Hee 1979b: 209). As such, the BHS vehemently
promoted the state idea of economic nationalism in controlling the
cabinet and, of course, the chaebol. In fact, the BHS was regarded as the
“house of houses” (oksang ok) or the “cabinet behind the scenes” (paehu
Blue House Rules
As a strategy for completing the HCI plan within the shortest timeframe
and with maximum efficiency, Park and the Blue House Economic Secretariat deliberately chose a national model, Korea Inc., and they specifically
assigned chaebol as their industrial warhorse in each particular field of
investment. This strategy was similar to that adopted in the early 1960s
when every leading chaebol was assigned to a particular field of investment
within a planned timeframe. The chaebol had very little choice but to complete their assigned industry development target as the price of their “conditional freedom” from charges of “illicit accumulation of wealth,” as I
discussed in Chapter 3.
This sink-or-swim strategy, ironically, made many chaebol, both big and
small, very successful not only in generating economic wealth, but also in
gaining new expertise and broadening their knowledge of Park-style or
Blue House-style rapid development.9 By the early 1970s, many chaebol had
more hands-on experience in industry construction than anyone in the
country, which meant that they also had more experience with Park and
Blue House-style business rules and criteria. The rise of Hyundai as one of
the three largest chaebol conglomerates in Korea in the 1970s, a position
which it has held into the twenty-first century, would reflect the nature
and mode of Park’s developmentalism. In the authorized biography of
Chong Chuyong (Chung Ju Yung), the founder of the Hyundai Corporation, US economics Professor Steers wrote:
Hyundai thrived under President Park’s rigidly controlled regime.
To business executives, Park’s government was seen as having a
clear and realistic plan for economic development. The rules
were well known to all, and companies could invest with reasonable confidence. Moreover, despite Park’s autocratic style, his
government was largely free of graft and corruption. It was clear
that Park was committed to enriching Korea, not himself, and the
business community trusted him. They also feared him. The only
requirement for companies was that they meet their production
target without excuse. Failure to do so removed the company
from Park’s inner circle and from future government loans and
(1999: 69)
As in the case of Hyundai, however, not all companies began their business as “big” chaebol. In 1965, Hyundai was not included in the top ten
chaebol and yet, by 1975, it had become the third largest after Samsung
and Lucky. The Blue House’s key rule for chaebol in the 1960s and 1970s
was that they meet their assigned targets as a matter of national obligation.
In this way they built their credibility with both the Blue House elite technocrats and with Park as deserving of national support. If a chaebol failed
to accomplish its given targets, however, it received no further privileges,
and ultimately had no future. Moreover, like Hyundai, they did not need
to be large to receive the state’s favors. For example, Daewoo rose from
nowhere to number seven in the chaebol hierarchy due largely to Park’s
personal support for its founder, Kim Ujung (Woo Jung), based on his
trust in Kim’s entrepreneurial vision and innovation. Park was therefore
not concerned about size, but about achievement through entrepreneurship and innovation.
Indeed, seven chaebol from the 1965 top ten list, including P’anbon,
Samho and Samyang, had vanished from the 1975 list.10 It could be said that
the Blue House-style business rules were highly unconventional, with Park
acting as on-the-job superintendent. Steer’s interview with a former engineer, who worked closely with Park during the construction of the
Seoul–Pusan (or Kyongbu) Expressway completed by Hyundai in June 1970,
illustrates the Park-style or “Korean Way” of state-guided development:
Mr Park is not an easy man at the best of times, and he certainly
was far from that during our project. But after a while, I found
myself thinking of him as a sort of conductor of an orchestra –
with a helicopter as his baton. Up and down he would go, this
time with a team of geologists to figure out what was wrong with
some mountainside that had crumbled on our tunnel-makers, the
next time with a couple of United Nations hydrologists to figure
out how our surveyors had got some water table wrong. If he
didn’t know the answer on Tuesday, Mr Park was back with it on
(Steers 1999: 68)
To orchestrate his extremely complex and comprehensive HCI plan
without much know-how, experience or resources, and with massive
opposition from both politicians and the majority of the working masses,
not to mention US opposition, Park relied heavily on his security agencies,
not only the KCIA, but also the Military Security Command, the police,
the Blue House Security Service and the Counter-Espionage Operations
Command. In fact, under the Yusin system, Park unilaterally controlled
both national security policy and all political funds through his secretariat
and the KCIA.11 In this way, the BHS had sole management of the distribution of political funds to both ruling and opposition parties. To prevent
any “undesirable” activities among any political, economic or social
groups, the KCIA watched everyone, just as these same five intelligence
agencies watched each other.
Many executive policy-making bodies such as the Cabinet Council and
the National Assembly had limited constitutional authority under the
Yusin system, and thus had minimal influence over the state’s policymaking processes. Kim Chongp’il, Prime Minister from June 1971 to
December 1975, for example, was kept in the dark to such an extent that
he later claimed he had been under surveillance throughout the entire
period he served as Prime Minister (O Hyojin 1987: 294 and 296). Kim’s
claim was not unwarranted. As will be seen in the following chapter, Kim’s
role in the Yusin state, especially in the course of implementing heavy
industrialization, was minimal. Like most cabinet ministers, party officials
and National Assemblymen, his role was merely to sign documents and
carry out administrative orders from Park mostly issued by the presidential
secretariat on Park’s behalf.
Park’s personal rule through the Presidential Secretariat intensified as
he and his economic secretariats frantically drove their strategy for the
HCI program as a counter-measure to the apparent national security
“crisis” in the wake of the fall of Indochina. On 23 April 1975, US President Ford declared the end of the Vietnam War. It was less than a week
after the fall of Cambodia on 17 April and the resignation of Vietnamese
President Thieu on 21 April. Coinciding with this domino effect, Kim Il
Sung visited China (from 19 to 28 April). These external events gave rise
to open speculation in Korea that the US was considering changing its
East Asian “defense perimeter,” and subsequently might sell out Korea
(Tonga Ilbo 21 April 1975). This worried Park greatly. On 29 April, he
issued a special statement on national security wherein he appealed for
national unity in support of the government’s efforts to guarantee
national security. He claimed that national unity was imperative because
“this is the year in which the North Korean Communists are most likely to
provoke reckless playing with fire” (Tonga Ilbo 29 April 1975). Park
appears to have been shocked to see the fall of Vietnam. And in particular, he saw Vietnam’s inability to defend itself against Communism as the
fundamental cause of its downfall. In his diary on 30 April 1975, he wrote:
Now the Republic of Vietnam . . . has been erased from the earth
. . . We saw the inevitable and cruel reality, and the truth that any
country without the national determination and strength to guard
its own existence for itself will not survive. These rivers and mountains . . . are [the Korean people’s] fatherland . . . Forever, forever
until the day this world ends, we must stand guard . . . We must all
die on the day when we fail to keep guard. We can guard as long
as we are prepared to die [for Korea].
(Chong Chaegyong 1994: 474–5)
Park appealed to Koreans to face their true reality, that is, “living in
a de facto state of war” and thus “to equip themselves for a wartime
mentality” (PPCHS vol. 11 1974: 36). For many commentators, it seems
much easier to attribute political motives to Park and to question his sincerity in his reactions toward rapid change in the international arena, and
therefore to dismiss him as paranoid, than it is to question the absurdities
and vicissitudes of Cold War politics. With Seoul only 40 kilometers away
from the demilitarized zone, however, Park’s declaration that the state
would “defend Seoul to the death if invaded by North Korea” (Chong
Chaegyong 1994: 472)12 moved the sentiments of many Koreans. In fact,
ordinary people were so frightened that, in the words of one opposition
politician, “some citizens were even preparing roasted rice-powder as
emergency food” (Tonga Ilbo 3 May 1975).
On 10 May 1975, the media launched a nation-wide campaign for contributions to a national defense fund. In a resolution of the National
Association of Newspapers on National Security, journalists stated that
they would take responsibility for leading public opinion toward unity and
national consensus. On 10 May, 1.4 million participants held a rally sponsored by the National Conference for National Security with Total
Strength which had been established on 8 May by 38 civic organizations
under the leadership of Ho Chong, one-time head of state.13 In this extraordinary situation all political activities, including among opposition
parties, were dramatically curtailed. Such political castration was nowhere
more obvious than in the capitulation of the NDP, especially after the
meeting between the leader of the NDP, Kim Young Sam, and Park on 21
May, just a week after the declaration of ED No. 9. The NDP’s conciliatory
approach toward the government’s security policy was further softened in
September 1976 when Yi Ch’olsung was elected NDP president.
With his political mottoes, “reformation under participation” and
“integration in the middle way,” Yi’s leadership of the NDP was such that
the Tonga Ilbo, one of the most influential daily papers, criticized the party
as having “complacently settled down as a constitutive opposition party
within the Yusin system” (Hak-Kyu Sohn 1988: 168). Political displacement, or “de-politicization,” took a more dramatic form when, on 24 February 1976, the ruling DRP announced a restructuring plan to cut its
secretariat staff by a quarter after it had already dismissed half of its personnel only four months earlier (Tonga Ilbo 23 October 1975 and 24 February 1976). This staff cut, driven by a thirty percent reduction in the
Party’s budget, reflected the severity of the DRP’s dependency on the
executive power. Overall, the role of both the ruling and opposition
parties was so reduced that the role of parliament itself was decidedly
compromised with the establishment of the Yusin constitution. During the
period of the ninth National Assembly (February 1973 to December
1978), for example, a total of 633 bills were passed. Of these, 479 bills (or
76 percent) were “official” government proposals, leaving just 154 bills or
24 percent to the members of the National Assembly (Chong Sangho
1988: 128). The Yusin State, in short, unmistakably represented one
“united” voice: Park’s.
Yusin adversaries: the “Minjung,” President Carter
The Yusin system under Park’s monolithic “presidential guidance,”
however, came up against two unstoppable developments: President
Jimmy Carter’s policy of troop withdrawal from Korea and the rise of the
human rights and labor movements. The former particularly worried Park
and his policy-makers, not only because of Korea’s vulnerability to invasion from North Korea, but also because of the open hostility in Korea–US
relations fueled by Carter’s public attacks on Park’s abuse of human
rights. In fact, Carter not only criticized the human rights situation in
Korea during his election campaign, but also implemented his withdrawal
policy in Korea almost immediately upon gaining office because, as Vice
President Mondale noted, he felt “discomfort . . . with the suppression of
human rights by the Korean Government” (cited in Hak-Kyu Sohn 1988:
On 14 April, for example, the US commenced the withdrawal from
Korea of its Sergeant Missile Unit, which was capable of handling nuclear
weapons. There was, of course, more to Carter’s moralistic castigation
than met the eye. The American people, thoroughly demoralized by the
Vietnam War, and only just recovering from the scandals of the Nixon era,
sought solace in the moral righteousness of President Carter. They were
therefore extremely sensitive about US dealings with Park, especially after
the Koreagate bribery scandal, which had exposed the unsavory conduct
of US congressmen in Washington in the early 1970s. A Korean businessman, Pak Tongson, with the help of the KCIA, had bribed so many influential Americans in order to win US congressional support for Korea that,
in October 1976, the US Justice Department announced that about ninety
US congressmen and officials, including the recently disgraced President
Richard Nixon, had been included on Pak’s bribery list. To make matters
worse, the American CIA reported that it had planted secret electronic
bugging and tape-recording devices at the Blue House and, on the basis of
information thus obtained, it insisted that President Park had been personally involved in the Koreagate operation (Washington Post 26 October
1976; New York Times 9 November 1976).
Archival sources show that the Park Government was haunted by the
domino effect of the Koreagate scandal, especially in terms of US intervention in human rights issues.14 President Carter’s human rights policy
profoundly influenced Korea’s democracy movement. The joint
Catholic–Protestant prayer service, known as the “declaration for the
democratic salvation of the nation,” held in March 1976, for example, was
so effective in unnerving the Park Government that it went into panic
mode, arresting many prominent politicians and human rights activists,
including Kim Dae Jung, then undoubtedly the most prominent Korean
democracy advocate, and Reverend Mun Ikhwan, who later became chairman of the United Minjung (People’s) Movement for Democracy and
Unification. The government also charged former president, Yun Poson,
and nine other prominent dissident leaders, but without detention. Such
actions inevitably only added to Park’s growing reputation as a dictator.
Amidst this political crisis, Park was placed under severe pressure by the
US Congress, which demanded that the Korean Government send Pak
Tongson to the US to assist with its investigations into the Koreagate incident. Not surprisingly, Park flatly refused through his foreign minister
who, on 8 September 1977, publicly stated that his government would not
co-operate with the US investigations into Pak’s bribery scandal (Tonga
Ilbo 8 September 1977). The two governments, nevertheless, agreed finally
on 10 January 1978, that US Justice Department officials could interrogate
Pak in Korea in the presence of a Korean prosecutor, on the condition
that they would not raise questions concerning any incumbent Korean or
third-country officials (Tonga Ilbo 21 January 1978).
In late 1978, the US Government officially closed its two inquiries: that
conducted by the senate committee which disclosed the names of nine
senators suspected of receiving bribes from Pak Tongson; and that by the
House of Representatives which passed a resolution to reprimand three
incumbent congressmen. In the course of these investigations, the role of
US ambassador William Gleysteen appears to have been particularly effective in convincing Kim Yongsik, Korean Ambassador to Washington, to
secure his government’s cooperation in obtaining testimony from Kim
Tongjo, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the understanding that a
military aid bill before the US Senate for the transfer of military equipment worth 800 million dollars to Korea would not be jeopardized (HakKyu Sohn 1988: 204).
The irony in President Carter’s human rights crusade, imposed on
Korea through a policy of troop withdrawal – although Carter never made
the link between them explicit – was that it enabled Park to exploit his
Yusin agenda, especially the construction of defense industries, despite US
opposition and often-strong interference. In fact, Park’s bold pursuit of
weapons development, as well as Korea’s purchasing of advanced technology weapons and military equipment from non-American sources such as
France, Britain, and Canada, had become a matter of major conflict
between the two governments from the early 1970s (Interview with O
Wonch’ol November 1997). Moreover, Park was fully aware of Carter’s
dilemma in carrying out his withdrawal plans, which received fierce
opposition not only from his own countrymen, including the military and
conservative politicians from both the Republican and Democrat camps
(Hayes 1989: Chapter 5), but also from Japan. Prime Minister Fukuda, in
fact, openly opposed Carter’s withdrawal policy well before the President’s
inauguration (Newsweek 10 January 1977).
Similarly, Major-General John Singlaub, Chief of Staff of the US Forces
in Korea, warned, in his interview with the Washington Post in May 1977,
that “if U.S. ground troops are withdrawn on the schedule suggested, it
will lead to war” (19 May 1977).15 Concerning the economic situation in
Korea, CIA Director Stansfield Turner, in his report to a closed hearing of
the military committee of the US Congress on 13 July, warned that a US
troop withdrawal would lead to an increase in Korea’s defense expenditure. Turner noted that this had already increased from 6.1 percent to 6.9
percent of GNP and that any further increase in defense expenditure
would be a serious obstacle to Korea’s economic development, especially
in terms of foreign investment.16
On the whole, Carter’s withdrawal policy was most vehemently opposed
by his own military generals at the front line on the Korean peninsula.
General John Vessey, the US military commander in Korea, according to a
recently available source, advised Park and his military advisers to demand
a compensatory aid package of a sum which the US Government could
not possibly pay in return for the withdrawal of US troops (Yi Tongbok
2001: 260–87). His strategy was that such a package – later confirmed to
be $1.5 billion – would tie Congress up in debate on its cost vis-à-vis withdrawal, forcing the abortion of the planned withdrawal. Vessey’s commitment to this almost mutinous tactic was very evident in one Defense
Department staffer’s comment that Vessey would resign if the withdrawal
of troops were to proceed without the compensation package (Oberdorfer
1997: 93).
Carter’s withdrawal policy also stirred up vehement opposition among
the Korean people, including opposition parties and representatives of
the six leading Christian denominations, who appealed in writing to many
influential people, including Donald Fraser, chair of the US Koreagate
scandal inquiry, and Carter himself. Given this groundswell of opposition
nationally and internationally, Carter’s withdrawal policy acted, paradoxically, to strengthen Park’s resolve to implement his Yusin agenda: the “Big
Push” for heavy and chemical industrialization and political reform. The
big push enabled Park to stimulate and mobilize the Korean people’s
shared sense of nationalism.
By early 1979, however, the situation had changed significantly in both
political and economic terms. Politically, Park was shocked by the results
of the National Assembly elections on 12 December 1978, which left the
ruling DRP with 1.1 percent less votes than the 32.8 percent obtained by
the NDP. Thus, although the DRP secured seven more seats than the
NDP’s 61 seats, this poor result was enough to shatter Park’s confidence,
despite the fact that he had won the challenge-free presidential election
for a second term in July.
More troubling than his political dilemma, however, was the economic
problem of soaring inflation fueled largely by fierce competition for
skilled labor which, according to many analysts, pushed real wage
increases ahead of the increase in productivity during the 1977–9 period.
Amsden, for example, argues that, during the 1975–9 period, real wages
for production workers and other professional, technical and managerial
workers rose 16.8 percent and 15.3 percent respectively (1989: 199). In
1978, the level of inflation had risen to 22 percent from 16 percent in
1977. Ultimately, the factors behind this economic instability led Park to
dismiss Kim Chongnyom as his chief of staff in December 1978 and to
appoint Sin Hyonhwak to replace Kim as “Economic Manager” and as
deputy prime minister. Kim’s dismissal, together with the dismissal of his
two closest supporters, Deputy Prime Minister Nam Togu and Minister of
Finance Kim Yonghwan, represented a fundamental shift in Park’s economic policy from the high-speed growth of the HCI program to economic stabilization.17
For example, the EPB-led new economic “policy package” – known as
the Comprehensive Stabilization Plan – announced in April 1979, was concrete evidence of Park’s new direction in economic policy. Although this
policy was postponed twice – initially because of the second oil price
increase in July, and again because of Park’s assassination, in October – it
was this policy and its architects that rose to center stage of Korea’s political economy for nearly two decades, until the financial crisis in December
1997. Meanwhile, party politics under the Yusin Guidance system was thoroughly stymied because the opposition NDP had been “buried under [its
agreement] to compromise [with the government] and struggle only
within the system” (Yi Kwangil 1998: 187). This did not mean, however,
that the dissidents’ protests were dead. On the contrary, workers’ protests
in various companies, both big and small, had been mushrooming since
the self-immolation of a textile worker, Chon T’aeil, in November 1970, as
we have seen. This incident had given impetus to the subsequent proliferation of workers’ unions in many large companies, which together with
the workers’ organized activities, ultimately led to the formation of a mass
labor movement.
The intensity of the labor disputes at the Pangnim Textile Company
(1977), the Peace Market (1977) and the Tongil Textile Company (1978),
among half a dozen major labor disputes,18 reflected the mood of such
disputes prior to the now legendary textile workers’ labor dispute, the YH
incident. This dispute not only exposed the inhuman working conditions
of female textile workers since the mid-1960s,19 but also resulted in the
opposition NDP adopting labor issues, particularly social justice, as the
major item of its political agenda. The subsequent conflict between the
government and the NDP sparked massive urban anti-Yusin protests. In
less than two months, this large unrest had led to Park’s assassination. To
understand how this development came about, a brief recapitulation of
the YH Incident is pertinent.
The YH Trading Company, located in east Seoul, was a medium-sized
export company for Korean-made wigs. It was founded in 1966 with only
ten workers, and grew into the largest exporter of Korean wigs in the late
1960s. By 1970, the company employed 4,000 workers, mostly young
females. But when it was hit by a sharp decrease in exports in the midst of
the economic slowdown discussed earlier, YH initially cut back its workforce to 1,800 in 1975, and again to 500 in 1978. In March 1979, YH
attempted to shut down the factory, but did not finally succeed in doing
so until 7 August. By then, the owner of the company had already
absconded to the US with the company’s remaining liquid assets. The
workers, on the other hand, were evicted by force despite their desperate
attempts, through a sit-in strike at the company’s premises, to prevent its
closure. Subsequently, some 200 young female workers approached the
NDP at its headquarters for support.
At two o’clock, on the morning of 11 August 1979, however, about one
thousand police stormed the headquarters of the NDP, and arrested the
women. The police brutality that night was extreme. The women were
severely beaten and scores of other people, including six assemblymen
and some thirty party members, who held their own sit-in alongside the
women, were injured. Fifteen media reporters who had been in the building to cover the incident were injured as well. One woman was killed. As if
this were not enough, President Park ordered the government to investigate the Urban Industrial Mission (UIM), a well-known Protestant Christian organization, which had been closely involved in the Christian
workers’ union movement, including the workers’ strike at the Tongil
Textile Company. Park claimed that, “certain impure forces . . . under the
pretence of religion, infiltrate factories and labor unions to agitate labor
disputes and social disorder” (Jang Jip Choi 1990: 289). Subsequently, a
special task force, headed by the chief of the security section of the
supreme public prosecutor’s office, charged the UIM with having “encouraged class consciousness among the workers and conducted a consciousness-raising movement which was aimed at promoting the spirit of class
struggle among the workers” (Tonga Ilbo 14 September 1979).
Suppressing workers’ protests and party politics was one thing, but attacking Christian activities, particularly those of the UIM, was a totally different matter. It meant confronting US missionaries and thus indirectly
challenging Carter’s personal human rights crusade. Why did Park take
this potentially explosive action? I have found no material to provide
direct evidence of Park’s reasoning. But two scenarios are quite plausible.
One is the observation put forward by US ambassador Gleysteen that Park
had given up his “tactics of patience” with the protestors in favor of a
crack-down. Gleysteen noted:
After a few weeks of post-summit relaxation, labor activists, students, dissidents, and left-leaning politicians resumed their
protest efforts . . . In the face of this resumed protest . . . some normally moderate political leaders got swept up in a rising swell of
antigovernment activity . . . Confronted by these forces, President
Park abandoned his tactics of patience. Rather than indulging his
opposition with further concessions, he sided with hard-liners on
his staff, cracking down hard on protesters.
(Gleysteen 1999: 51)
The second scenario would foreground Park’s self-destructive obstinacy
(ogi) in relation to Carter. After all, it was little more than a month since
the two presidents had quarreled bitterly over the US troop withdrawal
policy when Carter had visited Korea (in late June). Despite their final
agreement to each side’s terms and promises, Park was furious with
Carter’s conceit, or what Oberdorfer termed “Carter Chill” (1997:
84–108). In fact, the Carter Chill was so influential that by May 1977 Park
had changed his tactics. Instead of begging to delay the troop withdrawal,
he told his military advisers, including So Chongch’ol, Minister of
Defense, “Tell them to go if they wish!” (kalt’aemyon karago hae!). It is clear
in retrospect that this dangerously daring response signaled Park’s
absolute determination to search for Korea’s own solution even at the risk
of breaching US security policy, especially concerning nuclear weapons
You are free to make your own assessment of the Korean
model of heavy and chemical industrialization. As an author
of the HCI Plan and its manager, however, I must tell you
that Korea succeeded in HCI because it had clear goals and
approaches – the Engineering Approach – for achieving the
set aims. To achieve these collective goals without a hitch, I
advised President Park to declare the HCI Plan as integral to
the Yusin reform agenda. Without a guarantee of that
caliber, I was afraid that the Plan could easily be changed or
even stopped as soon as the “political will” changed. If that
had happened, Korea would have been ruined.
(Interview with O Wonch’ol, October 1996)
Development elites are generated and come to the fore
because of the desire to break out of the stagnation of
dependency and underdevelopment; the truly successful
ones understand that they need the market to maintain efficiency, motivate the people over the long term, and serve as
a check on institutionalized corruption while they are battling against underdevelopment. The Republic of Korea is an
excellent example.
( Johnson 1987)
In his New Year Press Conference on 12 January 1973, Park declared the
government’s Heavy and Chemical Industrialization Policy (HCIP: chunghwahak kongop’wa chongch’aek) that would underpin the state’s plan for the
Big Push program under the Yusin reform. He also declared that Korea
aimed to achieve $10 billion in export earnings and per capita GNP of
$1,000 by the early 1980s. He stated:
I declare the “Heavy and Chemical Industry Policy” through
which the government hereafter will focus on the development of
the heavy and chemical industries. I would also like to call on the
people of the nation so that all of us from now on begin a campaign for national scientization. I urge everyone to learn technological skills, master them and develop them . . . If we wish to
achieve our export goal of $10 billion in early 1980, heavy and
chemical products must exceed well over 50 percent of total
export goods.
(PPCHS vol. 10 1973: 58–9)
This message clearly set out Park’s agenda for long term (ten-year) HCI
development and the massive expansion of vocational education, especially the training of scientists, engineers, and other technologically skilled
workers, which Korea achieved with outstanding success (Amsden 1989:
Chapters 7 and 9). This comprehensive program of development was
designed, in part, as countervailing policy to offset the consequences for
Korea of the Nixon Doctrine. As we saw in Chapter 5, Park created a
Homeland Guard of 2.5 million reserves immediately after the North
Korean commando attack on the Presidential Blue House in January
1968. Thenceforth, Park was determined to build weapons factories to
arm the Homeland Guard. His determination grew even firmer, fueled by
personal outrage when, in early June 1970, North Korean speedboats
abducted a South Korean patrol boat near Yonp’yong Island on the west
coast. Immediately after this incident, Park directed Kim Hang’yol,
Deputy Prime Minister, to construct a defense industry, later known as the
“Four Great Core Factories” (sadae haekkongjang) which was a pseudonym
for security reasons. Park also created the Agency for Defense Development (Kukpang kwahak yon’guso) with a clandestine “Weapons Exploitation Committee” on 16 August 1970, as well as directing the speedy
construction of an M-16 rifle factory (for which the construction contract
was signed in March 1973.) Unlike these more immediate developments,
the construction of the “Four Great Core Factories” required a large
amount of capital, which the EPB was given the responsibility to raise
through foreign loans, mainly, the Koreans hoped, from Japan.
Despite more than fifteen months of vigorous negotiations for foreign
loans, not only with Japan, but also with the United States and various
European countries, EPB officials reported to Park on 10 November 1971
that they could not raise the required capital. Park’s response to this
report was such that everyone at that meeting became extremely concerned. In particular, Chief of Staff Kim Chongnyom appears to have
been so shocked that he called for suggestions from O Wonch’ol, then
Assistant Vice Minister in the MCI and one of the Four-Member Committee for Defense Industry Development founded in June 1970.1 This call
led to an immediate meeting between Kim and O at Kim’s office (interview with O Wonch’ol October 1994).2 Kim was impressed with O’s “excel166
lent technocrat’s idea,” so much so that he immediately took O to Park’s
office.3 At this extraordinary meeting, O explained to Park his idea on
how weapons could be manufactured immediately, using Korea’s existing
pool of resources and technological skill, and how defense industries
could be developed within the framework of heavy and chemical industry
development. The key points of O’s weapons manufacturing concept were
as follows:
All weapons can be disassembled into parts and these parts can be
separately produced, as long as they are manufactured in accordance
with a plan and with specified materials.
The problem in manufacturing weapons is the requirement that
machinery deliver precision to one-hundredth of a millimeter.
Korea’s capacity to manufacture precision machinery is only onetenth of a millimeter. Thus, Korea needs to build a system to manufacture precision machinery to one-hundredth of a millimeter.
A means to establishing this capacity would be the government choosing the most prominent private manufacturing companies currently
available, and assigning them to manufacture either weapon parts or
specified quantities. Each company can thus aim to do its best to manufacture quality precision machinery for the assigned components or
assigned quantity.
To maximize production, the promotion of the Korean defense industry should be managed within the framework of heavy and chemical
industry development.
The Agency for Defense Development will inspect every product and
only successful products will be used in the final assembly of weapons.
If the government adopts this method, the manufacture of weapons is
possible immediately. Moreover, the government can save the cost of
building factories, as well as minimizing costly problems arising from
any variations in the quantity of weapons required.4
Kim had been captivated by O’s weapons manufacture idea, but Park
seems to have been even more convinced, especially with O’s assurance
that he could immediately begin weapons development if Park agreed
with his proposal. O assured him that he could complete the development
of individual firearms, such as small guns and machine-guns, as well as
trench mortars, within about six months (as was in fact achieved). After
nearly four hours of intense discussion, Park agreed on the following five
points with O and Kim:
Build up military capacity by arming 2.5 million reserves with Koreanmade weapons (individual weapons and trench mortars). To achieve
this, the development of weapons will begin immediately.
The defense industry will be based on a production system undertaken by private companies.
The promotion of Korea’s defense industry will be managed as an
integral part of heavy and chemical industrialization.
The training and securing of engineers and skilled workers are as
important as the construction of weapons production facilities.
The activity to construct the “Four Great Core Factories” hitherto promoted by the EPB is now canceled.
(Interviews with O May 1994, October 1996 and January 2000)
Rise of HCI triumvirate
Almost immediately after their long discussion, Park appointed O as his
Senior Economic Secretary in the Second Economic Secretariat (SES:
Kyongje che-2 pisosil). In his position as head of a kind of special “task
force,”5 O was answerable only to Park on those affairs which Park had
specially assigned to him. O’s first assignment was to develop the defense
industry, although it had actually been announced in the media that he
was to be “in charge of heavy and chemical industries.” This deliberately
misleading description was chosen for security reasons, so as to avoid
public use of the term “defense industry.” As chief of the SES, O was to be
charged with half a dozen additional duties once the Big Push – the HCI
program – commenced at the beginning of 1973. These included: the
HCI program, development of skilled manpower, nuclear weapons and
missile capability development, re-planning of national land development,
and modernization of the military – which became known as the Yulgok
Operation (discussed further below).
O’s new responsibility for these duties was significant because it signaled a comprehensive restructuring of Korea’s industry system. Moreover, O’s focus on industry restructuring led to a fundamental shift from
Park’s reliance on the EPB economists to a reliance on technocrats of the
Presidential Economic Secretariat as well as the MCI. Kim Chongnyom
was key adviser on general economic matters and O key adviser on the Big
Push and military weapons programs. Overall, the combined role of Park,
Kim and O, as the presidential triumvirate managing the HCI program
(hereafter the HCI triumvirate), was crucial because it provided three
essential ingredients for HCI implementation: Park’s strong leadership,
Kim’s financial–economic expertise and O’s industrial vision and skills.
The role of the HCI triumvirate is hard to overemphasize because,
essentially, it institutionalized “presidential guidance” (taet’ongryong chisi)
as the main means of implementing HCI Policy, and this, in effect,
created Korea Incorporated through the mobilization of big business
groups (chaebol) as Korea’s industrial pillars. In this process, the HCI triumvirate spearheaded a relentlessly nationalistic “Korean-style” techno168
cracy, just as Sahashi Shigeru and his team spearheaded Japanese technocracy through their institutionalization of “administrative guidance”
(Johnson 1982: 242–74). What made Korea’s “presidential guidance” distinctive, however, was that it gave the HCI triumvirate almost as much dictatorial power as the Yusin constitution gave Park presidential authority.
This was why, according to O Wonch’ol, he advised Park to declare the
HCI Policy as the top priority of the Yusin Reform. Accordingly, the
authority of the HCI triumvirate paralleled the rise and fall of the Yusin
State. On the one hand, the HCI triumvirate engineered the “Korean
model” of industrialization that recorded unusually high-speed economic
growth but, on the other, it lost support because of its draconian methods.
The triumvirate began to crumble at the end of 1978 when Park
appointed Sin Hyonhwak, the newly nominated Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister of the EPB,6 to take over economic management, while Kim
Chongnyom was sent to Japan as ambassador. Less than ten months after
this change, in October 1979, Park was assassinated and O would be totally
“silenced” until 1992 (see Introduction). Given this background, it is not
surprising that so few people, even researchers, knew anything at all about
O, whether in his role as Park’s Senior Economic Secretary or as the chief
of the HCI program and the most important figure in charge of military
modernization, including Park’s nuclear weapons and missile development program.
O was born into a wealthy family of landowners on 2 October 1928 in
the coastal village of P’ungch’on in Hwanghae Province – now in North
Korea. As the oldest son of seven children, O grew up following traditional Confucian customs and gaining a colonial education on his family’s
estate until the completion of a four-year high school program, at Haeju
Tongjung Hakkyo, in Haeju. The year Korea was liberated from Japan in
1945, O entered Kyongsong Technical College, the precursor of Seoul
National University, majoring in chemical engineering, in which he graduated in September 1951. Other than a brief visit home during the college
break in December 1945, O lost contact with his family as Korea’s division
between the North and South became permanent. O’s family members in
the North were expelled from their village some time between the end of
1945 and early 1946, and the family’s property, like that of all other
landowners in the North, was confiscated. During the Korean War, O’s
father escaped alone to the South by swimming along the coastline, and
was rescued by the South Korean Navy, but his mother and six brothers
and sisters remained in the North.
As a university student, O expected to go to Japan for further studies in
chemical engineering with a view to becoming a professor, but in December, after the outbreak of the Korean War, when he was in his final year at
university, he sat for and passed the examination for entry to the Korean
Air Force as an engineering cadet. In June 1951, after six months of
training, O was commissioned as second lieutenant in the air force, where
he served until he was transferred to the reserve list as major in August
1957. During this period O spent most of his time in both the management and construction of aircraft maintenance depots in various locations, including Masan, Chinhae, and Taegu. This experience, O later
claimed, taught him many valuable skills, especially US Air Force-style
technological operations and efficiency-oriented management.
O’s first employment as a civilian was at Sibal Auto Company
(1957–60), the first automobile manufacturer in Korea. After the April
Student Revolution of 19 April 1960, however, O moved his employment
to Kuksan (Korea-made) Automobile where he worked as factory manager
until the military coup of May 1961. Just a week after the coup, O was summoned by the Military Revolutionary Committee and in July appointed to
the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI). As Director of the Chemical Industry Section (hwahak kwajang), O drew up the early drafts for the
chemical industry components of Korea’s first Five-Year Economic Plan
which was announced on 13 January 1962.
In June 1964 when the government adopted an “export-oriented”
policy, O was promoted by Pak Ch’unghun, who had become Minister of
Commerce and Industry for the second time in less than ten months, to
the position of Director-General of the First Industry Bureau (kongop cheilgukchang). The Bureau was responsible for light industry which, at that
time, was the main area for export production. O was promoted for strategic reasons, more specifically, to implement the MCI’s export policies.
As a 36-year-old chemical engineer with a strong sense of industrial
nationalism, O’s ingenuity and managerial skills surprised everyone
during this embryonic period of industrial development, a period highlighted by Korea achieving export earnings of $100 million for the first
time in its history in 1964. In the first Export Day celebration on 30
November that year, O was awarded a medal by President Park in recognition of his role “converting industry into export industries” (Interview
with O, May 1994). O headed the First Industry Bureau longer than any
other official, serving for three years and ten months from June 1964 to
April 1968.
While on a working trip to the United States, O was again promoted,
this time as chief of the Planning and Management Bureau (kihoek kwallisiljang). Together with other responsibilities, he was charged with managing ten government-owned companies which were under the care of the
MCI. Despite his promotion, however, O continued his chemical industry
development activities, in which he had been involved since 1965 when he
drew up a chemical industry development plan. Overseeing the construction of Korea’s first oil refinery in the Ulsan Industrial Complex was one
of O’s main responsibilities in this area. During this period, he later
claimed that he devoted himself to developing what he termed an “engin170
eering approach” to the formulation of heavy industrialization policy
within the MCI. In January 1970, O was promoted to the position of Assistant Vice Minister in charge of mining, heavy industry, and electronics
(kwang-gong-chon ch’agwanbo), where he played a key role in developing
and implementing industry policies until November 1971 when he joined
the Blue House Secretariat.
Weapons development: Park’s goal
On the morning of 11 November 1971, O received a formal letter advising
him of his appointment to the Blue House Secretariat, as well as his first
“emergency command” (pisang myongryong) from Park that he was immediately to organize weapons production to arm 20 divisions of reserve
forces with light weapons. Park instructed O, among other directives, that
as Korea was in a “state of extreme emergency,” he was to gather information about North Korean defense capability through Yi Hurak, then head
of the KCIA. It seems that O instinctively adapted his style to that of the
military staff of Park’s presidential clique. The intense mood of Park’s
office was so contagious that O, in his own words, “trembled all over”
when he visited Yi that afternoon and pledged commitment to Park’s antiCommunist mission, as if he were a soldier at war. O described the managerial structure of the HCI triumvirate in the following military terms:
“President Park was the Supreme Commander, Kim the Chief of Staff in
charge of economic strategy, and I the Chief of Operations for defense
industry development” (interview with O Wonch’ol, October 1996; also O
Wonch’ol, 1994a: 470).
On 16 December, under the light weapons development program,
code name “Lightning Operation” (pon’gae saop), the production of eight
items, including M1 carbines, M19, A4 machine guns, and 60 mm trench
mortars, was completed and the products first displayed at the Blue
House. These weapons were produced by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), which established a twenty-four-hour continuous working
schedule for a full month from 17 November. This streamlined development process shows the authority of Park’s “presidential guidance.” On
the same day as O’s appointment, Park directed his chief of staff, Kim, to
convey his order to both the Minister of Defense and the chief of the ADD
to begin weapons development immediately. And Park ordered Kim to tell
them: “It’s Presidential Guidance.”
On 3 April 1972, after further testing and refinement, Park and his
cabinet ministers, as well as high-ranking officials, military personnel and
heads of the media previewed the weapons. This took place only five
months after O had received Park’s order to manufacture “Korean-made”
weapons. More significantly, through their trial demonstration of
weapons, Korea finally convinced US policy-makers to assist Korea’s own
production of weapons by providing not only technological advisers from
the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), but also technical plans
for the development of various other weapons, including 105 mm cannons
(O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 7 1999: 410–13; also vol. 5 1996: 48–51). The
production of light weapons, however, was only a preliminary step in
Park’s all-out defense-related big push program. On 30 May, after attending the Export Promotion Meeting at Capital Hall, Park summoned O to
his office and expressed his view that Korea could easily expand its export
earnings to $10 billion because Korea was continually developing new
export products. He then asked O what industry policy direction the
government should take to achieve this level of exports.
In his unpublished collection of memoirs entitled Kongop kujo kaep’yonnon (On the Restructuring of the Industry System),7 O claimed that
he instantly realized that Park was searching for a long-term plan for
structural redevelopment, and a new paradigm for government policy. O
replied to Park’s question: “It’s time to begin heavy and chemical
industrialization.” O was confident that the development of HCI would
achieve the outcomes Park sought both economically and politically
(O Wonch’ol Collection: 7). He used the example of Japan’s experience
of HCI development when advancing his proposal. Park’s initial response
to the proposal was that O should “explain it again on the basis of
data” (O Wonch’ol Collection: 7). O took three extra days to complete
a new brief and then secured Kim Chongnyom’s support for his draft
HCI plan.
Popular skepticism, even in the 1990s, has been the usual response to
Park’s “absurdly optimistic” (Clifford 1994: 105) goal of $10 billion in
exports and per capita GNP of $1,000 by 1981. However, despite Korea’s
exports in 1972 amounting to just $1.62 billion, with per capita GNP of
only $318, the HCI triumvirate believed that the Japanese economic
model would be applicable to Korea and could achieve Park’s long-term
economic vision. Their confidence was based largely on the experience of
Japan, and calculated risk, rather than on unfounded speculation. The triumvirate was acutely aware of the respective economic records of Japan
and Korea, especially concerning each country’s export records prior to
attempting heavy and chemical industry development. For example, the
government’s Master Plan for HCI entitled Chunghwahak kongophwa
chongch’aek sonon e ttarun kongop kujo kaep’yonnon (On the Restructuring of
Industry in Accordance with the Declaration on Heavy and Chemical
Industry Policy) noted that in 1955, two years prior to Japan’s declaration
of its commitment to heavy and chemical industrialization, Japan earned
$2 billion in exports. But, it continued, in 1967, ten years after the declaration of its HCI policy, Japan had reached $10 billion in export earnings,
78 percent of which was earned by heavy and chemical industries, and 22
percent by light industries.8
Similarly, in 1970, Korea reached $1 billion in export earnings, which
was just two years before Park declared Korea’s HCI program in January
1973. On the basis of the clear parallels between the trajectories of Korea
and Japan, Kim and O convinced Park to give his approval to O’s draft
HCI plan. According to O, Park stated: “You should now draw up a
detailed plan” (O Wonch’ol Collection: 10). Here we should note the
inner workings of the Yusin Reform, especially in terms of Park’s role in
the state’s implementation of the HCI Plan. While Park had set a $10
billion export target for 1980, the actual means to achieving this goal was
planned by O Wonch’ol and supported by Kim Chongnyom. Once Park
had approved the proposal put by O and Kim, he gave O a free hand in
running the HCI program while Kim ran the general economy. The
drawing up of a detailed HCI plan coincided with the drafting of the
Yusin constitution, which was reported to have commenced in May 1972
under the code, “good harvesting operation” (p’ungnyon saop) (Tonga Ilbo
11 October 1991). Park thus forged a two-edged sword: heavy and chemical industrialization together with the Yusin constitution.
HCI plan and its managers
As noted at the beginning of this chapter, the state’s HCIP was the final
refinement of O’s original draft proposal, Kongop kujo kaep’yonnon (On the
Restructuring of Industry). Known loosely as “Kaep’yonnon,” the HCIP put
forward three key strategic priorities: one, export-orientation; two, longrange (ten-year) and large-scale planning; and three, the establishment of
a fixed investment fund of $10 billion. The HCIP designated five main
industries to be developed intensively as priority industries: (a) industrial
machinery; (b) shipbuilding and transport machinery; (c) iron and steel;
(d) chemicals; and (e) electronics (CKTKKK: 15). These areas, the HCIP
noted, had to be developed as a priority and required comprehensive
structural integration of technological industries in Korea, such as chemical plants, power plants, shipbuilding and automobile production.
The HCIP aimed at four main developmental goals: (a) economic construction; (b) cultivation of human resources through the modernization
of education and a cultural revolution; (c) national land development;
and (d) self-reliant national defense. These goals were integrated to
achieve a “comprehensive national industry” planned and implemented at
the national level. Thus the end product of the HCIP was the construction
of what the state defined as a “National Industry Standard Model” (NISM:
kukka sanop kibon model). The five-point guidelines for drawing up this
national model required:
Firstly, that a national industry standard model be designed to
achieve $10 billion in export earnings and $1,000 per capita GNP.
In each target year, industry structures and the volume of
production must be managed together in the model.
The NISM must be planned within the state’s long-term
vision and with a view to utilizing national resources comprehensively and rationally.
Secondly, that a study be carried out on the question of what initiating mode should be utilized in order to construct successfully a
basic model for the 1980s; Thirdly, that a [Master] plan be drawn
up, which will outline a year-by-year process for achieving the
specified goals over a ten-year period.
By drawing up a year-by-year plan, any matters which
require action in advance must be settled promptly. (e.g. It
takes ten years to train skilled workers.)
There is no established theory in regard to economic
development in underdeveloped countries. In viewing the
experience of our country over the past ten years, whenever the government provided strong support by drawing
up a series of detailed plans for factory construction and
industrial land planning, private businesses followed and
produced the desired results.
The need for a plan for state-led factory construction is
unavoidable in the planning of economic development in
underdeveloped countries.
Fourthly, that the goals of the plan not be achieved by merely
promoting individual private businesses left to their own
Planning must be considered on a national level in regard
to scale, quality, and price etc within a framework of a comprehensive national industry development plan. And then,
the people and the state must sweat blood so that there is
no setback in achieving the set goals.
Comprehensive development planning in underdeveloped
countries must choose the least costly method for overcoming the huge problem of financial resources.
The government must take an active role in addressing
challenging problems which will emerge in the future and
posit solutions either in the planning stage or in the course
of business operations.
Fifthly, that the goals and contents of the plan be clearly defined
and promptly made public when finalized.
(CKTKKK: 4–5)
The HCIP intentionally stirred competitive nationalism. Japan’s success
with its ten-year HCI development program (1957–67) was viewed as
indicative of what Korea could achieve. “If the Japanese did it, Koreans
can do it too!” Thus the state’s slogan, Hamyon toenda, was promoted as
the symbol of Korea’s collective nationalism while Park and his two HCI
triumvirs, O Wonch’ol and Kim Chongnyom, practised an even more
extreme form of statist approach known as “milobuch’o” (“Push to the limit
and beyond!”) in every aspect of the state’s HCI program. The HCIP also
exploited a collective sense of anti-Americanism, focusing on the national
interest and an insistence on non-interference from the USA. However,
this anti-Americanism did not imply, in any way, a refusal to receive
further American technological and security assistance, or investment in
Korea. To the contrary, the HCIP was highly contingent on inflows of
foreign capital, especially American capital. Most importantly, the HCIP
competed against North Korea’s industrial-military strategy. By 1974, in
fact, Park held nine volumes of data and analysis on North Korea, which
the KCIA had taken five years to compile (Kang Indok 1996: 261–4).
While the HCIP matched Park’s ideological vision, namely of a “Korean
Way” nationally planned economic and industrial system aimed at achieving international competitiveness of domestic industry, its planning,
according to O Wonch’ol, was based on what he referred to as the “engineering approach” (konghakchok chopkunpop). The “engineering approach,”
O claimed, represented a “science whose basic principle is finding the most reasonable, profitable and least risky method for the construction of factories using
various data [emphasis added]” (O Won-Chol [sic] 1995: 346). O added
that this approach required a serious consideration of relevant conditions,
including government policy, and a thorough investigation of key factors
such as priorities, engineering requirements, scale, construction period,
and expansion plans in stages. The most important characteristic of the
“engineering approach,” O concluded, was that it left no room for either
politics or emotion. The only indicator of success was the maximization of
economic–industrial efficiency and profit.
Here, O was implying that authoritarianism was a prerequisite to HCI
in Korea, and that HCI was ultimately successful mainly because technocrats were provided with a free hand to implement agreed plans
without political interference or opposition. In this context, Park’s Yusin
system was the price Korea paid for high-speed economic growth. In an
unusually open interview with the author in October 1996, O commented:
These days, many say that President Park succeeded in economy
but failed in democracy. Even former ministers under the President
openly separate HCI from Yusin reform. I tell you: the bitter truth
is that HCI was Yusin and Yusin was HCI. One did not exist without
the other. Korea succeeded in HCI because the President disci175
plined the state to implement HCI precisely as planned. And the
President could not have disciplined the state if there had been no
Yusin [Constitution]. It is unconscionable to ignore this fact.
(Interview with O Wonch’ol, October 1996 and January 2000)
This discipline was nowhere more evident than in Park’s control of the
state in relation to the implementation of HCI. Park’s tough tactics in this
regard set a new benchmark when he maneuvered his cabinet ministers to
approve the HCI Plan. At 1.00 p.m. on 31 January 1973, just a little more
than two weeks after his declaration of the state’s HCIP at his New Year
Press Conference, Park assembled the second meeting of the defense
industry at the Blue House basement shelter. The Prime Minister, the
Deputy Prime Minister, seven key cabinet ministers and other senior officials, including the chief of the ADD, plus Park’s special aides and senior
secretaries had been ordered to attend. Park had never before held a
cabinet meeting in such a tiny room, or basement, but he chose it deliberately. Everyone needed special directions to get there. It had been turned
into a temporary “weapons’ showroom.” When the officials arrived and
saw a large quantity of weapons all around the room, they were reportedly
genuinely taken aback.
Needless to say it was Park who had ordered this intimidating display of
weapons and, in this warlike atmosphere he directed O Wonch’ol to
present his draft proposal for the Big Push program, namely, kongop kujo
kaep’yonnon (A Study of Industry Restructuring). Based on a total of 137
briefing charts, 57 on the defense industry and 80 on the HCI, O took
almost four hours to outline the inseparability of the defense industry
from heavy and chemical industry development (O Wonch’ol Collection:
64–76). During this marathon session, O recalled, there was just a brief
break halfway, and the room was filled with cigarette smoke because the
entrance was shut and there was only a tiny window in the room. It was
said to be the first time that Park had spent an entire afternoon at one
session, canceling his normal schedule.
At the end of the briefing, O was asked by Park, “How much will the
HCI Plan cost?” O replied as in earlier discussions: “It will cost approximately $10 billion in both domestic and foreign capital” (O Wonch’ol Collection: 71–2). As if scripted, Park’s question and O’s reply signaled the
Plan’s “unanimous approval” by cabinet subject to anyone having the
audacity to object. No one dared. Park apparently asked Nam Togu, then
Minister of Finance, whether he could raise the capital. Nam hesitated by
expressing his concerns about the large amount, but Park silenced him by
declaring, “I am not suggesting a war!” (Naega chonjaeng ul hajanun’gotto
aniji annayo!) Park then ordered the Prime Minister, Kim Chongp’il
(1971–5), to form an HCI advisory committee and to take the necessary
steps for the acquisition of foreign capital required for the HCI program.
The HCI Planning Corps
On 2 February 1973, a special committee named Heavy and Chemical
Industry Promotion Committee (HCIPC: Chunghwahak kongop ch’ujin
wiwonhoe) was established in accordance with presidential decree No.
6675. Despite the Prime Minister being the chair of the HCIPC, Park
directly managed the Committee – as he had declared, “Naega chikchop
ch’aengigetsso!” (I’ll take charge myself!) – during its early stages. HCIPC
members included the Prime Minister, O Wonch’ol (as its secretary), plus
ministers of the six key ministries: the EPB; the MCI; the Ministry of
Finance; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Construction; and the
Ministry of Science and Technology.9
One of the HCIPC’s roles was to examine the HCI draft plan and to
make final decisions which, in practice, had the same effect as decisions
made by the state council. In other words, the HCIPC functioned as a
state council or a cabinet within the cabinet for HCI implementation.
Three days after the establishment of the HCIPC, the Committee founded
its own task force named Heavy and Chemical Industry Promotion Committee Planning Corps (Chunghwahak ch’ujin wiwonhoe kyehwoektan – hereafter the HCI Planning Corps), and O Wonch’ol was appointed as its
chief. So it was that O came to assume two offices: one in the Blue House
as Park’s senior secretary in charge of the Second Economic Secretariat;
and the other in the Prime Minister’s Department as chief of the HCI
Planning Corps.
In terms of function, these two offices could be considered as the
Korean version of the Taiwanese “pilot agency,” which Robert Wade
equates with the “economic general staff” of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) as described by Chalmers Johnson
(1982). Wade also equates the two offices with Taiwan’s two leading economic agencies: the Industrial Development Bureau and the Council for
Economic Planning and Development. According to Wade, the role of
“pilot agency,” among other activities,
performs think tank functions, charts the route for economic development, decides which industries ought to exist and which industries are no longer needed in order to promote the industrial
structure which enhances the nation’s international competitiveness, obtains a consensus for its plans from the private sector, acts as
gatekeeper for contacts with foreign markets and investors, and provides positive government supports for private economic initiative.
(Wade 1990: 195)
The role of O’s two offices in Korea’s rapid development through heavy
and chemical industrialization fits well with this description. Moreover,
just as Japan and Taiwan had other highly talented economic agencies in
addition to the ones mentioned above, Korea also had elite managerial
staff, including those of the EPB and the MCI. In terms of the state’s
system of control, however, Korea did not follow any country’s model,
Japan not excepted, even though Park and his key policy advisers borrowed heavily from Japan in terms of ideas and methods – both from
1930s Japan and from its industrialization of the 1960s.
Park’s “Presidential Guidance” system under the Yusin Order, as I have
explained in the previous chapter, was specifically designed to strengthen
the Yusin state’s centralization of economic governance. The extraordinary role of the Blue House Secretariat, especially the Second Economic Secretariat and the HCI Planning Corps under O Wonch’ol (as we
shall see below), cannot adequately be understood in isolation from the
Yusin state’s Presidential Guidance system. The role of these two offices
essentially reflected O’s amazing freedom in running the HCI program,
exactly as he had envisioned. Most of all, he was able to operate without
significant political interference or resistance.
In brief, O and his team of technocrats achieved what they had set out
to achieve: the implementation of the heavy and chemical industrialization program. The replacement of the HCIPC with a more functional
working party named Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM: ch’agwanbo hoeui) was just one of many changes O made soon after his appointment. Under the new arrangement, ministries involved in the
implementation of the HCI Plan were represented in the ADMM by each
ministry’s assistant deputy minister, while the Prime Minister was
represented by his director of planning and coordination (interview with
O Wonch’ol by correspondence on 11 June 1996). Overall, O was solely
responsible for communication with both the President and the Prime
Minister on behalf of the ADMM while overseeing the implementation of
the HCI Plan. With this extraordinary level of administrative authority and
Park’s unwavering confidence in him, often expressed as “O, the National
Treasure” (O Kukbo), O and a handful of the most highly qualified technocrats – all directors-general seconded from various ministries, including
An Yongch’ol and others from the MCI – began preliminary work to give
shape to the draft HCI plan in a temporary office at Kung’min University,
The plan was to be finalized by the end of April and the HCIPC had
less than two months to complete their task. Toward this tight schedule,
the HCIPC mobilized the required support from various research institutions and from Korea’s leading experts, especially members of the Investigation and Research Committee (IRC: Chosa yon’gu wiwonhoe) of the Yusin
Policy Council (YPC: Yusin chongch’aek simuihoe) led by the Prime Minister.
A total of forty-six university professors from heavy and chemical fields, for
example, were appointed as members of six sub-committees, each repre178
senting the respective industries of iron and steel, chemicals, machinery,
electronics, shipbuilding, and nonferrous metals. Of these, thirty-six
members held Ph.D.s.10 It was clear that the country’s top experts in heavy
and chemical industries were participating in the deliberations of the
HCIPC’s think tank.
In this process, however, there seem to have been strong efforts to
confine O Wonch’ol’s role to HCI planning. Chief of Staff Kim
Chongnyom appears to have been particularly influential in replacing O,
in his position as Chief of the HCIPC, with Kim Yonghwan, then Vice
Minister of Finance, who had also been Kim’s former aide. At the same
time, Kim Yonghwan was appointed Presidential Special Aide, and thus he
too held two offices simultaneously as O had done. Despite the claim that
this change was necessary to enhance the government’s task of raising
domestic investment capital required to implement the HCI program,
Kim held his position – as Chief of the HCIPC – for about eight months
from June 1973 to February 1974, when O again replaced Kim as Chief of
the HCIPC. Park obviously realized that O, as chief architect of the HCI
plan, was vital to its successful implementation, even given his other role
in managing defense industry development.
During this period, the HCIPC was formally registered on 3 September
1973, employing forty-three hand-picked technocrats. A notable characteristic of these technocrats was that they were predominantly engineers, who
were either former staff of the MCI or, at least, had a high reputation
among MCI’s elite technocrats. The HCIPC also engaged leading economists from the EPB. One of them was So Sokchun, an elite US-trained
economist and one of the directors-general temporarily transferred from
the EPB in May 1973. He was subsequently promoted to Deputy Chief of
the HCIPC in September. However, So returned to the EPB as Assistant
Vice Minister in April 1974, less than two months after O had been reappointed Chief of the HCIPC. The reasons for So’s return to the EPB may
have been mostly personal. What is noteworthy, however, is that his departure from the HCIPC may have reflected the difference in economic
approaches between EPB economists and MCI technocrats led by O
As noted in earlier chapters, MCI technocrats advocated a microeconomic approach, focused on state planning and management of industrialization, whereas the EPB economists preferred a macroeconomic
approach, and especially objected to intrusive government control over
the economy and industry development. Like oil and water, the two
groups did not mix. The EPB economists were primarily American-trained
experts on economics, preferring a liberal open market strategy. The
MCI technocrats, in contrast, were predominantly hands-on reformists,
with a special interest in rapid defense-oriented industrialization as an
instrument for constructing a modern industrialized state. To them, the
construction of such a state was also the means of solving Korea’s problems in relation to North Korean threats, while at the same time preparing
for the weakening of US military interest in East Asia, as articulated in the
Nixon Doctrine. The unabashedly statist mentality of the MCI technocrats
was nowhere more evident than in the management of the Blue House
Second Economic Secretariat, or O’s office.
As such, the HCI Planning Corps’ approach under O’s leadership was
indistinguishable from that of the MCI. The staff of both the HCIPC and
the Second Economic Secretariat exemplified the modus operandi of
“sosu chongye” (a small number of elite) of the Blue House Secretariat.
These elite technocrats identified themselves as the “Industrial Corps”
(sanop kundan), and were convinced that there was no leeway to make
errors in their nationalistic, anti-Communist and, most of all, securitysensitive mission, just as if they were industrial combat troops at war.
Indeed, no one engaged in HCI projects without signing an oath of
secrecy. Ch’on Pyongdu, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a senior
researcher at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), who
was responsible for investigating the suitability of Ch’angwon, South
Kyongsang province, as a site for an industrial complex, later to become
Korea’s largest, commented, “I can’t forget signing an oath before
Colonel Kang [Yongt’aek] after I arrived in Ch’angwon. Although I
assumed that such a measure was taken because of the problems associated with the defense industry, I suddenly broke into a sweat while signing
an oath for the first time in my life” (O Wonch’ol Collection: 106).
There is no question that the HCIPC technocrats filled the hearts of
many senior bureaucrats, chaebol, economists, high technology researchers
and high-ranking military generals with fear and trepidation. O, for
example, made so many enemies, knowingly and unknowingly, that many
high-ranking EPB officials and military generals loathed him. The military
generals, in particular, attempted to “execute” him in the middle of the
Kwangju Uprising in May 1980 (see Introduction). O’s no-nonsense
“engineering approach” in planning and managing the HCI program, as
well as the military modernization program, seems to have created two
opposing camps. In one, O had a cult-like following, while in the other he
aroused a deep hatred. One former high-ranking economist of the EPB,
for example, in his interview with this author, was very abrasive, exclaiming, “That bulldozer, he ‘kneaded’ [chumullotta] the entire HCI program
all by himself and almost ruined our country!”11
In contrast, Yu Hansik, Senior Vice President of KIA Heavy Industries
in Ch’angwon, described O as “one of the most brilliant engineering technocrats with vision and dedication that I have ever served” (interview,
January 2000). In any event, the HCIPC technocrats generated an
unprecedented level of energy, efficiency and expertise for HCI implementation. In this highly competitive environment, many EPB economists,
including So Sokjun, were particularly critical about the MCI approach to
the HCI program. In July 1983, for example, when So finally rose to
become Deputy Prime Minister after serving as presidential economic
secretary (1979–80) and Minister of Trade and Industry, formerly the MCI
(1980–2), he pushed economic reforms which, as Clifford notes, “EPB
technocrats had been urging since 1977” (1994: 206).
One of the key reforms that So implemented with the help of his economic team, Kim Chaeik and Kang Kyongsik, was the restructuring of economic ministries under the control of the Economic Planning Board
(EPB), by dismantling “industrial controls administered by the Ministry of
Trade and Industry (MTI) and the financial controls supervised by the
Ministry of Finance” (Clifford 1994: 206). As a committed practitioner of
market liberalization, So, like most members of the EPB, vehemently
opposed excessive government control over the economy, preferring
more openness in the market and more freedom of choice in the business
community. This radical reform took just nine months and as early as mid1980, Korea’s economic control had entirely shifted from the Blue House
Secretariat led by former MCI technocrats to the EPB economists. Despite
the tragic deaths of both So and Kim Chaeik in Burma in 1983,12 Kang
and EPB economic management continued through nearly two decades
of Korea’s rapid economic growth, at least up until the financial crisis of
December 1997.13
MCI connection
Another important factor arising from the close link between the HCI Planning Corps and the MCI during HCI implementation was the cooperation
and influence of Minister Yi Nakson, one of Park’s revolutionary clique and
former Commissioner of the Office of National Taxation. Yi was well known
for his military style in managing tax reform in the late 1960s and MCI’s $1
billion export earnings drive in 1970. Having already conducted a radical
staff restructuring in the MCI immediately after his appointment,14 Yi initiated another major personnel change on 19 January 1973. This included
the establishment of an extra department, as well as the recruitment of five
executive technocrats from outside the MCI. The division of the heavy
industry department into two separate departments of heavy and chemical
industry (chungkongop-guk) and machine industry (kigye kongop-guk) was an
outcome of the restructuring. Similarly the recruitment of Kim Chaegwan, a
German-trained Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from KIST, and Han
Chaeyol from the EPB who were among the five new executive technocrats.
The former was appointed assistant deputy minister (chung kongop ch’agwanbo) in charge of the two newly formed departments, which were each
divided into four divisions. The latter was appointed director-general of the
heavy and chemical industry department.15
In carrying out this fundamental reform, Yi frequently referred to
“presidential guidance.” The institutions and the people who were
involved in this reform clearly understood that Yi was Park’s messenger. In
fact, Yi’s role as Park’s messenger in enforcing the HCI Policy had only
just begun. His compliance with Park’s “presidential guidance” was extraordinary. Two days after O Wonch’ol had given his briefing on the HCI
Plan in the basement of the Blue House, the MCI was due to be inspected
by Park. Having been given no time to alter the ministry’s own plan, which
had itself taken several months to prepare, Minister Yi passed Park’s
inspection simply by displaying a copy of the HCI Plan next to the MCI’s
own plan. The message was clear: the MCI was committed to implementing its program, in both the long and short term, within the framework of
the HCI Plan. Thus the MCI’s presentation not only satisfied Park, but
also set an example for other ministers to emulate. The impact of the
MCI’s presentation on the attitude of most ministers toward the HCI Plan
is reflected in the remarks of Minister Chang Yejun (1972–3) of the Ministry of Construction (MOC), who, in December that year, moved to the
MCI, with Minister Yi moving to the MOC:
From now on, the MOC will not proceed with any program
planned on a project-by-project basis. Instead, the Ministry will
design a comprehensive plan that will link national wealth such as
land, population and resources with our nation’s long-term vision.
I shall thus direct my Ministry in taking up its leadership role in
the future direction of the nation in conformity with the national
[HCI Plan] policy.
(O Wonch’ol Collection: 75)
Even the Economic Planning Board, which had been publicly promoting
a market liberalization policy as a solution to overcoming Korea’s balanceof-payments difficulties,16 reaffirmed its commitment to the HCI Plan. The
change in policy direction, especially by EPB economists, however, must not
be seen either as one of their own choosing or as a reflection of their
genuine commitment to the HCI program. As noted above, the EPB economists fundamentally disagreed with the HCI program, and they ultimately
persuaded Park to revise his economic policies at the end of 1978. In this
context, the EPB economists’ cooperation with the HCI Plan was merely a
reflection of their subordinate position in relation to the HCIPC-led technocrats. The technocrats directed and the economists strictly complied with
the “guidance” from above, but only while biding their time, their patience
finally being rewarded at the end of 1978.
By early August 1973, the HCI Plan was finalized, including the direction of HCI development, strategies such as zoning for industrial complexes, development of manpower and technology, plus the method of
raising “investment capital” which posed the greatest challenge. The HCI
Plan was estimated to require a total investment fund of $9.6 billion spanning a nine-year period from 1973 to 1981. Of this, $5.8 billion was to be
raised through foreign capital and $3.8 billion from domestic sources (O
Wonch’ol Collection: 138; Ch’angwon kigye kongop kongdan 1979: 55).
The HCI Plan specified that “any company which became involved in the
development of the HCI must, in principle, secure its own capital to the
tune of more than 30 percent of the total investment” and, where foreign
capital was introduced, it should be “restricted, in principle, to within 50
percent” (Ch’angwon kigye kongop kongdan 1979: 55). The strategy to
attract large corporations both domestically and from abroad was bold.
The government particularly concentrated on attracting US corporations
because it was Park’s belief that “One large US company’s investment in
Korea is as effective as the posting of one US army division to Korea”
(interview with O Wonch’ol, October 1995).
Raising $10 billion: HCI investment capital
In late May 1973, even before the HCI Plan was finalized, a promotional
team (hereafter Promotional Mission) led by the Deputy Prime Minister
T’ae Wanson left for the US to promote the HCI Plan. A total of seventeen members from the government, leading chaebol corporations and the
media included O Wonch’ol, Chief of the HCI Planning Corps, Han
Sangjun, Director of KIST, Chong Inyong, Chairman of Hyundai Construction, and six high-ranking economists from the EPB. The primary
aim of the Promotional Mission was to raise $5.8 billion in foreign capital,
largely through foreign borrowing as well as foreign investment. Unless
this high level of foreign capital was raised, the Korean technocrats
believed that their HCI Plan could not be completed. For this “do or die”
operation, therefore, the Promotional Mission conducted a series of
“Korea Investment Seminars” in the US, including New York, Washington
DC and Chicago.
The Promotional Mission attracted many US government officials and
private entrepreneurs and convinced them to support its two key proposals: first, to send an investors’ mission to Korea and, second, to establish a Korean–American economic council. Both proposals were put into
effect within ten months. The Korea–America Economic Council (Hanmi
kyongje hyopuihoe) was established in September 1973 and, in April 1974, a
total of twenty-six heavy machinery company representatives – all
members of the KAEC – visited Korea.17 The Promotional Mission also
conducted a series of seminars in Japan on its return to Korea from the
US. The success of the mission reflected the level of interest in both
foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea and the provision of foreign
loans to Korea in both the US and Japan.
During the first three years from 1973 to 1975, for example, Korea
raised $3.1 billion. Foreign direct investment over the same period totaled
$415.3 million (Sungjoo Han 1978: 76). In early June, immediately after
the Promotional Mission had returned from the US and Japan, the
government began activity to raise the targeted domestic investment
capital of $3.8 billion. At this time, as mentioned earlier, the position of
chief of the HCI Planning Corps was transferred from O Wonch’ol to Kim
Yonghwan, who was then Vice Minister of Finance. Although Kim held
this position for only about eight months before O replaced him again in
February 1974, he clearly impressed Park in raising domestic investment
capital, as well as in establishing the National Investment Fund which
issued bonds from January 1974. In September the same year, Kim was
appointed Minister of Finance while Nam Togu, the former Minister of
Finance, was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister.
The HCI triumvirate took no short cuts in promoting the HCI Plan. In
particular, they took maximum advantage of all available intellectual input
both from Korea and abroad. In November 1973, in the midst of one of
the most critical periods of Park’s leadership following the kidnapping of
Kim Dae Jung from Japan on 28 August 1973, the government, through
Korea University, co-sponsored with the Hudson Institute, a leading US
think tank, a four-day international conference taking the theme of
“Korean Futures.” In fact, the Hudson Institute led by its Founding Director, Herman Kahn, appears to have functioned as the unofficial agent of
the Korean Government. The Institute not only produced comprehensive
research on the future prospects for Korea’s economic development, but
also actively promoted the Park Government’s high-speed HCI Plan,
although it made no mention of the HCI Plan itself (Asiatic Research
Center and Hudson Institute 1975). The 98 participants – 42 foreign
guests and 56 Koreans – included top policy-makers, economic experts
and professors, media heads and business consultants from Canada, Italy,
Japan, Korea and the US.
Key participants in this conference, an extended version of the “Korea
Investment Seminar,” included Shimomura Osamu from the Japan Development Bank, Mimura Yohei, President, Japan–Korea Chamber of Commerce, and James C. Abegglen, President of the Boston Consulting
Group, as well as economic experts from the Hudson Institute. The key
Korean speakers at this conference included Deputy Prime Minister T’ae
Wanson, Nam Togu, Minister of Finance, and O Wonch’ol. Many other
prominent people attended as well, including Kim Manche, President of
the Korean Development Institute, Kim Sangman, President of Tonga Ilbo,
and Professors Cho Sun and Yi Hanbin, Yi later becoming Deputy Prime
Minister in the spring of 1980. The primary goal of this conference was
clearly to generate optimism and investor confidence by promoting a
long-term development plan guaranteed by Park’s Yusin state.
To illustrate Korea’s strategic goal, O Wonch’ol’s paper (delivered in
absentia) provided two charts detailing the government’s industry development plans, including the HCI. The charts were entitled: (1) “Three
Stages of Industrial Development in Korea: For Selected Industries,” and
(2) “Long-term Industrial Development Policy.” The former outlined the
government’s intervention strategy in three stages of industry development and the latter outlined details of Korea’s Five-Year Plans, from the
first (1962–6) to the fourth (1977–81).18
HCI implementation entered a new phase on 19 September 1973 when
Park ordered the commencement of the construction of the Ch’angwon
heavy machinery industrial complex. This complex was allocated a total of
160 million pyong of industrial land (approximately 53,000 hectares), comprising 76 million pyong (25,200 hectares) of industrial space and 84
million pyong (27,800 hectares) of housing land, near Masan Harbor in
the south-east of Korea. The complex plan aimed to construct 104 factories employing over 100,000 workers and with an annual estimated output
of $1.5 billion by 1981 (O Wonch’ol Collection: 80–123).
The original population of Ch’angwon was about 10,000, comprising
1,700 households occupying about 42 million pyong (13,900 hectares) of
farming land. This massive transformation of what was mostly farmland
into one of the largest industrial complexes in the world brought new
momentum to the strategies of the HCI triumvirate, especially to their
strategy of “Koreanizing” industries to build “Korea Incorporated.” In this
respect, the state’s promulgation of the Industrial Parks Development
Promotion Law on 24 December 1973 established a strong legislative
underpinning for the construction of five additional industrial complexes, each focused on a specific target industry. Yoch’on was focused
on petrochemicals, Okp’o on shipbuilding, Kumi on electronics, P’ohang
on steel, and Onsan on nonferrous metals. In this mammoth development, especially of defense-related industries, a total of eighty-four companies, including Korea Heavy Machinery, KIA Industries, Daewoo Heavy
Industries and Lucky-Gold Star, participated as an act of “patriotism.”19
The rapidly growing industrial and military production capacity in
South Korea, however, drove the leaders of North Korea into a state of
panic. In February 1974, less than six months after the breakdown of the
North–South dialogue, North Korean forces – after sinking a South
Korean fishing boat with twelve on board near the west coast island of
Paeng’nyong – kidnapped another fishing boat carrying a crew of
thirteen. This incident was in fact part of the persistent guerrilla warfare
conducted by North Korea in the South throughout the 1970s. Incidents
of incursion and aggression were many and are well recorded. The assassination of the President’s wife in August 1974, the construction of tunnels
along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and the Axe Murders at P’anmunjom
in the DMZ in August 1976 are examples of such “warfare.”20 In the
Paeng’nyong Island incident, North Koreans intruded into the waters
surrounding this and four other neighboring islands over eleven times
from October 1972. At the 346th Military Armistice Meeting at
P’anmunjom in December 1973, North Korea even insisted on their
ownership of Paeng’nyong Island.
In response to the North Korean incursions near the five islands, Park
reportedly sent his personal message to the armed forces and the islanders:
“If North Korean troops invade [your] islands, fight them to the last. Hold
out just for a week, because the Army, Navy, and Air Force will recapture
[your islands] in no time with their all-out efforts” (O Wonch’ol 1995b: 415).
The state was so alarmed by the North Korean incursions that it armed every
member of the Homeland Guard and the Student Defense Corps on the
islands with an M-16 rifle at a time when the army was still in the process of
replacing old style M-1 rifles with M-16s. Even many soldiers on active service
had not yet replaced their old rifles with new ones. The state went as far as to
build an underground fortress as a refuge in the event of an invasion, and
stored several months’ supply of food for the islanders. Against this background, Park and his military production advisers, especially O Wonch’ol,
may well have been encouraged to exploit the Paeng’nyong Island incident
in order to speed up their long-awaited military modernization program.
In fact, as early as 26 December 1971, Park gave O a “missile development directive” which he had drafted himself. It was less than two months
after O had become head of the Second Economic Secretariat and only
ten days after the ADD had displayed its eight light weapons at the Blue
House. O’s subsequent trip to six European countries, including France,
Luxembourg and Israel during May in 1972 resulted in Korea’s “emergency purchase” of French anti-ship Exocet missiles, in spite of strong US
opposition. The US subsequently became so furious that it refused to
allow the Koreans to install their newly obtained Exocet missiles on Korean
Navy vessels on the basis that those vessels were US property, except for
two “Korean-made” vessels known as “KIST Boats,” one with 120 ton PKM
and the other with 70 ton PKM. For this reason the former became
Korea’s first naval vessel loaded with a missile.
One notable benefit which came as a result of Korea purchasing the
Exocet missiles was that the US suddenly and unexpectedly agreed to sell
their latest model anti-ship missile, the Harpoon. Korea had been trying
to purchase Harpoon missiles for several years without success. Previously
US officials had offered only old model missiles. This purchase of
Harpoon missiles enabled Park to arm the Korean Navy with modern US
missiles.21 Korea’s purchase of the Rockheed propellant plant in 1975–6
was another example of Park following his own agenda to achieve desired
outcomes, despite the State Department’s strong opposition, and ultimately enabled him to develop a clandestine nuclear weapons and missile
capability program (see Chapter 9). He thus thoroughly exploited the
inconsistency of US policy exposed through this complex missile purchasing exercise. In fact, Korea under Park went down the path of clandestine
programs without communicating with the US because Park and his technocrat advisers were convinced that the US often made concessions to
Korean demands when they realized the Koreans would go ahead anyway,
that is, “only when we prove our ability to complete things ‘for ourselves,’ even if the
US does not help us.” 22
Heavy and chemical industrialization under the Yusin Order was notable in
two respects. The first was the sheer intensity of the application of Park’s
political will to the HCI program. The program represented the official
form of cut-throat competitiveness by means of which Park publicly challenged North Korea from August 1970, in his aim to achieve total
supremacy over the North. The program also represented Park’s equally
fierce determination to reduce Korea’s dependence on the US. But to
accomplish this ambitious task, Park and his key advisers, especially his HCI
triumvirs, took a calculated, but substantial, risk on the safety and wellbeing of the South Korean State and its people. In this regard, the Yusin
Order, especially Park’s institutionalized “Presidential Guidance” system,
functioned as a tool assisting Park and his technocrats to proceed with the
state-led HCI program. Indeed, many Korean technocrats believed that the
Yusin system, under the grip of Park’s supreme power, was necessary for
them to carry out a radical industry restructuring in order to achieve a fundamental national goal – the construction of a strong and industrialized
state – while also reducing dependency on the US. This belief was the logic
behind Park’s developmental state, but it can also be seen as self-serving,
and flawed, especially in terms of Korea’s capability to defend itself without
the continued support and presence of the US military.
The other noticeable aspect of HCI under the Yusin Order was the role
of the MCI and its engineer–technocrats. As this account has shown, the
pilot agency of Korea’s economic bureaucracy in the 1970s was the Blue
House Secretariat, whose members were mostly former MCI technocrats.
Their approach to national development was thoroughly statist and
authoritarian, and relied heavily on economic nationalism. They had little
interest in individual freedoms or in the nation’s democratic processes of
government. Like Park, they were committed first and foremost to the
construction of national wealth and power, even if, as they believed, this
could only be achieved under the authoritarian regime and centralized
control that was a defining feature of the Yusin system. The events
described in this chapter have shown that the Yusin system and the excessively nationalistic “Korean Way” promoted by the developmentalist elites
was the price Korea paid for rapid industrialization.
“Challenge us with an arrow or a gun”
[“Ya demo tepo demo motekoi” in Japanese]
(Park Chung Hee)1
Korea’s security had always been the highest of Park’s priorities, but after
the pronouncement of the Nixon Doctrine and the subsequent fall of
Vietnam, Park became even more concerned, especially about the
strength of the US security commitment to the Korean peninsula. This
chapter examines Park’s response to this concern and how that ultimately
led to severe tension between himself and the ambivalent President Jimmy
Carter, and perhaps even to his own assassination. Park’s initial strategy
was to establish a Korean-resourced military modernization capability
through what was known as the “Yulgok Operation.”
The chapter examines several aspects of this program, including its
objectives, its various management committees, special measures for
raising funds and corruption concerns. It relates how Park and his key
policy advisers maintained a strict code of financial transparency and
established mechanisms for scrutinizing military development deals and
projects. But, as I go on to describe, the final episode of Park’s military
modernization involved nuclear weapons: with the increasing likelihood
that, under Carter, the US nuclear umbrella could be removed, Park
embarked upon a comprehensive nuclear capability program, including
heavy water fuel rod processing and guided missile development.
The chapter traces how these programs led to major conflict with the
US, and how the US decided to exert “maximum pressure” on Korea to
abandon its plans. Reminiscent of the North Korean situation in 2003, US
emissaries were told to employ the heaviest threat ever wielded by the US
against Korea. And reminiscent, too, of the Iraq situation in 2003, the US
sent numerous “inspection tours” to Korea to assess exactly what Park was
up to. The chapter shows how the mangled process of communication
between the US and Korea, and Carter and Park in particular, led to quid
pro quo concessions on both sides, but that ultimately Park’s clandestine
insistence on a nuclear capability for Korea caused Washington to turn its
back on Park. In fact, Washington backed yet another military dictatorship
led by Chun Doo Hwan as reward for his and his clique’s dismantling of
Park’s nuclear program.
The Yulgok Operation: the top-secret military
modernization plan
On 15 March 1974, Park approved the secret defense project known as the
“Yulgok Operation” (Yulgok saop) to purchase advanced military weapons
and equipment, as well as to modernize the military. The Yulgok Operation was an emergency measure that Park had initiated in February, immediately after the North Korean Navy attacks on Paeng’nyong Island. He
ordered the state to establish a National Defense Fund (pangwi songgum),
while at the same time directing the Ministry of National Defense
(MOND) to create a “new measure” for the procurement of military
weapons and equipment. Park’s directive to the MOND essentially signaled his direct control, that is, Presidential Guidance, over the MOND’s
purchase of military weapons and equipment.
To implement Park’s directive, the MOND formulated a three-point
measure which Park approved (see below). With the support of the media,
the National Defense Fund raised a total of 16.13 billion won (approximately $32 million) between 1974 and 1975 (O Wonch’ol 1995b: 422).
This Fund became the financial basis of the Yulgok Operation. On 16 July
1975, three months after the fall of Vietnam, however, the state introduced a compulsory National Defense Tax (pangwise) as the new revenue
base for the Yulgok Operation. Korea spent 6 percent of national GNP
between 1975 and 1976 on the Yulgok Operation and, by 1980, the
government had collected a total of 2,600 billion won (equivalent to
US$5.158 billion) (O Wonch’ol 1995b: 480). In January 1998, Sindonga
argued that the Yulgok Operation was being continued even to the
present time and that the total estimated expenditure on the Operation
from 1974 to the end of 1996 was “close to 50 trillion won” (Ha Chongdae
1998: 375).
The term “Yulgok Operation” was initially used as a top-secret security
code by the Defense Ministry when it submitted a report to Park about the
Ministry’s newly formulated three-point measure. The MOND recommended that, first, a Five-Member Committee (FMC: oin wiwonhoe) should
be established as the “promotion force” of the Operation. Second, it recommended that the FMC should consist of the deputy minister of the
Defense Ministry as its head and four other representatives. These four
included the chief of staff of the joint chiefs of staff; the assistant deputy
minister of the Defense Ministry responsible for war supplies; the head of
the agency for defense development; and President Park’s senior secretary
of the Second Economic Secretariat (kyongje che-2 susok pisogwan), O
Wonch’ol. The third and final recommendation of the three-point
measure was that each armed force should set up its own Yulgok Enforcement Agency (YEA: Yulgok chiphaengdan).2 Park approved the report (on
15 March 1974), and the Yulgok Operation subsequently emerged as the
government’s military modernization program.
Every military program under the Yulgok Operation, in whatever
branch of the military involved, required co-ordination by the YEA in
order that the Agency plan each project and submit it to the FMC, which
in turn examined the project and made relevant decisions. Any item recommended by the FMC required further approval by the Minister of
Defense, the Prime Minister and finally Park. Park seemed concerned
about the potential for fraud and corruption inherent in the Yulgok Operation, as it was free from official inspection by either the EPB or the
National Assembly because of the military secrecy surrounding its activities. Park’s specific concern seems to have focused on misconduct, especially financial corruption, by officials implementing the Yulgok
Operation. As a counter-measure, Park ordered the establishment of an
extra committee comprised solely of his special aides and senior secretaries.
This committee, named the “Blue House-Five-Member-Committee”
(Ch’ongwadae oin wiwonhoe), included two special aides, in charge of
national security and the economy and three senior secretaries, in charge,
respectively, of political affairs; economic policy concerned with what Park
officially referred to as the “first economy” (kyongje 1); and defense industry and heavy and chemical industry development officially referred to as
the “second economy” (kyongje 2). The programs that came under the
Yulgok Operation were therefore subject to a dual system of inspection.
The first was carried out by the FMC of the MOND, and the second by
Park’s own senior aides and secretaries who made up the Blue House
FMC. To make this dual inspection system even more transparent, Park
designated O Wonch’ol as Secretary to the Blue House FMC so that every
project approved by the two committees had again to be checked and
cleared by O before obtaining Park’s final approval.3
Park’s concern about bureaucratic corruption and mismanagement led
to the promulgation of the “Special Measures for Military Supplies” in
1973. In his attempt to prevent any irregularities within the MOND, Park
also promoted a young civilian diplomat, Ch’oe Kwangsu,4 as deputy
minister and directed him to lead the MOND’s restructuring during 1972.
Moreover, as the Yulgok Operation proceeded apace, funded by the
defense tax after July 1975, Park introduced several extra measures to
keep it thoroughly transparent. These were especially directed against any
financial mismanagement or corruption that might occur in the process
of purchasing weapons and military equipment from abroad.
The “Measures for Weapons Supply with Foreign Loans” (oeja-e uihan
pyonggi chodal pangch’im) introduced in May 1975, for example, were
designed to ensure that all purchasing under the Yulgok Operation
involved direct dealings with the manufacturer only, and guaranteed, under
contract, the exclusion of any commission, brokerage or any other intermediary fees.5 Park also took extreme precaution in the selection of weapons to
be developed. He established a further committee that was so secret that
even US intelligence knew little about it. According to a former US military
attaché in Seoul, the US Embassy received a report that described the
“secret” committee vaguely as the “Arms Development Committee” comprising top-ranking officers within the Blue House (Young 1994: 488).
Indeed, this committee had no name and consisted of five members:
the HCI triumvirate, Park, Kim and O, plus the Minister of Defense and
the chief of the Agency for Defense Development.6 This three-tiered committee system and its extraordinary measures, however, were abolished
shortly after Park’s assassination in October 1979, by Major-General Chun
Doo Hwan, Commander of Military Security, and his military cohort who
seized power through a military coup on 12 December that year (also
known as the 12–12 Incident). After the coup, the MOND took sole
charge of the Yulgok Operation, a development officially announced on
14 December 1980 by Chu Yongbok, the new Minister of Defense.
To what extent the corruption of the military generals involved in the
Yulgok Operation in the 1980s, known as the “Yulgok Piri” (Yulgok Corruption), was attributable to the abolition of these measures and the committee system, has not been explained and may never be known, despite
lengthy hearings conducted by the National Assembly. These hearings
about details of political slush funds of the two former Presidents, Chun
Doo Hwan (1980–88) and Roh Tae Woo (1988–92) ultimately led to their
imprisonment in 1996. Chun was sentenced to life imprisonment and Roh
to seventeen years’ imprisonment on various charges. These included
financial corruption in the misappropriation of Yulgok funds, their
involvement in the military coup of 12 December 1979 and the massacre
of the pro-democracy demonstrators in the Kwangju Uprising.7
The former presidents were also convicted of controlling a political
slush fund of $276 million in Chun’s case and $350 million in Roh’s case.
However, it is general belief among many Koreans that Chun in fact
amassed $900 million and Roh $650 million by accepting bribes and kickbacks from leading chaebol, including Hyundai, Samsung, Daewoo, and
others (Jordan 1995: 16; also Pollack 1996: A4). The anti-corruption campaign during the period of the Kim Young Sam Government (1993–8),
which exposed details of many corruption scandals, including the Yulgok
Corruption, ironically revealed an unexpected characteristic of Park’s
Yusin reform, namely the relative financial transparency of Park and his
key policy advisers, including Kim Chongnyom and O Wonch’ol. Despite
his eighteen years of military dictatorship, which featured many highly
publicized financial corruption scandals, especially in the 1960s, Park was
found to have amassed very little personal wealth of any significance.
Almost a quarter century after his death, there is no new evidence that
challenges Park’s financial probity. In this context, Park’s dictatorship,
particularly under the Yusin system, was non-corrupt, a kind of “clean dictatorship” or “benevolent militarism.”8
Similarly, the probity of both Kim and O – the longest and the second
longest serving presidential secretaries under Park, and members of the
HCI triumvirate – is reflected in the plainness of their respective residences. Kim has lived in the same very modest house for over sixty years
and O in his equally modest residence for over thirty. In an interview with
this author, Kim stated that he was 14 or 15 years old when his family
moved into the house. It is a plain Korean-style house located near
Sinch’on interchange. It had no heating system when I visited in January
2000 and I kept my overcoat on throughout the interview. O’s probity,
unlike that of most of Park’s former senior secretaries and officials who
advanced their careers under the Chun and Roh Governments, became
the object of severe political scrutiny in the aftermath of Park’s death.
On the night of 17 May 1980, O was arrested by the Military Security
Command. He was one of nine allegedly “corrupt officials” at the highest
level, including former Prime Minister Kim Chongp’il (Kim Jong Pil), who
were pre-emptively purged by Chun and his fellow generals in the course of
their political take-over.9 Needless to say, these eight “corrupt officials” were
Park’s closest associates. On the same night, other chief opposition politicians, Kim Dae Jung and Kim Young Sam, were also arrested, Kim Dae Jung
being subsequently sentenced to death, and Kim Young Sam barred from
political activities for eight years, as were 567 other political leaders.10 This
incident is known as the “5.17 Measure” or “second military coup.”
O was charged with receiving about 40 billion won (equivalent to US$
100 million) from political funds. In an interview with this author in 1998,
O said that he had no idea what this figure had been based on. He suspected, however, that as the total cost of the HCI program had been $10
billion, equivalent to 4,000 billion (4-jo) won, the military generals might
have assumed a one percent level of “commission” or bribery, amounting
to 40 billion won. Accused of amassing this huge amount, O was tortured
and interrogated for over eight weeks. On top of this, O’s family members,
including his wife, father and son, were investigated by four different
intelligence agencies, including the Korean CIA, the Military Special
Investigation Team and the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office.
On June 18, the martial law commander Chun Doo Hwan formally
charged the nine “corrupt officials” with illegally amassing almost 85
billion won. O was charged with illegally taking $4.5 million, including a
bribe of 2.2 million won from a president of a chaebol electronic
company.11 Subsequently the government seized O’s assets, including his
wife’s inherited property, all in the name of a “voluntary contribution” in
exchange for him not going to jail. Since 1971 O has lived in a modest
apartment located near the National Cemetery across the Han River. In
response to my question about his work-related gifts, O commented: “I
have never received any bribes from any foreign contractors. It’s unthinkable. But I did receive some small gifts, ‘ttokkap’ (rice-cake expenses), at
festive times from some chaebol who were my close friends.” O also told me
about his self-conduct ‘rule’ which, he said, became his cardinal rule while
managing both the HCI program and the military modernization
program, including the Yulgok Operation. O stated:
I guess you want to know how I kept myself untarnished. Well,
being an old-fashioned Korean and a jingoist, I believed in the
shamanistic sense of “taboo.” Therefore, whenever I started a new
task, whether it was related to the HCI program or the Yulgok
Operation, I first prepared myself to avoid “impure” thoughts and
behavior. I was too terrified of my work being subject to
“pujongt’a” [the evil coming from breaking the taboo of uncleanness], which could make everything go wrong. To avoid this disaster [from Heaven], I religiously disciplined myself to keep away
from evil thoughts and behaviors, such as accepting bribes, drinking and even sleeping with my wife, at least during the cleansing
period. Above all, I prayed everyday almost obsessively that I
would complete my tasks successfully. No case was more serious
than when I was selecting the location for the Ch’angwon Industrial Complex. Any tiny mistake, I thought, would cause national
ruin. Therefore, it was my “mission” not to fail my country.
(Interview, December 1998)
Nuclear Weapons and Missile Capability Program
In July 1975, Korea concluded an agreement with France for a loan for
the construction of nuclear reprocessing facilities and two nuclear power
plants (O Won Chol [sic] 1994): 14). This was undoubtedly the most risky
action taken by Park in his attempt to reverse the effects of the withdrawal
of US forces from Korea. In his interview with the Washington Post on 12
June, for example, Park declared that, “Although Korea has the capacity
to produce nuclear weapons, we do not develop them presently.” This
statement was repeated two days later at the time of a visit to the US by a
delegation of six Korean National Assemblymen, including Chong Ilgwon,
former Prime Minister. And Park went further, stating publicly, as well as
in a meeting with Washington officials, that, “if the U.S. nuclear umbrella
is to be removed, Korea will have to develop nuclear weapons.”12 This
public display of Park’s intentions – especially in affirming that Korea’s
nuclear option would entirely depend on a US security commitment –
clearly unnerved key policy-makers in Washington.
In this context, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger’s rushed visit to
Seoul on 27 August was one of many activities specifically aimed at
restraining Park’s nuclear weapons plan. Just as he wasted no time in
assuring Park about the US security commitment by assuring him of
President Ford’s “unequivocal . . . support of Korea,” he made it blatantly
clear that “the U.S. attached extreme importance to the NPT [Nuclear
Proliferation Treaty].”13 During this meeting, Schlesinger obtained Park’s
memorandum of agreement not to develop nuclear weapons (No
Chaehyon 1992: 80). The way in which officials in Washington countered
Park’s nuclear weapons plan was unrelenting and hardnosed, particularly
in relation to the loan agreement between Korea and France. On 4
November, for example, US representatives “unconditionally” opposed
France’s export of a reprocessing plant to Korea at the International Economic Cooperation Organization on Korea (IECOK) meeting in London.
Furthermore, the US Government, according to a Korean source, succeeded in convincing French President, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, to
cancel the plan to sell the reprocessing plant to Korea.14
On this controversial issue, US national security files declassified
between May 1997 and January 1998 reveal that it was US policy “to exert
maximum pressure on the ROK to abandon its plans” to purchase a
French reprocessing plant, while also pressuring Korea to reverse its plans
to develop any sort of nuclear development. Korea at that time was in the
process of purchasing a Canadian reactor, CANDU (see below).15 In
respect of Korea’s dealings with the French, the files focused extensively
on the issue of “who would reimburse the French for their four million
dollars in development costs . . .” and then suggested two options: one,
“[the US] paying the French directly” which, the files noted, would be
“interpreted in Congress as buying them off,” or two, “compensating” the
Koreans through “AID or Military Assistance.”16
In this light, it is not surprising that a US source suggests that “Park
reluctantly canceled the contract” (Oberdorfer 1997: 72) and yet, according to an extensive investigation in 1992 by one of Korea’s leading dailies,
Chungang Ilbo, the cancellation was requested by France and accepted by
Korea on the condition that Korea forego the penalty for cancellation.17
In any case, regardless of whether the contract was canceled by the
Korean or the French side, the US put extreme pressure on Korea not to
develop a nuclear program, as well as on nuclear weapons-producing
countries not to sell nuclear-related material or skills to Korea. During the
fierce diplomatic confrontation between Korea and the US under President Gerald Ford over the French contract, Philip Habib, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a former US ambassador
to Korea (August 1971 to August 1974), is known to have played a key role
in pressuring the Koreans to cancel the contract. Some American
observers note that Habib made threats to the Koreans (Young 1994: 489).
On this issue, Oberdorfer’s analysis matches my survey of Korean sources.
Oberdorfer notes: “both Sneider [US Ambassador to Korea] and Habib
were authorized to employ the heaviest threat ever wielded by the United
States against South Korea” (1997: 72).
US pressure on Park did not come only from Sneider and Habib. In
May 1976, Donald Rumsfeld, the newly appointed Secretary of Defense,
bluntly warned his Korean counterpart that the US “will review the entire
spectrum of its relations with the ROK” (Oberdorfer 1997: 72). In fact,
this review was already in force, delaying security and economic arrangements. The US Congress’ withholding of Korea’s loan application for the
construction of a light water reactor, Kori No. 2, which had been
approved in 1974, was one of many examples. In this strategic environment, it is important to consider the Korean perception of US interest in
Korean security. To many Koreans, the US was seen as rarely doing anything unless it involved its own national interest. Professor Sungjoo Han,
who was also foreign minister in the early 1990s, for example, argued that
it was the opportunity for the US to maintain operational control of the
Korean armed forces, while holding on to opportunities for weapons sales
under the FMS (Foreign Military Sales) program, that motivated the US to
“continue to be interested in Korean security while being watchful lest
South Korea might develop sophisticated weaponry on its own or negotiate their purchase from other countries” (Sungjoo Han 1978: 78). Han’s
argument echoes O Wonch’ol’s claim:
With Korea’s decision to purchase a CANDU power plant from
Canada [concluded in January 1975 by O], the USA was not only
suspicious of South Korea’s intentions regarding the development
of nuclear weapons, but was also anxious about US commercial
interests. This was because, from the US perspective, the construction of nuclear power plants and the supply of enriched uranium
for these plants would provide a substantial commercial market.
The USA at that time had a long-term plan to earn $20 billion by
1985 and $100 billion by the year 2000 through the export of
nuclear power plants. In addition, the USA expected to earn $5
billion by 1985 and $45 billion by the year 2000 through the
supply of enriched uranium.
(O Won Chol 1994: 13)
This claim is focused on US commercial interests which were clearly
significant. But other factors come into play in assessing US security interests in Korea, interests that were, and remain, an indispensable part of US
policy in North-East Asia. It is no secret that US policy-makers always
feared their country being dragged into another Korean War, especially if
Park had a completely independent military force. Thus US intelligence
services kept their eye not only on Park, as was widely publicized in
1976–7, but also on the various other prominent Korean politicians and
senior officials, especially as Park had relentlessly pursued Korea’s interest
in high-technology weapons development throughout Europe.
In order to stop the US spying on Park – according to the telegrams
sent from the US embassy in Seoul to the State Secretary – Prime Minister
Ch’oi Kyuha is reported to have formally demanded from President Ford
a “personal letter to President Park reiterating assurances of denial of
bugging and expressing regrets about press speculation.”18 As it happened, O Wonch’ol had been watched by US intelligence during his
weapon’s purchase visit to Europe, including Israel in 1974, as was later
revealed in a US Congress hearing. Given this level of distrust in
Korea–US relations, it is no surprise to see Park’s hypersensitivity in his
dealings with Washington officials. In fact, Park’s confidence in the US
commitment to Korea had been declining drastically, especially since the
collapse of South Vietnam. Having witnessed the US abandonment of
South Vietnam, Park seriously feared that the US might also abandon
Korea, especially in light of President Nixon’s troop withdrawal policy.
After all, Nixon had already reduced US ground troops in Korea in 1971,
at the height of North Korean infiltration into the South.
Park was particularly nervous about the reduced reliability of the US
nuclear umbrella which, he suspected, might be withdrawn from Korea.
Park and his key advisers therefore did not hesitate to challenge the US
limitations on the Korean State’s plan to develop an advanced nuclear
weapons and missiles program as a counter-measure to avoid any unforeseen security problem. As far as the Koreans were concerned, their very
survival was at stake. The Koreans believed that US inconsistency, especially in arms control and weapons production policy, had to be strategically exploited in order to protect Korea’s own national interest while a US
withdrawal of its ground forces from Korea was looming. Korea’s nuclear
weapons and missile capability development under Park may not have proceeded as swiftly in December 1974 as it did, had the USA coordinated its
arms control policy and dealings with the Koreans between the Department of State and the Department of Defense to prevent Korea’s purchase
of the Lockheed Propellant plant and related technology.
Whereas the Deputy Secretary of Defense Clements had approved the
Lockheed contract for sale, the State Department vehemently opposed
it on the grounds that “President Park would regard our approval of
the Lockheed projects as a major step in securing U.S. technological
support for his ambitious plans for the ADD (Agency for Defense
Development).”19 In this context, Park moved a step ahead of the US
policy-makers. He not only purchased the entire facilities and technology
of the Lockheed Propulsion Company, but also built a large propellant
plant as an ADD project. In his memorandum of 4 February 1975, George
S. Springsteen, Executive Secretary of the Department of State, summarized Park’s view on the ADD as “a fundamentally Korean-only enterprise,
for special weapons projects that we will not provide or are likely to
oppose.” Springsteen continued that, “In the ADD, South Korea will have
an unconstrained facility which it can use for its own purposes without reference to our wishes or agreed requirements for Korean security.” Hence,
Springsteen identified the contradictory nature of US arms control and
disarmament policy by arguing, “The Defense position that we should
approve the Lockheed case and then stand firm in refusing to provide
further ‘significant’ technology is not consistent.”20
Park was able to take advantage of this inconsistency and advance his
already well-known policy of “self-reliance” or Chaju, which intensified as
the state implemented the nuclear missile program under a national
security code of secrecy. An illuminating example of the operation of this
program was the construction of a heavy water fuel rod plant disguised as
the “Taejon Machinery Depot” (Taejon kikyech’ang). The security at this
plant during its construction near Taejon under the code name “Sinsong
Nongjang” (Sacred Farm) was so tight that even the chief of police in that
Province, South Ch’ungch’ong, was refused entry to the site for a routine
security check. The armed guards at the entrance told the chief that,
“without a passport authorized by the minister of defense,” no one was
allowed entry. When he later made inquiries at defense security, he is said
to have been told, “We guarantee the security of that place and thus do
not interfere” (O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 5 1996: 558).
On 2 December 1976, the Korean Government officially unveiled this
plant under the name, Korean Nuclear Fuels Development Corporation
(KNFDC: Han’guk haek yollyo kaebal kongdan). This was just two months
after the establishment of Korea Nuclear Engineering (Han’guk wonjaryok
kisul chusikhoesa), which had taken over ownership from an American
company, Burns & Roe. The KNFDC aimed to build Korea’s nuclear facilities with “Korean resources,” in terms of both technology and materials,
and under extreme cautionary and security controls, to ensure that Korea
would build its own nuclear power plants without US interference. Therefore, despite the low profitability of operating a heavy water fuel rod plant,
Korea built the KNFDC for strategic purposes as “a defensive mechanism
against the US for a future time” (O Won Chol 1994: 15).
This clandestine operation, which was unquestionably dangerous, especially from a US viewpoint, ultimately sparked what, arguably, turned out
to be the most serious confrontation of the post-war period between
Korea and the US. It came right at the time that Carter was threatening
Park with his withdrawal policy on the one hand, and condemning his
abuse of human rights on the other. But beneath Carter’s fury over
human rights, the real cause of Korea–US confrontation was clearly Park’s
nuclear weapons and missile development program. (This is not to say
that Carter’s well-known loathing of Park did not begin while Carter was
campaigning for his presidential election.) Until the unveiling of its heavy
water fuel rod plant, US officials did not know just how close Korea was to
producing nuclear weapons. Given the US hard-line security policy and its
fury over the Indian nuclear detonation of 1974, it is not difficult to
understand US alarm about Korea’s nuclear facilities and especially about
Park’s determination to develop nuclear weapons. Park was, from Washington’s point of view, plainly recalcitrant.
US alarm reached a new level when Korea successfully launched a
guided missile on 26 September 1978, and subsequently became the
seventh country in the world to produce its own nationally developed
missile. This new development evidently created panic in Washington,
especially among the leading members of the State Department, the Pentagon and the National Security Council. On 8 November, seventeen highranking US officials from these institutions, led by the Secretary of
Defense, Harold Brown, made an inspection tour of Korea. Ten days later,
another thirteen Congressmen from the Military Committee, led by its
chairman, Melvin Price, visited Korea for the same inspection tour. Panicstricken inspection tours to Korea by US officials continued until President Carter’s visit in late June 1979. These VIP inspections from the US to
South Korea show a striking resemblance to UN inspection visits to Iraq
through the 1990s and again in 2002–3.
Relations between the two countries became so hostile that when
Carter arrived in Korea, after attending the G-7 economic summit in
Tokyo, he ignored diplomatic protocol and stayed at Camp Casey in Tongduch’on where the Second Infantry Division was based. Park’s response to
Carter was no less blunt. Despite repeated strong warnings from the White
House not to raise the withdrawal issue, Park apparently began his first
meeting with Carter by reading out a long lecture lasting 45 minutes on
the “dangers,” in the words of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, “that the
troop withdrawal policy created for his country and the region” (1983:
129), especially in light of North Korea’s rapidly growing military strength.
The subsequent quarrel between the two allied presidents was such that
US Ambassador Gleysteen recalled: “Never before in numerous summit
meetings I had attended in the past had I seen leaders mangle the process
of communication the way these two men did that morning” (1999: 47).
The more Carter dug in with his withdrawal plan, while at the same
time “push[ing] for higher South Korean defense spending to reduce if not
eliminate the military disparity between North and South” (Gleysteen 1999: 47,
emphasis added), the less patient Park became. He argued insistently that
Korea needed more time to increase its defense efforts, in line with
Carter’s demands, and that the US, in the meantime, must assure Korea of
its commitment to no further withdrawals of US ground forces. Park
repeated these arguments even in his grilling “private session” with Carter,
accompanied by a single note-taker only from each side.
In spite of their entrenched differences, however, the two presidents
finally agreed to accede to each other’s demands, and on 5 July Park
carried out his part of the deal by announcing that a total of 180 political
prisoners would be released over the next six months. On 20 July, Carter
also kept his word when the White House announced the suspension of
US withdrawal plans until 1981.21 This announcement brought a dramatic
respite to the rift in Korea–US relations, although it did not mean that US
alarm concerning Park’s clandestine nuclear program had abated. On the
contrary, US alarm turned into the Korean security crisis that followed
Park’s assassination on 26 October 1979 and then the military coup of 12
December led by the head of the Defense Security Command, MajorGeneral Chun Doo Hwan.
In this extremely confused and volatile situation, Park’s sacrosanct
nuclear weapons and missile development program had ironically turned
into a potential security risk, about which Washington took no chance.
Washington in fact swiftly made quid pro quo negotiations with Chun, the
new military Commander of National Security. By having controlling
responsibility for Korea’s national security, including Park’s secret nuclear
weapons and missiles program, Chun cunningly exploited his position to
obtain US acquiescence in his seizure of power through his second military coup of 17 May 1980.
Aftermath of Park’s assassination
It is hardly possible in today’s Korea to recapture a sense of the deep
turmoil into which Korea was plunged during the 1970s, especially during
the 1977–9 period, the events of which led to Park’s death and the subsequent military coup. Because of the complexities surrounding Park’s
death – especially the fact that Chun Doo Hwan became the most powerful man in Korea in charge of Korean domestic security, including
responsibility for investigating Park’s assassination – it is important to note
the major developments that emerged in the aftermath. Korea was
undoubtedly one of the most precarious places in Asia, exposed to rapidly
growing North Korean aggression on the one hand, and threatened by
President Carter’s iron-willed push to withdraw US ground forces from
Korea in the wake of the fall of Vietnam on the other.
To make matters worse, the Americans continued what Gleysteen
described in his memoirs as “indiscriminate criticism of Korea” following
the Koreagate bribery scandal (discussed in Chapter 7), focusing especially on Park’s human rights abuses. The combined impact of these
threats and criticisms on Park and on Korea after his assassination, was
devastating. Gleysteen painstakingly explains America’s role in Park’s
demise and vehemently denies US involvement in any conspiracy to
“unseat President Park” (1999: 61) But Gleysteen’s argument that Park’s
assassination was “his own fate” which he had brought on himself may not
necessarily be an objective assessment. To unravel the complexity of the
events surrounding Park’s death at the hands of Kim Chaegyu, Director of
the KCIA and one of Park’s most trusted associates – they had been
friends since their youth – needs more evidence than is yet available. What
is undeniable, however, is the extent of the US-led campaign against Park.
Indeed, US involvement was so fierce and systematic that, in Gleysteen’s
words, Americans “need to ask themselves whether the sum total of U.S.
actions and words unwittingly contributed in a significant way to Park’s
downfall” (1999: 61).
The link between Korea’s late industrialization and the priority given to
defense-led industrialization as a counter-measure to US policy, especially
following the Nixon doctrine, drove Park to speed up military modernization as well as pursuing Korea’s independent clandestine nuclear weapons
and missiles programs. In this context, Park and his top technocrat advisers believed that Korea’s very survival was at stake. For them, national
security had to be maintained by all means with or without US commitment. It can be argued, nevertheless, that Park made a mistake in pursuing his nuclear weapons and missiles development plan without
communicating with the US. The possession of a small number of nuclear
weapons would not necessarily have made Korea more secure. But it
might well have made Korea the target of surrounding nations like Japan,
China and Russia, who would not have trusted Korean leaders to act in a
reasonable and rational manner. Most critically, by pushing ahead with his
secret nuclear plan, Park actually put what was already perceived as an
uncertain US commitment to defending South Korea at even greater risk.
Even so, Park’s dilemma over nuclear development and Korea’s defense
should not be downplayed. After witnessing the US withdrawal from
Indochina, Park genuinely feared that the US might also abandon its
commitment to Korea in case of a North Korean invasion, even though
this would have involved the breaking of the armistice agreement by the
An equally significant issue is US involvement in Major-General Chun
Doo Hwan’s seizure of power: US administrations not only accommodated
Chun’s first military coup of 12 December 1979, but also supported him
and his military cohorts in the massacres of May 1980 which allowed Chun
to seize the presidency. Under martial law declared on 17 May 1980, Chun
carried out the purging of 567 leading politicians, some 30 to 40 generals
and 9,232 senior government officials, or 12 percent of the top echelon,
among many other professionals.22
Chun’s May 17 coup
Although the US has repeatedly claimed that it played no significant role
in the Kwangju massacres (Gleysteen 1999: Chapters 8 and 9), it seems
clear that its role on the eve of Chun’s rise to power was as decisive as it was
in President Syngman Rhee’s fall in the spring of 1960. According to
Shorrock, senior officials in the Carter administration had “approved” the
new generals’ May 17 coup ten days earlier (2001: 2). Shorrock’s finding
supports O Wonch’ol’s own experience: a plain-clothes American had
warned O a week before 17 May that he would be arrested by the new military generals. Why did the US accommodate Chun? One key reason, if not
the sole reason, was the security imperative. Washington needed to negotiate with Chun who, by then, was Korea’s most powerful man and was in
charge of Korean national security, including the clandestine nuclear
weapons and missile capability development program conducted by the
ADD. In other words, the US administrations of both Carter and Reagan
supported Chun and his military cohorts in the interest of US security
objectives not just in Korea, but more broadly in all of North-East Asia.
Shorrock’s account reveals that just ten days after Park’s assassination
the Carter administration established a “top secret policy-making group”
which consisted of the President and four senior officials: Secretary of
State Cyrus Vance, Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Richard C. Holbrooke,
and Ambassador William H. Gleysteen. Through this group’s intense
monitoring of the Korean situation, under the code name “Cherokee,”
the Carter administration formulated a “new policy line on Korea” which
was announced on 21 June 1980. Warren Christopher set out this policy
and instructed Holbrooke, who was in Asia and about to visit Seoul, to
hold a meeting with General Chun Doo Hwan and convey “our implicit
recognition [. . . and] that his conduct will determine the nature of the
relationship” (Cited in Shorrock 2001: 20). Christopher also instructed
Holbrooke to warn Chun that the US Government intended to retain
“some freedom of action of our own.”
The ADD staff purge
Whatever this warning may have meant to Washington officials, Chun’s
conduct during the critical nine months immediately after Park’s assassination certainly impressed US policy-makers. In August 1980, for
example, Chun and his generals paralyzed Korea’s nuclear weapons and
missile program by dismissing about thirty executive members of the
ADD, including its director, Dr. Sim Munt’aek, as well as Dr. Ch’oe
Hyonho, who led the development in 1977–8 of Korea’s first missile, the
K-2. In the same month, the Carter administration finally concluded, in
the words of Shorrock, that: “Mr Chun [sic] had enough public support to
warrant support as South Korea’s next president” (2001: 20). Chun was
sworn in as president on 30 August 1980.
A further massive purge of over 800 scientists from the ADD was undertaken in December 1982. During this purge, the Chun regime also
assured the US Government that Korea would not develop any missiles
capable of a trajectory beyond 180 kilometers.23 In brief, Korea–US relations improved dramatically during the Chun and Reagan era. The US was
so committed to Korea, especially in the aftermath of the 1979–80 financial crisis when Korea came under the scrutiny of the IMF, that, according
to one researcher, it provided the necessary influence to moderate the
external pressure on Korea to implement radical liberalization, “resulting
in US-inspired Japanese financial aid to Korea when other debtors were
left to struggle” (Kong 2000: 247).
In this chapter we have seen the pattern of Korea’s military modernization
under Park, especially through the rapid construction of defense industries together with the pursuit of advanced weapons, part of which
involved nuclear weapons and missiles development. But one major question still remains: why did Park risk a possible break-up of relations with
the US in order to carry out his secret nuclear weapons strategy? He did so
in part because, through his long experience in dealing with the US, he
had become convinced that the US would give concessions to Korean
demands whenever the Koreans were able to demonstrate their capability
to complete things on their own without US help. We should bear in
mind, too, that Park may have been prepared to go right to the brink
because he was a risk taker, but a risk taker with an acute and highly calculating mind whose ultimate goal was the survival of his regime.
From the viewpoint of the US administration – whether Democrats or
Republicans – however, Park’s attempt to create an independent nuclear
military capacity in secret, raised issues much more serious than the
potential loss to the US of profits that might be made from the sale of
nuclear technology and other related materials to Korea. Preventing the
spread of nuclear weapons had long been a standing aim of US foreign
policy for strategic and security reasons. If South Korea had developed
nuclear weapons, there is little doubt that North Korea and Japan would
have been stimulated to respond with their own counter nuclear weapons
programs. In fact, most US administrations believed that the development
of nuclear weapons in Korea could “tip the balance on proliferation in
Japan.”24 Of course, US policy had never been confined to Korea or South
Korea: its perspective had always been global, and its concern in East Asia
comprised the whole region, not just Korea.
Part IV
The legacy of the Park era
Of course, as I am only human, I did not rule the nation
without trial and error. But I never worked to gain popularity
in my lifetime – I always endeavored to keep in mind
what we could do to make our country better, [as well as] to
enjoy a better life with pride, without envying other countries.
(Park Chung Hee 1999: 139)
When historians strike the balance, I suspect that they will
rate Park as the most important Korean leader of modern
(Gleysteen 1999)
Almost everyone who holds a position of authority in Korea today is in
some way a product of Park’s policies, and thus profoundly influenced by
them. Many developments of political significance that have happened in
Korea since 1979 are in some way either a continuation of, or a reaction
against, what happened in the Park era. Park’s legacy, for better or for
worse, means that much of the character of the Korean people today and
of their society is inextricably bound up with the political and economic
system that he put in place under his regime. This study has examined the
reasons why Park’s version of industrialization, the “Korean model,”
occurred, and why the ruling elites insisted on developing their own
method, the Korean Way.
I have shown the link between Park’s dictatorial politics and his determination to create a modern, industrialized state, and the role of Park and
his MCI technocrats in the adoption of Korea’s export-oriented rapid
industrialization policies. Under Park, living standards rose dramatically
while the country as a whole also emerged as a new power in North-East
Asia. Societal reform was continuous. The Park era is remembered for all
these reasons. Park pushed high-speed growth and anti-Communist economic nationalism as the means to achieving Korea’s “independence,” or
Chaju, in politics, the economy and national security.
Park’s focus on the Korean Way meant the application of a “Koreafirst” approach, with an emphasis on the reduction of dependence on the
United States. The effectiveness of the state’s export-oriented policies
after 1964, especially through heavy and chemical industrialization
during the Yusin era (1973–9), is the most concrete demonstration of the
achievement of Park and his technocrats in Korea’s state-guided industrialization. It would be absurd, however, to suggest that Korea’s rapid
growth came about irrespective of the benefits that the country drew
from its position in the Cold War, as well as from tying its economy to the
capitalist world market system. By linking its production to expanded
market opportunities in East Asia and the USA, Park was able to lead
Korea into the greatest period of prosperity in Korean history. He
stopped at nothing to maximize Korean opportunities in North-East Asia.
During the Vietnam War he exploited US objectives to the limit, just as
he had exploited opportunities surrounding the Korea–Japan normalization in 1965.
The Korean model of rapid industrialization can be distinguished
from the development of other NICs in Asia in three main respects.
First, Park and his key technocrat–advisers planned and pursued their
own independent set of objectives and strategies. In doing so, they often
provoked US opposition and intervention, as is shown most clearly by
the strained Korea–US relations between 1974 and early 1980. Second,
the Korean model was chaebol-oriented. One of the key reasons for
chaebol taking the lead, instead of small business as in Taiwan, was that
the planners of the Korean model believed that big chaebol with proven
performance records would be strategically most effective, especially in
achieving the aims of export-orientation and internationalization. Just as
the state selected “target industries” for exports through the 1960s, big
chaebol were the state’s “target” champions for HCI development in the
Another reason for making chaebol the engine of rapid development
was that by mobilizing their already established industrial production
capacities, Park and his technocrat–advisers sought to produce military
hardware as quickly as possible. Following the founding of the Homeland
Guard, comprising more than two million reserve forces in April 1968,
Park’s priority was to arm the reservists with the necessary weapons. It was
with this wartime approach and strategy, however risky and unconventional, that Park guided every big chaebol and their role in the HCI
program. Park’s guiding principles were patriotism and economic nationalism. To make this war-like operation work without engaging in real war,
Park relied heavily on the KCIA for security, so that no one, under any circumstance, could obstruct him, or his state. The structural problems of
Korea’s chaebol-oriented economic system, especially after the 1997 financial crisis, have been widely recognized both in Korea and abroad. The
corrupt practices of chaebol, their lack of financial transparency and their
collusion with the political elite (chonggyong yuch’ak) ultimately brought
about the 1997 financial crisis (Pempel 1999; Jackson 1999; Noble 2000;
Ha-Joon Chang 2000).
It is equally undeniable, however, that the chaebol played a key role in
the economic miracle of the 1970s under Park. The reasons behind big
chaebol falling from the lofty role of “industrial warriors” to become major
players in corruption scandals in the 1980s and thereafter are complex
and require systematic investigation beyond the scope of this study.1
Despite their structural flaws and faults, however, most chaebol appear to
be resilient and innovative in making the necessary adjustments for economic recovery post-crisis. In 2001, according to Japanese analysts, for
example, Korea Inc. emerged “tougher from [the] crucible” as
demonstrated by industrial leaders such as Pohang Iron & Steel Co.
(POSCO), Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. In
the face of globalization coupled with the financial crash, POSCO has
emerged as the No.1 steel producer in the world, surpassing Japan’s
Nippon Steel Corporation, just as Samsung has surpassed its Japanese
competitors in semiconductor manufacture and Hyundai in shipbuilding
(Nagaoka 2001). It can therefore be argued that the strength of the
chaebol lies not only in their “ruthless dedication to success at all costs”
(Steers 1999: 201), as stated by one US economist, but also in their fundamental competitiveness in world markets due largely to their “engineering” orientation as established under the guidance of technocrats
during the Park era.
The third respect, and arguably most characteristic in terms of distinguishing the Korean model of industrialization from the development of
other NICs in Asia, was Park’s authoritarian political reform. He introduced the Yusin system as a tool to complete his version of economic and
military development in the shortest possible time, with minimal opposition and with maximum effect. With total supremacy, officially termed
“Presidential Guidance,” Park relentlessly disciplined the cabinet, the
bureaucracy, business and the workers, the entire country being shackled
to the success of the HCI program. Under the Yusin system, as we have
seen in this study, Park monitored every member of Korean society,
watched their activities through intelligence agencies, and maintained a
comprehensive system of checks and balances in the allocation of power
among different groups and institutions. Not even members of his family
were exempt from his official surveillance.
This system of control was such that Korea had a lower degree of
decentralized decision-making than Taiwan and Hong Kong. Although
Johnson claimed that the MITI (Ministry of International Trade and
Industry) had been the architect of rapid industrialization in Japan in the
1930s (Johnson 1982), the governmental structure of Japan never had the
degree of concentration of power that Park was able to achieve through
the Yusin reform. When we consider the transition in Japan between the
Taishô era of the 1920s and the militaristic era of the 1930s in terms of the
shift in the balance of forces, the main elements remained the same:
government bureaucracy, zaibatsu, political parties and the military, of
which the first three formed the dominant coalition in the 1920s.
However, in the 1930s, power shifted to the military, while the government and business coalition, and the political parties lost influence. Korea
under Park did not follow this pattern even though he heavily borrowed
methods from both the Japan of the 1930s and its industrialization of the
1960s (see Chapters 6 and 8).
Park was able to achieve this extraordinary system of control largely
because he was supported by Korea’s developmental elites, who saw
“strong leadership” as necessary to build national strength through rapid
industrialization. Park’s ambitions were shared by his technocrat–advisers,
most notably O Wonch’ol and Kim Chongnyom. Moreover, these technocrats persuaded Park to “guarantee” the inviolability of the HCI
program by officially and publicly declaring it the top priority of the Yusin
reform. Park succeeded in his alliance with the Korean developmental
elites, whether in the bureaucracy, business or the military, primarily by
offering them a guarantee of the inviolability of their role in the HCI
program. Declaring the program the nationally managed business, Korea
Inc., Park also succeeded in appealing to the Korean people’s deeply
ingrained patriotism and their tenacious desire for a “better life with
pride.” In this way, Park harnessed unprecedented enthusiasm, discipline
and energy, even though many opposed his militant methods.
Park’s political skill can also be seen in the way he managed economic
nationalism. Through his highly militaristic methods, Park not only
exploited popular nationalism at the beginning of his rise to power (see
Chapters 2 and 3) but, more notably, systematically inculcated his own
brand of economic nationalism. Government-led campaigns such as
National Reconstruction, the National Charter of Education and the
Second Economy Movement of the 1960s, and the Saemaul Movement
and the Yusin reforms of the 1970s, were key elements in this process.
Park’s primary aim was to instill a work culture, both institutionally and at
the community level, while also reinventing and promoting Korea’s indigenous ways and values. These campaigns, as a whole, helped the state to
strengthen and reinvigorate the bureaucracy. Virtually anyone who was
determined to work hard in the 1970s advanced their living standards, just as
any educated male with an ambition to pursue a career in government or in
the private sector could have done so. (Women’s advancement had to wait.)
One of the most striking elements of Park’s mass campaigns for economic nationalism was the rise of engineer technocrats, primarily those in
the MCI [Ministry of Commerce and Industry], as drivers of reform. Their
role in Korea’s rapid industrialization bore a striking resemblance to that
of the Japanese technocrats of MITI in Japan’s industrialization. While it
has been widely noted that the Korean technocracy was largely dominated
by the US-educated economists of the EPB, later known as “neo-liberal
technocrats” (Kong 2000: 244), this is true only of the post-Park era.
Park’s two key economic and industrial managers in the 1970s, namely
Kim Chongnyom and O Wonch’ol, had a Japanese colonial education, as
did Park, and similarly the two Ministers of the EPB between 1964 and
1969, Chang Kiyong (1964–7) and Pak Ch’unghun (1967–9). Of the six
ministers of the EPB from 1964 to 1979 until Park’s assassination, Kim
Hang’yol (1969–72) and Nam Togu (1974–8), were economists with a
postgraduate education in the US. In the case of Nam, the longest serving
minister of the EPB and formerly a Professor at Sogang University, he
worked as one of Kim Chongnyom’s “three-man team”: Kim, Nam, and
Kim Yonghwan, Minister of Finance from 1974–8.
In short, the Korean model of rapid industrialization during the Park
era was the product of the policies formulated and implemented by
developmental elites led by MCI technocrats. This is not to say that Park
did not seek any political advantage in this process. He certainly appears to
have planned to retain the presidency for the long-term, if not for life. But
Park had higher ambitions than that. He also planned to achieve his ultimate goal: an industrialized modern Korea. And he was convinced that this
goal in which his personal ambitions and the national good came together
could be achieved only through the Yusin system, or the Korean Way.
Korea: an industrialized modern state
In his Development as Freedom, Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel prize
for economic science, identifies five distinct types of freedom that are
instrumental in advancing the general capabilities of an individual. He
argues that public policy to foster human capabilities and substantive freedoms can be effective through the promotion of these “distinct but interrelated freedoms,” namely, (a) political freedoms, (b) economic facilities,
(c) social opportunities, (d) transparency guarantees and (e) protective
security (1999). He further argues that, there are good reasons for seeing
poverty as a deprivation of basic capabilities, rather than merely as low
income. Sen came to this view through his extensive analysis of economic
development in the twentieth century. It is significant to note that from
the outset of Park’s rule he explicitly set out to achieve four of these “freedoms,” although suspending the one ranked highest by Sen, that is, “political freedoms” (1999: 20).
Park’s method, the Korean Way, which he promoted as the key to
Korea’s modernization, was never conventional from the beginning, just
as the speed of Korean development was never ordinary. Korea’s GNP, for
example, grew 452 percent from $12.7 billion to $57.4 billion (in 1980
prices) within two decades (1962–80), while export earnings grew from
$100 million in 1964 to $10 billion in 1978. Korea, during this period,
recorded an average GNP growth rate of 8.5 percent per year and was the
fastest growing economy in the world ( Johnson 1987: 136; Amsden 1989:
56). The improvement in social facilities, which the state constructed as
infrastructure to facilitate industrialization, was equally remarkable. Electric power generation, for example, grew more than ten-fold between
1961 and 1971, while the number of telephones increased five-fold
between 1965 and 1975, from 437,915 to 2,292,286, or six to every 100
persons (U Sungmu 1995: 462).
Between 1967 and 1977, Korea constructed nine expressways throughout the country, while 44 percent of national roads were paved by 1975
(Keidel 1981). The state also took steps to improve public welfare through
a vast expansion of the educational system and employment opportunities, which many observers have noted as a key characteristic of Korea’s
industrialization. Middle school enrolments, for example, rose rapidly in
the 1960s and 1970s to about 2.5 million by 1980. Similarly, the number of
high school enrolments jumped from 590,000 to 2.7 million during the
1970s (Snodgrass 1998: 172). The establishment of a relatively comprehensive health care system, including a family planning program, as an
integral part of the first Five-Year Plan (1962–6), contributed to a dramatic rise in Korean life expectancy, from 55.3 in 1960 to 65.9 in 1978–9
(Kim T’aehon 1995: 533).2
The economic and social transformation during the Park era also
entailed a phenomenal increase in white-collar workers, more commonly
categorized since the 1980s as the middle class (Cotton and Kim 1996:
183–203). The expansion of the middle class initially began with rapid
growth in the size and capacity of Korea’s manufacturing workforce.
Between 1960 and 1980, the manufacturing workforce – both white-collar
and blue-collar workers – increased almost six-fold, from 479,975 to
2,797,030 (Amsden 1989: 171). The white-collar workforce in the manufacturing sector, other than managers and service personnel, grew even
faster during this period. Engineers, for example, multiplied more than
ten-fold, from 4,425 to 44,999; sales personnel more than thirteen-fold,
from 5,025 to 68,716; and clerical workers more than twenty-fold, from
17,330 to 356,362 during the same period (Amsden 1989: 171).
Overall, this phenomenal increase of the workforce acted to absorb
much of the unemployment and under-employment endemic to Korea in
the 1960s, when about two million Koreans, or one-fifth of Korea’s industrial and agricultural workforce, were recorded as unemployed. In the
light of the seriousness of unemployment in Korea in the early 1960s,
therefore, it is fair to suggest that until Park’s policy of rapid development
in mid-1964 the Korean people had been deprived not only of life’s essen210
tials, such as food, but also of opportunities for such things as employment, career enhancement and education, basic requirements for fostering human endeavor and well-being.
The opportunities that arose through state-guided rapid development
under Park, however, came at high price: freedom was strictly limited. The
state demanded conformity, obedience and sacrifice, all in the name of
patriotism and national growth. The more Korea’s economy grew and
society modernized, however, the less the people, especially the working
masses (minjung), were content with the structural inequality and political
oppression that they had to endure. As a result, the minjung doggedly
pursued political freedoms through their labor movement and ultimately
through a multi-alliance democracy movement comprised of students and
many other social groups, including dissident activists and Christian
The rise of the popular Minjung Culture and Democracy Movement of
the 1970s and 1980s was, in a sense, a perverse effect of Park’s economic
nationalism, and would become, ultimately, the nemesis of his Yusin state.
The subsequent rise of the “Minjung Democracy Movement” of the 1980s,
focused on the three-min principle of people (minjung), nation (minjok)
and democracy (minju), was a defining example of the Korean people’s
response to military dictatorship following the Park era. Although they
would suffer a further eight years of repression under the military dictatorship of the Chun Doo Hwan regime (1980–8), when the Korean people
finally gained their political freedom, their democracy, though still
flawed, was firmly established. Korea had now reached the stage that it was
too industrialized as well as politically liberated for any dictatorial regime
to impose itself without immediately stirring a popular revolt.
As we have seen, Park had become the victim of his own making:
Korean society in the late 1970s had become too highly sophisticated and
developed, its members equipped with the tools for personal actualization
provided by modern education and technology, to put up with his autocratic measures. In this context, the downfall of Chun Doo Hwan, despite
his draconian military dictatorship, demonstrated the fundamental transformation of Korea, especially in terms of the people’s struggle for democracy. This was perhaps why many citizen movements flourished under
President Roh Tae Woo.
The grass roots democracy movement took on a new dimension when,
in October 1995, President Kim Young Sam (1993–8) declared a new
reform known as the “campaign to rectify the past.” This campaign,
according to the Kim administration, aimed to establish a “New Korea” or
a “second founding of the nation” with an emphasis on the purification of
Korea’s authoritarian past and a purging of authoritarian elements from
the political process (Shin 1999: 201–20). The imprisonment of two
former presidents, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo in February 1996,
is the most vivid illustration of President Kim’s highly moralistic and
minjung-centered democracy campaign. As part of this campaign, the Kim
administration dismantled many authoritarian enclaves, including the military officers’ club, Hana-hoe (one group), initially founded by two former
general-presidents, Chun and Roh.
In contrast to his enormously popular beginning in 1992, however,
Kim’s reform campaign lost credibility and public support from 1995
when his government was plagued with a string of corruption scandals,
highlighted by the trial of his second son, Hyonch’ol, for bribery and
influence-peddling involving Hanbo Steel, which went bankrupt in
January 1997 (Visclosky 2000; Ha Chongdae 1998b: 218–29). The dramatic success of the veteran dissident politician Kim Dae Jung’s bid for
the presidency in the midst of Korea’s financial crash in December of the
same year reflected the intensity of the Korean people’s desire for an
honest and capable political leader. Expressions of nostalgia by many
ordinary Koreans for Park-style authoritarianism reflected this sentiment.
In the last decade of the twentieth century the legacy of the Park era had
become a contradictory one: an industrialized modern Korea with an
emergent popular democracy on the one hand, and a lingering nostalgia
in Korean society for authoritarian rule on the other.
Unresolved issues
Almost a quarter of a century after Park’s death, many unresolved issues
remain in relation to his rule. Was the Yusin system justified? Of course, in
Park’s mind, it was. His mindset was essentially that of a military strategist,
and he believed that the end justified the means, the end being Korea’s
industrial and military modernization. Above all, Park also believed that the
Yusin system was necessary for constructing an independent capability for
building weapons industries in order to protect Korea’s national security
against North Korean aggression. He saw himself as the key player in that
process, in a political climate in which internal and external forces conspired
to undermine his capacity to achieve national goals, that is, to build Korea’s
economic and defense capability, while at the same time building political
independence from the US, on a basis that was both workable and secure.
Park’s concept of “independence,” however, was not intended to
exclude or repudiate any alliance with the US. Park meant, rather, to
reduce dependence on the US by constructing a rapid-growth economy as
well as defense capability, and to establish a bilateral relationship, instead
of kowtowing to the US, especially over Korean affairs. This is not to say,
though, that Park had any illusions about the US role in Korean security.
In this regard, Park’s attitude toward the US was somewhat akin to that of
Kim Il Sung toward China and the Soviet Union. Just as Kim was happy to
receive support from his two super power allies while pursuing chuch’e, his
self-reliance ideology, Park was eager to see the US security commitment
in Korea maintained but without compromising his stance on principles
regarding Korea’s political and economic independence.
Many observers claim that under Park’s directives the Yusin constitution was in the process of revision after July 1978 as he was planning to
adopt a more relaxed system permitting the people’s participation in the
political process (Kim Songjin 1994: 73–4). This may have been the case,
but I have found no material evidence to support this claim. Park’s diary
of 17 October 1979, twelve days before his assassination and the seventh
anniversary of the introduction of the Yusin system, reveals that he seems
to have been fairly content with what it had achieved. He comments:
the last seven years have been an important period that will stand
out in our history. Some anti-government figures obstinately rebel
against the present [Yusin] system, but I only hope that everything will be assessed fairly by historians of future generations.
(Chong Chaegyong 1994: 636)
With or without the revision of the Yusin system, it seems that Park had
a definite long-term plan for comprehensive national development entitled “2000 nyondae rul wihan Han’guk kaejo kusang” (A Plan for Remodeling Korea for the 2000s). This Plan was reportedly found in Park’s
private study shortly after his assassination. In February 1992, when the
monthly journal Wolgan Choson published an interview with O Wonch’ol
(who had not been in the public eye since Park’s assassination), the editor
noted that O agreed to talk about the Plan only because the journal had
already obtained a copy of O’s briefing material for Park (O Wonch’ol
1992: 506–41). Since O’s interview with Wolgan Choson, the Plan has been
reported by other leading newspapers, including Chungang Ilbo (Kim Chin
1992: 389–97). Despite its abrupt curtailment after Park’s death, it nevertheless repeatedly confirmed to this author the existence of this Plan and
Park’s commitment to it.
Some claim that Park had decided to retire in 1983 and had already
picked his future successor. When interviewed by the author in 2000,
Park’s daughter and National Assemblywoman, Pak Kunhye, recalled that
she had been told by her father that Ch’oe Kyuha, Prime Minister and
Acting President immediately after Park’s death, had been the “chosen
one” to take over after his planned retirement in the early 1980s (interview
with Pak Kunhye, January 2000). On the other hand, Kim Chongnyom,
who had been Park’s chief of staff from 1969 to 1978, publicly repeated
that Park had planned to nominate Kim Chongp’il as his successor and
planned to retire in 1983, a year before the end of his official term as the
ninth President (Kim Songjin 1994: 75–6). Kim Songjin, Park’s spokesman
as well as Minister for Information and Culture, told the author in May
1994 that he had been a “witness” to this plan. It appears, then, that Kim
Chongp’il and not Ch’oe Kyuha was the “chosen one.” The problem with
this scenario, however, was that Kim certainly gave no indication.
In response to my question in January 2000 on what, in his view, was
Park’s greatest failure, Kim Chongp’il, who was then Prime Minister,
replied: “Political greed. Yes, that ‘Elder [Statesman]’ had too much greed
for power (ku orun chongch’i yoksim-i nomu manusyotssoyo)” (interview with
Prime Minister Kim, January 2000). Kim’s comment, in a sense, reflects the
dilemma of how to reconcile Park’s dictatorial rule and his achievement in
engineering Korea’s rapid development. The built-in contradiction in
Park’s militant approach to modernization, whereby he frequently violated
the fundamental principles of the democratic process in his drive to bring
about rapid industrialization, has left the Korean people with a challenge
that is yet to be resolved, despite progressive change in their culturally
chauvinistic and authoritarian mode of democracy.
Having experienced large-scale financial corruption under four presidents, from Chun Doo Hwan to Kim Dae Jung who, like his predecessor
Kim Young Sam, became exposed to public scrutiny in 2002 because of
corruption charges against his sons, many Koreans, especially older generation conservatives, openly indulge in popular sentiments toward Parkstyle authoritarian leadership. As Robert Scalapino noted recently, Korea’s
democracy today in fact reveals much of the past, characterized as it is by
intensely personalized politics, a zero-sum form of regionalism and, above
all, “traditional culture” through which political leaders, “even those who
have long struggled for democracy and freedom[,] often act in an
authoritarian fashion toward those who work with him” (2002: 134).
By and large, nostalgia for Park can be seen as reflecting the popular
desire for strong leadership, especially in terms of economic stability and
productivity. This does not mean that the Korean people as a whole have
forgotten or forgiven Park’s failures altogether. It is far from so. Just as
many recognize his achievements in Korea’s development, equally many
maintain the view that Park-style rapid development was not an end in
itself and should not have been pursued at any price, especially when that
price was the working masses’ rights and their democratic freedoms.
Despite this fundamental flaw in Park’s mode of political leadership, he
was an exceptional leader, and an enigmatic man with many layers of complexity. His role in Korea’s modern history is unique as a modernizer and
as Korea’s most influential nation-builder. But, as an individual, Park was a
surprisingly timid man. He suffered from the burden of his lowly and
impoverished background, his colonial experience and personal traumas
linked to his Communist past. The identity he forged at middle age as a
general-president with dictatorial power grew out of that past: out of his
experience of hunger as a child and the humiliation of colonization as a
young soldier.
Korea–US relations
In terms of external influences, no nation has played a more prominent
role than the US in shaping the political, economic and defense development of South Korea, especially since the Korean War (1950–3). As the
official military “Command” on behalf of the United Nations, the US
literally shaped the path of South Korea in terms of who would rule, how
they would rule, and how the country would pay its way. In this regard the
US was a key element in the set of propitious international circumstances
which aided Korea’s state-guided industrialization program. US aid
dollars funded Korea’s import substitution of the 1950s centered around
textiles, sugar refineries and flour milling. Korean contracts with the
US military were also very profitable, while military training and aid provided by the US transformed the Korean military into one of the largest in
From 1953 to 1976, for example, the US spent a total of $12 billion in
both military assistance (of $6.8 billion) and economic assistance (of $5.8
billion) (Mason 1980:182). The Vietnam War, as we have seen, also made
a significant contribution in this regard. But it was the indirect influence
of the US that was perhaps most significant. US containment policy, for
example, in the context of the legacy of Japanese colonization, was effectively exploited by the Korean drive to achieve self-strengthening. Similarly,
the US attempt to shift some of the economic responsibility for Korea’s
development to Japan led to the normalization of Korea’s relations with
Japan, which set in place a positive and collaborative basis for a new level
of industrialization.
Despite its importance and impact, however, Korea’s relationship with
the US was full of ambiguities and ambivalence which stemmed from the
basic contradiction between the US ideal of US liberal democracy under
capitalism and the mechanisms employed by the US for the global protection of that democratic ideal. Thus in the Korean case, the US never intervened to preserve democratic institutions when military dictators seized
power, and once the military did seize power, the US accommodated itself
to the new regime. Maintaining the anti-Communist front against North
Korea, the Soviet Union and Communist China was more important in US
Government thinking than risking domestic security in Korea by fostering
anti-government action. In brief, the US simply did not want to get
dragged into another Korean War because of feuding between North and
South Korea, or because of Park deciding on his own to foment a war with
North Korea, and so disrupting the whole structure of US security policy
in East Asia.
Not surprisingly, therefore, there has been an obvious tension between
the US tendency to support undemocratic anti-Communist regimes
in Korea, as well as in other countries, including Indonesia, and its
commitment to liberal democracy. US acquiescence in coups, however,
sometimes took extreme forms, such as the collaboration in the 1965–6
purge in Indonesia which allowed Suharto to seize the presidency. In its
efforts to support Suharto’s military coup, it seems that the US had especially transferred the US Chargé d’Affaires Marshall Green from Seoul to
Jakarta. Green was known in the State Department as “the coupmaster
[sic]” who, according to the author of a recent account, had then “masterminded the overthrow of the Korean leader Syngman Rhee, who had
fallen out with the Americans” (Pilger 2002: 31). A statement about the
American attitude to Indonesia by Heru Atmojo, an air force officer at the
time of the coup, who had been jailed for fifteen years for his support of
Sukarno, describes a scenario with a striking similarity to Park’s Korea:
the pressure on Indonesia to do what the Americans wanted was
intense. Sukarno wanted good relations with them, but he didn’t
want their economic system. With America, that is never possible.
So he became an enemy. All of us who wanted an independent
country, free to make our own mistakes, were made the enemy.
They didn’t call it globalization then; but it was the same thing. If
you accepted it, you were America’s friend. If you chose another
way, you were given warnings and if you didn’t comply, hell was
visited on you.
(Pilger 2002: 31)
“Hell” was certainly visited on Park and his key policy advisers in the
1970s for their economic nationalism. In fact it can be argued that
domestic and international forces, especially the US, pushed Korea’s rapid
development in a highly nationalistic direction. Despite the many outstanding contributions it made to Korea’s development after the Korean
War, the US failed to support Korea in building its defense system, including even basic necessities in defense against the Communist North.
Recently released US archival documents reveal that as late as August 1975
Park and his government were still begging the US to provide what the
Koreans termed, “appropriate aid,” meaning “fire power, including [a
third of a line whited out] air, and logistics support.”3 Until Park began his
light weapons development program in December 1971 (see Chapter 8),
the Korean military could not even supply its own soldiers with clothing,
let alone military hardware and logistics support.
Although the US promised to strengthen the Korean defense capability
as outlined in the “Brown Memorandum” of March 1966 (see Chapter 5),
and to provide several other assistance packages, including $1.5 billion
promised in mid-January 1971 as compensation for the US withdrawal of
troops from Korea, the US deliberately slowed the release of aid to Korea
because Washington officials did not trust Park, and because they were
worried about being seen as supporting his repressive policies. The most
obvious example was the US State Department-led tactic of delaying military assistance, often drastically reduced, while the Congress was investigating the Koreagate bribery scandal during the years from 1974 to 1976.
US archival documents show that Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in
December 1975, for example, instructed James T. Lynn, Director of the
Office of Management and Budget, that the FY (Five-Year) 1977 Military
Assistance Program (MAP) be “reduced from $47.3 million to $8.3
million” and that the Korean USG (US Government) guaranteed FMS
[foreign military sales] credit level be “raised from $150 million to $275
million.” The purpose of the “modification” was for the Secretary “to
inform Congress that grant materiel assistance to Korea is terminated –
the $8.3 million we propose for FY 1977 would be for supply operations
and UN costs only.”4
Changes in US policy to military assistance to Korea became so unilateral and unreliable that Park and his key policy advisers came to lose their
trust in the US. To make matters worse, President Jimmy Carter’s widely
publicized distrust of Park appears to have exacerbated the inconsistency
of US policy over Korea. In his meeting with Park in July 1979, Carter,
recalls US ambassador Gleysteen, “chided” Park for “allowing North Korea
. . . to have gained such a large military lead over the far larger and far
more prosperous South.” Gleysteen adds that Carter “criticized Park’s
insistence on a complete freeze of troop withdrawals [. . . while [Carter]
was also continuing] to push for higher South Korean defense spending
to reduce if not eliminate the military disparity between North and South”
(1999: 46–7). In any case, US trust of Park was never very great. As we saw
in Chapter 3, the US acquiesced in Park’s rule because of their joint interest in the war against Communism and because of the strong anti-Communist posture by consecutive US administrations. But Park’s alliance with
the US was far from harmonious. Ironically, US pressure on him to modify
his economic development programs, not to mention his military dictatorship, was so extreme that it gave Park the political rationale to promote
economic nationalism as well as his governing policy, Yusin.
US pressure on Korea took various forms. The pressure on Park to
return to civilian government in 1963 and to normalize relations with
Japan in 1965, for example, was effective, but pressure on him to curb the
activities of the Korean CIA within Korea, as well as in the US, especially
following the Koreagate bribery scandal, had much more complex ramifications. As many top officials in the State Department acknowledged
among themselves, Park’s “lessened confidence in [the] U.S. security
commitment, and [the] consequent desire on Park’s part to reduce his
military dependence on [the] U.S.”5 led him to plan and develop a
defense-related HCI program and military modernization, including a
clandestine nuclear weapons program. The US distrust of Park, at the
same time as Washington was pressuring him to formulate his security
policy under US “guidance,” caused him to react: it pushed him into
developing a range of projects without communicating with the US at all.
In order to protect these secret projects, Park relied heavily on the KCIA
and his other intelligence agencies. The secret nuclear weapons program
(see Chapter 9) was the clearest example.
The US was not only guilty of paying “little attention,” Gleysteen noted,
“to how Nixon[‘s] Guam Doctrine and the sudden change in China policy
would aggravate Park’s sense of insecurity” (1999: 61) but also of creating
policy confusion in Korea, especially after the fall of Indochina. In September 1974, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Clements sent a memorandum to President Gerald Ford requesting a “Reduction in Manpower
Authorization” which, Clements noted, was “in accordance with a White
House memorandum” dated 6 January 1973.6 Two months later, however,
Ford publicly affirmed, in his joint communiqué with Park during his visit
to Seoul (22–24 November 1974), that the US would not reduce its troops
in Korea. In December 1976 at the National Security Council meeting,
Ford made yet another comment expressing his concern about the possible withdrawal of troops from Korea, a cause then being promoted by
Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Ford commented:
We are going to stay in Korea . . . If Carter cuts Korea, he is
cutting off from what I would do. We are going for a responsible
worldwide capability that we have endorsed7
Underlying the political rhetoric, there was a strong push among US
policy advisers to reduce troops in Korea, a policy which Carter clearly
supported and subsequently tried to implement. The primary concern of
the US Government was maintaining a “responsible worldwide capability.”
Despite the American ideal of liberal democracy, this meant that Washington would accommodate Korea’s authoritarian politics and economic
nationalism in exchange for Korean obedience in international affairs.
Here lay the irony of the US Cold War alliance with Korea. Neither Park’s
dictatorship nor the HCI program was popular among the Americans in
the 1970s, yet neither could have been sustained without US acquiescence. The US approach to Korea was inconsistent and largely self-serving.
Referring to his recent visit to Seoul and to Park’s oppressive domestic
tactics, Ford noted that, “it doesn’t hurt to have a strong leader in that part of
the country, with all the problems there”8
Despite the US acquiescence to Park’s dictatorship, tensions between
Korea and the US could not always be simply hidden under the cover of
shared strategic interests. Where the tensions between the two became
too great, and undermined their common interests, the US acted.
Thus when Park started to show an interest in nuclear waste reprocessing and in nuclear missile capability development in the late 1970s, he
crossed the line of what was acceptable to Washington. Park’s hold on
power, as well as his pursuit of Korea’s rapid industrialization, had been
inextricably entwined with US Cold War security policy in Korea and
East Asia.
Korea–US relations, in this context, had very little to do with whether
any US president or administration approved or disapproved of Park’s
ethical position, but had everything to do with whether Park, or any other
Korean political leader, was fully committed to Cold War security policy. It
was this logic that motivated a “full-scale rebellion” (Oberdorfer 1997: 89)
against President Carter by many officials in Washington and, in July 1979,
the White House suspended plans for further troop withdrawals from
Korea at least until 1981. This episode provided an invaluable lesson in
Oberdorfer’s words, “even a determined president proved unable to
decouple the United States from the high-stakes military standoff on the
Korean peninsula” (1997: 108). This lesson, of course, also applied to the
president’s Korean counterpart. By pursuing his clandestine nuclear and
missile program, Park had undermined his own position just as Carter had
undermined his by “refusing to heed or even hear the objections until he
finally was backed into a corner” (Oberdorfer 1997: 108).
Overall, Korea–US relations under Park and Carter reached their
darkest moments before each president’s demise. This painful experience
of mutual distrust showed that commitment to regional security in NorthEast Asia remained the bedrock of the alliance. No security system or
alliance pact between two countries, including Korea and America, could
be expected to be totally satisfactory, but there is little doubt, that the
Korea–US alliance has been one of the successes of modern diplomatic
history. By 1976, Korea’s success during the Park era had liberated the US
from its former economic aid burden. Indeed, by the mid-1990s, Korea
had become the fifth largest US export market. Politically, the Cold War
has outlasted Park by more than two decades and in the ensuing years the
confrontation between the two Koreas has remained just as challenging, if
not more so.
In fact, today’s political standoff between North Korea and the Bush
administration over nuclear issues is a stark reminder of Korea–US crises
in the 1970s when Park stubbornly pursued his clandestine nuclear
weapons capability program. Like leaders of many small countries in the
region today, including Kim Jong Il in the North, Park saw the possession
of an independent nuclear capability as the key to self-defense and autonomy. In his case this meant the capability to defend South Korea from
any threat of war from the North, while also achieving greater autonomy
in his negotiations with the US. This strategy, however, was a mistake. The
path towards nuclearizing South Korea, however understandable the
motivation that would have sat behind it, was plainly self-destructive
because it not only challenged the US security commitment on the peninsula, but also threatened the security balance in the region. As a result of
Park’s mistake, therefore, the South Korean abandonment of his nuclear
capability program came at a high price, that is, US acquiescence in yet
another military dictator, Chun Doo Whan.
Ironically, more than two decades after Park’s demise at the height of
the development of his nuclear weapons capability program, Korea is in
security crisis again, this time because of the North Korean refusal to surrender its nuclear weapons program. Even more ironic is the fact that
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who was responsible for dealing with Park’s
go-it-alone approach toward his nuclear capability program in the late
1970s, is now reported to be drawing up plans for a pre-emptive strike
against North Korea.9 Rumsfeld and his fellow hard-line policy-makers in
Washington, including Vice President Dick Cheney, appear to have perfected their unilateral approach to US security policy to the extent that the
US today places itself above the law, reserving to itself the right to employ
violence, virtually without restriction, in pursuit of its global interests.
American policy recklessness under President George Bush now
appears to be destabilizing the world order, not only by engaging in war
on countries in which the US would like to see regime change, but also by
withdrawing from or refusing to ratify several key international treaties,
including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the International
Criminal Court and the Kyoto Convention on Global Warming. In the
meantime, Bush repeatedly announces that he loathes North Korean
leader Kim Jong Il and thus refuses to negotiate directly with Pyongyang.
This attitude bears a stark resemblance to President Carter’s loathing of
his South Korean counterpart, President Park.
In this circumstance, the risk of the US dragging South Korea into an
“unwanted war” appears far more real, especially to the South Koreans,
than any threat from North Korea. This intolerable prospect, connected
to Bush’s hard-line policy on North Korea, has driven a large segment of
the Korean population away from the Cold War political system, resulting
in the election of Roh Moo-hyun (No Muhyon), a lawyer with a wellknown record in defending human rights activists and union leaders
during the military dictatorship of the 1980s. It would be a tragedy if
Korea, especially political leaders on both sides, failed to take heed of the
lessons from Park’s mistakes, and did not move boldly forward by deepening their inter-Korean relations toward national reconciliation through
peaceful means. It would also be a tragedy if the US again failed to exert
determined efforts to create a genuinely peaceful and nuclear-free peninsula by adopting serious quid pro quo negotiations with North Korea on
all issues of concern to both Koreas.
Such a path-breaking step toward North–South reconciliation and ultimately reunification, with the precondition of a nuclear-free Korean
peninsula may, finally, provide a guarantee not only to the Koreans on
both sides, but also to the Americans regarding their security interests in
the region, especially concerning the security balance of the three most
powerful countries in Asia: China, Russia and Japan. Profound international developments are underway, and how these proceed in regard to
the Korean peninsula depends on how Korea and the US assess and
understand Korea’s recent history, and how they both utilize the lessons
of the past to gain a deeper appreciation of all the issues facing the region
today. If they can do so, peace in the region based on mutual trust and
respect, a goal that Park would surely have endorsed, might at last be
2nd five-year plan
1. Development of import replacing
3. State of industrialization
2. Export-first policy
3rd five-year plan
4th five-year plan
3. Domestic production of raw materials
2. Technological development
1. Improvement of export industrial
4. Export of machinery
3. Domestic production of raw materials
for heavy and chemical industries
2. Development of machine industries
1. Improvement of plant designing and
production capacity
of scientific
way of life
Heavy Industrialization
rate: 50%
of industrial
3. Plant export
2. Development of system industry
1. Development of brain industry
Scientific way of life of the people
Development of brain industry
Decentralization of industries under new community movement
Supply of materials
Technical innovation
Technological inducement
and development
Supply of machinery
of heavy
Export of light industry products
Improvement of processing of export goods
of annual
Strengthening of competitiveness on world market
export of $10
Export of heavy and chemical industry products
Plant and technology export
Expansion of existing light industries
Oil refineries
Fertilizer plants
Synthetic fiber, synthetic resin and rubber industries
Supply of
Steel industries
raw materials
1st five-year plan
Source: O Won-chol, “Economic development and industrialization in Korea,” in International Conference on Korean Futures:
Report, November 14–17, 1973, Seoul, Korea, Asiatic Research Center, Korea University, p. 287
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
For selected industries
1. Government
2. Government
1. Government
2. The protection
of domestic
3. Beginning of
export 1970
1. Private sectorleading
2. International
Source: O Won-chol, “Economic development and industrialization in Korea,” in International Conference on Korean Futures: Report, November 14–17, 1973, Seoul, Korea, Asiatic
Research Center, Korea University, p. 278
Appendix 3
President Park Chung Hee,
Chief of Staff Kim Chongnyom,
Senior Economic Secretary O Wonch’ol
President Park Chung Hee (1961–79)
Born on 14 November 1917 in Sangmo-ri, Kumi-myon,
Sonsan county, North Kyongsang.
1935 Summer
Park married Kim Honman at the demand of his father.
1937 March
Graduated from Taegu Teacher’s College and was appointed
teacher at Simsang Primary School, Mungyong, Kyongsang
pukdo (North Kyongsang province), South Korea.
1940 March
Park is believed to have resigned from his teaching position.
He entered the Manchukuo Military Academy, Xinjing (formerly Ch’angch’un), Manchuria.
1942 April
Graduated from the Manchukuo Military Academy and, in
October, enrolled at the Japanese Imperial Military Academy
(JIMA), Tokyo, Japan.
1944 April
Graduated from JIMA and was assigned as Second Lieutenant to the 8th Corps, the Japanese Kwantung Army,
1945 July
Promoted to First Lieutenant.
1946 May
Returned to Kumi, his home village.
Enrolled in the Second Class of the Korean Constabulary Officers’ Training School (Choson kyongbi sagwan hakkyo)
(KCOTS) – which later became the Korean Military Academy.
14 December Graduated from KCOTS and was assigned as Second Lieutenant and as a platoon officer to the 8th Regiment in
Kangwon province.
1947 August
Promoted to Captain and assigned, on 27 September, as
Cadet Commander of the Korean Military Academy.
1948 1 August
Promoted to Major.
Arrested in Seoul for his role in the Communist YosuSunch’on Military Rebellion and shortly after sentenced to
life imprisonment.
1949 10 May
Discharged from the army – National Special Order
(Kugt’uk) no. 34. (However, continued to work, albeit unofficially and unpaid, in the Operations and Intelligence Unit at
Army Headquarters.
1950 30 June
15 September
25 October
1 November
12 December
1951 15 April
25 May
10 December
1953 16 February
31 March
9 May
1954 Jan–June
21 June
18 October
1955 23 June–
July 1956
1956 16 July–
March 1957
1957 30 March
1958 2 March
17 June
1 July
5 October
1959 21 January
30 July
11 September
25 December
1961 20 February
16 May
20 May
10 August
1 November
Reinstated to the Intelligence Bureau (Chongboguk che-il gwa)
at Army Headquarters – National Special Order no. 1.
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel – National Special Order
no. 34.
Appointed Chief of Staff of the 9th Division of the 3rd Army
Corps in Taejon.
Park divorced his wife by agreement.
Married Yuk Yongsu.
Promoted to Colonel.
Appointed Superintendent of the Army Intelligence School
in Taegu.
Appointed Deputy Chief of Operations and the Education
Bureau at Army Headquarters in Taegu.
Appointed Commandant of the Artillery Division of the 2nd
Army Corps.
Promoted (temporary) to Brigadier-General.
Appointed Commandant of the Artillery Division of the 3rd
Army Corps.
Trained at the United States Artillery School in Fort Sill,
Appointed Commandant of the Artillery Division of the 2nd
Appointed Commandant of the ROK Artillery School,
Kwangju, South Cholla Province.
Promoted/gazetted to Brigadier-General.
Appointed Commanding General of the Fifth Infantry
Division, Yangu, Kangwon Province.
Entered the 11th Class of the Staff College of the ROK Army,
Chinhae, South Kyongsang Province.
Appointed Deputy Commanding General of the 6th Corps
and, in July, was appointed Commanding General of the 7th
Infantry Division, Injae, Kangwon Province.
Promoted to “temporary” Major-General.
Appointed Chief of Staff, First Field Army.
Appointed Commanding General of the 6th Military District
Visited Taiwan.
Appointed Commanding General of the ROK Army Logistics
Base Command, Pusan, South Kyongsang Province.
Appointed Commanding General of the First Military District Command, Kwangju, South Cholla Province.
Appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Army Headquarters.
Appointed Deputy Commanding General in the 2nd Army,
Taegu, North Kyongsang Province.
Promoted to Major-General.
Led military coup.
Emerged as Deputy Chairman of the Military Revolutionary
Committee which shortly after changed its title to Supreme
Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR).
Promoted to Lieutenant-General.
Promoted to General.
13–25 November Visited the United States.
7 December Park’s daughter, Chaeok, from his first marriage, married
Han Pyonggi, Park’s former aide-de-camp.
Park reaffirmed the military junta’s pledge to return power
to civilians.
3 March
Approval for the establishment of the Construction Bureau
of Development Committee for the Ulsan Industrial Center.
22 March
President Yun Poson resigned.
24 March
Elected as Acting President by the SCNR.
16 June
Concurrently held both the Presidency and the Prime Ministership (until 10 July).
His first book, Uri minjok ui nagalgil in Korean and Our
Nation’s Path: Ideology of Social Reconstruction in English, was
27 December Announced the procedure for transferring power to civilian
rule. He also expressed his plan to run for the presidency.
1 January
The ban on political activities was lifted.
24 January
Kim Chongp’il resigned from his position as Director of the
26 February Democratic and Republican Party (minju konghwadang) was
formally founded.
16 March
Placed a ban on political activities and proposed another
national referendum for four more years of military rule.
3 August
Resigned from the army.
31 August
Park accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Republican Party.
Park’s second book, Kukka wa hyongmyong gwa na in Korean
and The Country, the Revolution, and I in English, was published.
15 October
Park was elected President with 46.6 percent of the vote. Yun
Poson, the opposition candidate, received 45.1 percent.
17 December Park was formally sworn in as President of the Third Republic.
24 March
University students launched demonstrations protesting the
government’s “low postured diplomacy” in the Korea-Japan
negotiations. Demonstrations spread nation-wide.
3 June
Park declared martial law (which lasted until 29 July).
6–15 December Park visited West Germany to borrow foreign investment
9 February
Park addressed South Korean troops bound for South
16–27 May
Park visited US President Lyndon B. Johnson.
22 June
The Korea-Japan normalization treaty was signed in Tokyo.
14 August
The Korea-Japan normalization treaty was ratified by the
National Assembly in the total absence of opposition party
18 December The relations between Korea and Japan were normalized
when the ratification instruments of the treaty and incidental agreements were exchanged in Seoul.
7–8 February Park toured Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia,
Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
24 October
Park visited the Philippines to attend the summit meeting of
countries sending troops to Vietnam.
2 November US President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Korea.
2 February
Park was nominated as the presidential candidate of the
Democratic Republican Party.
3 May
Park won his second presidential term.
17 December Park attended the funeral of Prime Minister Holt of Australia.
21 January
A 31-member North Korean commando unit infiltrated
Seoul in an attempt to assassinate President Park at the Blue
22 January
US spy ship, Pueblo, was captured by North Korean navy ships
off Wonsan.
1 April
Park delivered a speech at the founding ceremony of the
Homeland Guard (Hyangt’o yebigun).
3 April
Park attended a special ceremony to start the construction of
the expressway between Seoul and Pusan, which subsequently opened on 7 July 1970.
15–23 September Park made a state visit to Australia and New Zealand.
5 December Park declared the National Charter of Education.
20–25 August Park visited the United States and met with President Nixon
in San Francisco.
14 September The constitutional amendment was passed in the National
Assembly in the absence of opposition members.
17 October
The constitutional amendment allowing a three-term presidency was approved in the national referendum.
22 October
Park appointed Kim Chongnyom, Minister of Commerce
and Industry (1967–9), as his Chief of Staff. Kim subsequently became Park’s official “Economic Manager” of
Korea’s centrally managed national development for over
nine years until December 1978.
15 August
In his speech at the 25th anniversary of national liberation,
Park announced a policy of “peaceful coexistence” with
North Korea and proposed to the North a “well-intended
competition” between two states.
9 March
Park was re-nominated as presidential candidate of the
ruling Democratic Republican Party.
27 April
Park was re-elected for a third four-year term.
1 July
Park was sworn in as the 7th President.
12 August
Ch’oe Tuson, President of the South Korean National Red
Cross, proposed to convene Red Cross talks to explore the
possibility of reuniting families dispersed in the North and
15 August
In his speech at the 26th anniversary of national liberation,
Park reaffirmed South Korea’s peaceful unification policy
and supported North–South Red Cross negotiations.
10 November Park appointed O Wonch’ol, then Assistant Vice Minister
in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), as his
senior economic secretary responsible for defense industry
development as well as heavy and chemical industry development.
6 December Park declared a state of national emergency.
1972 May
17 October
21 November
6 December
13 December
15 December
23 December
27 December
1973 5 January
12 January
31 January
8 August
1974 8 January
15 August
22 November
1975 12 February
8 April
13 May
22 September
4 December
10 December
1976 25 May
Secret exchange visits were undertaken by Yi Hurak, Director of the KCIA, to Pyongyang, and by Pak Songch’ol,
Deputy Premier of North Korea, representing Kim Il Sung’s
younger brother, Kim Yongju, to Seoul.
Park declared martial law, suspending the provisions of the
constitution, dissolving the National Assembly, and banning
all political activities. Under an “emergency act,” Park
created the “Extraordinary State Council.”
The draft amendment to the constitution was approved in
a national referendum and thereby Park introduced the
“Restoration Constitution” (yusin honbop) under martial law.
The National Conference for Unification Law was passed.
Park lifted the extraordinary martial law.
2,359 deputies of the National Conference for Unification
(NCU) were elected.
Park was elected to a six-year term as President by NCU.
Park was formally sworn in as the 8th President in accordance with the Yusin constitution.
Park instructed his cabinet to develop the Saemaul Movement as a national campaign to put the Yusin reform into
Park declared the government’s Heavy and Chemical Industrialization Policy. He also declared that Korea aimed to
achieve $10 billion in export earnings and per capita GNP of
$1,000 by the early 1980s.
Park assembled a cabinet meeting at the Blue House basement shelter, through which he obtained “unanimous”
support for the HCI program.
Kim Dae Jung, leader of the opposition party, was kidnapped
from the Grand Hotel in Tokyo and on 13 August reappeared at his home in Seoul.
Park issued Emergency Measures Nos. 1 and 2, which
banned criticism of the new Yusin constitution.
Park’s wife, Yuk Yongsu, was killed in an assassination
attempt on Park at the 29th anniversary of national
independence ceremony held at the National Theatre.
US President Gerald Ford arrived in Seoul for a two-day visit
en route to the Soviet port of Vladivostok.
A national referendum, asking the people whether they
“agreed” or “disagreed” with the Yusin system, received a
73.1 percent “agreed” vote.
Park declared Emergency Measure No. 7.
Park declared Emergency Measure No. 9 (which banned
either criticising the Yusin constitution or discussing its
abolition). Park also dissolved the EM No. 7.
The Civil Defence Corps (Min-bangwidae) was founded.
Park appointed Kim Chaegyu as Director of the KCIA.
At a national Saemaul leaders’ rally in Taejon, Park urged
that the Urban Saemaul Movement and Schools’ Saemaul
Movement be intensified.
Park met with Philip C. Habib, Under Secretary for Political
Affairs of the US State Department. Park indicated that the
Korean position concerning US plans to withdraw its ground
forces from Korea was “supplement first, withdraw later” (sonbowan, huch’olgun). Accordingly, he stressed the importance
of US consideration of support for Korea’s development.
1977 22 December Park attended the “Export Day” ceremony, celebrating especially Korea’s achievement of $10 billion in export earnings
within seven years since 1970 when Korea first achieved $1
billion in export earnings.
1978 4 July
Park was re-elected to another six-year term by the National
Conference for Unification.
26 September Park attended a test-fire of the “Korean-model” guided
missile and rocket at the military base at Anhung, Sosan
county of South Ch’ungch’ong province. Korea became the
7th country in the world to develop its own missile.
12 December The tenth general election for the National Assembly was
held. The ruling Democratic Republican Party received 31.7
percent of the popular vote, 1.1 percent less than the opposition New Democratic Party’s 32.8 percent. Although this
election result did not affect Park’s control over the National
Assembly, it nevertheless led Park to appoint a new economic team led by Shin Hyonhwak, newly appointed Deputy
Prime Minister and the Head of the EPB the same month.
1979 19 January
Park called for the “unconditional” resumption of the NorthSouth talks.
29 June
US President Jimmy Carter visited Seoul.
26 October
Park was assassinated by Kim Chaegyu, Director of the KCIA.
Kim Chongnyom, Chief of Staff (1969–78)
1943 October
1944 October
1945 August
1958 January
1960 September
1961 March
Born on 3 January in Seoul as the third of four sons of a
Commenced employment with the Bank of Choson as a
clerk after graduating from Oita College of Commerce in
Kyushu, Japan a month earlier.
Conscripted to the Japanese Army.
Wounded in the Hiroshima atom bomb attack and hospitalized.
Returned to the Bank of Choson.
Section Chief, Planning and Research Department.
Assigned to draw up a draft plan for Korea’s first currency
reform (actioned in February 1953).
Deputy Chief of the Research Department. Enrolled in Clark
University Graduate School in Worcester, Massachusetts,
USA and obtained an MA in economics in January 1959.
Appointed Director-General of Finance in the Ministry of
Returned to the Bank of Korea (formerly the Bank of
Appointed Chief of the New York Branch of the Bank of
Summoned to return to Seoul and shortly after was again summoned to work in the Policy Research Office of the KCIA.
1964 March
Assigned the task of drawing a plan for Korea’s second currency reform.
Appointed Korean Minister at the Embassy in Washington.
Appointed Vice Minister of Finance.
Assigned to Japan as a government representative for Korea–
Japan normalization negotiations.
Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Minister of Finance.
Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Chief of Staff, the Presidential Secretariat in the Blue House.
Ambassador to Japan.
O Wonch’ol, Senior Economic Secretary (1971–79)
1950 December
1951 June
1956 August
1960 April
1961 May
1964 June
1968 April
1970 January
1971 November
1974 February
1979 November
1980 17 May
Born on 3 October as the eldest son of a landlord in the
coastal village of P’ungch’on, Hwanghae province, North
Enlisted as Engineering Cadet, Korean Air Force and
enrolled in the final year of the Kyongsong Technical
College – which later became the College of Engineering,
Seoul National University.
Appointed as Technical Officer, Second Lieutenant.
Graduated in Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering, Seoul National University.
Transferred to the Air Force Reserve List as Major.
Appointed factory manager of Sibal Auto Company.
Factory manager, Kuksan Motor Company.
Summoned by the military junta and appointed Director of
the Research Office of the military junta’s Supreme Council
of National Reconstruction (SCNR).
Appointed Director, Chemical Industry Bureau, Ministry of
Commerce and Industry (MCI).
Director-General, First Industry Bureau, MCI.
Chief, Planning and Management Office, MCI.
Assistant Vice Minister in charge of mining, manufacturing
and energy, MCI.
Appointed Senior Economic Secretary to President Park,
responsible for the development of defense industry, as well
as heavy and chemical industries. O was in charge of the
Second Economic Secretariat [kyongje 2 pisosil].
Head, Planning and Implementation Group for Heavy and
Chemical Industries (under the Prime Minister’s jurisdiction)
Dismissed without receiving an official notification.
Arrested by the Military Security Command led by MajorGeneral Chun Doo Whan.
1 In January 2002, Bush denounced Iraq, Iran and North Korea as forming an
“Axis of Evil.”
2 The term “Yusin” is commonly translated as “revitalized.” The term has its
origin in Chinese as “wei-hsin” which refers to a late dynastic attempt to restore
a declining dynasty to its earlier luster. In Japan, however, the term “ishin” was
used in the Meiji period and has been translated into English as the “Meiji
Restoration,” probably in the sense that it ended in the restoration of the
emperor to his proper exalted state after the neglect he had suffered in the
Tokugawa era and before. I translate the term as “restoration” based on Park’s
definition of his governing ideology, “Minjok Chunghung” (National Restoration), which, he said, represented the restoration of the prestige and strength
of the Korean nation. See Chapter 5.
3 In January 1996, a short summary of this document was published for the first
time by the monthly journal Wolgan choson (Yi Kunmi 1996: 265–70). In December 2002, I searched for the document at the Korean Archives but failed to
locate it as Yi Kunmi had claimed to do in this article.
4 For an analysis of minjung theory, especially of class conflict and alienation
approaches, see Kim Hyung-A 1995: 39–59. In regard to Korean minjung theorists’ views on Park, see Son Hoch’ol 1991: 161–77.
5 One of the most widely read books among Korean students of the minjung
democracy movement was the Korean translation of Korea North and South: The
Deepening Crisis by McCormack and Selden (1978).
6 President Kim Dae Jung, for example, repeatedly noted Park as the person who
had crystallized a “can-do” spirit among the Koreans (Newsreview 22 May 1999:
1 According to his primary school report, Park was awarded a special prize for
academic excellence in the first, second, fifth and sixth grades.
2 Initially, three boys were reported to have attended the pot’ong hakkyo [primary
school] from his village, but two boys were removed from the school by their
parents because, having seen the gym facilities, they thought their boys might
sustain an injury.
3 The two other Teachers’ Colleges were Kyongsong sabom in Seoul and
P’yongyang sabom in P’yongyang.
4 The total number of candidates – both Korean and Japanese – for the TTC was
1,070, and Park was ranked fifty-first of the 100 successful candidates.
5 For the background of the naisen ittai policy, see Eckert 1991: 235–9.
6 For the first explanation, see Chong Chaegyong 1992: 63–6; for the second,
Keon 1977: 44; for the third, Yi Sangu 1984: 355; and for the final explanation,
Cho Kapche 1992: 83.
7 Kim died in 1990, aged 71.
8 Prior to this trip, Park had visited Manchuria once with a school excursion in
May 1935 during his fourth year at college.
9 To change his name into Japanese, Park was sent home, like the other 23
Korean students of the Academy, for a week’s holiday. Park later used another
Japanized name, Okamoto Minoru, while serving in Manchuria (April 1944 to
August 1945).
10 The other three Korean graduates were Yi Sopchun, Yi Hallim and Kim
11 Park’s academic ranking at the Academy was reportedly third in the class. He
graduated on 20 April 1944, from the fifty-seventh class of the Academy.
12 The other three officers were Sin Hyonjun, Pang Wonch’ol and Yi Chuil.
13 The KNFL, also known as Konmaeng, was formally founded on 10 August 1944
by Yo Unhyong (1885–1947), a prominent nationalist political leader who is
reported to have led the KNFL as part of his “invasion plan” for Korean
independence. For details of Park’s connection to the KNFL, particularly
through its Manchurian Subcommittee League (also known as Manchu punmaeng), see Cho Kapche 27 and 28 February Chosun Ilbo 1998.
14 Park was promoted to captain directly from second lieutenant skipping one
level, that of first-lieutenant.
15 The three officers were Captain Kang Ch’angson, Commander of the 2nd
Company; Captain Kim Hanglim, second platoon officer under Captain Kang,
and First-Lieutenant Hwang T’aeng’lim, first platoon officer under Captain
Park Chung Hee.
16 Captain Kim Ch’angyoung became the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and
served as the “most trusted and powerful servant” of President Rhee. He was
assassinated in January 1956.
17 The competition between these two generals was deliberately exacerbated by
President Rhee, especially after Lieutenant-General Yi Chongch’an’s refusal to
action a presidential decree in 1952. The two gnerals dominated the army
hierarchy through competition between each man’s faction, namely the Tongbukp’a [Chong’s faction] and Sobukp’a’ [Paek’s faction]. Kang Ch’angsong provides an excellent study in regard to the Korean Military (1991: 331–56).
18 Unlike the relationship with his father, Park appears to have built a very close
relationship with his mother from his childhood. Park openly expressed his
admiration toward his mother both verbally and in writing. His mother was 79
years old, and he 32, when she died.
19 In October 1949, Park is reported to have rebuked Sergeant-Major Kim Ijin for
his request that he support Kim Ijin’s formal complaint against Kim Ch’angyong
who had unlawfully tortured him over the disappearance of a secret intelligence
plan. Park is said to have advised Kim Ijin: “You are weak. So don’t complain.”
20 Park’s classmates from the Manchurian Military Academy constituted one of
the three key groups involved in Park’s military coup of 1961.
21 According to Ch’a Hosong, Director of the fifth branch of the Intelligence
Bureau, Park submitted a petition for his reappointment only a few days
before the War broke out (Chong Chaegyong 1992: 116–17).
22 Cited in Cho Kapche 1992: 186. General Chang collaborated with Park in the
May 16 coup but was purged in July 1961 and subsequently exiled to the USA
in 1962. In March 2001, Chang published his memoirs entitled, Manghyang
23 Park left Taegu four days after his wedding but, on 10 May 1951, he returned
there on sick leave, an excuse to get away from his Divisional Commander,
Brigadier-General Ch’oe Sok who had replaced Brigadier-General Kim Chonggap in April 1951.
24 Park’s eldest daughter from his second marriage, Kunhye, was born on 2 February 1952.
25 Park first met Yi on July 1949 when, as a colonel, Yi replaced Colonel Paek
Sonyop and became Park’s superior as chief of army intelligence. Yi, a graduate of the Japanese Military Academy 50th class, is known to have been the
only man whom Park admired throughout his life. Yi died on 23 June 1953 in a
plane crash while flying from Namwon in North Cholla Province to Taegu in
North Kyongsang Province.
26 President Rhee submitted a new constitutional amendment to the Assembly on
14 May.
27 The message carried the address: “Yukkun changbyong ege koham” (To all
soldiers in the Army). For details of the message, see Chong Chaegyong 1992:
28 On 16 December 1977, the story about this document was first published in
many leading daily newspapers in Korea, including Choson Ilbo and Chungang
Ilbo, as an overseas report from United Press, Stanford, California. The story
goes that a professor named Bat’un Bonstain at Stanford University had discovered an “extremely secret document” (kukpi munso) which had “recently
been declassified” by the US Government. The US Government’s code for this
secret assassination plan, according to this story, was “ebo ledi” (presumably
“Ever Ready”). In 1994, Kim Songjin, who was a former Minister of Culture
and Information as well as President Park’s spokesperson in 1977, revealed
that the real source of this document was the Park Government. To the best of
my knowledge, archival US sources that are so far available do not mention
anything about the so-called “Ever Ready” plan. For the Korean source, see
Choson Ilbo and Chungang Ilbo 16 December 1977: 3; and Kim Songjin, 1994:
125. For a comprehensive summary of the archives of the US State Department, see Macdonald 1992, especially Chapter 2.
29 Yi Chongch’an was dismissed but was immediately sent to the US in de facto
exile. Two other brigadier-generals, Yi Yongmun and Kim Chongp’yong, were
relocated as commander of the Capital Corps and as deputy chief of the Army
Training School on Cheju Island respectively.
30 Park had been promoted to probationary brigadier-general on 31 March 1953.
Exactly a month after his regular promotion in November, Park was sent to the
US for an advanced course at the US Army Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He returned on 27 June 1954.
31 Song resigned on 20 May; Lieutenant-General Kim Ch’anggyu, Air Force Chief
of Staff was dismissed on 16 July; Lieutenant-General Yi Wunyong, the Navy
Chief of Staff, and Major-General Kim Ch’angnam, Deputy Chief of Staff, were
replaced in June and July respectively. Lieutenant-General Kim T’aesik, the
Commandant of the Korean Marine Corps, was discharged in June.
1 Sasanggye was founded in March 1953 by Chang Chunha, a leading intellectual,
a staunch nationalist and a pro-democracy dissident especially against Park
Chung Hee. In the late 1960s, Sasanggye is believed to have had more than
100,000 subscribers, but it was closed down by the Park Government in September 1970. Chang died under mysterious circumstances while mountain
climbing on 17 August 1975. His death raised much suspicion, especially in the
leading media, including Tonga Ilbo. Chang’s mysterious death was raised again
in March 1993 by the Korean television station, SBS, which was then challenged by the investigation team of the monthly journal, Wolgan choson. Wolgan
choson argued that Chang’s death was an “accident” (Yi Chonghun 1993:
2 Kim had been missing since the March 15 demonstration, which had resulted
in heavy casualties: eight were killed and seventy-two were injured (Hangminsa
1985: 24).
3 Rhee (1875–1965) was the sixth generation only son of a ruined yangban
family. For details of Rhee’s background, see Allen 1960; Yi Hanu 1995.
4 This phrase largely referred to three privileged groups in the post-liberation
period: men who were initially landlords who became conservative politicians,
new rich businessmen or high-ranking bureaucrats.
5 The KDP was established with substantial American sponsorship on 16 September 1945. One of the characteristics of the KDP was its close connection with
Tonga Ilbo, owned by Kim Songsu, one of the eight executives of the KDP and
later its chairman.
6 For the background to Cho’s execution and the shutdown of the Progressive
Party shortly before Cho’s execution in July 1956, see Kwon Taebok (1985).
Chinbodang [The Progressive Party], Seoul: Chiyangsa.
7 President Rhee was 85 in 1960, and when he took his third oath of Presidency
at the age of 81 in 1956, he was the oldest head of state in the world.
8 This report appears to have been of such great concern to the Chang Government that, soon after its publication in Sasanggye, Professor Scalapino received
a personal letter from Prime Minister Chang asking for a copy which he
requested to be sent to him, but under a US soldier’s name, in the Eighth
Army in Seoul. Author interview with Professor Scalapino in Canberra, 13
December 1995.
9 The term “simin hyongmyong” certainly suggests the particular meaning of bourgeois revolution as it does in Japanese and in certain Chinese contexts. However,
I have translated this term literally because no source suggests that Korean intellectuals at that time used Marxist terms such as “bourgeois revolution.”
10 This rally was organized by the Central Council of the National Self-Reliance
Unification (Minjok chaju t’ongil chungang hyop’wuihoe) which consisted of
many socialist and progressive reformist groups and pro-active youth clubs for
unification, including the Student Federation of the April Revolution (Sawol
hyongmyong haksaeng yonhaphoe).
11 Cho Yongsu, owner-president of the National Daily, and many other leading
members of his company were among the victims of this purge. Cho was
executed, others received heavy sentences and some died in prison. A prominent historian, Song Konho, noted that this purge led to the virtual disappearance of unification campaigns in Korea (Song Konho 1983: 150–1).
12 It is noteworthy that Hong’s mention of a feudal dynasty refers to the common
perception of Korean history to the end of the Choson dynasty as feudal.
However, this concept has been rejected in reference to Korean traditional
society by most Western historians.
This statement is very similar to An Ch’angho’s theory of self-strengthening
expounded in July 1921 (An Tosan chonso 1990: 411–17).
The term chuch’e was first used by Kim Il Sung in a speech delivered in December 1955. For Kim’s idea of chuch’e, see Hyongmyong kwa konsol e kwanhan Kim Il
Sung tongji ui widaehan saenghwallyok, 1969; for analysis of the idea of chuch’e,
see Dae-Sook Suh 1988: 301–13.
I am indebted to Professor James B. Palais who has provided me with the
authoritative encyclopedia explanation of the origin of the term chuch’e.
According to Dai Kanwa Kiten (1:234), the locus classicus in the history of the
Han dynasty, the term chuch’e had two meanings: (1) the body or essence of
the emperor-king, or the ruler and (2) a thing which becomes something for
which it is intended, or the essence of a thing (mono no hontai). The Japanese
Kenkyusha dictionary translates hontai as substance, noumenon, entity, the
thing itself, and the Japanese use shutai and shutaiteki in contra-distinction to
taritsu to draw a contrast between the subject acting on its own and the subject
acting because of the direction of someone else or something outside itself.
This summary by Eastman is based on many intellectuals’ observations and
remarks on the Chinese national character. The despair of Korean intellectuals about the Korean national character can also be compared with that of
Malaysia’s Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (later to be Prime Minister) about Malay
national character in his The Malay Dilemma (1970).
Kim and his colonels initiated this petition after Kim had made a trip to Pusan
to consult with Park Chung Hee on 6 May, a day after General Song had summoned all staff of Army Headquarters and publicly condemned Park’s letter to
him (see previous chapter) as an act of insubordination that ought to be punished.
The Korean military grew from a non-existent force in 1945 to 700,000 by
Only seven of the Eighth Class had attained the rank of colonel by 1960.
Ch’ungmujang kyoru literally means the resolution at the Ch’ungmu Restaurant.
Hyon served in this position for only twenty days (from 23 August to 12 September 1960). He was appointed for a second time, however, as the Defense
Minister on 30 January 1961.
Lieutenant-General Yi Chongch’an was a highly respected “old-soldier” who, as
Chief of Staff in the army (during 1952), maintained military neutrality under
the Rhee regime. His defiance of President Rhee in Pusan in 1952 is particularly important for the understanding of his personal authority and reputation
in the army, especially in respect of General Park Chung Hee who, under Yi’s
direction, had attempted a military coup in 1952 (see previous chapter).
Some argued that Park accepted his new appointment on the specific condition that he would be “allowed to exercise his own discretionary power, to
some extent, to carry out the clean-up exercise in the Army” (Kim Hyonguk
and Pak Sawol 1985: 36).
For details of military factionalism instigated by President Rhee, see Kang
Ch’angsong 1991: 331–56.
For example, the army’s Chief of Staff, General Chang Toyong deceived his
own mentor, Prime Minister Chang Myon, who had appointed him.
For the former, see Chang Chunha 1961b: 34–5; for the latter, see Ham
Sokhon1961c: 36–47.
1 Henry Kissinger would undoubtedly be the most publicly known practitioner
of this approach.
2 General Chang Toyong was initially the titular chairman of the SCNR until his
demise in early July. He was charged with involvement in an “anti-revolutionary plot” on 3 July 1961 and was sentenced to death on 10 January 1962.
Chang was sent into exile in the US.
3 Memo, Robert Johnson to Rostow, 28 June 1961, NSF, Country, Box 127 and
Seoul Embassy Telegram 88, 15 July 1961, NSF, Country, Box 128, JFK Library;
also Seoul Embassy Telegram 23, 4 July 1961 and Department Telegram 32, 6
July 1961, NSF, Country, Box 128, JFK Library.
4 The Decree #6 dissolved 15 political parties and about 238 social organizations.
5 For more details, see Se-jin Kim 1971: 155–6.
6 Of these 76 percent, or 2,958 politicians, were allowed to appeal their case
and, by February 1963, everyone except 269 had their ban on political activities lifted.
7 Its title changed in the 1980s to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. However,
we will use the older term, MCI, in this study.
8 The equivalent level to “kwajang” in the technological category was “kijong”
which was followed by “kijwa” (equivalent to “kyejang” in the administrative category).
9 Ham held an American Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and Song was a
qualified electrical engineer. The four directors-general were: Yi T’aehyon, a
chemical engineer; Ch’oe Hyongsop, with an American Ph.D. in metal engineering; Pak Yongch’ol, an electrical engineer; and Yi T’aeho, who formerly
worked in the Bank of Korea. These four were in charge of the Bureaus of
Industry, Mining, Electricity, and Commerce and Trade respectively.
10 For a detailed discussion on the influence of the US Air Force approach to
these senior officers in the MCI, see O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 7: 53–4; also
Ch’oe Hyongsop 1995: 21–6.
11 For Park’s thoughts on social and political training see Park Chung Hee
1962b: 201–2.
12 According to Han, the “new yangban” (sinhung yangban) includes a third elite
group in addition to the two groups mentioned here. The third elite group is
the so-called new rich known as “sinhung chaebol.” For details of Han’s characterization of the new yangban, see Han Wansang 1989: 205–8.
13 In my interviews with former high-ranking officials and technocrats of the Park
era, the most frequently asked question was whether I was a graduate of Seoul
National University. One official unwittingly said, “It’s hard to believe that you
are not one of us!” For an analysis of Korean bureaucrats’ behavioral and value
patterns in terms of familism and regionalism, see Wanki Paik 1978: 200–23.
14 Text in italics is my translation because this particular text was incorrectly
translated in the English language version. The source version is: “Therefore,
the key problems facing a free economic policy are the coordination and
supervisory guidance by the state of mammoth economic strength” (Park
Chung Hee 1962b: 217–18).
15 The Nathan Report was a post-war reconstruction program in Korea authored
by the Washington-based consulting firm Robert Nathan Associates in 1953,
and sponsored by the United Nations Korea Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA).
For background on the Nathan Report, see Mason et al. 1980: 193 and 253.
16 For a comprehensive analysis of the Chang Government’s development plan,
see Satterwhite 1994.
17 A summary of this plan was published on 11 January.
18 There were two key reasons for the revision: US pressure to downsize and a
critical shortage of government holdings of foreign currency.
19 For details of the “illicit wealth accumulation,” see Leroy P. Jones and Sakong
Il 1980: 69–70 and 281–2.
20 Although interrogated and jailed briefly on his arrival from Tokyo, where he
had stayed claiming poor health, Yi avoided the almost six weeks of detention
that the rest of the illicit profiteers had received.
21 For details of the government’s protection of big-business proprietors, see
Amsden 1989: 64–76.
22 The military junta’s seizure of Pusan Ilbo (Daily) and the MBC Broadcasting
Company from Kim Chit’ae, a well-known chaebol owner in Pusan, is one
example. Kim was forced to “donate” his two key companies to the May 16
Educational Foundation established immediately after the coup by Park and
his revolutionary clique.
23 Here my term “US opposition” means the opposition from the Unites States
Operation Mission (USOM), later known as USAID (United States Agency for
International Development). For details of the court case and USOM’s opposition, see O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 1: 93–106.
24 For background on Park’s action leading to the construction of P’ohang Steel,
see Kim Chongnyom 1990: 135–40.
25 For details of the secret agreement between Kim and Ôhira, see Yi Tosong
1995: 138.
26 The four scandals all connected to the KCIA included: the duty-free importation of 1,642 Datsun automobiles and their resale at twice the import price;
the importation of 880 pinball machines also duty-free from Japan; the manipulation of the Korean stock market; and the construction of the Walker Hill
27 Administrative History, Department of State, January 1969: Chapter 7, Section
F, Part 1, LBJ Library.
28 Memoranda: Komer to Rostow, 9 and 15 March 1961; Johnson to Rostow, 15
March 1961: all in NSF, Country, Box 127, JFK Library.
29 Seoul Embassy Telegram 1349, 11 April 1961, NSF, Country, Box 128, JFK
30 Presidential Task Force on Korea, Report to the NSC, June 5, 1961, NSF,
Country, Box 127, JFK Library.
31 Seoul Embassy Telegram 652, 31 October 1961, NSW, Country, Box 128, JFK
32 Seoul Embassy Telegram 838, 29 April 1963, NSF, Country, Box 129, JFK
33 Hilsman formed this view on the basis of Ambassador Berger’s briefing to
President Kennedy on 31 May. See Memo. McGeorge Bundy to Press. 31 May
1963. NSF, Country, Box 127, JFK Library.
34 Seoul Embassy Telegram 90, 22 July 1963, NSF, Country, Box 129, JFK Library.
35 Department telegram 479 (Seoul)/1489 (Tokyo), 12 February 1963, NSF,
Country, Box 129, JFK Library.
36 Department telegram 480 (Seoul), 12 February 1963, NSF, Country, Box 129,
JFK Library
37 Administrative History, Department of State, January 1969: Chapter 7, Section
F, Part 2b, LBJ Library.
38 For details of Park’s interview on his Communist involvement and his relationship with Hwang T’aesong, see Kim Kyongnae 1963: 102–10.
39 Hwang was executed on 14 December 1963, just three days before Park’s inauguration to the presidency.
1 Yi Tosong 1995: 32.
2 Memorandum, James C. Thomson to Rostow, Subject: Elements of Progress in
Asia, 24 June 1966, Thomson Papers, Box 13, JFK Library.
3 For a detailed discussion on the Nixon Doctrine, see Kissinger 1979: 220–5.
4 For details of Kim’s response to the changing conditions of superpower
détente politics, see Dae-sook Suh 1988: 253–76.
5 By utilizing his attendance in the first and the third US–Japan economic
summits held in Tokyo in November 1961 and January 1964 respectively, Rusk
practically set a timetable (albeit revised several times) for normalization
between Japan and Korea. See Macdonald 1992: 133.
6 Memorandum of Conversation, Park–Rusk, 5 November 1961, NSF, Country,
Box 127, JFK Library.
7 In addition to arranging Kim’s meeting with Sato and Shiina, Kishi also established, on 24 January 1964, a pro-South Korean lobby group entitled “Nik-Kan
Mondai Kondankai” (Japan–Korea Cooperation Committee) from among his
close supporters from the 1930s in Manchuria.
8 For Kim seeking help from Kishi, see source no. 56; for Kim’s meeting with
Shiina and Sato, see sources no. 57 and 58 respectively. These sources are in Yi
Tosong 1995: 235–48.
9 Memo. McGeorge Bundy to LBJ, 26 December 64, NSF, McGeorge Bundy
Memos to the President, Box 2, LBJ Library.
10 See Korean translation in Yi Tosong, 1995: 292.
11 Seoul Embassy Telegram 784, 22 February 1965, NSF, Country, Box 256, LBJ
12 Memorandum James C. Thomson to LBJ, Subject: Your meeting at 5 p.m.
today with President Park, 17 May 1965, Thomson Papers, Box 12, JFK Library.
13 Memorandum of Conversation, Park and LBJ, 17 May 1965, NSF, Country,
Korea, Box 254, LBJ Library.
14 Some examples are: Baldwin and Jones, year of publication not stated; James
Otis, 1972: 18–20, 56–7.
15 For details of the Han’gyore weekly’s investigation into atrocities by Korean
forces in Vietnam, see Han’gyore 21 and 27 April: 34–7; also Han’gyore Sinmun
19 April 2000.
16 Memorandum of conversation, Kennedy and ROK Ambassador Kim, 17 June
1963, NSF, Country, Box 127, JFK Library; see also MacDonald 1992: 102.
17 Memorandum of Conversation, Park–Kennedy, 14 and 15 November 1961,
NSF, Country, Box 128, JFK Library.
18 This Memorandum, consisting of 14 points, was announced by US Ambassador
Brown on 7 March 1966, and became one of the main sources for American
commentators, including US officials, to characterize the Korean troops in the
Vietnam War as “mercenary.” For details of the 1966 Brown Memorandum, see
Baldwin and Jones, year of publication not stated: 7–14.
19 Baldwin and Jones: 37–8.
20 Seoul Embassy Telegram 2402, 2 November 1966, NSF, Country, Box 255, LBJ
Library; also Chong Chaegyong 1994: 210.
21 Seoul Embassy Telegram 1238, 9 September 1967, NSF, Box 91, LBJ Library.
22 They were in Canberra to attend the funeral of the Australian Prime Minister,
Harold Holt, who had died in a swimming accident. Australia was also a
member of Asian Pacific Council (ASPAC).
23 Memo, Rostow to LBJ, 7 December 1967, NSF, Country, Box 91, LBJ Library.
24 State Department Telegram 3104 (Seoul), 23 December 1967, NSF, Country,
Box 91, LBJ Library.
25 For a detailed account see, among others, Tonga Ilbo 22 January to 28 February.
26 Administrative History, Department of State, January 1969: Chapter 7, Section
F, Part 6, LBJ Library.
27 “Excerpts from Unofficial account of President Nixon’s Meeting with
Reporters,” New York Times 26 July 1969.
28 “Koreagate,” for which Pak Tongson and Sun Myung Moon were responsible,
was the most publicized example. For details of “Koreagate,” see Robert
Boettcher with Gordon L. Freedman 1980.
29 Park reportedly made this appeal to Japanese officials who were visiting Seoul
for the Korea–Japan ministerial meeting on 21 July 1970, ten days after the
formal announcement of US withdrawal of its troops from Korea).
30 For details of the “10-point list” and the text of US concessions see Larsen and
Collins 1975: 126 for the former and 128–9 for the latter.
31 According to Kim Chongnyom who also attended, Park had postponed the
entire two weeks of his scheduled commitments prior to the meeting and prepared himself for the negotiations with Agnew.
1 These threats included the possible use of nuclear weapons as a result of SinoSoviet border confrontations in 1967–71.
2 In his campaign in the city of Chinju, North Kyongsang Province, on 7
October 1963.
3 Chang and Pak were appointed on 10 and 11 May respectively.
4 The five ministers were: Major General Chong Naehyok, 20 May 1961 to 10
July 1962; Yu Ch’angsun, 10 July 1962 to 8 February 1963; Pak Ch’unghun, 8
February to 10 August 1963; Kim Hun, 10 August 1963 to 17 December 1963;
Yi Pyongho, 17 December 1963 to 11 May 1964.
5 Of the seven changes of minister, Kim Yut’aek was appointed three times (July
1961 to March 1962, July 1962 to February 1963 and December 1963 to May
1964); Song Yoch’an’s appointment was from March 1962 to June 1962; Kim
Hyonch’ol’s from June 1962 to July 1962; Yu Ch’angsun’s from February 1963
to April 1963; and Won Yongsok’s from April 1963 to December 1963.
6 For details of Park’s monthly export performance meeting, see Jones and
Sakong Il 1980.
7 Pak and Kim were appointed to their respective positions on 3 October 1967.
Pak resigned his position in June 1969, just four months before Kim became
chief of staff in the Blue House.
8 Chang, a well-known financial expert and Assistant Vice Minister in the Ministry of Finance, was specially hand-picked by Park as his Senior Economic
Secretary in charge of foreign loan management. Park created Chang’s position primarily to clean up insolvent firms and associated corruption. For
details of Chang’s account, see Chang Tokchin 1969: 99–108. Chang was also
related to Park by marriage.
9 Kim (1923–72) served in this position for more than three years from June
1963 to September 1966 when he was promoted to Minister of Finance for just
three months from September to December 1966 before his appointment as
President Park’s senior economic secretary and tenth minister of the EPB from
June 1969 to January 1972 when he died of cancer. According to leading daily
newspaper Chungang Ilbo, Kim was one of the three most important economic/industry policy-makers under Park, and he was also Park’s personal
economic tutor as well as friend. The two others were Kim Chongnyom and O
Wonch’ol. Kim studied law in Japan and economics at the State University in
Missouri and Acron Graduate School of Economics at Ohio State University.
10 The five ministers involved in this period were: (a) Pak Tonggyu from December 1963 to June 1964; (b) Hong Sunghui from June 1964 to November 1965;
(c) Song Ponggyun from November 1965 to January 1966 and from December
1966 to October 1969; (d) Kim Chongnyom from January 1966 to September
1966; (e) Kim Hang’yol from September 1966 to December 1966.
11 Min Pokki, Minister of Justice, was the other minister. Both ministers had no
direct link to the scandal.
12 Kim resumed this position in December 1965, two months after the DRP
began its planning for the 1967 elections.
13 Kim left politics altogether by resigning from all official positions, including
the chairmanship of the DRP, as well as from his membership of the party,
which automatically disqualified him from his seat in the National Assembly.
14 In January 1969, the DRP formally announced its intention to seek a constitutional amendment.
15 For details and implications of the incident, see Ye Ch’unho 1985b: 198–210.
16 The DRP passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill using “blitz” tactics at 2
am in the annex hall while the opposition members occupied the main hall
and attempted to prevent the passage of the bill. This blitz method was again
used by the DRP to pass a number of Special Measures including the “Law of
Special Measures for the Security of the Nation” on 27 December 1971.
17 For an analysis of the 1971 presidential election, see Eugene Kim 1972: 224.
18 On 16 November 1970, three days after Chon T’aeil’s death, Seoul National
University students formed the Student League for the Protection of the
People’s Rights.
19 For a discussion of the August 3 Decree and its socio-economic impact, see
Jung-un Woo 1991: 111–13; Kim Chongnyom 1990: 255–78; Clifford 1994:
20 The second attempt was foiled on 22 June 1969. A team of three North Korean
commandos attempted to set off a bomb in the National Cemetery, but failed
to achieve their mission to assassinate government officials, including President Park, when it exploded prematurely. Park and the officials had been
scheduled to attend a memorial service for the Korean War on 25 June. On 9
October 1983, North Korean commandos killed 17 Korean Government officials and four Burmese in Rangoon’s Martyrs’ Mausoleum. This was the fourth
and most violent assassination attempt.
21 This was Yi’s last position. It ended on 3 December 1973.
22 Hwang Yongju, a close friend of President Park, and President of the Munhwa
Broadcasting Corporation, was arrested for his article published in the
November 1964 edition of Sedae (Generation). In it, Hwang argued for the
signing of a non-aggression treaty between North and South Korea, the reduction of armaments, the withdrawal of US troops in Korea and interchange
between the two Koreas. Hwang was arrested under the charge of violating
anti-Communist Law. Assemblyman So was also arrested for his public statement that he would meet the North Korean authorities if his party came into
23 The communiqué consists of seven articles and the three principles described
above are in the first. For the text of the communiqué, see Nambuk taehwa
paekso (White Paper on the South–North dialogue) 1975.
1 The surplus cement problem was brought to Park’s attention by none other
than Kim Songgon, an executive member of Park’s ruling party and the owner
of the Ssangyong Cement Company.
2 The government also denounced the social diseases of inertia and indolence
while condemning old village habits such as gambling, drinking and waste. In
this regard, the Saemaul Women’s Club was particularly active in its campaign
for the abolition of these habits. For details on this subject, see Jin Hwan Park
1981: 142–3.
3 This four-year government plan closely resembled the Plan for the Economic
Resuscitation of Agrarian and Fishing Villages which the Saito Government in
Japan had implemented in the 1930s. The similarity of the two programs is
particularly notable in two respects: first, both aimed to stimulate a spirit of
self-assistance in resuscitation (jiriki kosei in Japanese and charyok kaengsaeng in
Korean) among the peasantry and, second, both aimed to inject elements of a
well-planned and organized local economy into the village (see Berger 1977:
69). For an outline of the Park Government’s planning strategy, see PPCHS
vol. 6 1969: 318–20.
4 It should be noted that although Park specified these qualities as epitomizing
the New Village Spirit, he also frequently referred to other qualities under this
5 The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Handbook of Agricultural and Fishery
Statistics 1979, as cited by Sigurdson and Young Chul Kim 1981: 211.
6 The other three groups were the New Democratic Party (Simindang) with fiftythree seats, the Democratic Unification Party (Minju T’ongil tang) with two
seats and independents with nineteen seats (Chungang son’go kwalli wiwonhoe 1992).
7 For studies of the North and South Korean regimes’ political education, see
Pae Ch’anbok 1988.
8 “Pan” is equivalent to terms such as “tong” and “li.” They were first used in
1917 by the Japanese colonial government to describe their effective control of
the Korean people’s socio-political activities.
9 Here the term “Headquarters in the Blue House” refers to the Presidential
Secretariat responsible for State Affairs.
10 For details on these Saemaul sub-organizations, see Sung Joe K.S. Hahn 1981:
11 For a detailed analysis of the Factory Saemaul Movement, see Im Kyongt’aek
1991: 130–71.
12 This slogan, according to Pak Chinhwan, is an adaptation of Park’s initial
phrase for the Factory Saemaul Movement: “Kongjangul naejip-gach’i,
chongopwonul kajok-gach’i” (Factories like my home, employees like family).
Author interview with Pak Chinhwan, Park’s former Economic Special Assistant in charge of the Saemaul Movement, May 1994.
13 I emphasize both oral and documentary evidence mainly because each represents a quite different period in terms of sources: regarding the former, I have
used personal interviews conducted during my trips to Seoul in the spring of
1994 and 1995; regarding the latter, see Jin Hwan Park 1981: 156–7.
14 I set 1968 as the starting point of his mass movement mainly because it was in
that year that Park’s campaign for the increase of rural income began to stir
the masses’ energy and attention.
15 “Ch’ollima” literally means “horse of a thousand ri.” According to North Korean
publications, this was a legendary horse capable of running one thousand ri
per day. The Movement was launched in December 1956, but did not get into
full swing until March 1959 when it was intensified through the “Ch’ollima work
team movement.”
16 The anti-Yusin campaign led by thirty leading civic leaders under the caption,
“Campaign for the collection of one million signatures in support of the petition for the revision of the Constitution” in December 1973 reflected the deepening of anti-Yusin forces.
1 This revolutionary expression from the Japanese Meiji era, I was told, was frequently quoted by Park during the Yusin reform, particularly in reference to
heavy and chemical industrialization. Author interview with O Wonch’ol, May
2 At the same time, Chief Secretary, Kim Chongnyom, ordered the President’s
Senior Secretaries to examine the overall impact if Korea ended its relations
with Japan.
3 Park’s grief is vividly depicted in his personal diary, especially in over twenty
poems that Park wrote for his wife within a year of her death (Yugyong
chaedan 1990: 82–91).
4 This Conference later changed its name to Christian Conference of Asia.
5 Two other Senior Secretaries, Kim Hang’yol, responsible for No.1 Economy,
and Yu Sungwon, responsible for Civil Affair Appeals, ranked equal to viceminister.
6 For more discussion on the SES role in defense industry development, see
Chapter 8.
7 The PSA responsible for private affairs was not created until July 1971.
8 By 1976, Park himself openly promoted the Confucian idea of “ch’unghyo
sasang” (loyalty to the state and filial piety) for the people’s spiritual and ideological “armament.” For a detailed discussion on Park’s promotion of
“ch’unghyo sasang,” see Hak-kyu Sohn 1988: 170.
9 I use “Park-style” to refer to Park’s personal as well as presidential leadership
style since the early 1960s and “Blue House-style” to refer to the wider executive style that developed in the 1970s. In practice, however, these two terms are
often used interchangeably.
10 For a comprehensive analysis of the chaebol and their background and
performance in Korea’s rapid development, see Myung Hun Kang 1996.
11 During the 1960s, political funds were mainly managed by four key players:
Kim Songgon, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the DRP, Kim
Hyonguk, head of the KCIA, Yi Hurak, presidential chief of staff, and Chang
Kiyong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the EPB.
12 See events in 1963 for Park’s fear that the US might leave him defenseless
before his domestic enemies in the same way that President Ngo Dinh Diem of
the Republic of Vietnam had been left defenseless. For details of American
involvement in Vietnam, see Charlton & Moncrieff 1978.
Ho served as head of state in the transitional period after the fall of the
Syngman Rhee Government. See Chapter 2.
Confidential files of political affairs produced by the Presidential Secretariat in
1976, for example, are crammed with investigation reports such as “Korea–US
Relations,” “Pak Tongson Incident,” “Myongdong Cathedral Incident” and the
Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s “Unification Church Issues,” a scandal closely
related to Koreagate. See Presidential Secretariat, “Oegyo kwan’gye pogoso”
(Diplomatic Report), “Hanmi kwan’gye” [Korea–US relations], “Pak Tongson
sagon” (Pak Tongson incident), “Myongdong songdang sagon” (Myongdong
Cathedral incident) and “T’ongilgyo munje” (Unification Church problems),
file nos. 82–593, 82–594, 82–595 and 82–596 respectively. These reports are
also on microfilm no. 0949, CBKPS (Government Archives), Seoul, 1977.
This challenge ultimately led to Carter’s dismissal of Singlaub from his Korean
Chungyo chongmu pogo (Confidential Political Affairs report) no. 125,
Ambassador Kim Yongsik (in USA) to Presidential Secretariat, 21 September
1977. Chongmu (Political Affairs), file no. 82–603, CBKPS.
The economic system under these three was known as the “Three-Men System”
(samin ch’eje). Both Nam and Kim Yonghwan served for four years and three
months, from September 1974 to December 1978, and became the longest
serving Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.
For details of labor disputes during the Yusin era, see Han’guk minju
nodongja yonhap 1994.
In fact, the last words Chon T’aeil shouted just before the flames consumed
him were: “Don’t mistreat young girls!” The number of females employed in
the light industry sector, including textiles, clothing and leather, increased
more than fivefold from 128,470 to 689,672, between 1963 and 1978. See Sim
Young-hee 1994: 46.
1 The “Four-Member Committee” was established to carry out the construction
of the defense industry as Park had directed. The three other members were:
Hwang Pyongt’ae, Assistant Minister in charge of Management, EPB; Sin
Wonsik, Assistant Minister in charge of War Supply Loans, Ministry of Defense;
and Sim Munt’aek, Deputy Chief of the KIST.
2 In contrast to O’s account, Kim stated that O called Kim and requested a
meeting which took place as noted above. See Kim Chongnyom 1990: 322.
3 This meeting, although totally unscheduled, continued for more than four
4 This is a summary of my lengthy and numerous interviews with O in May 1994
and January 2000. For full details of the points, see O Wonch’ol, HGKKS vol. 5
1996: 24–5 and vol. 7 1999: 388–9.
5 The SES, as a part of the Presidential Secretariat, had been abolished in
November 1969 soon after Kim Chongnyom was appointed chief of staff. O’s
office, the Second Economic Secretariat, was managed by a small elite team of
six members including himself. Of these, three officers, Kim Kwangmo, Yi
Sokp’yo and Kwon Kwangwon, were from the MCI.
6 Kim’s dismissal represented a fundamental shift in Park’s economic policy.
Politically, however, it was rooted in Park’s need to balance his patronage of
his home region, Kyongsang Province.
As discussed in the Introduction, the government’s top-secret blueprint for
Korea’s HCI program had this same title. To avoid confusion, therefore, I will
refer to O’s private paper as “O Wonch’ol Collection.”
Chunghwahak kongop e ttarun kongop kujo kaep’yonnon, hereafter CKTKKK: 9.
Three extra members were added to the HCIPC on 14 May 1973. They were
Chong Tomun, President of the No. 2 Integrated Steelworks; An Kyongmo,
President of the Korea Water Resources Development Corporation; and Kim
Manche, head of the Korea Development Institute.
The Investigation and Research Committee consisted of eight sub-committees,
including the six sub-committees mentioned above.
Similar criticisms against O by EPB senior bureaucrats are well known in the
media. See Chungang Ilbo 25 October 1991.
Kim was one of the seventeen Korean officials killed by a bomb detonated by
North Korean Army major Zin Mo on 9 October 1983 at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum at the National Cemetery in Rangoon, Burma. President Chun was the
intended target, but he escaped unhurt because North Koreans mistakenly
detonated the bomb at the arrival of the Korean ambassador. For detailed
accounts of this bombing incident, see Oberdorfer 1997: 140–4; Clifford 1994:
In 1985, Korea experienced a budget surplus for the first time in its modern
In October 1969, when he replaced Minister Kim Chongnyom, Yi brought a
team of his own staff who subsequently took over several key posts in the MCI.
The three other hand-picked technocrats were: Kim Son’gil as director-general
of the Trade and Commerce Promotion Department (t’ongsang chinhungguk);
Yi Manyong as director-general of the Industry Planning Department (kongop
kihoekkuk); and Kum Chinho as director-general of the Small and Medium
Industry Department (chungso kiopkuk). Of these, Kim and Yi were from the
Ministry of Science and Technology and Kum Chinho from the Ministry of
Government Administration.
As late as 22 February 1971, the EPB announced the official position concerning government intervention in the country’s economic management, namely
the “principle of non-governmental economic operation” as opposed to
“government-led economic operation.” See the government announcement in
Tonga Ilbo 22 February 1971; also Seoul kyongje sinmun 21 January, 23 February
and 21 December 1970.
This number is based on the joint press communiqué of Yi Nakson, Minister of
the MCI, and Frederic B. Dent, US Secretary of Commerce, made in Seoul on
19 July 1973.
See Appendix. O’s paper entitled “Economic development and industrialization in Korea” was delivered by Professor Paek Yonghun at Chungang University.
Kim Chongnyom relates that because these companies participated in the
defense industry development as an act of “patriotism,” he was “filled with
deep sadness” in the 1980s when some of these companies were “handed over
to someone else” as a result of the government’s loss of interest in defense
industry development (1997: 135).
For details of the North Korean tunnels and the Axe Murders, see Oberdorfer
1997: 56–9 and 74–83.
O Wonch’ol HGKKS vol. 7 1999: 415–18.
22 This was undoubtedly the most frequently quoted saying this author heard
over the years from Park’s policy-makers and close supporters. Emphasis
1 This was Park’s favorite expression during 1978 and 1979 when his confidence
rose, as Korea’s defense industries and heavy and chemical industries moved
closer to completion.
2 The Five-Member Committee subsequently twice changed its membership.
First, in July 1975 the FMC became the “Six-Member Committee” when it
included the deputy minister of the EPB. Second, on 19 January 1978, it
became the “Ten-Member Committee” (TMC) when four extra members were
added. The extra members were the head of the office of administrative
coordination in the Prime Minister’s Office (Kung’mu ch’ongni haengjong
chojong siljang) and three assistant deputy ministers of the MOND in charge of
planning and management (Kwalli ch’agwanpo), manpower (Illyok ch’agwanpo)
and the defense industry (Pangwi sanop ch’agwanpo) respectively. On 23
November 1978, the TMC was renamed “Promotional Committee for Reinforcing War Capability” (Chollyok chunggang saop ch’ujin wiwonhoe).
3 Major-General Kim Taenyon, Secretary of the MOND, was also a member of
the FMC.
4 Ch’oe was the first civilian to be promoted to deputy minister of the MOND.
He was also one of three high-ranking technocrats in their thirties promoted
by Park after the Yusin system was promulgated in 1972.
5 The “Measures for Weapons Supply with Foreign Loans” also included eight
separate terms and conditions for security purposes. For details, see O
Wonch’ol, HGKKS vol. 7, 1999: 242; also Kim Chongnyom 1997: 296–7.
6 Two Ministers, So Chongch’ol and No Chaehyon, represented the MOND
from December 1973 to December 1977 and from December 1977 to December 1979.
7 Both Chun and Roh were released by President Kim Dae Jung in January 1998.
“Supreme Court Upholds Rulings on Chun, Roh.” Online. Available HTTP:
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/kh0418/m0418101.html (accessed 10 November 1999).
8 I am indebted to Dr. George Aditjondro for suggesting these terms to characterize Park-style dictatorship.
9 The other seven “corrupt officials” included Yi Hurak, former KCIA head and
the president’s chief of staff, and Pak Chonggyu, former head of the presidential bodyguard. For details of the corruption charges, see Far Eastern Economic
Review 14 July 1980.
10 In February 1985, however, a new major opposition party, New Korea Democratic Party (NKDP: Sin Han’guk Minjudang), was formed and both Kims, who
had then been cleared of their respective charges, were signed on as honorary
executive advisers to the NKDP. For the background to the political purge
carried out through the 5.17 Measure and subsequent political change, see
Ilpyong J. Kim and Young Whan Kihl 1988, especially chapters 1, 2 and 5.
11 The sum of $4.5 million, including the bribe, was officially announced by the
Martial Law Enforcement Headquarters on 19 June 1980. For details of the
corruption charges, see Chosun Ilbo 19 June 1980. There are some researchers
who, as recently as 2002, still quote this announcement without any explanation of the political upheaval behind the arrest of these so-called “corrupt offi-
cials.” This arrest was a central part of the second military coup led by Chun
Doo Hwan and his military clique. See David C. Kang 2002: 105–6.
Park originally made this statement in his interview with US columnist Robert
Novak in early June 1975.
Memorandum of Conversation, President Park and Secretary of Defense,
James Schlesinger. 26 August 1975. NSF. Country. Box 9. GF Library. At this
meeting, Park was accompanied by his Senior Protocol Secretary, Choi Gwangsoo (Ch’oe Kwangsu), and Schlesinger by Ambassador Richard L. Sneider.
For the Korean source, see No Chaehyon 1992: 14 and for the US source, see
Oberdorfer 1997: 72.
Reports and Recommendations of Jan M. Lodal and Dave Elliott, NSC, to
Secretary [Henry] Kissinger. 11 July 1975 [Declassified on 27 May 1997].
Country. Box 2, file no. 9; also Seoul Embassy Telegram to Secretary of State,
Washington D.C., American Embassy, Ottawa July 1975. NSF. Country. Box 9.
GF Library [Declassified 29 January 1998].
Reports and Recommendations of Jan M. Lodal and Dave Elliott, NSC, to
Secretary [Henry] Kissinger. 11 July 1975. Country Box 2, file no. 9.
No Chaehyon 1992: 82–3. No’s book was originally featured in Chungang Ilbo
under the same title during 1992.
See Korea-State Department Telegrams To SECSTATE-NODIS, no. 14, April
1976. NSF. Box 9. GF Library [Declassified on 8 June 2001].
George S. Springsteen, Executive Secretary of the Department of State, to
Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, 4 February 1975. Country File: Korea (3),
National Security Adviser: Presidential Country Files for East Asia and the
Pacific, GF Library.
George S. Springsteen to Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft.
For details of both Park’s and Carter’s terms and agreements concerning the
US troop withdrawal program, see Oberdorfer 1997.
Gregory Henderson has characterized this massive purge accompanied by
Chun’s military coups of December 12 and May 17 as “outranking the distant
Korean war.” See Gregory Henderson 1988: 35.
“Kim Chongnyom chongch’i hoegorok. 19, 5-gong chonggwon kwao” (Kim
Chongnyom political memoirs, no. 19, the failure of the fifth Republic).
Online. Available HTTP: http://news.joongang.co.kr/cgi-bin/new (accessed
12 November 1999).
“Approach to South Korea on Reprocessing,” Jan M. Lodal and Dave Elliott,
NSC, to Secretary Kissinger, 24 July 1975, Box 2, file no. 9, GF Library.
1 John McKay offers an insightful analysis on this issue. See “The restructuring
of the Korean economy since 1986 and the onset of the financial crisis: the
industrial–financial nexus.” Online. Available HTTP: http://www.monash.
edu.au/mai (accessed 11 November 2002).
2 The average Korean life expectancy, according to data released by the
National Statistical Office in December 2001, is 72.1 years for males and 79.5
years for females (Korea Now 2001).
3 See National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) 282 and 309, National
Security Study Memoranda and Decision Memoranda, 1974–1977, Box 1
(declassified April 1997); NSDM 211, 226, National Security Study Memoranda
and Decision Memoranda, 1974–1977, Box 2 (declassified in February 1995),
GF Library.
4 Correspondence. Carlyle E. Maw, Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance to James T. Lynn, December 30, 1975, File 13, Box 9, GF Library.
5 Memorandum. George A. Springsteen, Executive Secretary, Department of
State to [Lieutenant-General] Scowcroft, February 4, 1975, Box 9, GF Library.
6 Deputy Secretary of Defense Clements: Memorandum for Assistant to the
President for National Security Affairs, September 19 1974, Box 9 (declassified
25 May 1999), GF Library.
7 NSC Meeting File, December 15, 1976, Box 2 (declassified 25 May 1999), GF
Library. *Principal participants: The President, The Vice President, Secretary
of State Kissinger, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, James T. Lynn (Director,
Office of Management and Budget), John Lehman (Acting Director, Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency), General George S. Brown (Chairman,
Joint Chiefs of Staff), Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Enno Knoche,
Assissant to the President for National Security Affairs Brent Scowcroft.
8 NSC Meeting File, December 15, 1976, Box 2 (declassified 25 May 1999), GF
Library. My emphasis.
9 Alexandre Y. Mansourov, “Security dilemma, war trap, and the South
protectorate over the North,” North-East Asia Peace and Security Network,
Special Report, 10 February 2003. Online. Available HTTP:
http://nautilus.org/fora/security/02138A_Mansourov.html (accessed 15 February 2003).
Chongbu kirok pojonso (Government Archives), Seoul, Korea
Chunghwahak kongop e ttarun kongop kujo kaep’yonnon (On the
Restructuring of Industry in Accordance with the Declaration on
Heavy and Chemical Industry Policy)
O Wonch’ol’s memoirs, Han’gukhyong kyongje konsol (Korean Model
Economic Construction), 7 vols
Han’guk kunsa hyongmyongsa p’yonch’an wiwonhoe, Han’guk
kunsa hyongmyongsa che 1-chip (The History of the Korean Military
Revolution, vol.1), 1963
Minju Han’guk hyongmyong ch’ongsa (A History of the Democratic
Korean Revolution), Seoul: Minju Han’guk hyongmyong ch’ongsa
p’yonch’an wiwonhoe, 1962
Park Chung Hee. Our Nation’s Path: Ideology of Social Reconstruction,
(1962b) 2nd edition, Seoul: Hollym Cooperation, 1970
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat). Park Chung Hee
Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip (President Park Chung Hee’s
Speeches), 16 vols. From che 1 chip (vol. 1) published in 1965 to
che 16 chip published in 1979. Noted as PPCHS, Che 1 Chip, 2
Chip and so on
Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, Military Revolution
in Korea, Seoul: Supreme Council for National Reconstruction,
Park Chung Hee. The Country, The Revolution And I, translated by
Leon Sinder; no mention of the publisher or printing date. This
book in Korean was published in September 1963b
Unpublished public records: Korea
Ch’ongwadae (Blue House) (1973) “Chung kongop ch’ujin wiwonhoe che 1 ch’a hoeui
kyolkwa pogo” (A report on the outcomes of the second meeting of the Heavy
and Chemical Industry Furtherance Committee), 5 February.
Ch’ongwadae (Blue House) (1973) “kongop kujo kaep’yon e taehan hoeui kyolkwa
pogo” (A report on the outcomes of the meeting on the reorganization of industry structure), 3 February.
Chunghwahak kongop ch’ujin wiwonhoe kihoektan (Heavy and Chemical Industry Promotion Committee Planning Corps) (1973) Chunghwahak kongop yuksong
kyehoek (The Development Plan for the Heavy and Chemical Industries). Seoul:
Chunghwahak kongop ch’ujin wiwonhoe kihoektan (Heavy and Chemical Industry Promotion Committee Planning Corps) (1979) Han’guk kongophwa palchon e
kwanhan chosa yon’gu: chongch’aek kyolchong kwajong ui imyonsa (An Examination
of Korea’s Industrialization Development: An Inner History of the PolicyMaking Process).
Chungyo chongmu pogo (Confidential Political Affairs report) no. 125, Ambassador Kim Yongsik (in USA) to Presidential Secretariat, 21 September 1977,
Chongmu (Political Affairs) file no. 82–603, CBKPS.
Kyongje 2 (Second Economic Secretariat) (January 1973), Pogoso (1) – Chunghwahak (Heavy and chemical industries).
Kyongje che 1 (First Economic Secretariat) (August 1973), “Chunghwahak
kongop ch’ujinul wihan kiop kyongyong sich’aek” (Industry management policy
for furthering heavy and chemical industries).
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat) (June 1973), “Chunghwahak
kongop t’uja yuch’i ch’ulchang pogo” (A report on the business trip to promote
investment in heavy and chemical industry development).
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat) (1973) Chunghwahak kongop
kaebal kusang – chagum chodal ul chungsim uirohan – (Planning of heavy and
chemical industry development – emphasis on raising capital).
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat) (1975) Oegyo kwan’gye pogoso
(Diplomatic Report), files. 82–593, 82–594, 82–595 and 82–596, CBKPS.
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat) (1977) “Oegyo kwan’gye pogoso”
(Diplomatic Report), “Hanmi kwan’gye” (Korea–US relations), “Pak Tongson
sagon” (Pak Tongson incident), “Myongdong songdang sagon” (Myongdong
Cathedral incident) and “T’ongilgyo munje” (Unification Church problems),
file no. 82–593, 82–594, 82–595 and 82–596 respectively. *These reports are also
on microfilm no. 0949, CBKPS.
Unpublished public records: USA
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, Massachusetts. National Security
Files (NSF): Box 13, 127, 128 and 129.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Texas. National Security Files
(NSF): Box 2, 91, 254, 255, 256. Administrative History, Department of State:
Chapter 7 (East Asia)
Gerald Ford Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan. National Security Files (NSF): Box 1,
2, 9 and 12.
Cho Kapche. Editor-in-Chief, Wolgan Choson (Monthly Choson). May 1994, December 1997, November 2002.
Choe Hyongsop. Minister of Science and Technology (1971–8). May 1994.
Kim Chongnyom. Chief of Staff, Blue House, 1969–78. May 1994 and January
Kim Chongp’il. Former Prime Minister and currently president of the United
Liberal Democrats (Chaminryon). January 2000.
Kim Chaehong. Senior reporter of political affairs, Tonga Ilbo. May 1994.
Kim Songjin. President’s spokesman and Minister of Culture and Information
(1973–9). May 1994.
Naeilsaeng choguk kwa minjok ul wihayo (My Life for My Fatherland and the People):
Photograph Collection of Park Chung Hee (1999), Seoul: Hyongson.
O Wonchol. Senior Economic Secretary in the Blue House (1971–9). May and
October 1994 and 1995, October 1996, November 1997, November 1998,
January 2000 and November 2002.
Pak Chiman. President Park’s son and the Chairman of EG Corporation. November 1997.
Pak Chinhwan. The Blue House Special Advisor (1973–9). May 1994.
Pak Kunhye. President Park’s daughter and former deputy president of the Grand
National Party (Hannara-dang). January 2000.
Pak Hwanyong. President Park’s personal driver for 20 years from 1959 until
Park’s assassination on 29 October 1979.
Pak Sanggil. President Park’s spokesperson (1963–5). January 2000 (telephone
EPB Senior Economic Advisor (anonymous). October 1996.
Robert A. Scalapino, Robson Research Professor of Government Emeritus, December 1995.
Yi Kwanghyong. President’s Personal Aide (1974–9). May June 1994, October
1996, November 1997, November 1998 and January 2000.
Yu Hansik, Senior Vice President, KIA Heavy Industries, Ch’angwon, Kyongsangpuk-do. January 2000.
Yu Hyogin, Senior Political Secretary (1973–80). May 1994.
Writings, speeches and photographs of Park Chung Hee
“Pak Chong Hui chon taet’ongnyong i chikchopssun ch’ongwadae ilgi” (Blue
House Diary Written by Former President Park Chung Hee) (1989) Minju Ilbo
(Daily), 21 November 1989 to 30 December.
Park Chung Hee (1962a) Uri minjok ui nagalkil (Our Nation’s Path), Seoul: Tonga
—— (1962b) Our Nation’s Path: Ideology of Social Reconstruction, (1962) 2nd edition,
Seoul: Hollym (Noted as ONP).
—— (1963a) Kukka wa hyongmyong kwa na (The Nation, Revolution, And I), Seoul:
—— (1963b) The Country, The Revolution And I, translated by Leon Sinder, no
mention of the publisher or printing date. It appears to be the 1st edition,
because the Australian National University Library marked its receiving date as
October (Noted as TCTRAI).
—— (1971) Minjok ui choryok (The Nation’s Intrinsic Energy), Seoul: Kwangmyong
—— (1978) Minjok chunghung ui kil (The Path to National Restoration),
Kwangmyong ch’ulp’ansa.
—— (1979a) Korea Reborn: A Model for Development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice/Hall International, Inc.
—— (1979b) Saemaul: Korea’s New Community Movement, Seoul: Korea Textbook
Co. Ltd.
—— (1993) “Chal sara pojanun undong” (A movement aimed at a better living),
in Choson Ilbo (ed.) Pirok: han’guk ui taet’ongnyong (Secret Records: Korea’s
Presidents), Seoul: Choson Ilbosa, pp. 520–1.
—— (1997) “Naui sonyon sijol” (When I was boy), in Kim Chongsin, Pak Chong
Hui taet’ongnyong kwa chubyon saramdul (President Park Chung Hee and His
Inner Circle), Seoul: Han’guk nondan, pp. 245–68.
Taet’ongnyong pisosil (Presidential Secretariat), Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong
yonsol munjip (President Park Chung Hee’s Speeches), che 1 chip – cha 1963
nyon 12 wol – chi 1964 nyon 12 wol (vol. 1 from December 1963 to December
1964), Seoul: Tonga ch’ulp’ansa, 1965.
—— (1966) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 2 chip (vol. 2), Tonga
—— (1967) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 3 chip (vol. 3), Tonga
—— (1968) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 4 chip (vol.4), Tonga
—— (1969) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 5 chip (vol. 5), Tonga
ch’ulp’ansa. Each of the above publications is a January to December edition.
—— Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 6 chip (vol. 6), no date,
Tonga ch’ulp’ansa.
—— (1970) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 7 chip (vol. 7).
—— (1971) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 8 chip (vol. 8).
—— (1972) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 9 chip (vol.9).
—— (1973) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 10 chip (vol. 10).
—— (1974) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 11 chip (vol. 11).
—— (1975) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 12 chip (vol. 12).
—— (1976) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 13 chip (vol. 13).
—— (1977) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 14 chip (vol. 14).
—— (1979) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 15 chip (vol. 15),
Koryo sojok.
—— (1979) Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong yonsol munjip, che 16 chip (vol. 16):
Ch’udop’an (Tribute edition), Koryo sojok.
—— Nobyongdul ui chungon: Yuksa p’alkisa, Song (a testimony of old soldiers: a
history of the Military Academy’s eight class), part one (1992). Yukkun Sagwan
hakkyo che p’alkisaenghoe (the eight class association of the Military Academy).
Shin, Bum Shik (ed.) (1970) Major Speeches By Korea’s Park Chung Hee, Seoul:
Sim Yungt’aek (ed.) (1972) Charip eui uji: Pak Chung Hee taet’ongnyong orok (The
Will for Self-Reliance: A Collection of President Park Chung Hee’s Speeches),
Seoul: Hallim ch’ulp’ansa.
Sin Pomsik (ed.) (1968) Park Chung Hee taet’ongnyong yonsoljip: chungdan hanunja
nun sungni haji mot’handa (President Park Chung Hee’s Speeches: Those Who
Give Up Will Not Succeed), Seoul: Hallim ch’ulp’ansa.
Choson Ilbo
Kyonghyang sinmun
Seoul sinmun
Seoul kyongje sinmun
Tonga Ilbo
Han’guk Ilbo
Minju Ilbo
Han’guk kyongje sinmun
Han’gyore sinmun
Tonga yon’gam (Tonga Yearbook)
Ch’angjak kwa pip’yong
Korea Annual (1971–9)
Yoksa pip’yong
Far Eastern Economic Review
Korea Now
Wolgan choson
Wolgan chungang
Weekly Han’gyoreh
Documents, books and articles in Korean
An Ch’angho (1990) An Tosan chonso [A Complete Collection of Tosan An
Ch’angho], Seoul: Pomyangsa.
Ch’a Kibyok. (1967) “Sugu seryok kwa pansugu seryok’non” (A Theory of
“the Conservative Force” and “the Anti-Conservative Force”), Sasanggye June:
Ch’angwon kigye kongop kongdan (Ch’angwon Machine Industry Complex).
(1979) Ch’angwon kiji 5 nyonsa (A Five-Year History of the Ch’angwon Industrial
Complex), no mention of the publisher.
Ch’oe Ch’anggyu (1976) Che 3 konghwaguk: Haebang samsimnyonsa, che 4 kwon (The
Third Republic: A history of the thirty years after liberation, vol. 4). Seoul: Songmungak: 208–324.
Ch’oe Changwon, Yi Chonghun, Kim Yonkwang, U. Pyonghyon. (1993) “SBS ui
wihom ch’onmanhan obo” (An extremely dangerous and incorrect report by
the SBS)), Wolgan choson May: 162–97.
Ch’oe Hyongsop (1995) Ch’oe Hyongsop hoegorok: Puri kkojiji annun yon’guso (Ch’oe
Hyongsop Memoirs: The Institute Where the Lights are Never Turned Off),
Seoul: Choson Ilbosa.
Chang-ch’agwangup saemaul kyoyuk, che 1-gi (Saemaul Training for Minister and
Deputy Minister Level, First Class) (1974), 21–26 July.
Chang Chunha (1960) “Kwonduon: Tto tasi uri ui hyangbang ul ch’onmyong
hamyonso” (Preface: we here again elucidate our position), Sasanggye June:
—— (1961a) “Kullo mani salgilida” (Only hard work can save Korea), Sasanggye
February: 24–5.
—— (1961b) “Kin’gup ul yohanun hyongmyong kwaop ui wansu wa minju
chongch’i eroui pokkwi.” (An urgent need for completing the task of the revolution and to returning democratic politics), Sasanggye July: 34–5.
—— (1964) “Urinun tto tasi uri ui haril ul palk’inda” (We reaffirm our tasks),
Sasanggye April: 14–15.
Chang Tokchin (1969) “Pusil kiop chongni ui simal” (Facts on the liquidation of
insolvent companies), Sindonga October: 99–108.
Cho Kagyong (1961) “Hyongmyong chuch’e ui chongsinjok honmi: chuch’esong
hwangnip ui mokp’yo nun chokkukchok chayu wa kyongje pugang” (Psychological confusion of the leading actors of the April Revolution: the goal of establishing chuch’esong is the establishment of positive freedom and economic wealth),
Sasanggye April: 70–7.
Cho Kapche (1992) Park Chung Hee 1: Pulman kwa purun ui sewol, 1917–1960 (Park
Chung Hee vol. 1: The Era of Frustration and Bad Luck, 1917–1960), Seoul:
—— (1998) “Neamudom e ch’imul paet’ora” (Spit on my grave!),
Chosun Ilbo. This series continued for a total of 564 episodes from 20 October
1997 to 30 December 1999. Thereafter this series was published in the Monthly
Cho Sunsung (1960) “Han’guk ui yangdan kwa miguk ui ch’aegim” (Korea’s division and America’s responsibility), Sasanggye July: 56–65.
Cho Tongp’il and Pu Wanhyok (1961) “Taedam: charipinya? Yesog inya? Hanmi
kyongje hyopjong ul pip’an handa” (Discussion: national autonomy or dependency?: a critique of the Korea–America economic agreement), Sasanggye March:
Chon’guk kyongjein yonhaphoe (1982) Chongyongnyon 20-nyonsa (A Twenty-Year
History of the Federation of Korean Industries), Seoul: no mention of the publisher.
Chongyongnyon samsimnyonsa (A Thirty-Year History of the Federation of Korean
Industry) (1992) Seoul: Federation of Korean Industry.
Chong Chaegyong (1991) Park Chung Hee sasang sosol: hwiho rul chungsim uiro
(Introduction of Park Chung Hee’s Ideology: Centering Around Park’s Handwriting), Seoul: Chipmundang.
—— (1992) Wiin Park Chung Hee (The Great Man Park Chung Hee, Seoul: Chimmundang.
—— (ed.) (1994) Pak Chonghui silki (A True Record of Park Chung Hee), Seoul:
Chong Kwangmo (1967) Ch’ongwadae (The Blue House), Seoul: Omun’gak.
Chong Sangho (1988) “Yusandoen minjuhwa, kyongjaeng ui pujae wa t’onghap ui
pin’gon” (Aborted democratization, absence of competition and poor integration), in Han’guk chongch’i yon’guhoe (ed.) Pak Chonghui lul nomoso (Transcending Park Chung Hee), Seoul: P’urunsup, 109–32.
Chong Yangun (1961) “Han’gukin ui yoltung uising’non” (A theory of the Korean
people’s inferiority complex), Sasanggye April: 111–17.
Choson Ilbosa (ed.) (1995) Han’gugin ui songjokp’yo (Korean People’s Performance Record).
—— (1996), Wolgan choson palgul: Han’guk hyondaesa, pi – charyo 125 Kon (The
Monthly Choson’s Discoveries: Korea’s Modern History, 125 Secret Materials),
Choson Ilbosa.
Chungang Ilbo (1998) Silrok Park Chung Hee (A True Record of Park Chung Hee),
Seoul: Chungang M&B.
Chungang son’go kwalli wiwonhoe (ed.) (1992) Seoul: Taehanmin’guk chongdangsa.
Ha Chongdae (1998a) “Changsonggup kyejwa 30–40 ok mungch’itton ssodajo
nawatta” (A lump sum of 3–4 billion (won) poured out from the accounts of
those with the rank of general), Sindonga January: 368–91.
—— (1998b) “Komch’al, 4.11 ch’ongson ttae Hyonch’olton padun uiwon 10yomyong hwagin” (The prosecution, confirming about ten national assemblymen who received (Kim) Hyonch’ol’s money in the general election of April
11), Sindonga June: 218–29.
Ham Sokhon (1961a) “Kung’min kamjong kwa hyongmyong wansu” (The
people’s emotion and completion of revolution), Sasanggye January: 30–43.
—— (1961b) “Saenara rul ottokke seulkka?” sang (How do we establish a new
nation? Part one), Sasanggye April: 94–103; chung (part two) May: 42–53 and wan
(final part) June: 36–53.
—— (1961c) “O-illuyk ul otto’kke polka”? (What do we make of the 5.16?) Sasanggye July: 36–47.
Han Sangbok (1987) “Nongch’on Saemaul undong ui sahoe munhwajok songgwa
wa chonmang” (The socio-cultural effects and prospects of the rural Saemaul
Movement), Institute of Saemaul Undong Studies, Seoul National University,
Journal of SNU Saemaul Studies, vol. 12, 1: 41–52.
Han Wansang, Yi Wujae, Sim Uit’aek et al. (1983) 4.19 hyongmyongnon (A Theory
of the April Revolution), Seoul: Ilwolsogak.
Han Wansang (1989) Minjung sahoehak (Sociology of the People), Seoul: Chongno
Han T’aesu (1961) Han’guk Chongdangsa (A History of Korea’s Political Parties),
Seoul: Sint’aeyangsa.
Han Yongwon (1984) Ch’anggun (Founding of the Korean Army). Seoul: Pagyongsa.
Han’guk Kidokkyo Kyohoe Hyobuihoe (National Council of Churches in Korea)
(1984) Nodong Hyonjang kwa chungon (Witness to the Labor Situation), Seoul:
Hang’uk kyongje chongch’aek 40 nyonsa (A Forty-Year History of Korea’s Economic
Policies) (1986), Seoul: Chonggyongnyon, no mention of the publisher.
Han’guk kunsa hyongmyongsa p’yonch’an wiwonhoe (1963) Han’guk kunsa
hyongmyongsa, Che i1 Chip, 2 Chip (The History of the Korean Military Revolution). vols 1 and 2. Seoul: Tonga sojok hoesa.
Han’guk minju nodongja yonhap (Korean Democratic Workers Union) (ed.)
(1994) 1970-nyondae ihu Han’guk nodong undongsa (A History of the Korean
Labor Movement Since the 1970s), Seoul: Tongnyok.
Han’guk minjungsa yon’guhoe (Institute of the Korean People’s History) (1993)
Han’guk minjungsa II: kun- hyondaepy’on (A History of the Korean People, 2:
Contemporary Chapter), 15th printing. Seoul: P’ulpit.
Han’guk unhaeng chosabu (Research Department, The Bank of Korea) (1994)
Kyongje t’onggye yonbo (Economic Statistics Yearbook). Seoul: Research Department, The Bank of Korea.
Han’guk yoksa yon’guhoe (Institute of Korean History) (1992) Han’guk yoksa (A
Korean History), Seoul: Yoksa pip’yongsa.
Hangminsa (ed.) (1985) Sawol hyongmyong charyojip: Sailgu ui minjungsa (The April
Revolution Data Collection: A People’s History of the April Revolution), Seoul:
Hapdong yon’gam, 1961 (Hapdong Almanac, 1961) (1962), Seoul: Hapdong News
Hong Isop (1961) “Sawol hyongmyong ui chaep’yongkka” (Reevaluation of the
April Revolution), Sasanggye April: 54–9.
Hong Songchik (1962) “Taehaksaeng un muot ul saenggak hagoin’na?” (What are
university students thinking?), Sasanggye April: 118–19.
Hyongmyong kwa konsol e kwanhan Kim Il Sung tongji ui widaehan saenghwallyok (The
Thought of Comrade Kim Il Sung on Revolution and Construction and Its Great
Strength) (1969), Pyongyang: Sahoe kwahagwon ch’ulp’ansa.
Im Kyongt’aek (1991) “Han’guk kwonwijuui ch’eje ui tongwon kwa t’ongje e taehan
yon’gu: saemaul undong ul chungsim uro” (A Study of Political Mobilization
and Control under an Authoritarian System in Korea: Emphasis on the New
Community Movement), unpublished Ph.D. diss., Seoul: Koryo taehakkyo
Im Wont’aek (1960) “ICA wonjo hyokkwa rul komt’o handa” (An examination of
the aid impact of the ICA), Sasanggye November: 78–86.
Kang Ch’angsong (1991) Ilbon–Han’guk: kunbol.chongch’i (Japan–Korea: Politics of
Military Factualism), Seoul: Haedong Munhwasa.
Kang Indok (1996) “Chungang chongbobu ui ‘nambukhan kyongjeryok bigyo”
(KCIA’s comparative study of economic power between South and North
Korea), in Choson Ilbosa, Wolgan choson palgul: Han’guk hyondaesa, pi – charyo
125 kon (The Monthly Choson’s Discoveries: Korea’s Modern History, 125 Secret
Materials), Choson Ilbosa, 1: 261–4.
Kim Chin (1992) Chongwadae piso sil 1 (Blue House Secretariat vol. 1), Chungang
Kim Chongho (1978) “Pansanghoe ui sidaejok uiui” (A periodical significance of
the Pansanghoe), in Pansanghoe ui sidaejok uiui (The Periodical Significance of
the Pansanghoe), Naemubu [Ministry of the Interior].
Kim Chongnyom (1990) Kim Chongnyom hoegorok: Han’guk kyongje chongch’aek 30nyonsa (A Thirty-Year History of Korea’s Economic Policy), Chungang Ilbo and
Chungang kyongje sinmun.
—— (1997) Ah, Pak Chonghui (Ah, Park Chung Hee), Seoul: Chungang M&B.
Kim Chongsin (1997) Pak Chong Hui taet’ong nyong kwa Chubyon saramdul [President Park Chung Hee and his inner circle], Seoul: Han’guk nonda.
Kim Chongyol (1993), “5.16, Pak Chonghui maegurodu hoedan naemak’ (The
inside facts of the meeting between General Park Chung Hee and General
Magurdu), Suidonga September: 431–55.
Kim Chunha (1993) “Chang Myon naegak kuharyogo kyeomnyong ch’uin” (Ratification of the May 16 coup in order to save Prime Minister Chang and his
cabinet). In Pirok: Han’guk ui taet’ongryong (A Hidden Story: Korea’s Presidents),
Seoul: Choson Ilbosa, pp. 232–3.
Kim Hyongwuk and Pak Sawol (1985) Kim Hyongwuk hoegorok, che 1–3 pu
(Memoirs of Kim Hyongwuk, vol. 1–3), Seoul: Ach’im.
Kim Ilyong (1995) “Park Chung Hee ch’eje 18 nyon, ottokke pol kkosin’ga” (The
18 years of the Park Chung Hee System: How should we consider it?), Sasang
winter: 208–56.
Kim Kyongnae (1963) “Chonhyangjanya? aninya? In’gan Pak Chong hui ui chonhyang chubyon” (Is he a convert from communism or not? The circumstance of
the idological conversion of Park Chung Hee the man), Sasanggye November:
Kim Samgyu (1960) “T’ongil tongnip konghwaguk eui kil” (The means to establishing the Unified Independent Republic of Korea), Sasanggye September:
Kim Sanghyop, Pu Wanhyok, Sin Sangch’o and Han T’aeyon (1960)
“Chwadamhoe: Minju chongch’i ch’oeh’u ui kyodubo” (Discussion: the last
bridgehead of democratic parties), Sasanggye May: 26–39.
Kim Sanghyop, Sin Sangch’o, Hwang Sandok and Han T’aeyon (1960) “Naegk
ch’aegimje ui paryuk sangt’ae.” (Developmental condition of the cabinet
system). Sasanggye December: 47–58.
Kim Songhwan (ed.) (1984) 1960 nyondae (The 1960s) Seoul: Korum.
Kim Songjin (ed.) (1994) Pak Chong Hui sidae: kugosun uri ege muosionnunga (The
Park Chung Hee Era: What Did It Mean To Us?) Seoul: Choson Ilbosa.
Kim T’aehon (1995) “Sonjin’guk sujunui p’yongyun sumyongedo yong-a
samang nopta” (The high death rate of infant mortality in spite of the average
life expectancy of a developed country), in Choson Ilbo (ed.) Han’gugin ui
songjokp’yo (Korean People’s Performance Record): Seoul: Choson Ilbosa,
pp. 532–5.
Kim Yongsu (1964) “Minju konghwadang sajon chojik” (The prearranged organization of the Democratic Republican Party), Sindonga November: 168–73.
Kim Yongt’ae (1990) Kim Yongt’ae chasojon (Kim Yongta’e Memoirs) 2 vols, Chimmundang.
Kukpangbu (Ministry of National Defense) (1994) Yulgok saopui ojewa onul kurigo
naeil (The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow of the Yulgok Operation).
Kungmu ch’ongni kihoek chojongsil (The Office of Planning and Management in
the Prime Minister’s office) (1973) Chunghwahak kongop ui onul kwa naeil, 1973
(The Today and Tomorrow of the Heavy and Chemical Industry, 1973), December.
Kukhoesa: che 4, 5, 6-dae Kukhoe (History of the National Assembly: The 4th, 5th
and 6th National Assembly) (1971), Taehanmin’guk kukhoe (Republic of Korea
National Assembly).
Kwon Kapchu (1974) “Yusin inyom kyoyuk ui hyonhwang kwa kaesonch’aek,”
Yusin chongu (Political Fraternity of the Yusin Reform), 5 April: 70–92.
Kwon Taebok (ed.) (1985) Chinbodang (The Progressive Party), Seoul:
Kwon Yonggi (1991) “Konggae kumji taegu sabom songjokp’yo ui pimil” (Closed
to the public: the secret academic record of Taegu Teachers’ College), Wolgan
Choson May: 351–61.
“K’onlon ossosiessu pogoso: Miguk ui tae asea chongch’aek” (United States foreign
policy – Asia: study prepared at the request of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, November, 1959) (1960), translated in Sasanggye January: 122–9.
Minju Han’guk hyongmyong ch’ongsa p’yonch’an wiwonhoe (1962) Minju
Han’guk hyongmyong ch’ongsa (A History of the Democratic Korean Revolution).
Minju konghwadang (Democratic and Republican Party) (1977) Hanminjoko ui
chunghung sasang: Pak Chong hui taet’ongnyong ui chido inyom (Ideology of the
Korean People’s Restoration: President Park Chung Hee’s Leadership Ideology), Seoul: Konghwa ch’ulp’ansa.
Mun’gyobu (Ministry of Education) (1968) Kungmin kyoyuk honjang tokbon (Text of
the National Education Charter), Seoul: Tonga ch’ulp’ansa.
Mun’gyosa (A History of Education) (1974) Chungang taehakgyo Han’guk kyoyuk
munje yon’guso.
Naemubu (Ministry of Internal Affairs) (1973) Saemaul undong (New Community
Movement), no mention of publisher.
—— (1976) Tosi saemaul undong chich’im (Guidelines for the Urban Saemaul Movement), no mention of publisher.
—— (1981) Saemaul undong 10 nyonsa (A Ten-Year History of the New Community
Movement), no mention of publisher.
Nagaoka Fumiyo (2001) “Korea Inc. emerges tougher from the crucible,” The
Nikkei Weekly, 30 July.
Nam Chaehui (1963) “Pak chongkkwon ui kongyak kwa ‘mijisu’ minjujuui” (The
Park regime’s promises and the unknown democracy), Sasanggye December:
Nambuk taehwa paekso (White Paper on the South–North Dialogue) (1975), Seoul:
Nambuk chojol wiwonhoe.
No Chaehyon (1992) Ch’ongwadae pisosil (The Blue House Secretariat), Chungang
O Hyojin (1987) “Kim Jongp’il, ibul yolda: Park taet’ongnyong kwa Kim Hyonguk
silchong” (Kim Jong Pil broke his silence: President Park and the disappearance
of Kim Hyongwuk), Wolgan Choson January: 290–323.
O Silim (1984) Sinui wa paesin (Trust and Betrayal), Seoul: Songsil insoesa.
O Wonch’ol (1992) “Park taet’ongnyong ui yujak: 2000 nyondae rul wihan
Han’guk kaejo kusang” (President Park’s posthumous work: a concept of
Korea’s reform for the 2000s), Wolgan Choson February: 506–41.
—— (1994) “Sanop chollyak kundansa” (A history of the industrial strategy
corps), in Han’guk kyongje sinmun (Korean Economic Daily), from 27 July 1992
to 13 April.
—— (1994a) “Taet’ongnyong ui pimyong: 20 kae sadanul mujang sik’yora” (The
president’s secret order: that twenty divisions be armed), Wolgan Choson June:
pp. 470–82.
—— (1994b) “Aijenbogu waui pimil taejwa: O Wonch’ol hoegorok” (A secret
meeting with Izenburg: O Wonch’ol memoirs), Wolgan Choson September:
—— (1994c) “Nambukhan kyongje uyol 70 nyonch’o kyolp’annatta” (The economic superiority or inferiority of South Korea over North Korea was decided in
the 1970s), Sindonga December: 422–37.
—— (1995) Han’gukhyong kyongje konsol: Enjinioring opuroch’i (Korean Model Economic Construction: Engineering Approach), vol. 1, Seoul: Kia kyongje yon’guso.
—— (1995a) “Pukhan kyongje munojin kkadak” (The reasons for the collapse of
North Korea’s economy), Sindonga January: 148–69.
—— (1995b) “Kungmin ton, han p’undo pujong un andwae” (No corruption of
the National Fund, even for a cent, is tolerated), Sindonga April: 410–25.
—— (1995c) “Yulgok saop ch’ulpal: Pak Chong hui, Kim Il Sung ogi ssaum” (The
commencement of the Yulgok Plan: warfare of pride, Park Chung Hee vs Kim Il
Sung), Sindonga June: 475–6.
—— (1996) “Yudot’an kaebal, Chon Tuhwan kwa migugi magatta” (Development
of guided missiles and the obstruction of Chun Doo Hwan and the United
States), Sindonga January: 388–411.
—— (1996) Han’gukhyong kyongje konsol: Enjinioring opuroch’i (Korean Model Economic Construction: Engineering Approach). vols 2–5, Seoul: Kia kyongje yon’guso.
—— (1997) Han’gukhyong kyongje konsol: Enoji chongch’aek kwa chungdong chinch’ul
(Korean Model Economic Construction: Energy Policy and Advance to Middle
East), vol. 6. Seoul: Kia kyongje yon’guso.
—— (1997a) Han’guk ui sanop hyongmyong (Korea’s Industrialization), unpublished manuscript.
—— (1997b) “Kongjang Saemaul Undong” (Factory Saemaul Movement), unpublished manuscript.
—— (1997c) “T’opreberu ui tek’unok’urat’u: Han’il taeryukbung punjaeng” (The
top-level technocrats: the Korea–Japan dispute over the continental shelf),
unpublished manuscript.
—— (1999) Han’gukhyong kyongje konsol: Naega chonjaengul hajanun’gotto aniji
annunya (Korean Model Economic Construction: I’m not Suggesting to Engage
in War), vol. 7, Seoul: Han’gukhyong kyongje chongch’aek yon’guso.
O Wonch’ol’s private papers, pp. 1–190. Introduced in this book as “O Wonch’ol
Om Kihyong (1961) “Han’guk chongch’iindul ui chongundaesong” (Pre-modern
characteristics of Korean politicians), Sasanggye March: 131–7.
Pae Ch’anbok (1988) “Nambuk’an ui chongch’i sahoehwa e kwanhan yon’gu:
chongch’i kyoyuk pyonch’on kwajong pigyorul chungsimuro” (A study of the
socialization of politics in North and South Korea: emphasis is given to comparing the changing process in political education), unpublished Ph.D. diss., Seoul:
Koryo taehakyo taehagwon.
Paek Sonyop (1989) 6.25 Han’guk chonjaeng hoegorok: Kun kwa naa (Memoirs of the
Korean War: The Army and I), Seoul: Taeryuk yon’guso.
Pak Ch’unghun (1995) “Pak Ch’unghun chon sanggong changkwan ui t’ukpyol
kigo” (A special article by Pak Ch’unghun, former Minister of Commerce and
Industry), in O Wonch’ol, HGKKS (1995) vol.1, pp. 323–36.
Pak Chinhwan (1987) Kyongje palchon kwa nongch’on kyongje (Economic Development and Rural Economy), Seoul: Pakyongsa.
Pak Chonghong (1961) “Sasang kwa haengdong” (Ideology and Action), Sasanggye
January: 44–53.
Pak Chonghong and An Pyonguk (1961) “Ch’olhak un saenghwal soge itta”
(Philosophy exists in everyday life), Sasanggye January: 152–65.
Pak Kwonhum (1982) Chongch’i ui hyonjang: che 3 konghwaguk chongch’i pihwa – 5.16
eso 10 wol yusin kkaji (The Scene of Politics: The Hidden Stories of the Third
Republic – from the May 16 Military Coup to the October Yusin), Seoul:
Pak Sanggil (1993) “30 nyon mane tasi ponun kukka wa hyongmyong kwa na”
(Looking again at the book, “The Country, The Revolution and I” after 30
years), in Choson Ilbo (ed.) Pirok: han’guk ui taet’ongryong (Secret Records:
Korea’s Presidents), Seoul: Choson Ilbosa, pp. 194–201.
Pak Segil (1989) Tasi ssunun han’guk hyondaesa, 2: hyujon eso 10. 26 kkaji (A Rewriting of Korea’s Modern History, 2: from the Truce to the October 26 Incident),
Seoul: Tolpegae.
Park Chung Hee Taet’ongnyong kwa Yuk Yongsu yosa kinyom saophoe (ed.)
(1990) Kyore ui chidoja (The Leader of a Nation), Seoul: Yukyong chaedan.
Pu Wanhyok (1960) “Hyungmyong ui hyon tan’gye wa kumhu” (The present state
of the April Revolution and its future), Sasanggye June: 128–38.
Pukhan yon’guso (ed.) (1994) Pukhan ch’ongnam (A Complete Collection on
North Korea), Seoul: Tonga ch’ulp’ansa.
Sasanggye (1960) “Midaehan wonjo ui maengjjom: Ch’ungju piryo kongjang
konsol ui k’eisu” (The blind spot in American aid for Korea: in the case of the
construction of the Ch’ungju fertilizer plant), Sasanggye November: 52–86.
Sim Chiyon (1983) “Hanmindang ui kujojok punsok kwa tanjong roson” (Structural analysis and the unitary line of the Korean Democratic Party), in Song
Konho with Kang Man’gil (eds) Han’guk minjokjuui ron II (A Theory of Korean
Nationalism II), Seoul: Changjak kwa pip’yongsa, pp. 183–221.
Sin Sangch’o (1960) “Sangno chongkkwon ui t’ansaeng kwa tongyo: Naegak
ch’aegimje nun polsso pyonjil hago itta” (Birth of the peasants’ regime and
unrest: the cabinet system is already changing). Sasanggye October: 46–51.
—— (1960a) “Tan’gun irae ui p’at’an, susup, chaegon: Chayu ui kyehoekhwa ga
p’iryo” (Destruction, control, and reconstruction since the Tan’gun period:
need for a structuralization of freedom), Sasanggye October: 50–6.
—— (1960b) “Yi Sungman p’okchong ui chongon” (The end of Syngman Rhee’s
tyrannical government), Sasanggye June: 82–9.
—— (1961) “Chwadamhoe: Kisong chongch’iin ui solchikhan paron” (Discussion:
frank expression of established politicians), Sasanggye August: 142–59.
—— (1963) “Muosi sasang nongjaenginnya?” (What is the ideological dispute?),
Sasanggye November: 118–24.
Son Hoch’ol (1993) “5.16 k’udet’a rul ottokke p’yongkka halkosin’ga” (How should
we judge the May 16 Military Coup?), Yoksa pip’yong summer 1991: 161–77.
Song Konho (1983) “60.70 nyondae ui t’ongil noni” (The unification debate of
the 1960s and 1970s), in Song Konho and Kang Man’gil (eds) Han’guk minjok
juuiron II (Korean Nationalism (part 2)), Seoul: Ch’angjak kwa pip’yongsa, pp.
Song Yubo (1983) “4wol hyongmyong kwa t’ongil noni” (A discussion on the April
revolution and unification), in Song Konho and Kang Man’gil (eds) Han’guk
minjokjuui ron II (Korean Nationalism (part 2)), Seoul: Ch’angjak kwa pip’yongsa, pp. 109–43.
Taehanmin’guk chongbu (Republic of Korea Government) (1962) Che 1 ch’a
kyongje kaebal 5 kaenyon kyehoek: 1962–1966 (The First Five-Year Economic Development Plan, 1962–1966).
—— (1966) Che 2 ch’a kyongje kaebal 5 kaenyon kyehoek: 1962–1966 (The Second
Five-Year Economic Development Plan, 1967–1971).
—— (1971) Che 3 ch’a kyongje kaebal 5 kaenyon kyehoek: 1972–1976 (The Third FiveYear Economic Development Plan, 1972–1976).
Taehanmin’guksa p’yonch’an wiwonhoe (1988) Taehanmin’guksa (A History of
Korea). Seoul: T’amgudang.
Taet’ongnyong Kyongje 2 pisosil (1979) 80-nyondae kodo songjang ul wihan chollyak
(The Strategy for High-Speed Growth in the 1980s), October.
Taet’ongryong pisosil (1978) Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement), Seoul:
Koryo sojok chusikhoesa.
Tonga yon’gam, 1972 (Tonga Yearbook, 1972) (1972) Tonga Ilbosa.
Tonga yon’gam, 1980 (Tonga Yearbook, 1980) (1980) Tonga Ilbosa.
U Sungmu (1995) “Chonhwa pogup hwakdae” (Expansion of telecommunications), in Choson Ilbosa (ed.) Han’gugin ui songjokp’yo (Korean People’s
Performance Record), pp. 460–3.
Warner, Denise (1960) “Yi Sungman omnun Han’guk” (Korea without Syngman
Rhee), translated by Sasanggye editors, Sasanggye November: 87–93.
Wolgan choson palgul: Han’guk hyondaesa, pi – charyo 125 kon (The Monthly Wolgan
Choson’s Discoveries: Korea’s Modern History, 125 Secret Materials) (1996)
January, Choson Ilbosa.
Won Songik (1961) “Tokjega wae soninya?” (Why is dictatorship good?), Sasanggye
August: 12.
Yang Kunman and Kim Kich’o (1996) “No T’aewu pijagum sagon susa kirok
chonmun tandok ipsu konggae” (A release to the public of the entire records
obtained exclusively on Roh Tae Woo’s secret fund), Wolgan Choson March:
Yang tongan (eds) (1987) Hyondae Han’guk chongch’isa (A History of Modern
Korea), Han’guk chonsin munhwa yon’guwon.
Ye Ch’unho (1985a) “Samson kaehon, ku ummowa paesin” (Constitutional amendment for a third term of presidency: conspiracy and betrayal), Sindonga August:
—— (1985b) “Kwankkon e munojin samson kaehon pandaejadul” (Opponents of
the constitutional amendment for a third presidential term: their collapse
forced by the authorities), Sindonga November: 198–210.
Yi Ch’angyol (1961) “Han’guk kyongje ch’eje ui chillo” (Direction of Korea’s economic system), Sasanggye March: 100–9.
Yi Ch’olsong (1994) “Pak taet’ongnyong kwa na ui kiguhan kwan’gye” (The
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Page references followed by “n” indicate endnotes.
Abegglen, James C. 184
academics, involvement in Park’s new
government 76
ADD (Agency for Defense
Development) 171, 196–7, 201–2
“administrative democracy”, military
junta after 1961 coup 72–6
Agnew, Spiro 108
agriculture: rural development through
New Village Movement 133–47; rural
underemployment and poverty 45–6
aid: Japan 9, 97; Korean dependence
on US aid 85–9; undermining of
chuch’esong 50–1; see also USA
American Military Government (AMG)
22, 41–2
Amsden, Alice H. 5, 162
An Ch’angho 236n
An Pyonguk 54
An Yongch’ol 178
anti-Communism, Park after 1961 coup
Anti-Communist Youth Corps 41
anti-Yusin movement 149, 243n
April Student Revolution (sa-il-gu)
(1960) 39, 40, 41, 43–4, 59
Arikawa Hiroshi 16, 19
Asian and Pacific Council (ASPAC) 103
assassination (Park’s) 1, 4, 199–200;
attempted 104, 105
assimilation policy (naisen ittai/kokoku
shimminka) 16
Atmojo, Heru 216
August 3 Decree 126
authoritarianism, and HCI policy
175–6, 207–8
autonomy see chuch’esong
Bank of Choson 118
banks, nationalization of major banks
81, 82
Berger, Samuel D. 71, 85, 86, 86–8, 92,
“Big Push” program 176
Blue House Secretariat (BHS) 151–9
Brandt, Willy 133
Brown, Harold 100, 198
Brown Memorandum 216
Bundy, McGeorge 99
bureaucracy: Emergency Decree No. 9
150–1; technocracy of new Park
government 76–8; see also
Bush, George W., President 1, 220
Carter, Jimmy, President 159–60,
163–4, 197–9, 217, 218
Central Council of the National SelfReliant Unification 235n
Ch’a Hosong 233n
Ch’a Kibyok 43
Ch’ae Pyongdok 23, 25
chaebol 2; 1997 financial crisis 7;
authority of Park 8; corruption 207;
first Five-Year Plan 81, 82–4;
industrialization 206–7; strategy of
Blue House Secretariat 155–6
chaeya 125
chajusong 2
chalsalgi 136
Chang Chunha 43, 55, 235n
Chang Hung 58
Chang Kiyong 13, 114, 115, 118, 119,
120–1, 209
Chang Myon (John M. Chang) 28;
government of 45–6, 52, 63, 80, 86;
Park’s criticism of Chang
government 72
Chang Tokchin 117, 240n
Chang Toyong, General 26, 30, 60, 63,
84, 234n, 237n
Chang Yejun 145, 182
Ch’angwon complex 185
Cheney, Dick 220
Cho Kagyong 49
Cho Kapche 14, 19
Cho Pongam 42–3, 46
Cho Pyongok 22, 42
Cho Sun 184
Cho Sunsung 51–2
Cho Tongp’il 50
Cho Yongsu 235n
Ch’oe Hyongsop 237n
Ch’oe Hyonho 201
Ch’oe Kwangsu 190, 247n
Ch’oe Kyongnok, Lieutenant-General
61, 62
Ch’oe Kyuha (Ch’oi Kyuha) 105, 108,
196, 213
Ch’oe Tuson 128
Ch’oe Yonghui, Lieutenant-General 61,
Ch’ollima 146, 243n
Chon Chinhan 47
Ch’on Pyongdu 180
Chon T’aeil 124, 162, 244n
Chong Chaegyong 151, 157
Chong Chaeho 84
Chong Chuyong (Chung Ju Yung) 155
Chong Ilgwon, Colonel 24, 25, 81, 99,
Chong Inyong 183
Chong Naehyok, Major-General 27–8,
Chong Soyong 79
Chong Such’ang 145
Chong Yangun 56–7
Ch’ongwadae pisosil (Blue House
Secretariat) (BHS) 151–9
Choson Silk Mill 82
Christopher, Warren 201
Chu Yongbok 191
chuch’e ideology (North Korea) 236n;
and Saemaul Movement compared
chuch’esong (independence/
autonomy), pre-1961 debate
Chun Doo Hwan, Major-General 8, 9,
152, 199, 211–12; corruption 191,
192–3; seizure of power 200–1, 220
Chunghwahak kongophwa chongch’aek
sonon e ttaron kongop kujo kaep’yonnon
Civil Rule Party 90
class, minjung advocates and
development of Korea 6
“Clean-up the Military” campaign
29–30, 58–9
Clements, William 196, 218
Clifford, Mark L. 181
Cold War 92–3; and Korea–US relations
215, 218–19; and US reaction to 1961
coup 70–2; see also Vietnam War
Communist activities, Park’s
prosecution for 23–5
Comprehensive Stabilization Plan 162
Confucian values, role in development
of Korea 6
Confucianism 2
Constitutional Amendment Bill 123,
corruption: chaebol 207; foreign loans
121; Yulgok Operation 190–2; see also
coup: grievances behind 1961 coup
60–2; May-8-Plan (1960) 27–30, 59;
preparations for 1961 coup 62–4;
problem of legitimacy for new
administration 69–72
cultural revolution, Saemaul Movement
culture, call for national reconstruction
Cummings, Bruce 5, 146
currency controls 81
Daewoo 156
democracy: Daisho Democracy
compared to “Koreanized
democracy” 146; democracy
movement 211; see also
Democratic Party 42, 47
Democratic Republican Party (DRP)
112–22, 202; “export-oriented
industry construction” (EOIC)
114–17; table of 116; USA and
export-led industrialization 113–14;
and weapons development 172
84–5, 91, 92, 95, 101; 1971 elections
125; 1978 elections 161; impact of
budget reduction 158; restructuring
demonstrations: June 3 Struggle 98–9;
see also students; workers
dependency approach, minjung
theorists 6
Development as Freedom (Sen) 209
developmental studies, differing
approaches 4–7
Eastman, Lloyd E. 58, 236n
Economic Planning Board (EPB) 4, 78,
79–80, 114, 115, 118, 119–20, 209;
Comprehensive Stabilization Plan
162; development of weapons 166;
and HCI Plan 179, 180–1, 182; table
of ministers 122; see also New Village
Movement; Yusin (Restoration)
economy: 1997 financial crisis 7;
benefits of involvement in Vietnam
War 102–3; Comprehensive
Stabilization Plan 162; cost of Yulgok
Operation 189; currency controls 81;
export growth and GNP 138; exportled industrialization 4, 112–22, 202;
Five-Year Plan (first) 78–82; foreign
direct investment (FDI), capital for
HCI 183–4; global economy, Korea’s
place in 5–6; GNP 209–20; growth
after 1972 95; inflation 162;
nationalization, major banks 81; pre1961 debate 48–9; rural development
through New Village Movement
133–47; see also chaebol; HCI;
education 210
egalitarianism 78–9
elections (1978) 161
Emergency Decree No. 9 150
Emergency State Council 139, 140
“engineering approach” 2; HCI policy
175, 208
Exocet missiles 186
“Exorcism to Invoke Native Land
Consciousness” 99
“export-oriented industry construction”
(EOIC) 114–17
exports: export growth and GNP 138;
export-led industrialization 4,
Factory Saemaul Movement (Factory
New Community Movement) 142–3
familism 77
February 26 Uprising 20
Federation of Korean Industry (FKI) 84
Five-Year Economic Development Plan
(1972–6) 138
Five-Year Plan (first) 78–82; chaebol
82–4; dependence on US aid 89
flunkeyism, Park’s rhetoric against
Ford, Gerald, President 149, 218
foreign direct investment (FDI), capital
for HCI 183–4
France, nuclear reprocessing plant 194
Fraser, Donald 149, 161
Fukuda Takeo, Prime Minister 160–1
garrison decree (1971) 126
Giscard d’Estaing Valéry 194
Gleysteen, William 160, 164, 198,
199–200, 201, 205, 217
global economy, Korea’s place in 5–6
GNP 209–20; growth in and New
Village Movement 138
government: administrative democracy
72–6; see also bureaucracy
Green, Marshall 71, 216
Guam doctrine/Nixon doctrine 106–7,
109, 166
“Guidance System” (chido ch’eje) 95, 124
guided capitalism, first Five-Year Plan
Ha-Joon Chang 5
Habib, Philip 194–5
Haguksang Incident 28
haguksang sagon (Revolt Against
Seniors) 30, 62
hagyon 22
Hak-kyu Sohn (Son Hakgyu) 125
Ham Inyong 77, 237n
Ham Sokhon 39, 44, 46, 57, 73; call for
people’s revolution 52–4
Han Chaeyol 181
Han Sangbok 135, 136, 138
Han Sangjun 183
Han T’aeyon 56
Hana-hoe 212
Hanbo Steel 212
Han’guk Cable Company 83
Han’guk Glass 82
Han’gukchok chuch’esong 54
Han’guksik (Korean Way) 8
Harriman, Averill W. 88, 102
Hausman, James, Captain 25
HCI (heavy and chemical
industrialization) program 2, 3–4,
143, 151, 155, 165–87, 173–81;
authoritarianism 208; cost of 176,
183; denounced 9; downgrading of
after death of Park 8–9; HCI
Planning Corps 177–81; Japan’s
experience 172, 175; Ministry of
Commerce and Industry (MCI) 178,
179–80, 181–3; and North Korea 175;
raising capital for 183–7; and
weapons development 168–9, 172–3,
health 210
Helms, R. M. 106
Hilsman, Roger 87
Ho Chong 41, 42, 44–5, 91, 158
Holbrooke, Richard C. 201
Homeland Guard 111–12, 125
Hong Isop 49, 235n
Hu Shih 58
Hudson Institute 184
human rights movement 159–60
Hwang T’aesong 88, 91, 239n
Hwang Yongju 241n
Hwasin 82
Hyon Sokho 60, 61, 62, 236n
Hyundai 155, 156, 207
ideology, Pak Chonghong on 54
Ikeda Hayato 97, 98, 99
IMF, 1997 financial crisis 7
independence see chuch’esong
Indonesia 216
Industrial Parks Development
Promotion Law 185
industrialization 209–12; Japan and
Korea compared 207–8; Korean Way
206; state-guided industrialization
2–3; table of long-term industrial
development policy 222; table of
stages of industrial development 223;
see also economy; HCI program; Yusin
(Restoration) system
inflation, Chang Myon Government 45
Japan: aid to DRP 97; aid to Korea 98;
Daisho Democracy compared to
“Koreanized democracy” 146; HCI
policy 172, 175; Korea’s relationship
with 94; normalization of relations
with 96–101; Park’s negotiations with
64–5; relationship with Korea 86, 87,
88; US regional policy 1–2
Johnson, Chalmers 5, 165, 177, 207
Johnson, Lyndon B., President 99, 100,
103–4, 105, 109
Johnson, Robert 86
“Juch’e” 139, 146
June 3 Struggle 98–9
Kaep’yonnon 173; see also HCI
Kahn, Herman 184
Kang Kyongsik 181
Kennedy, John, President 70, 72, 92,
Keon, Michael 20
Kil Chaeho 60, 123
Killen, James 113
Kim Anil, Major 24
Kim Chaech’un 26, 85
Kim Chaegwan 181
Kim Chaegyu 200
Kim Chaeik 152, 181
Kim Ch’angyong, Captain 24
Kim Chiha 126
Kim Chit’ae 238n
Kim Chongmyon, Brigadier-General 27
Kim Chongnyom 76, 78, 114, 115,
116–17, 119, 121–2, 144, 208, 209,
213, 240n, 243n; Blue House
Secretariat 151–4; dismissal 162; HCI
Planning Corps 179; HCI policy
168–9, 175; on Park’s political greed
214; weapons development 166–8,
171–3, 245n; Yolgok Operation 191–2
Kim Chongp’il, Lieutenant-Colonel 9,
26, 71, 92, 122–3, 124, 128; allegedly
chosen by Park as his successor 213;
“Clean-up the Military” campaign 60;
corruption 192; haguksang sagon
62–3; HCI policy 176; as head of
KCIA 73; leadership challenge to
Park 84–5; minimal authority as
Prime Minister 157; normalization of
relations with Japan 98; resignation
Kim Chongp’yong 28
Kim Chongyol, Colonel 24
Kim Chuyol 41, 235n
Kim Dae Jung 9, 124–5, 147, 149, 160,
192, 212; kidnapping of 184
Kim Hang’yol 154, 166, 209, 241n, 243n
Kim Honam 18
Kim Hyonguk 60, 91, 122, 124, 243n
Kim Ijin 233n
Kim Il Sung 55, 77, 96, 111, 124, 128,
129–30, 139, 144, 157, 212, 236n;
chuch’e ideology and Saemaul
Movement compared 146–7
Kim Jong Il 219, 220
Kim Manche 184
Kim Sanghyop 55–6
Kim Sangjin 149
Kim Sangman 184
Kim Sinjo 104
Kim Songbom 79
Kim Songgon 122, 123, 124, 243n
Kim Son’gil 245n
Kim Songjin 213
Kim Songsu 42
Kim T’aesik, Lieutenant-General 59
Kim Tongha, General 59, 85
Kim Tongjo 99, 148, 160
Kim Ujung (Woo Jung) 156
Kim Yonghwan 3, 162, 184
Kim Yongju 128
Kim Yongsik 160
Kim Yongt’ae 123, 241n
Kim Yongwan 145
Kim Youghwan 154, 179
Kim Young Sam 149, 158, 191, 192,
Kim Yut’aek 120
Kishi Nobusuke 97, 99
Kissinger, Henry 106, 217
Ko Chonghun 25
Komer, Robert 86
Korea Military Advisory Group (KMAG)
Korea Socialist Party 47
Korea-America Economic Council 183
Koreagate scandal 159–60, 217
Korean Central Intelligence Agency
(KCIA) 3, 73, 84, 119; Park’s reliance
on 156, 206, 218; scandals 238n;
supporting Park 122; torture of DRP
members 123; see also security
Korean Constabulary Officers’ Training
School (KCOTS) 21–3
Korean Democratic Party (KDP)
(Han’guk Minjudang) 42, 235n
Korean Fertilizer Company 121
Korean Liberation Army 21
Korean National Foundation League
(KNFL) 21, 233n
Korean Nuclear Fuels Development
Corporation (KNFDC) 197
Korean Socialist Party (Han’guk
sahoedang) 47
Korean War (1950), Park’s role in
“Koreanized democracy” 89, 154
Ku Inhoe 83
Kukdong Marine 82
Kukka wa hyongyong kwa na (Park) 90
Kum Chinho 245n
Kumsong Textile 82
Kwangju Uprising 9, 180
Kwon Chungdon 61
Kwon Obyong 123
Laird, M. R. 106
League of Korean Residents in Japan
League of National Unification (Minjok
t’ongil yonmaeng) 47
Lee Hahn Been 77
legitimacy, problem of for new Park
administration 69–72
liberal democracy: limitations of US
commitment to 215–16; strong
leader and national reconstruction
55–6; see also government
Liberal Party 42
Lockheed 196–7
Lucky-Goldstar 83, 155
Lynn, James T. 217
McConaughy, Walter P. 86
Macdonald, Donald Stone 52
Magruder, Carter B., General 28
Mao Tse-tung 95
“March North and unify Korea”
(pukchin t’ongil ) 42
market-oriented approach,
developmental studies 4
Maxwell, James A. 119
May 1961 plan 80
May-8-Plan 59
MBC Broadcasting 238n
Meiji Reform 74
Memmi, Albert 13, 20, 31
meritocracy, bureaucracy 77
middle classes 210
military: acquisition of Exocet missiles
186; acquisition of Harpoon missiles
186–7; “Clean-up the Military”
campaign 29–30, 58–9; coup plot
(1952) 27–30; development of
nuclear weapons 2, 164; development
of weapons after abduction of patrol
boat 166; grievances 60–2; Jimmy
Carter’s policy of troop withdrawal
159; lack of US support in
developing defense system 216;
launch of guided missile 198;
modernization of 188–202; nuclear
weapons and missile capability
program 193–9; proposed reduction
in Korean army 86; purge after 1961
coup 71; strained relations with US
over support 104–9; suspension of US
troop withdrawal 199; US aid 102,
215; US forces in Korea 107–9; US
withdrawal of troops 108–9, 110, 196,
218; weapons development 160,
166–8, 171–3, 176; withdrawal of US
troops 108–9, 110, 196; Yulgok
Operation 189–93
Mimura Yohei 184
Minichiello, Sharon 8, 146
Ministry of Commerce and Industry
(MCI) 4, 15, 76–7, 78, 115–16;
and HCI Planning Corps 178,
179–80, 181–3, 187; table of ministers
Ministry of International Trade and
Industry (MITI) (Japan) 207, 209
Ministry of National Defence (MOND),
Yulgok Operation 189
minjok chuch’esong 54
Minjok Chunghung 139, 146
Minjok Ilbo 47
Minjung Culture Movement (Minjung
Munhwa Undong) 99, 211
Minjung Democracy Movement 211
Morley, James W. 1
Mun Ikhwan, Rev. 160
Mun Segwang 148
Nam Keyong 145
Nam Kungyon 84
Nam Togu 154, 162, 176, 184, 209
Nasser, Gamal Abdel 74
Nathan Report 80, 237n
National Assembly: dissolution (1972)
139; limited authority of 157
National Charter of Education 105
National Civil Service Law 77
National Congress for the Restoration
of Democracy (NCRD) 149
National Council for the Protection of
Democracy (NCPD) 125
National Defense Tax (pangwise) 189
National Industry Standard Model
(NISM) 173–4
National Land Construction Movement
national reconstruction: agenda for
55–8; “Nationalistic Democracy”
nationalism: exploitation of 208; Park’s
at college 16–17
“Nationalistic Democracy” 89–90
nationalization, major banks 81, 82
New Democratic Party (NDP) 124–5,
158, 162; 1978 elections 161; adopts
labor issues 162–3
New Korea Democratic Party (NKDP)
New Village Movement (NVM)
(Saemaul Movement) 133–47
Nixon Doctrine/Guam doctrine 106,
109, 166
Nixon, Richard, President 96, 106, 110,
128, 159
No Chaehyon 246n
North Korea: attempted assassination
of Park 105, 127, 241n; fear of after
end of Vietnam War 157–8; guerrilla
warfare against South 185–6;
Homeland Guard as defense against
111–12; North–South dialogue
127–9; reaction to Korea’s
industrialization 185; relations with
USA and Korea 220; seizure of
Pueblo 104–5; shooting down of US
spy plane 106; South’s vulnerability
after US withdrawal 108–9
North–South dialogue 127–9
nuclear weapons, development of 2,
164, 193–9, 219–20
O Ch’isong 123
O Wonch’ol 3–4, 76, 144, 145, 153, 208,
209; appointment to director-general
of the First Industry Bureau 115;
arrested for corruption 192–3;
biographical sketch 169–71; Chun’s
coup 201; corruption 121;
downgrading of HCI program 8–9;
on first Five-Year Plan and “illicit
profiteers” 81; HCI Planning Corps
177–9, 180; HCI policy 165, 168–9,
175–6; nuclear weapons development
195; Paeng’nyong Island incident
186; Park’s Plan to revise Yusin
system 213; raising capital for HCI
Plan 183, 184–5; watched by US
intelligence 196; weapons
development 160, 166–8, 171–3, 176;
Yulgok Operation 190, 191–2
Oberdorfer, Don 164, 195, 219
Ogle, George 127
Ohira Masayoshi 84, 98
Paek Namui 13
Paek Sonyop, General 24, 25, 29
Paek Yongch’an 79
Paeng’nyong Island incident 185–6,
Pak Ch’iok 26
Pak Chonggyu 246n
Pak Chonghong, Professor 44, 54, 55
Pak Ch’unghun 77, 114, 115, 116, 118,
121, 145, 170, 209, 240n
Pak Hungsik 83
Pak Kunhye 7, 213
Pak Pyonggwon 85
Pak Songbin 13–14
Pak Songch’ol 128
Pak Tongson 159, 160
Pak Yongch’ol 237n
Palais, James B., Professor 39, 46, 236n
Palmer, Williston B., General 62
P’anbon 156
Pang Wonch’ol 21
Pangnim Textile Company 162
pansanghoe 141
Park Chung Hee (Pak Chonghui),
biography 13–31
Peace Market 162
People’s Party 91
People’s Reconstruction Movement
(PRM) 76
people’s revolution, call for 52–5
People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP) 150
Peoples Welfare Study Association
(Kungmin pokchihoe) 123
Pilger, John 216
planned economy, pre-1961 debate
political funding, Park’s control of 156
popular discontent 125–6
Porter, William J. 104, 107
POSCO (Pohang Iron & Steel Co.) 83,
poverty, Chang Myon Government
PPCHS 110, 111, 112
“Presidential Guidance”: HCI Plan
168–9, 171, 178, 182, see also Yusin
(Restoration) system
Price, Melvin 198
Progressive Party (Chinbodang) 42–3
Promotional Mission 183–4
protest, against normalization of
relations with Japan 98
Provisional Committee for Economic
Reconstruction (PCER) 82
Pu Wanhyok 50
Pueblo, North Korean seizure of
Pusan Ilbo 238n
regionalism 77
Reischauer, Ambassador 88
repression 9
restoration see Yusin (Restoration)
Rhee, Syngman, President 25, 100,
233n, 234n, 235n; April Revolution
41; coup plot against 27–30;
government of 41–4; May-8-Plan 59;
relationship with Japan 97
Rice, Edward 81
Roberts, W. L., General 25
Rogers, W. P. 106
Roh Moo-hyun (No Muhyon) 220
Roh Tae Woo 9, 191, 211–12
Rostow, Walt A. 86, 113
Rumsfeld, Donald 220
rural development, Saemaul Movement
Rusk, Dean 72, 96, 97, 100
sadae haekkongchang 129
Saemaul Movement 133–47; and chuch’e
ideology in North Korea compared
146–7; Saemaul Leaders’ Training
(SLT) 143–6
Sahashi Shigeru 169
Samho 82, 156
Samsung 82, 155, 207
Samyang 156
Sasanggye (World of Thought) 40, 48,
49, 52, 55, 56, 65, 74, 235n
Sato Eisaku 98, 99
Scalapino, Robert, Professor 43, 107,
scandals: KCIA 238n; Koreagate
159–60, 217; see also corruption
Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr 56
Schlesinger, James 194
Second Economy Movement 136
security: national security and North
Korea 95; Park’s reliance on security
agencies 156; see also Korean Central
Intelligence Agency; military
“self-help” 137
“self-reliance” (Chaju) 197
Sen, Amartya 209
Shiina Etsusaburo 99, 100
Shimomura Osamu 184
Shorrock, Tim 201–2
Sim Munt’aek 201
simin hyongmyong 43, 235n
Sin Hyonhwak 162, 169
Sin Sangch’o 44, 56
Sindonga ( journal) 7
Singlaub, John, Major-General 161
Sino-Soviet dispute 96
Sinp’unghoe (New Breeze Club) 63
Sneider, S. 195
So Chongch’ol 164, 246n
So Minho 127
So Sokchun 179, 180
social discontent, Third Republic 95
Socialist Mass Party (Sahoe taejungdang)
Socialist People’s Party (Sahoe
inmindang) 47
Socialist Reform Party (Sahoe
hyoksindang) 47
Society for the Study of National
Unification (Minjok t’ongil yon’guhoe)
Song Ch’anyong 77, 237n
Song Insang 119
Song Konho 227
Song Yoch’an, General 29–30, 41, 59,
South Korean Workers’ Party (Nam
Choson nodongdang/Namnodang)
Special Committee for National
Security Measures 9
Springsteen, George S. 197
state: state-guided industrialization 2–3;
see also bureaucracy; government;
Yusin (Restoration) system
statist approach, developmental studies
Steers, Richard M. 155, 156
Stock Exchange Act (1962) 82
Student League for the Protection of
the People’s Rights 241n
students: anti-Yusin movement 149–50;
June 3 Struggle 98–9; opposition to
Park (1971) 126
Sukarno, Ahmed 74
Sun Yat-sen 74
Supreme Council for National
Reconstruction (SCNR) 70–1, 70–3,
76, 79, 118; arrest of prominent
businessmen 81; and first Five-Year
Plan 80, 83; leadership challenge to
Park 84
T’ae Wanson 154, 183, 184
Taegu Teachers’ College (TTC), Park
at 15–18
Taehan Cement 82
Taehan Industry 82
Taehan Milling 82
Takaki Masao, Park’s Japanized name
T’ang Jirong 20
technocracy, bureaucracy of new Park
government 76–8
Third Republic, relationship with US
Thomson, James C. 94, 100
Time magazine 7
Tonga Ilbo 64
Tonghak Peasants’ Revolt, impact on
Pak’s life 14
Tongil Textile Company 162, 163
Tongyang Cement 82
Truman, Harry, President 51–2
Turner, Stansfield 161
unemployment 45
unification: pre-1961 debate 46–8; USA
blamed for division 51–2
United Minjung (People’s) Movement
for Democracy and Unification
United States Operations Mission
(USOM) 90
Urban Industrial Mission (UIM) 163
Urban Saemaul Movement (Urban New
Community Movement) 142
USA: aid after financial crisis 202; antiAmericanism as part of HCI policy
175; attitude to Park 217–18; and call
for chuch’esong 49–50; Carter on
human rights 159–60, 163–4; Carter’s
policy of troop withdrawal 159,
160–1; CIA, involvement in Hwang
T’aesong affair 91; disengagement
from Asian conflicts under Nixon 96;
economic assistance 215; escalation
of involvement in Vietnam 101; and
export-led industrialization 113–14;
Guam doctrine 106–7, 109, 166;
Korea–US relations, Park’s legacy
215–21; Koreagate scandal 159–60,
217; Korean dependence on aid
85–8, 89, 90, 92; and Korean nuclear
weapons development 193–9;
limitations of commitment to liberal
democracy 215–16; military
assistance 102, 215; military forces in
Korea 102, 107–9; normalization of
relations between Korea and Japan
96–101; nuclear umbrella 193, 196;
nuclear weapons 193–4; and Park’s
assassination 199–200; Park’s concept
of Korea’s relationship with 212;
Park’s criticism of 89–90; policy to
reduce size of army 86–7; reaction to
1961 coup 70–2; reaction to 1962
currency controls 81; reaction to
North Korea’s shooting down of spy
plane 106; reduction in aid 97, 217;
reduction of commitment to Korea
104–9; regional policy 1; role in
development of Korea 5–6; sale of
Harpoon missiles 186–7; spying on
Korea 196; suspension of troop
withdrawal 199; US advisers, Park’s
relationship with 28–9; Vietnam War
100–4, 107–8; withdrawal of troops
from Korea 108–9, 110, 196, 218; see
also Cold War; Vietnam War
USSR, Sino-Soviet dispute 95
Vance, Cyrus 5, 198, 201
Vessey, John, General 161
Vietnam War: ending of 157, 159;
Korean involvement 94, 100–4; US
withdrawal 107–8
Vogel, Ezra 6
Wade, Robert 2, 5, 177
weapons development see military
Won Songik 74
Won Yongdok, Colonel 24
workers: mushrooming protests since
self-immolation of Chon 162–3;
opposition to Park 124, 126; YH
incident 162–3
World Bank, developmental study 4–5
YH Trading Company, and YH incident
Yi Changhci 121
Yi Ch’angyol 48
Yi Ch’olsung 63, 158
Yi Chongch’an, Lieutenant-General 27,
28, 60, 61, 233n, 234n, 236n
Yi Chongrim 84
Yi Chuil, Major-General 63
Yi Hallim 23
Yi Hanbin 184
Yi Hungwu 10
Yi Hurak 9, 122, 124, 127, 128, 151,
171, 246n
Yi Hyonnan 18, 26
Yi Kwanghyong 8
Yi Man’gap 57
Yi Manyong 245n
Yi Nakson 144, 181, 182
Yi Pyongch’ol 81, 82, 84, 238n
Yi Pyongju 23
Yi Sokhwan, independence 49–50
Yi Sopchun 20
Yi Sunsin 15
Yi T’aeho 237n
Yi T’aehyon 237n
Yi T’agwan 29
Yi Tongwon 100
Yi Yongmun, Brigadier General 27, 28,
Yom Chonggwon 16
Yu Hansik 180
Yu Sungwon 243n
Yu Wonsik, Colonel 83
Yubi muhwan 149
Yuk Yongsu 18, 148
Yulgok Operation 189–93
Yun Poson 42, 45, 90–1, 149, 160
Yusin (Restoration) system 2, 3, 83, 110,
117, 133, 151, 154; definition 232n;
HCI policy 169; and HCI policy
175–6; limited authority of National
Assembly 157; and minjung advocates
6; and New Village Movement
139–43; Park under pressure to
abolish 147; Yusin state 148–64; see
also economy; “Presidential