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519 South Korean Democracy in Full Bloom The Kim Young-sam Administration President Kim Young-sam, sworn in on 25 February 1993, was the first civilian president in a country that had been ruled by former military men since 1961, and he proudly named his administration the “civilian government.” His successors, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, followed suit, defining their administrations, respectively, as the “national government” and “participatory government.” Portraying himself as a reformer, Kim Young-sam suggested a new politics that would address the chronic “Korean disease,” the corruption that infested everylevelof society.Indeed,SouthKoreansderisivelycalledtheircountrythe “ROTC,” or Republic of Total Corruption. In his inaugural address he vowed to build a “new Korea,” pledging to fight corruption in the public sectors and to revitalize the already strained economy. During his first months in office, he forcedthedisclosureof hisownpropertyaswellasthatof hiscabinet,members of the National Assembly, and high-ranking public servants, a practice still in place today. Within a few weeks a number of prominent figures, including the Speaker of the National Assembly, the mayor of Seoul, and three cabinet ministers , resigned because of public allegations of past corruption. 12 BOTH KOREAS IN A NEW PHASE (1993 to the Present) 520 A History of Korea Kim’s anti-corruption drive peaked on 12 August 1993, when he enacted the ActonRealNameFinancialTransactions,whichendedthetraditionalpractice of shielding money in accounts under false names to cover up illegal profiteering . The implementation of a real-name system formed a vital cornerstone of financial reform, and the new institution was well received by a majority of South Koreans. A representative of the “democratization forces,” Kim wanted to end the coexistence with the “Fifth Republic forces” by purging key military officers withclosetiestoChunDoo-hwanandRohTae-woo.InMarch1993hereplaced both the army chief of staff and the commander of the Military Security Commandwithsuccessorswhohadnolinkswiththequasi -secretmilitaryfraternity called Hanahoe, or One Society, which had been formed by Chun and Roh in the 1960s and monopolized senior military appointments during the Fifth Republic. The purification of the military was followed by a reshuffling of the ruling party. The monopoly of party hegemony by the Kim Young-sam faction prompted the Kim Jong-pil faction to break away from the party on 30 March 1995 to form a new party, the United Liberal Democrats (ULD). The arrest and trial of Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo on charges of mutiny, treason, and corruption, in 1995–1996, completely destroyed the influence and power of the Roh Tae-woo faction. The Democratic Liberal Party opened its doors to professionals and moderate dissidents, changing its name to the New Korea Party (NKP)on5December1995.On5September1995KimDae-jung,whohadtaken an extended break at home and abroad before gradually returning to active political life, formed another opposition party, the National Congress for New Politics (NCNP). This marked the return of the “period of the three Kims” in the mid-1990s. On27October1995formerpresidentRohTae-wooadmittedthatheamassed a“governingfund”of 500billonwŏn(U.S.$625million)duringhistenure.This money was originally deposited in accounts under a false name, but the truth was brought to light by the real-name financial transaction system. The same day Kim Dae-jung voluntarily confessed that he had secretly received two billion wŏn (U.S.$2.5 million) from Roh as a “gift” during the 1992 presidential campaign, and he charged the incumbent president, Kim Young-sam, with accepting much more money than he did, but Kim denied receiving any money at all from Roh. Around the same time many South Koreans clamored for a definite resolution of the lingering doubts about Chun Doo-hwan’s December 1979 takeover of the military and the May 1980 Kwangju massacre. Some civic Both Koreas in a New Phase 521 groups filed lawsuits against Chun and his colleagues involved in the critical events of 1979–1980, demanding that they be brought to justice. Earlier Kim had argued that a successful coup was not a crime punishable by the court, thus claiming that the 1979 coup and the 1980 killings should be left for history to judge. Kim’s reluctance to press the legal case against the Chun-Roh camp was undoubtedly a by-product of his unnatural coalition with the Fifth Republic forces to form the Democratic Liberal Party in early 1990. As the South Korean public increasingly questioned the amount of money he or his party accepted from Roh, however, Kim abruptly reversed his stand. A special law authorizing legalactionagainstthoseresponsibleforthe1979militarytakeoverandthe1980 Kwangju killings was enacted in the National Assembly on 19 December 1995. By its terms, Kim...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253000781
Related ISBN
9780253000248
MARC Record
OCLC
826449509
Pages
720
Launched on MUSE
2012-11-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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