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November 21, 2001
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June 1, 1979
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National prpyg or Release 2002/01/03: CIA-RDP80T00942AO0110000MO4-4 NOFORN-NO00NTR.iCT- Assessment ORCON Center The Outlook for President Pak And South Korea's Dissidents (c) Research for this report was completed on 4 June 1979. The author of this paper is East Asia/Pacific Division, Office o o rtica nalysis. It has been coordinated with the Office of Economic Research and the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Pacific. Questions and comment; may be addressed to the author at - (t!) 25X1A Secret PA 79-10253 Approved For Release 2002/01/03: CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100I &OO '4-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80TOO942AO01100080001-4 National Security Information Dissemination Control Abbreviations 25X1A Intelligence Sources and Methods Involved (WNINTEL) Unauthorized Disclosure Subiect to Criminal Sanctions NOFORN (NF) NOCONTRACT (NC) PROPIN (PP) NFIBONLY (NO) ORCON (OC) REL... FGI This publication is available on microfiche. To get a microfiche copy of this publication call=OCR/ DSB); for future issuances in addition to or in lieu of 25X1 A hard copies, cal (PPG/RDB). All material on this page is unclassified. Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals Not Releasable to Contractors or Contractor/Consultants Caution--Proprietary Information Involved NFIB Departments Only Dissemination and Extrar_~tion of Information Controlled by Originator This Information Has Ikon Authorized for Release to... Foreign Government Information Derivative classification by 664692 Review 20 years from da_e Derived from multiple Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80TOO942AO01100080001-4 ppr vdd For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 The Ojutlook fo .s: de it Pak And South Korea' , ) s nts Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80TOO942AO01100080001-4 Secret Approved For Release 2002/01/03: CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080%~AN NOCON" RACT- ORCON The Outlook for President Pak And South Korea's Dissidents (c) 25X1 C Key Judgments President Pak Chong-hui's government has come through another s=.)ring- historically the time for increased antigovernment activities in Sout 1 Korea-without serious trouble or large-scale protests from the country's dissidents. Earlier this year, Pak's security advisers were concerned hat the release from prison of Pak's longtime adversary, Kim Tae-chung, w"uld encourage greater political unrest this spring. They also feared that ? he country's high inflation rate and the prospect of President Carter's 1 isit to Seoul this summer would further embolden human rights activists. (c) The failure of the underlying malaise to disrupt domestic tranquilit} in South Korea so far reflects inherent weaknesses of the dissident mor ement, including the inability of Pak's critics to articulate goals with broad ippeal in Korea. Beyond this, the massive precautions taken by government security forces to head off disturbances and the positive economic atd political initiatives the Pak government has taken to strengthen key bases of support-initiatives that have recently been receiving greater recogrition from foreign observers of Korea-have been especially important. (s NF) The "Saemaul Movement" -a multifaceted government program tlf, at promotes both economic development and grass-roots political partic ipa- tion-has been an especially successful mechanism of the Pak goverment in strengthening support in the countryside. Pak's overall manageme nt of the country's rapid economic growth has also fostered the emergence- of a more influential urban middle class in Korea, which, for the most pa,t, supports Pak and has a growing stake in the political and economic s_atus quo. (c) PA 79-10253 June 1979 Secret Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Secret Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 NOFORN-NOCONTRA ORCON As he begins his 18th year as South Korea's national leader, Pak seems fully capable of retaining his firm grip on power into the 1980s. Pak is not invulnerable, however; if he should suffer from a major policy failure-a severe down turn in the economy, another escalating crisis in relations with the United States, a mishandling of some other key national security issue, or an overreaction to dissident activities-the now diffuse signs of domestic dissatisfaction could coalesce, and Pak might not have a sufficiently deep reservoir of support to maintain his political position. (c) Secret iv Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO011000MO 1-4 NOFORN-NOCONTR rCT- ORCON The Dissidents' Base of Support Students, Christians, and Workers The Dissidents' Goals and Tactics The National Assembly Election President Pak's Goals and Tactics The Saemaul Movement Pak and the Middle Class Secret Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03: CIA-RDP80T00942AO0110008 NOCONTR 4CT- ORCON The Outlook for President Pak And South Korea's Dissidents (c) The Dissidents' Base of Support The essential problem faced by South Korea's dissidents remains how to marshal popular support beyond the relatively small circle of students, Christian activists, and intellectuals who are active primarily in Seoul. Some dissident leaders felt that conditions conducive to broadening their movement were begin- ning to develop early this year. In their view, these included: The return of Kim Tae-chung. Kim is an able speaker and talented politician who has been in and out of prison for alleged political crimes since 1971, when he nearly defeated Pak in the presidential election. When Kim was released by Pak late last year, South Korean dissidents hoped that Kim's presence would provide their movement with badly needed leadership. Inflation. South Korea's dissidents have been frus- trated in recent years by the country's economic boom but, with inflation rising at a 20-percent annual rate, some believed that they finally had a bread-and-butter issue they could exploit politically. The ROK-US Summit. Few Korean dissidents believe that the meeting between Presidents Carter and Pak will prompt any major liberalization in Seoul, but some evidently hoped that Pak would avoid harsh repressive measures to ensure a smooth summit, thereby creating better opportunities for them to challenge the system. Iran. Only Pak's most extreme opponents see advan- tages in fostering the kind of upheaval that took place in Iran. Even so, a wider spectrum of dissidents has taken heart from the fact that a figure as powerful as the Shah could be unseated. (c) Despite these developments, dissident activity did not increase this spring. Kim Tae-chung is still a popular figure in South Korea; and his support appears to have helped Kim Yong-sam, an aggressive member of the National Assembly, to win the presidency of South Korea's major opposition political party. But since his release, Kim Tae-chung's activities often have been circumscribed by security officials, and some dis- sidents believe that his long years in confinement have reduced his political skills. Although popular concern with inflation continues, Pak has moved to dissipate potential unrest by reshuffling his economic ministers and launching a highly publicized anti-inflation cam- paign. (c) Dissident hopes that President Carter's visit wa;ild bring greater opportunities are also fading. On May Kim Tae-chung and other dissident leaders issued a statement opposing the summit on the grounds That it would provide support for President Pak's "dictato- rial" rule rather than aid the cause of human rights. Finally, the movement's attention to events in Lan seems to be ebbing, although the perception of that trauma may have left a residue of feeling that Pak is not invulnerable in the longer term. (c) For the present, the number of South Koreans v ho associate themselves with antigovernment statements, attend protest meetings, or are otherwise engag'd in struggle against the Pak government, is small. I xclud- ing the students, whose involvement in politics i~ 25X1 C intermittent, active dissenters probably number from the hundreds to perhaps a few thousand out of a population of some 37 million 25X1 C Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 Over the years, dissident leaders have tried doggedly to enlist the participation of Korean industrial workers in the struggle for liberalization, but with only the barest glimmerings of success. Most skilled and unskilled Korean laborers see improvements in their status and appear more interested in upward economic mobility than in politics. The majority of these dissident activists still seem to come from the intelligentsia- writers, ex-professors, and journalists-and a small group of the more militant politicians and Christian leaders. (c) Students, Christians, and Workers The dissident ranks can swell quickly when the university students mount demonstrations, as they often have after the winter vacation and the resump- tion of classes in March and April. The university students led the marches that unseated President Syngman Rhee in April 1960, and students and other activists organized sizable political protests in the latter 1960s and again in the early 1970s. The harshest criticism of Pak has often come from the university students in the Seoul area who now number more than 70,000. (c) Many South Koreans, however, appear less sympa- thetic toward student demonstrators now than in earlier years. There are signs that the average Korean wage earner, who formerly tended to regard students as the "conscience of the nation," now sees student protest as a reflection of immaturity and lack of "real responsibilities." Moreover, many students who ac- tively oppose the government while in college abandon their militancy after graduation when they join busi- ness firms or enter government service. South Korea's Christians, about 5 million people, or about 14 percent of the population, comprise another minority that plays a significant role in the Korean dissident movement. Church leaders have long had contact with US and European missionaries, and, like the students, they have been exposed to and attracted by Western political ideas. Selected Christian leaders have continued to speak out strongly against President Pak's authoritarian rule, although the established hierarchies of both the Protestant and Catholic churches generally have been reluctant to take a leading role in the dissident struggle in recent years. Christian militancy seems to have been dissipated both by the church's concern that excessive involvement in politics might result in a loss of privileges ad by its grudging respect for Pak's accomplishments in improv- ing general living standards. (c) The Dissidents' Goals and Tactics The best known intellectuals among Pak's critics have been able to make their positions known in Korea, although governmentcontrols over political dissent, including continued-albeit informal-press censor- ship, have limited the dissemination of their views. For example, three prominent government critics-Kim Tae-chung; the elder statesman of the opposition, former President Yun Po-sun; and militant Protestant clergyman, Ham Sok-hwan-managed to issue a harsh antigovernment declaration to foreign journal- ists and a few Korean reporters shortly after the Korean Independence Day anniversary in early March. (c) Catholic Cardinal Kim Su-hwan, another longtime prominent figure in the dissident movement, also strongly criticized the Pak government on 5 March in a sermon at the Myongdong Cathedral in Seoul. The opposition has often used that pulpit to express its views. A major anti-Pak manifesto in March 1976, for example, resulted in the prosecution of its 18 signers in a highly publicized trial. (c) These dissident declarations, and more recent state- ments by new opposition leader Kim Yong-sam- which have not been reported fully in the Korean press-have reiterated several familiar themes: ? The 1972 authoritarian Yushin constitution has established a dictatorial system. ? The longer Pak remains in power, the greater the danger of a major upheaval in South Korea. ? The valued goals of anti-Communism, national security, and economic growth must not destroy democracy. Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO011009061-4 Kim Tae-chung, dissident leader upon his release from confinement in December 1978 ? The present corrupt and exploitative regime would not be supported popularly if war broke out. ? The restoration of democracy should precede reunification. ? Negotiations with the North must be based on the moral strength stemming from real democracy at home. (u) The dissidents' goals and concerns clearly demonstrate that Pak and his critics agree on important elements of Seoul's economic and defense policies. Their differ- ences lie in their attitudes toward political freedom. Emergency Measure 9, which bans "false rumors" and any criticism of the authoritarian Yushin Constitution, is particularly disliked. Also condemned are the provisions of the constitution that permit Pak to appoint one-third of the membership of the national legislature and to secure an unlimited number of ix- year terms as president simply by obtaining the endorsement of a hand-picked electoral body. Mc -e recently, the continued detention by the Pak gove n- ment of some 200 political prisoners, who were nc t released in the general amnesty late last year, hai become a prominent issue. (c) There are conflicting reports on the specific tactic; the dissidents will adopt this year. Kim Tae-chung at d Yun po-sun, fined an ambitious plan for con ron a ions wt the government, including co rdi- nated nationwide student strikes, widescale labor agit.ttion, and the formation of a broad front o+ va -ious 25X1X 25X1X Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 25X1X Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 25X1 C 25X1X 25X1 C Kim Tae-chung's reentry into partisan politics recently suggests he is indeed interested in a more conventional approach. Kim's move marks a shift for South Korea's dissidents; in recent years, the dissidents have been scornful of the opposition New Democratic Party, criticizing it for saying that the present political system is unjust while, at the same time, participating in and profiting from that system. Now, Kim's involvement with the NDP raises the possibility of a broader cooperative relationship between a more moderate dissident movement and the opposition party. (s NF NC) Such an alliance could have advantages and disadvan- tages for both partners. The dissidents might gain a measure of legality for their activities, greater public- ity, and access to the National Assembly. The NDP image, in turn, could benefit substantially from an infusion of idealists, many of whom have served time in prison for their convictions. (s NF NC) On the debit side, the dissidents would have to accept, however reluctantly, a measure of legitimacy for the present Korean political system, and the New Demo- crats would risk opening themselves up for retaliation should the dissidents press the party to challenge President Pak's authority. In any event, both the dissidents and the NDP will be held back by their narrow bases of support and their lack of success in identifying issues with broad appeal in Korea. (s NF NC) 4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Secret Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 the main opposition group-the New Democr,tic Party (NDP)--outpolled the DRP by nearly 2 t( 1; overall, the NDP won 32.8 percent of the vote,aining an edge over the ruling camp for the first time. NF NC) South Korean officials close to President Pak ..t- tempted to put the best public face on the election. They claimed that the substantial voter turnoa t-77 percent-showed that Korean voters took the ? lection seriously. They noted that a democratic election had ieideed taken place, and also pointed out that respite the overall popular vote, the DRP actually won more 25X1 C seats than its rival NDP, by 68 to 61. The officals emphasized that the election was one of the fairest in Korean history, Additionally, Pak's supporters argued that rer I power :t std the direction of national policy were not actually at stake in the election and that, should an electi in involving these matters be held, the voters would give Pak a renewed mandate. (s NF NC) 25X1 C a growing number ?5X1 t- South Koreans cast their votes in the 12 ecember National Assembly elections. Only 31.7 percent of the voters endorsed candidates explicitly identified with President Pak's ruling Democratic Republican Party (DRP)-6 percentage points less than the DRP received in the last assembly election in 1973. been many changes in Japan's political leader hip 25X1 C without any interruption of economic growth, and that development would continue in South Korea even with Pak absent from the scene. 25X1 C Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942A001100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03 : CIA-RDP80T00942AO01100080001-4 Approved For Release 2002/01/03: CIA-RDP80T00942AO011000th -4 President Pak's Goals and Tactics military officers seized power in the spring of 1%,I, the consolidation of a stable political order --along - it.h the defense of South Korea against North K