South Korea Table of Contents

Park Chung HeeThe junta under Park Chung Hee quickly consolidated its power, removed those it considered corrupt and unqualified from government and army positions, and laid plans for the future. The thirty-two-member Supreme Council for National Reconstruction (SCNR) became all-powerful.

The Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) was created in June 1961 to prevent a countercoup and to suppress all potential enemies. It was to have not only investigative power, but also the power to arrest and detain anyone suspected of wrongdoing or harboring antijunta sentiments. The KCIA extended its power to economic and foreign affairs under its first director, Colonel (retired) Kim Chong-p'il, a relative of Park, and one of the original planners of the coup against Chang.

In May 1961, the junta pledged to make an all-out effort to build a self-reliant economy and to carry out a "great human revolution" by wiping out all corruption and evil practices in the government and by introducing a "fresh and clean morality." The National Assembly was dissolved and high-level civilian officials were replaced by military officers. By 1963 the junta's economic policies had not produced any favorable results.

The KCIA under Kim Chong-p'il was involved in a number of scandals that considerably tarnished the junta's image. The military leaders had worked actively to establish a political party, later known as the Democratic Republican Party (DRP), which existed from 1963 to 1980, preparation for the return of politics to the civilians--but former politicians were prohibited from engaging in organizational activities. Park announced in February 1963 that he would not participate in civilian politics. The following month, however, he announced a popular referendum to decide whether the junta should extend its rule for another four years. Facing stiff opposition from both the South Korean public and the United States, the plan for a referendum was canceled.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress