Former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo Dies

Roh Tae-woo
Roh Tae-woo waves to a crowd of people. Source: CNY Homepage

Former South Korean President Roh Tae-woo has died at 88 without giving a cause of death. However, he underwent prostate cancer surgery in 2002. According to reports, the president remained out of the public eye after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated at Seoul National University Hospital.

Roh Tae-woo succeeded Chun Doo-hwan, who took power in a military coup together with Roh Tae-woo. He served as South Korea’s president from 1988 to 1993, and his election resulted in a divided opposition.

The divided opposition crushed the hopes of democratic activists and liberals who saw Roh’s inauguration as little more than continuing the current regime.

About Roh Tae-woo

The deceased was born on December 4, 1932, in Talsong County, near Taegu. Roh studied psychological warfare at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the Korean Military Academy in Seoul. He began his military career during the 1950-1953 Korean War and later served as the commander of a combat unit in Vietnam.

In 1979 Former President Park Chung-hee was assassinated. Roh Tae-woo supported his former military classmate in a military coup that put the latter in the presidential blue house and rewarded him with several government positions.

According to reports, the former South Korean president and Roh Tae-woo were both instrumental in putting down the Gwangju Uprising, which cost lives. During his presidency, Roh presided over the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics and established diplomatic ties with the communist bloc, which had long been allied with Pyongyang.

Kim Young-sam, a former democracy activist, succeeded Roh and was determined to bring him and Chung-hee to justice. The two classmates and former presidents were convicted of treason in 1996.

Roh Tae-woo was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison, and Chung-hee was sentenced to death, but they were both granted presidential pardons by Kim Young-Sam and released the following year.

However, in 2013, Roh’s family repaid the last money he illegally amassed during his presidency.

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