South Korea. According to
Countryaah, the newly elected President Kim Dae Jung,
formerly South Korea's leading dissident, met with protests
when in February, in accordance with an election pact, he
appointed the right-wing Kim Jong Pil as prime minister.
When he supported the military coup in 1961, the opposition
party GNP (the Grand National Party), with a majority in
parliament, refused to accept him. The president saw the
appointment of his former enemy as important for creating
stability and avoided the blockade by naming him acting
prime minister. Only in August, Parliament approved Kim Jong
Pil as prime minister.
The following month, the government coalition between Kim
Dae Jung's party NCNP (National Congress for New Politics)
and Kim Jong Pil's ULD (United Liberal Democrats) gained
parliamentary majority following a series of GNP defections.
It broke the political stalemate that hindered the
president's attempt to reform the country's crisis-prone
economy and break corruption in politics and business.
Hundreds of civil servants were fired for taking bribes,
thousands of others were warned. The GNP saw the campaign as
a political attack on the opposition and responded with
In the labor market, corporate tightening, along with the
International Monetary Fund's (IMF), led to tough borrowing
requirements for mass redundancies, protests and strikes. In
the summer, unemployment officially reached a record 6.7%.
The real figure was believed to be even higher. The floods
and landslides, which in August took hundreds of lives and
caused material damage to billions, contributed to the
Foreign policy President Kim Dae Jung highlighted the
country's proximity to the United States by traveling to
Washington in June and discussing its relaxation initiatives
vis-角-vis North Korea. In November, President Bill Clinton
responded, visited an American-Korean front alliance on
South Korea's northern border, and stated that North Korea
can never be allowed to try to acquire nuclear weapons. When
Kim Dae Jung traveled to Japan in October, he received the
Tokyo government's clearest apology for the occupation of
Korea in 1910-45.
The insecurity towards the enemy, North Korea, consisted
of both peace messengers and incidents. In June, a mini boat
caught in fishing nets outside South Korea. Nine dead North
Koreans were found aboard. It was uncertain whether it was
on a spy mission or, as North Korea claimed, had just come
off course. In November, a North Korean spy vehicle was
reported to have tried to land agents in the south, and the
following month such a vessel was lowered by South Korean
warships in a firefight on South Korea's southern coast.
North Korea dismissed all talk of espionage.