Former President dies at 90.
Onyxnewsng reports that the former President Chun Doo-hwan, a general-turned strongman widely criticized for seizing power through a 1979 military coup and ruthlessly quelling a pro-democracy civil uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju the following year, died Tuesday.
He died at the age of 90.
Chun died at his home in western Seoul around 8:40 a.m. after battling chronic ailments, aides said.
Chun’s last wish was that his remains be buried “on a frontline high ground overlooking North Korean territory,” Min Jeong-ki, a former presidential secretary and aide to Chun, told reporters outside the residence, adding his body will be cremated before being buried at a site to be determined later.
Chun’s body was transferred to Seoul’s Severance Hospital in the afternoon.
The former Army general rose to power after staging a coup in the wake of the assassination of then President Park Chung-hee in 1979 and ruled the country until 1988.
One of his biggest and darkest political legacies is his deadly crackdown on the Gwangju pro-democracy civil uprising in 1980, which left more than 200 dead and 1,800 others wounded, according to conservative official data.
The deceased never apologized for the blood on his hands.
Chun’s death on Tuesday was met with condemnation from civic groups seeking to preserve the history of the country’s democratic movement.
“It is deeply regrettable that (Chun) died without acknowledging his faults,” read a joint statement by the May 18 Memorial Foundation, Korea Democracy Foundation and the BUMA Democratic Uprising Memorial Foundation.
“Chun Doo-hwan didn’t even ask for forgiveness from the people, especially the citizens of Gwangju,” they said.
Cheong Wa Dae expressed regret that Chun died without an apology but offered its prayers for the deceased and comfort to the bereaved family.
Chun “didn’t reveal the truth of history until the end,” presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee told reporters, adding Cheong Wa Dae has no plans to send flowers or pay a condolence visit.
The ruling Democratic Party said it will look into appropriate ways to mark Chun’s death but noted the deceased is not eligible for a state funeral or burial at a national cemetery because of his past crimes.
The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) said it does not plan to issue a statement Tuesday on the former president’s death and its presidential nominee, Yoon Seok-youl, will not be visiting a memorial altar for Chun to pay his respects, a Korean report stated.
Earlier, Yoon came under fire after claiming many people believed Chun “did well in politics,” with the exception of the coup and the bloody crackdown.