(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae expresses regret as ex-President Chun dies without apology

김덕현 / 2021-11-23 17:35:55
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(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae-late president
▲ Presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee speaks at a press conference on the death of former President Chun Doo-hwan on Nov. 23, 2021. (Yonhap)

(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae-late president

(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae expresses regret as ex-President Chun dies without apology

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks, details from para 5, photo)

ByKim Deok-hyun

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae expressed regret that former President Chun Doo-hwan died without an apology for the bloody crackdown on a 1980 pro-democracy uprising, even as it said it prays for the soul of the deceased.

Presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee told reporters that Cheong Wa Dae has no plan to offer flowers or a condolence visit to Chun, who died at his home earlier in the day at 90 after battling blood cancer and chronic ailments.

The presidential office "prays for the deceased and delivered words of sympathy to the bereaved family," Park said.

Chun "didn't reveal the truth of history until the end," Park said, adding that the presidential office "expresses regret because there is no sincere apology."

Chun, an ex-Army general who seized power in a military coup in 1979, ordered his troops to ruthlessly quell the pro-democracy civil uprising in the southwestern city of Gwangju the following year.

The former strongman never issued an apology or showed remorse for those killed in the uprising and had drawn a firestorm of criticism from the victims' families by calling the uprising a "riot."

The crackdown left more than 200 dead and 1,800 others wounded.

In 1996, Chun was convicted of mutiny and sentenced to death, partly due to his order of the crackdown on the Gwangju uprising, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. A year later, he was released following a presidential pardon.

A senior presidential official said the presidential office has no plan to provide support for Chun's funeral. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also indicated Cheong Wa Dae has not considered holding a state funeral for him.

The stance compares with when late former President Roh Tae-woo died last month.

Roh, a close friend of Chun, was also accused of being deeply involved in the 1979 coup and the bloody crackdown on the Gwangju uprising, but he delivered his message of apology over the crackdown through his family members before he died.

Last month, South Korea held a five-day state funeral for Roh, and President Moon Jae-in sent flowers of condolence.


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