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South Korea

Yearbook 1997

South Korea. According to Countryaah, South Korea's economy was in bad shape during the year. The prohibited labor movement KCTU's protests against the regime's new labor law laws continued into 1997 with hundreds of thousands of workers on strike. Car factories, shipyards and hospitals were crippled by the battle for widened employers' right to dismiss or relocate labor. Only after the government and opposition agreed to discuss changes in labor law did the protests ebb out.

1997 South Korea

Instead, the scandal surrounding the steel and construction giant Hanbo was noticed. When Hanbo went bankrupt in January with debts of close to $ 6 billion, a corruption gang with tracks was also discovered right in the center of power. Founder Chung Tae Soo admitted that the group had given gifts to Politician. He was prosecuted for bribery along with nine others, including several bank executives and MPs.

The Hanbo affair forced a public apology from President Kim Yong Sam, whose advisers figured in the scandal. Kim admitted that his election campaign in 1992 had been expensive, but he refused to state where the money came from. President's son Kim Hyun Chul was singled out as a key figure in this, but was released. In June, Chung Tae Soo was sentenced to 15 years in prison. embezzlement and bribery. His co-defendants were jailed for 3-7 years.

But the scandal rolled on. Kim Hyun Chul, incarcerated for tax fraud and scam with campaign funds, was sentenced in October to three years in prison - one for the president and his ruling party NKP (New Korea Party) onerous verdict.

In the December 18 presidential election, where Kim was not allowed to run for re-election, the NKP (renamed the Grand National Party) was running for former Prime Minister Lee Hoi Chang. The main opposition parties, the liberal NCNP and the conservative ULD, stood with the NCNP leader and former dissident Kim Dae Jung. After an even election campaign, Kim Dae Jung was the winner; formally he takes up his post in February 1998. The outgoing and incoming head of state agreed to pardon the ex-presidents Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, jailed for treason and corruption. Chun and Roh were released December 22.

In the fall, East Asia's economic problems hit South Korea hard. Currency and share prices collapsed, growth slowed and several large companies failed. Finance Minister Kang Kyung Shik was dismissed. The government was forced to swallow its pride and try to save the economy. through crisis loans of nearly $ 60 billion under tough conditions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Tensions with North Korea persisted, though formal peace talks finally started in Geneva on December 9. Shortly before, six people, including a reputable professor, had been arrested for espionage on behalf of North Korea.

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