SOUTH KOREA: Imaginary Emergency

Running for a third term earlier this year, South Korea's President Chung Hee Park warned repeatedly that North Korea was poised for another attack on the South. "The situation," he said then, "is reminiscent of the eve of the Korean War." Last week, in a move that startled his allies as well as his countrymen, he declared a "state of national emergency" because, he said, "our country is confronted with a grave situation." In the process, he reinforced his personal grip on an already highly controlled democracy.

No Evidence. The emergency declaration stopped short of martial law, but its six...

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