South Korea: The President Opts for Mercy

Chun spares Kim's life

Within the space of a single hour last week, South Korea's political situation took a dramatic and hopeful step forward. To hardly anyone's surprise, the country's 15-man Supreme Court had upheld a verdict rendered four months ago by a military court that sentenced Opposition Leader Kim Dae Jung, 55, to death by hanging for sedition and attempting to overthrow the government. But 60 minutes later, to some surprise and considerable relief, the South Korean Cabinet, at the direction of President Chun Doo Hwan, 50, commuted Kim's sentence to life imprisonment in the interest of "national reconciliation."...

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