Roh: military past

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Roh Tae Woo has worked hard in the last six months to disassociate himself from his military past - and President Chun Doo Hwan. He has promised democratization and economic reforms, while emphasizing stability. Mr. Roh, 55, is the handpicked successor of President Chun. The two men were classmates at the Korea Military Academy, graduating in 1955 and rising together through the ranks.

On Dec. 12, 1979, Ninth Division commander General Roh backed General Chun in seizing control of the military following the October assassination of President Park Chung Hee by the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. In May 1980, Roh commanded the capital garrison when Chun seized full power.

Following Chun's gaining of the presidency, Roh resigned from the military and served in several Cabinet positions. In June, Roh became the ruling party candidate after a decision to abort constitutional reform talks with the opposition. After weeks of mass protest, Roh made a historic speech on June 29, conceding direct presidential elections.

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