THE CURRENT REGIME IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Created: 7/18/1961

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

THE CURRENT REGIME IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

THE PROBLEM

To assess Ihe character and Intentions of the Korean military junta.

THE ESTIMATE

1 The members of the military junta now ruling the Republic of Korea (ROK) are tough, nationalistic, and ambitious. They hove all spent their adult lives in military service and most or them have had extensive combat experience Their approach is not that of the intellectual or the professional politician They are activists who havean understanding of theand techniques for political control. They have long been disgusted withand inefficiency in the government and the military establishment and disillusioned with the lack of progress under civilian rule. Their approach to government isand they are convinced that the solution of the ROK's many economic, political, and social ills requires rigid public discipline and firm, centralised government control.

members of the military Junta stilltheir position Is insecure.are suspicious and quick to suppresssource of opposition. There arecertainly elements of vindictlvenessin their attitude toward Koreanand military officers who havetools of the politicians

' This estimate mould be read tn eon] unction with, Short-Term Prospects (or Southatedore detailedor. both North and Southcheduled to be completed In August

ROK's new ruling group intends toew order and discipline Into Korean life and toajor economiceffort. While the ruling group desires close relations with the US, It Intends to run Korean affairs in its own way and to assert Korean independence. At least for the near future, the group has no intention of turning the government back to civilian control or of reinstating institutions of representativedespite assurances to the contrary. They are only beginning to realize theof the tasks which face them and the limitations of their own training andFrustration of their efforts is likely to cause them to resort to ill-considered or repressive acts

II. LOCUS OF POWER

General Pak Chong-hul is thefigure in the military Junta, but hisof the group Is neither absolute now nor certain to continue. The recent removal of Lt Gen Chang To-yong eliminated the most likely member of the coup group around whom antljur.ta military elements might haveChang's departure, however, did little to resolve the basic problem of control within the coup group We believe that conflicts are continuing within the junta concerningand tactics, and perhaps, objectives.

lthough there are various possiblealignments within the junta based on re-

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gional origin or service, the potential division which is most apparent at present lies in the differences between the general officers and the field grade officers. Thereroup of somerembers of theof themprovided much of the coup's Initial impetus and planning and who probably differ with Pak on Junta policies In general, these officers tend to favor drastic measures to achieve their objectives and to suppress opposition.

The leader of the Colonel faction IsLt. Col. Kim Chong-pil. head of the ROK central intelligence organization and thestrongest member of the junta. He is related to Pak and has collaborated closely with him so far. Nevertheless, he coulda rival, particularly in the matter of the future status of the Colonols in the junta. Pak has indicated that he Intends to curb the influence of the Colonels, possibly by ousting them altogether or by assigning them to army commands with promotions Pak may beadroit to accomplish this without causing the Colonels to turn against him. There is,ossibility that there may be an open break between Pak and thegroup. Ifreak occurred, the outcome would depend on whether Kim chose to support Pak or the field grade officers in the Junta and in the army with whom he has close ties.

There will probablyontinuingfor power within the Junta as variousvie for influence and as Pak strives to consolidate his position. Beside the Colonels faction, therearine Corps group, headed by Major General Kim Tong-ha, and other opposition groups may emerge. There will probably be efforts to compromise and settle differences, but if open conflict breaks out. we cannot exclude the possibility that the various laction leaders would call upon their supporters in the armed forces This in turn would be likely to create an opening for action by ROK military commanders who disapprove of the junta. This could result in armed clashes and even civil war.

III. THE COMMUNISM ISSUE

the accusations that have beenagainst Pak and some of the otherof the Junta, we still have no hardfrom credible, disinterested sourcesare in fact Communists or areas North Korean agents In itsand actions to date, the regimea strong anti-Communist standBloc press reports and broadcastsattacked the junta, its actions,personally. Wo recognize that theand Bloc reaction could be anto conceal the true character of theWe cannot rule out the possibilitycoup was Communist inspired andbut presently available evidenceto the view that the Juntaholecontinues to be, motivated primarilyambition, Intense nationalism,strong desire to impose discipline andon the ROK.

rv. NATIONAL ATTITUDE TOWARD THE JUNTA

junta hasew basic law,suspending the Constitution ofRepublic and setting itself up asmaker and executor of the nation'sthis law, the Junta's SupremeNational Reconstruction is to approveof all Judicial officials andelected local governing officers,province governors and town mayors.rights of the people are guaranteedlong as they do not confiict with theof the Supreme Council'sAt the same time, the Supremehas restored much of their previousand power to the National Policecontrol organs

hen it first seized control, the coup group enjoyed some measure of acceptance from the Korean public which had grown weary of the Chang Myon government'sto subordinate politicking to economic and political reform. Over the past two months, however, public disenchantment with the new regime has appeared in the cities. Some of the junla's early administrative acts

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favored Lhe farmers and in the ruralavorable attitude toward the junta can sull be found. The economic dislocaiionfrom the coup has not yet had apolitical effect on the public, but It will almost certainly add to other causes ofdlssalisfaction with the junta if nol soon rectified The increasing authoritarianism and resort to police rule is adversely affecting the junta's standing among intellectuals and students. Many of the latter now regard the military junta as little or no better than the Rhee regime they overthrew.

Junta has made full use of itsmartial law to close newspapers,educators, and businessmen,curfews and censorship. Theof fear and intimidation thusso far prevented demonstrations ofto the Junta. Tbe junta'sagainst potential opposition leadersreduced the chances for organisedAnother student-led uprising isIf It were to take place, theprobably attempt to put itand violently, and follow up withrepressive measures.

V. RELATIONS WITH THE US

the assumption of power byJunta, US-ROK relations havea new phase. The cooperativenessChang Myon government has beenby suspicion and distrust. Beingconvinced of the Imperative needthe country of rule by ineffectual andpoliticians, the members of thewere dismayed by and resentfulinitial US opposition to theof this sentiment still remains andgroup probably feels that its cool,and suspicious attitude toward the US Iseflection of the official UStoward them. One evidence of the junta's suspicion is the effort being made by Kim Chong-pil's intelligence organization to penetrate the UN Command, and to restrict intelligence collection activities by US

he members of the military junta are fully aware of Korean dependence upon the US and willelationship with the US which will not endanger Ihe country's major source of economic, military, andsupport. At the same time, thejunta probably intends toew and different US-ROK relationship in which South Korea's leaders will feel that they are in full control of Korean affairs The Junta will be less responsive to US advice in political matters, and almost certainly Intends to go about the tasks of reform and politicalin its own way. US appeals for leniency for Individuals or groups considered by the junta to be corrupt or to be opponents of Its regime might be interpreted as interference in Korean affairs.

H The junta has accepted the principle of the subordination of the ROK Army to the UN Command. However, their willingness to implement fully agreements on the command structure cannot be taken for granted. US forces in the ROK probably will be faced with increasing restrictions and problems ofgood relations with the KoreanWhile recognizing the militaryof the situation, the junta probably intends toarge degree ofin its command of the ROK Army, at least in peace lime.

FOR HlllASt DATE;1

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