Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified


Choe Gyu-ha

Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare

Following the death of President Park Chung Hee, Choe became acting president from October to December 1979. He then became president of the ROK.


CHOE GYU-HA (1919-2006). Born to the family of a Confucian scholar in Wonju, Gangwon Province, he graduated from Tokyo High Normal School in 1941, taught at National Taitung Institute in Manzhouguo (Manchukuo) from 1943 to 1945, and Seoul National University from 1945 to 1950. After serving as director of the Bureau of Trade of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, he became consul general in the Korean mission to Japan from 1952-1957, becoming counselor and minister from 1957-1959. Other posts he held included vice minister of foreign affairs (1959-1960), advisor to the chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction (1961-1963), ambassador to Malaysia (1964), minister of foreign affairs (1967-1971), special assistant to the president in foreign affairs (1971), acting prime minister (1975), chairman of the National Conference for Unification (NCU) (1979), and prime minister (1976-1979). Following the death of President Park Chung Hee, he became acting president from October to December 1979. In December 1979, the NCU elected him president. He resigned in August 1980, paving the way for Chun Doo-hwan to become president. Choe then virtually disappeared from public life. In 1996, when Chun and Roh Tae-woo were tried for treason, Choe refused to testify against the former presidents.

All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. (Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Korea, by Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare, published by RLPG Books, appears by permission of the author and publisher).