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Digital Archive International History Declassified


Jeong Seung-hwa

Andrew C. Nahm and James E. Hoare

Jeong was the army chief of staff when ROK President Park Chung Hee was assassinated. He was quickly appointed as martial law commander.


JEONG SEUNG-HWA. (1926-2002). In October 1979, when the then head of the Korean CIA (now the National Intelligence Service) assassinated President Park Chung Hee, Jeong Seung-hwa was army chief of staff. Moving quickly to maintain order, acting President Choe Gyu-ha appointed Jeong as martial law commander. However, when General Chun Doo-hwan staged the December 1979 coup, Jeong was arrested and charged with complicity in Park’s murder. He was imprisoned but later released.

In 1993, Jeong brought a charge of mutiny for his arrest in 1979 against Chun and his accomplice and successor as president, Roh Tae-woo. The court agreed that their action in 1979 had been mutiny, but declined to take the issue further. But Jeong’s action began a wave of popular protest that eventually led to the arrest and eventual conviction of both former presidents in 1996.

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).