Park Geun-hye Apologises for Dictator Father’s Crimes

The apology of the presidential hopeful PGH

Yesterday, conservative presidential candidate Park Geun-hye offered a formal apology to all those who suffered under the rule of her late father, military dictator Park Chung-hee, in an attempt to distance herself from the perceived negativity surrounding his decades-long rule. Although many still view Park’s father in favourable terms following the period of rapid economic development he oversaw, his rule was marred by wide-reaching human rights abuses and corruption after he came to power in a military coup in the 1960s.

In a press conference at the Saenuri Party offices in Seoul, Park Geun-hye accepted that ‘In the shadows of South Korea’s rapid growth there was pain, suffering and irregularities as well as various human rights abuses committed by authorities’, for which she said: ‘I deeply apologise to all those who were personally hurt and families members of victims of government abuse’.

With the presidential election just round the corner this December however, netizens remained skeptical, with many attributing her sudden redemption as a rather manipulative attempt to win votes.

The below article and comments were regarding the announcement leading up to the formal apology.

From Yonhap News:

Levelling with the ordinary citizen with honesty and sincerity

Saenuri presidential candidate Park Geun-hye plans to hold a press conference at the party headquarters regarding her controversial views on the past and her father, Park Chung-hee. A source close to her said that Park plans to make her stance clear about ‘her father and her views on his role.’

Growing concern over her stance in regard to the Coup, violation of constitution, and the judicial killing committed during Park Jung-hee’s presidency, commonly known as the People’s Revolutionary Party Incident [PRPI], she is expected to apologise and express her regrets for those who suffered. Her defensive remarks on the PRP Incident proved particularly disastrous last week for her campaign. Her campaign managers asked her to tackle the issue head-on and apologise in an honest and sincere manner.

As the eldest daughter of Park, she will express her personal agony but as a ruling party candidate, humbly accept the dark period in the modern Korean history at the hand of her father’s hand. Also on the table is her personal apology to the family of those who suffered under her father’s regime and an announcement of her plan to unite the nation deeply on her father’s legacy.

Her initial stance on the Coup and the violation of constitution was to ‘leave it to history to decide’ but is now expected to be changed in favour of respecting the opinions of expert panels and committees on historical investigation. One source close to her said she wished to ‘tell her story in an honest and sincere manner without embellishment’ to her campaign managers.

Park’s rating suffered a blow after her controversial comment on the PRPI on the 10th, with her rating dropping from 50% to low 40%. As the concern over her rating grew, Park said she ‘plans to go over the past’, indicating her change of heart.


Comments from Daum:


Apologising to win votes is not an apology. Don’t lie like 2MB…..


Anti-communism and nationalism are our only way and the only way to realize the freedom in this country


If this woman becomes president, she won’t be any less than 2MB.


Oh my, an apology from a princess, I don’t know what to fucking say.


None of the presidents we have had are perfect. Admit his wrongdoings and humbly apologise.


Dropping approval rating makes you change your historical view overnight? ke ke ke ke ke ke, you twit. If it keeps dropping, you’ll deny Park Chung-hee was your own father, ke ke ke.


Wow, she must be desperate.


An apology for whom!!!?


What did she do as a politician?


Apologising for votes without any sincerity is to insult the families of the PRPI.


What press conference…. Just leave it to history to decide.


I don’t want to see her apologising for votes….


An insincere apology to a victim is just another form of violence.

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  • 바나나

    She doesn’t look like she’s had any plastic surgery at all.
    How could Korean people even trust her? She’s not even Korean!

    • k

      She has nice hair.

  • Paul M

    Netizens these days are so cynical, heh heh. Joking aside this is a despicable move by her to garner votes especially after she (as the article says) downplayed the People’s Revolutionary Party incident.

    Which makes me wonder, what kind of apology from the Japanese government would people here accept? It’s no good just saying ‘apologise’ since they’ll say “we’re sorry” but then have it thrown back in their face for not being good enough or for being insincere.

    • Noori

      I think Japan will earn more trust by “not doing” certain things such as visiting the Yasukuni Shrine( or denying that Comfort Women were sex-slaves than repeatedly “apologising”. Japanese prime ministers and politicians have never stopped such provoking gestures since the end of WW2. Of course they said “sorry” numerous times, but it doesn’t stop them from showing respect for WW2 war criminals.

      • Paul M

        You’re definitely right there. Also the gross historical revisionism in their school textbooks needs to be addressed too. I have grown weary of Koreans asking for Japan to apologise, such as the netizens in this article here ( ), when what they really want is affirmative action by the Japanese government to acknowledge their past wrongdoings.

        Back to this article – I think Park Geun Hye need to do more than just say sorry in this instance. Perhaps meet the families of the victims of her father’s regime, maybe arrange for some form of compensation?

        • Noori

          I agree with you. It’s emotionally exhausting for me to read such ugly comments, too. I really hope they would realise that getting all worked up and swearing at Japanese are not the same with ‘patriotism’.

          And I doubt that Park Geun-hye will go any further than a verbal apology. Did you watch her episode on the show, ‘Healing Camp’? ( She seemed only focused on her feelings, talking about the death of her parents. Losing parents is hard, I can empathise with that. But then, how could she ignore the fact that numerous Koreans went through the same pain BECAUSE of her father?

          • Cleo

            I don’t think so. I think that if we had to sit through ONE of their gangrapes, we would bomb them flat.

            Try accepting the first minute of Boaz Yakin’s Death in Love and then accept that the Jews are not going to make the Germans pay. They just don’t look like they’re tagging but they are.

            So be it. What Germany and Japan did was so bad that even if you ended up on the hit list yourself, you would still say if you were honest – that they have to destroy the perpetrators. Those blood lines are the problem. They were just jealous of their victims and wanted their land so they went after everyone in those racial tribes hence their “racism” but on the other side, it is a fact that those bloodlines are the ones that perpetrated the evil, promoted and justified and tried to cover up after the fact in future generations.

          • Cleo

            It’s not about facile apologies or Crocodile Tears of Weeping Angels and Daleks.

      • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

        Japan’s biggest problem is its collective mindset admiring power, a source of its samurai spirit. The only opportunity for Korea to get Japan’s apologies for its wrongdoings vanished when a prostate Japan in the wake of WW II knew that the emergence of communist China in 1950 pushed the United States to accept Japan as an ally against Communism. Afterward, Japan came to have a thought that seizing superior power or getting closer to a power will obviate the need for its soul searching. This brazen idea was reinforced when Japan had seen its economy getting peak in the 1980s, so much so that a Japanese nationalist published a book entitled “No. one Japan”.

        Even today, Japan seldom feel a need to make any apology for its imperialist past becasue it did not have to apologize when it was a defeated nation in WW II.

        Korea’s repeated complaint over what Japan views as condoned by the powerful friend, the United States, is a thing ignorable. At present what Japan fear is a rising China, as evidenced by Japan’s measured responses to China’s aggressive claim and some Chinese’s assault of Japan residents in China. This is a stark contrast to what it did–recalling Korean Ambassador to Japan to protest against presidential visit to Dokdo, and sending a protesting letter to the Korean foreign ministry.

        On a realistic reflection, Korea’s strategy to deal with a unruly Japan is to build military and economic power based on national unity, and spin a delicate web of relations with the United States and China. If successful, it will keep Japan’s bid to become the permament member of the UN Security Council, and shift blame for any regional instability to Japan by creating international opinions favorable to Korea.

      • Chucky3176

        Japanese repeatedly apologized but recently they took it all back. Note the revisionism by Japan’s next PM to be, Shinji Abe who wants to erase the Japan’s 1991 acknolwedgement of Korean comfort women. Japan now says it never happened, and that they were all whores. The Osaka mayor, forgot his name, also says “there’s no proof, where’s the proof?”. Not that I ever believed in their BS apologies in the first place, but it should be clear to everyone by now what kind of BS Japan likes to project itself as.

        • Patrick

          What should also be clear is that one person or group of people can’t take the apologies back from another person or group of people.

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    She would be beset by sneer and jeer if she made an sincere apology for what was the dark side of her father’s rule.

    Inconsistency in her stances on his father’s legacy is breeding suspicion over her apology’s authenticity.

    Personally, his mother and father met tragic ends: her mother was killed by an assasin; her father was shot dead by his subordinate. Traumatic experiences that are indelible.

    But what she failed to take notice of is that during her father’s reign, there were countless unknown victims whose families are undergoing nightmares as traumatic as hers.

    Apparently prodded by a falling popularity amid her blunders when she assessed incidents occured during her father’s usurped presidency, her apology continues to remain a bone of contension.

    • Justin_C

      ‘반전있는 여자’ as she is now popularly dubbed after her PSY dance hit online….

      • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

        Twist or dramatic reversal in a story give readers great pleasure. By contrast, the change of course by the first female presidential candidate has too obvious objective:her tactically changed stance is only for grabbing the presidency, thus open to alteration when circumstances change.

  • Gabrielle

    3 months before the elections… Right after her most serious contender decided to join the race…
    I do have some doubts about the sincerity…

  • Cleo

    This is unKorean to rub it in with an apology while climbing towards power. TRADITIONALLY, a moral person would go into seclusion so as not to torture the victimized.

    You don’t see me or other Chinese getting into the faces of Tibetans even though we don’t know WHAT to think. But we’re willing to do no harm because China is not making an issue of the accusations.

    And how is it not peculiar that Dalai Lama doesn’t say anything really useful about the self-immolations which the CHINESE are reporting??

    And this is weird too:

    “He expressed his disappointment that the self-immolations by Tibetans have not received the same international attention as the similar suicide of a Tunisian man that sparked the Arab Spring.”

    Read more:

  • Rochelle

    She’s not apologizing for votes. She’s the best candidate in the elections, as well as the only honest and consistent candidate to date compared to the dismal string of presidents South Koreans have seen for the past two decades…

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