7 May: Kang Mincheol, a forgotten terrorist from North Korea

Lecture by Professor Ra Jong-yil, Hanyang University, a world-renowned scholar of International Relations.

15.00-17.00 hrs

Room 011
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Brasserie Faculty Club


Kang Mincheol, a forgotten terrorist from North Korea

Kang Mincheol was a captain of North Korean special forces. And one of the three terrorists sent by North Korea to Burma in 1983 to kill the South Korean President, Chun Doo-Hwan, while the latter was on a state visit there. They successfully detonated their bombs, killing most of the South Korean delegates but missed their main target, the president, who survived through a chain of lucky accidents. Left to his own devices after the attack, Kang was seriously wounded when he was captured by the Burmese security forces. He was sentenced to death, but given a reprieve. In May 2008, after surviving for 25 years, he died. Hardly anybody in Korea, neither in the South nor in the North paid any attention to his death. Within a few years after the bombing, North and South Korea became closer, finally culminating in the Sunshine Policy of engagement under South Korean president Kim Dae-jung. Kang continued to be forgotten by both sides, however, a tangible reminder of the divided realities on the Korean peninsula.

Professor Ra Jong-yil

Professor Ra Jong-yil is a world-renowned scholar of International Relations who has published tens of books in English and Korean. His latest book, The Forgotten Terrorist, deals with North Korean terrorist Kang Mincheol. Professor Ra has served in many high-ranking government posts. Among his many postings, the following stand out: he served as ambassador to the United Kingdom and Japan, was first director of the National Intelligence Service, Special Advisor to the Director-General of NIS and Senior Advisor to the President for National Security. At present, he is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations at Hanyang University in Seoul and Chairman of the Special Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, Member of the Policy Advisory Committee and Member of the Special Committee on International Human Rights, with the National Commission for Human Rights.

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