|Prime Minister of South Korea|
05 December 1988 – 27 December 1990
|Preceded by||Lee Hyun-jae|
|Succeeded by||Ro Jai-bong|
|Born||May 30, 1922|
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
|Revised Romanization||Gang Yeong-hun|
Kang served in the military, reaching the rank of Chungjang (Lieutenant General) and ending his career as the Superintendent of the Korean Military Academy; he left the military in 1961, the same year as a bloodless military coup that he opposed. As a civilian, he worked for the Republic of Korea in several capacities: He was a member of the 13th National Assembly. He served as President of the National Red Cross; an organization that played a major role in negotiations between South and North Korea. He served as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the Vatican, and Ireland; and he was Chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.
Kang was appointed Prime Minister by President Roh Tae-woo, who at the same time replaced 19 of 23 Cabinet members in a major shake up meant to separate himself from his disgraced predecessor, President Chun Doo-hwan. Kang was chosen, in part, because of his opposition to the Park Chung-hee-led coup of 1961.
During his tenure, political violence continued at universities throughout South Korea as groups labeled by the regime as "leftist radicals" advocated for the overthrow of the Government. During a rise in violence during the Spring of 1989, Kang offered to follow opposition party demands to resign if he were held responsible for mishandling state affairs surrounding the violence.
After months of negotiations, Kang took part in historic with his North Korean counterpart, Prime Minister Yon Hyong-muk. The highest-level contact between the two Governments since 1945, the exchange of visits by respective Prime Ministers were aimed at reducing tension on the peninsula and an eventual reunification. The first meeting occurred on September 5-6, 1990 in Seoul, permitting both sides to directly address their concerns on issues regarding disarmament, United States troop withdrawal, release of political prisoners, visitation rights and reunification; the tone remained amiable. The Prime Ministers met a second time on October 17-18, 1990, this time in Pyongyang. After initially maintaining the positive tone of the earlier meeting, tensions rose as both sides dropped their earlier civil tone and accused each other of bad faith. Both sides became suspicious that the other was using the talks to further its political agenda; Kang accused the North Koreans of "doing things that foment division and further put off peace"" as well as using the talks interfere with South Korean internal affairs while North Korean representatives criticized South Korea's suggestions to increase trade, cultural and humanitarian exchanges. Despite a lack mutual agreement on substantive issues, the two sides agreed to another round of talks in Seoul from December 11-14. Despite the dismissive position of North Korean officials, soccer matches and folk-music-concert exchanges did take place in the subsequent months. The third meeting in December failed to narrow their differences over a proposed "declaration of non-aggression," which had been on the table since September; however both sides agreed yet again to continue talks the following February.
On December 27, 1990 Roh replaced Kang in another cabinet shuffle intended to improve his party's image before the following year's elections, he was replaced by Ro Jai-bong, a chief aide; Kang had reportedly asked to retire from public life.
- Countries JK
- Steering Committee: Young-Hoon Kang, USC Asia Conference 2004, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Susan Chira, Seoul Leader Shuffles Cabinet, The New York Times, December 5, 1988, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- 6 KOREA POLICE DIE IN RAID ON CAMPUS, Associated Press, May 3, 1989, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- David E. Sanger, KOREA CHIEF URGES CALM AFTER CLASH, The New York Times, May 4, 1989, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- South Korea Prime Minister Conditionally Offers to Quit, Associated Press, May 11, 1989, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Susan Chira, Koreas Agree to Hold High-Level Talks, The New York Times, January 17, 1989, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Steven R. Weisman, Seoul to Open Border With North Briefly, The New York Times, July 20, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- When Mr Yon met Mr Kang (paid archive), The Economist, September 1990, Accessed March 31, 1990.
- Premiers of the Koreas Plan to Meet Tuesday, Reuters, August 31, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Steven R. Weisman, North-South Korea Talks Begin Today, The New York Times, September 5, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Steven R. Weisman, Korea Talks Resume; Seoul Sees Reasons for Caution, The New York Times, October 17, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Steven R. Weisman, Koreas Revert to Form: Squabbling, The New York Times, October 18, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Steven R. Weisman, KOREAS EXCHANGE BITTER POLEMICS, The New York Times, December 13, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
- Seoul Names a New Premier In a Shake-Up of the Cabinet, Associated Press, December 27, 1990, Accessed March 31, 2008.
|Prime Minister of South Korea
1988 – 1990