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Kim Demands Inquiry on S. Korea 'Injustices'

September 27, 1987|SAM JAMESON | Times Staff Writer

INCHON, South Korea — Opposition leader Kim Dae Jung rode a jammed subway train here Saturday to deliver a rousing anti-government speech, in which he demanded that "all injustices" committed by President Chun Doo Hwan be investigated and the facts made known.

He also called for Japan and South Korea to reveal the truth about his kidnaping from Tokyo in 1973 by the Korean CIA.

Kim's comments touched a raw nerve of Chun and his followers, who believe that an opposition victory in a presidential election to be held by Dec. 20 might bring retaliation against them, including prosecution for 194 officially acknowledged civilian deaths during suppression by the armed forces of the Kwangju insurrection in 1980.

Wants Victims Compensated

The honor of citizens victimized by the Chun government--including the Kwangju victims--must be restored and "compensation must be made to them for their material losses," Kim declared.

He said he seeks no punishment of those responsible for his kidnaping in Tokyo and abduction to Seoul in 1973, but he demanded that the South Korean and Japanese governments admit that the Korean CIA carried out the crime, a fact neither country has acknowledged so far.

Later, at a dinner he hosted for 500 supporters, he spoke out against seeking revenge for the killings at Kwangju.

Before an enthusiastic but peaceful crowd of 100,000 people, Kim assailed both the political repression and the economic policies of Chun, a former general who seized power in a 1980 coup in which Kim was jailed. If the opposition wins the December election, workers and small companies will get a better deal, he said. Farmers, he added, will be compensated for $3.75 billion worth of debts he said they had accumulated because of "mistaken government policies."

Kim, who touched only lightly upon economic policy in earlier speeches in three other cities, called for a "nationalistic economy . . . free of foreign subjugation." He did not elaborate.

Despite repeated cries of "Run! Run! Run!" from the crowd which stood intently for two hours in a square in front of a railway station, Kim again refrained from declaring himself a candidate. At one point--when he said, "I might not become anything"--he hinted that he might refrain from seeking the nomination of the opposition Reunification Democratic Party, whose president, Kim Young Sam, is his rival.

The two opposition leaders have pledged to decide by Wednesday which of them will run as the opposition candidate.

Kim Dae Jung, known to be anathema to military leaders, spoke out forcefully against any military intervention in politics, as well as against any attempt by the Chun government to stage an "unfair election," warning that "the Korean people who in June fought against dictatorship will rise again."

Chun, after 18 days of street demonstrations that swept 33 cities, promised to end authoritarian rule and carry out full democratization of the country.

"We pay taxes so that the military can safeguard our country against communism," Kim said, referring to a threat from Communist North Korea. "Instead, they are interfering in politics. We will not allow that."

Kim's one-hour ride on a subway that emerged above ground outside Seoul en route to Inchon, 25 miles west of the capital, precipitated shoving and pushing by thousands of supporters who jammed into the train he boarded. They also streamed across the tracks to catch a glimpse of him at the station in Inchon.

Cars on the train were packed so tightly that several men, attempting to catch a glimpse of Kim, crawled under the legs of passengers who stood around the 63-year-old politician. More than 20 passengers climbed atop baggage racks above the seats. Dozens of others leaned over sitting passengers to support themselves by pressing against the windows.

Kim made no attempt to move in the train.

He closed his rally with a plea to the crowd to avoid violence, which, he warned, could create a pretext for the government to brand him as a "rabble-rouser."

Scuffles broke out after Kim completed a half-mile street procession to the headquarters of a local politician, but witnesses agreed these were precipitated by riot police, who had remained out of sight during Kim's 90-minute speech.

Onlookers joined in pushing and shoving matches when police, without provocation, began to seize students and workers marching in a street near the railway station. Several of those who were seized by police were set free with the help of the onlookers.

Police broke up crowds by throwing grenades of pepper gas, a virulent form of tear gas.

News reports said that more than 30 people were detained, but state-run television said that most of them would be released without charge.

In another development, striking workers at the Ulsan plant of Hyundai Motors attacked Lee Yung Bok, 42, leader of the company's union. Lee was hospitalized after being knocked to the ground and kicked when he tried to speak to about 2,500 workers engaged in a sit-in outside the factory. Lee was trying to deny allegations that he had taken a bribe from company officials in exchange for accepting a 14.5% wage increase offered by the company. The workers are demanding a 38% increase.

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