Kim Dae Jung: Exile in America and Its Aftermath
This chapter addresses a dilemma faced by Reagan in dealing with a number of thorny diplomatic issues related to Kim Dae Jung’s status. Reagan was successful in persuading Chun to reduce Kim’s sentence and to allow his exile in America. When Kim began to undertake political activities in America, the Reagan administration encountered diplomatic friction with the Chun government. When Kim returned home in February 1985, South Korean security agents made a major diplomatic blunder by mistreating Kim and his American “escorts” at Kimpo Airport. The furor over Kim’s return home beclouded the atmosphere for Chun’s visit to the United States. While the South Koreans proposed that Reagan should publicly praise Chun’s leadership in achieving democratic development, he refused to accept this proposal and exhibited a deliberate gesture of distance from Chun.