South Korea has a Burma Problem

The announcement Wednesday that South Korean engineers had found a record natural gas field in Burma could hardly come at a worse time for Seoul, if it bothers to consider the irony. A day earlier, a Seoul court recalled a time when South Korea’s human rights record was among the worst in the world by awarding a record US$26 million in damages to the families of eight men who were arrested for treason and summarily executed in a hasty proceeding in 1975. The courts in Seoul have called the hangings, done during a time of anti-communist hysteria whipped up by then-dictator President Park Chung Hee, one of the darkest days in the nation’s modern history.

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