Today in Korean history (July 31)
Jul 31, 2017
•1959 -- Cho Bong-am, leader of the "Jinbo" (Progress) Party, is executed after being convicted of violating the anti-communist National Security Law by engaging in pro-communist activities.
While Korea was under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945), Cho was an independence activist who served time in prison for participating in the March 1st Independent Movement in 1919. After his release, he studied politics in Japan for one year and came back to Korea with a belief that socialism will enable Koreans to regain their sovereignty.
Amid the ideological rift that developed in the country shortly after independence, Cho left the Communist Party and turned slightly right. In 1948, he was appointed agricultural minister and served two terms as a lawmaker. He ran for the presidency in 1956 against Rhee Syng-man but was defeated.
Some people have claimed Cho was brought to trial as a result of a plot by Rhee, his political rival, but no proof of such a plot has ever been found.
•1995 -- Park Yong-gil, the wife of pro-unification activist Rev. Moon Ik-hwan, is arrested when she crosses the border at the truce village of Panmunjom after making an unauthorized visit to North Korea.
•2000 - Mountain climber Um Hong-gil completes scaling all 14 peaks of the Himalayas that stand more than 8,000 meters above sea level. He was the first South Korean to achieve this feat.
•2002 -- South and North Korea end a Cabinet-level meeting in Seoul after issuing a six-point agreement that called for, among other things, the re-linking of a cross-border railway, the Kyeongui Line.