Choi Kyu-hah

This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
Choi Kyu-hah
4th President of South Korea
In office
December 6, 1979[1]  August 16, 1980
Prime Minister Shin Hyun-hwak
Preceded by Park Chung-hee
Succeeded by Chun Doo-hwan
19th Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
December 18, 1975  October 26, 1979
President Park Chung-hee
Preceded by Kim Jong-pil
Succeeded by Park Chung-hoon
Personal details
Born (1919-07-16)July 16, 1919
Wonju-myeon, Wonju County, Gangwon, Japanese Korea
Died October 22, 2006(2006-10-22) (aged 87)
Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Resting place Daejeon National Cemetery
Nationality South Korean
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Hong Gi
Alma mater University of Tsukuba
Religion Neo-Confucianism
Military service
Allegiance  South Korea
Service/branch  Republic of Korea Army
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Korean name
Hangul 최규하
Revised Romanization Choe Gyu-ha
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Kyuha
Pen name
Hangul 현석
Revised Romanization Hyeonseok
McCune–Reischauer Hyŏnsŏk
Courtesy name
Hangul 서옥
Revised Romanization Seook
McCune–Reischauer Sŏok

Choi Kyu-hah (Korean pronunciation: [tɕʰweɡjuha], July 16, 1919 October 22, 2006), also spelled Choi Kyu-ha, was the fourth President of South Korea between 1979 and 1980.

Early life

Choi was born in Wonju, Gangwon Province when Korea was a part of the Empire of Japan. This area today is in South Korea.

Political career

Choi served as Ambassador to Malaysia from 1964 to 1967, foreign minister from 1967 to 1971; and as prime minister from 1975 to 1979.

After the assassination of Park Chung-hee in 1979, then Prime Minister Choi became acting president as the prime minister stood next in line for the presidency under Article 48 of the Yushin Constitution. Due to the unrest resulting from Park's authoritarian rule, Choi promised democratic elections, as under Park elections had been widely seen as rigged. Choi also promised a new constitution to replace the highly authoritarian Yushin Constitution. Choi won an election in December that year to become the country's fourth president.

Coup d'etat and Major General Chun

In December 1979, Major General Chun Doo-hwan and close allies within the military staged a coup d'état against Choi's government. They quickly removed the army chief of staff and virtually controlled the government by early 1980.

In April 1980, due to increasing pressure from Chun and other politicians, Choi appointed Chun head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. In May, Chun declared martial law and dropped all pretense of civilian government, becoming the de facto ruler of the country. By then, student protests were escalating in Seoul and Gwangju. The protests in Gwangju resulted in the Gwangju uprising in which about 987 civilians were killed within a five-day period by Chun's military.

Forced to resign

Choi was forced to resign soon after the uprising, Prime Minister Park Chung-hoon became acting president, until Chun's election as President on September 1, 1980.

Later life

After his resignation, Choi lived quietly out of the public eye and died on October 22, 2006. Choi was buried in Daejeon National Cemetery on October 26, 2006.[2]

See also


  1. Acting from October 26 to December 6, 1979.
  2. "Daejeon National Cemetery Timeline". Daejeon National Cemetery. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Park Chung-hee
President of South Korea
October 26, 1979August 16, 1980
Succeeded by
Chun Doo-hwan
Preceded by
Kim Jong-pil
Prime Minister of South Korea
December 18, 1975October 26, 1979
Succeeded by
Shin Hyun-hwak
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