Society

Prime Ministers Of South Korea

South Korea's Prime Minister works to assist the President in leading the republic.

South Korea is one of the countries in East Asia, and is situated upon the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. Similar to most democratic countries, South Korea’s government is divided into three arms, namely the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative. The executive arm is headed by the president who appoints the prime minister among other function. The National Assembly approves the premier’s appointment who serves in a similar position as the vice president. He or she is the principal assistant to the president. The premier assists the President in supervising ministries, recommend ministers for appointments, and the vice chairman to the cabinet. He or she replaces the president on an acting capacity if the president is not in a position to carry out his duties. Some of the most notable Prime Ministers of South Korea through history are looked at below.

Notable Prime Ministers of South Korea

Yi Pom-sok

Yi Pom-sok was the first South Korean premier, serving from 1948 to 1950, and a Korean independence activist before that. He was also the head of Korean Youth Corp and was nicknamed Chulgi. As a teenager, he was exiled to China for taking part in independence activities. He trained as a military officer and served in Korean Liberation Army for the Korean provisional government. Yi Pom-sok returned to Korea in 1946 and allied himself with Lee Syngman to form a unitary government serving as the first prime minister from July 31, 1948, to April 20, 1950. After his term in office, he served as ambassador. He also unsuccessfully contested for the vice presidency in 1952 and 1956. Yi Pom-sok died on May 11, 1972.

Chang Myon

Chang Myon, born in 1899, was a statesman, a diplomat, and a social activist who was the fourth and last vice president of the First Republic. He was appointed the second prime minister of South Korea on November 23, 1950. He initially turned down the position, but Syngman Rhee managed pursued him to take it up. His association with the Catholic Church which was opposed to the Rhee saw him lose his premier’s position in April 1952. However, in 1960 Chang Myon was again elected the second prime minister of the Second Republic after Rhee was overthrown. He believed in democracy and fought against dictatorship. His administration managed to design a five-year development plan which was later used by, Park Chung-hee, the country’s fourth president. Chang Myon was removed from premier’s position on May 18, 1961. He died on January 27, 1966.

Chang Taek-sang

Chang Taek-sang, born in 1893, was a South Korean politician, policeman, and independence activist. He was South Korea’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs and the third Prime Minister, the position he held during the Korean War. As a minister in charge of foreign affairs, he was responsible for the country’s diplomacy and external affairs including trade and issues touching on overseas Korean nationals. He died on August 1, 1969, at the age of 75.

Chung Il-kwon, the Longest Serving Prime Minister

Chung Il-kwon, born in 1917, served continuously for the longest term as the prime minister of South Korea. He was a general in the Korean Army and served as Foreign Minister before being appointed as the prime minister in 1964. He is considered one of the excellent leaders from Korean because of his performance in class and how he handled his military duties. He was also a well-known war hero having led the South Korean Army to victory over North Korean Army in Pusan. He stepped down from his position in 1970, and he was elected member of the National Assembly the following year. He died in 1994 aged 76.

Prime Ministers of South Korea Term(s) in Office
Yi Pom-sok 1948-1950
Chang Myon 1950-1952
Chang Taek-sang 1952
Paik Too-chin 1952-1954; 1970-1971
Pyon Yong-tae 1954
Vacant 1954-1960; 1961-1963
Ho Chong 1960
Chang Myon 1960-1961
Choi Tu-son 1963-1964
Chung Il-kwon 1964-1970
Kim Jong-pil 1971-1975; 1998-2000
Choi Kyu-hah 1975-1979
Shin Hyun-hwak 1979-1980
Nam Duck-woo 1980-1982
Yoo Chang-soon 1982
Kim Sang-hyup 1982-1983
Chin Iee-chong 1983-1984
Shin Byung-hyun 1984-1985
Lho Shin-yong 1985-1987
Kim Chung-yul 1987-1988
Lee Hyun-jae 1988
Kang Young-hoon 1988-1990
Ro Jai-bong 1990-1991
Chung Won-shik 1991-1992
Hyun Soong-jong 1992-1993
Hwang In-sung 1993
Lee Hoi-chang 1993-1994
Lee Yung-dug 1994
Lee Hong-koo 1994-1995
Lee Soo-sung 1995-1997
Goh Kun 1997-1998; 2003-2004
Park Tae-joon 2000
Lee Han-dong 2000-2002
Kim Suk-soo 2002-2003
Lee Hae-chan 2004-2006
Han Myeong-sook 2006-2007
Han Duck-soo 2007-2008
Han Seung-soo 2008-2009
Chung Un-chan 2009-2010
Kim Hwang-sik 2010-2013
Chung Hong-won 2013-2015
Lee Wan-koo 2015
Hwang Kyo-ahn (Incumbent) 2015-Present

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