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Defense chief apologizes for military's bloody crackdown on 1980 Gwangju uprising

All Headlines 10:06 February 09, 2018

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense minister offered an official apology Friday for the military's brutal use of force against pro-democracy protesters in Gwangju in 1980.

"As the minister of national defense, I offer a sincere apology and (words of) comfort to Gwangju citizens that our military has left suffering in the process of the May 18 Democratization Movement 38 years ago," Song Young-moo said in a statement.

It came two days after the ministry's special fact-finding team announced the results of five months of investigation into suspicions about the military's role in the suppression of those protesting against the junta of Chun Doo-hwan.

The civilian-government panel said the Army launched helicopter gunship attacks on citizens in the southwestern city, with fighter jets armed with bombs on standby as a backup. The findings were based on the review of documents and interviews on witnesses.

The ministry established the special committee last year after President Moon Jae-in ordered a thorough probe into related allegations.


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