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The Korea Now Podcast

Jul 10, 2019

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Peter Banseok KWON. They speak about the origins of South Korean “self-reliant national defence” under Park Chung-hee, the pressures that forced this change in policy direction, the relative absence of indigenous industry inside the country at this time, the intertwining of defence building with economic development, the role played in this process by the Heavy and Chemical Industrialization Plan (HCIP), the central position that the Chaebol found themselves in during this period, the spin-offs (in both directions) from this dual track of military and economic development, the success and failures of these policies, and their remaining legacy inside Korea after the assassination of Park Chung-hee.

Peter Banseok KWON is an Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at the State University of New York (Albany), and is a previous recipient of the Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellowship in Korean Studies at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. Peter received his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and has held positions as an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Korean Studies at Yonsei University. The articles used as the primary research for this interview are: ‘Mars and Manna: Defense Industry and the Economic Transformation of Korea under Park Chung Hee’ (, and ‘Beyond Patron and Client: Historicizing the Dialectics of US-ROK Relations amid Park Chung Hee’s Independent Defense Industry Development in South Korea, 1968–1979’ .(

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