Despite its policy against human rights violations, the United States has given $13 billion in military and economic aid since 1952 to South Korea, which countinues to jail dissidents and has stifled the press, a new study of foreign aid says.
The report was issued yesterday by the Center for International Policy, a research project here financed by the New York-based Fund for Peace, a private organization that monitors human rights issues.
Although direct economic aid to South Korea has ended, "the United States is authorized to give, loan, or sell $402 millinn worth of military equipment in the coming year, and we think that raises some basic questions about the relationship between aid and human rights." said Donald L. Ranard, director of the center and former head of the Korean desk at the
The center has also analyzed aid and human rights in Indonesia , Thailand, the Philippines, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Nicaragua, all of which it says are gross violators of human rights like South Korea.
Last February, when Secretary of Sate Cyrus R. Vance told Congress the administration would reduce foreign aid to Argentina, Uruguay and Ethiopia because of human rights violations, he said aid to South Korea would not be cut because of its strategic imporance.
Reanard said the center's studies were conducted because "the State Department's human rights reports, along with its justifications for military and economic aid, are too incomplete and inadequate for Congress and the public to make informed decisions."
Ranard took issue with a State Department report, issued in March, that said 35 Koreans had been convicted under a 1974 emergency act issued by South Korean President Park Chung Hee.
"That report must be wrong because in 1974 the State Department told Congress that more than 1,000 were detained, 253 referred for prosecution, and 55 convicted under the emergency measure restricting political activity," Ranard said.
The department's report did say that more than 490 persons had been tried or placed under arrest under a 1975 emergency measure. Neither that report nor the center study estimated the current number of political detainecs, which some sources interested in human rights put at between 150 and 200.
The center's report charged that "kidnaping and similar acts of terrorsim have been a common trademark of Park's government both at home and abroad. "It cited the August, 1973, kidnaping in Tokyo of Kim Dae Jung, a former presidential candidate.
In March, 1976, the report noted, Kim and 17 other political dissidents issued a statement urging a restoration of human rights. They were sentenced to long jail terms although some of the sentences were suspended last March.
The center study said Kim is still "in a Seoul jail on trumped up charges, the victim of Park's persecution and a kangaroo court."
The study also said the South Korean press "has been the object of harassment as far back as the Japanese occupation, but it remained for Park Chung Hee to stifle it completey."
As a result, the Tonga-Ilbo, the country's most respected newspaper, "no longer rails against repression or corruption," the report said.
"Perhaps the best indication of how hobbled the Korean press is today can be seen in its obsequious treatment of the KCIA bribery (case) - easily the biggest news story of the decade on the U.S.-Korean alliance, and one which has its roots in conspiracy direcred from the Korean presidential palace." KCIA is the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.
The report's reference was to defensive articles about allegations that South Korean businessman Tongsun Park, acting on behalf of his government, was the center of a scheme to buy influence with members of the U.S. Congress so they would continue the heavy American defense commitment to his country.
The center said that in the current fiscal year Congress has authorized $402 million in arms and related military supplies that the United State can transfer - throught grants, loans, and sales - to South Korea.