One textbook, published by the Institute for Better Education, says that President Rhee, revered as a nation-builder by the conservatives but detested by liberals as a ruthless anti-Communist, exploited the North Korean threat to “shore up his dictatorial regime.”
The Ministry of National Defense has demanded the Rhee passage be rewritten to say, “He did his best to contain Communism.”
According to the Kumsung textbook, Park Chung-hee — who seized power in a coup in 1961 and tortured political dissidents, while mobilizing the nation for export-driven economic growth — was “a president who placed himself above the nation’s Constitution.”
The Defense Ministry wants this to be replaced with “a president who contributed to the nation’s modernization.”
As for the “sunshine policy” of engagement with North Korea espoused by President Kim Dae-jung, whose inauguration in 1998 ousted the conservative establishment and brought many former dissidents into positions of power, the Ministry of Unification now suggests that this term be replaced in textbooks with the official, drier “policy of reconciliation and cooperation.”
More history in quotation marks.