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Four greatest Korean leaders

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Among the leaders throughout Korea's history, these four leaders stand out in terms of character and the contributions they made to the country's distinct identity and present-day existence:

1) Ulchi Mundok - Without his leadership of Koguryo's army, Koreans would have been assimilated into the Chinese race. Over a million Sui troops, personally led by Sui Yangdi, invaded Koguryo. Ulchi Mundok feigned defeat after defeat to lure the Chinese troops deep into Koguryo territory and overstretch their supply lines. He purposely let Sui forces come within 30 miles of Pyongyang, and just as he expected, Sui troops grew tired and began a hasty retreat. At that moment, Koguryo's forces encircled them and defeated the 1 million-strong Sui army.

Mundok's humiliation of the Sui forces made Tang Taizong seek revenge when he took power. Even he was defeated.

2) King Sejong - Korea's equivalent of Kangxi. Just as Kangxi is arguably China's most enlightened ruler known for creating a comprehensive dictionary describing the Chinese characters and its 214 radicals, King Sejong is Korea's most enlightened ruler and the father of Hangul. Both were scholarly men trained in the Confucian Classics. Prior to Sejong's reign, Koreans used Chinese characters, which did not reflect the spoken Korean language very well. With the introduction of Hangul, Koreans now have their own distinct phonetic alphabet.

3) Yi Sun-shin - Korea's greatest military leader who smashed the Japanese navy in 1592 and 1597. Without his naval victories, the Japanese would have conquered Korea both times. During the aftermath of the 1905 Russo-Japanese war, a Japanese admiral remarked to his Russian counterpart, "You may compare me to Admiral Nelson of Britain. But do not ever compare me to Admiral Yi Sun-shin of Korea. He is brilliant beyond comparison, which no one can match"

4) Park Chung-Hee - He is responsible for transforming South Korea into the rich, capitalist society that it is today. Prior to his rule, South Korea far lagged North Korea in economic output. By the time he was assassinated in 1979, the reverse was true. His economic liberalization policies and crackdown on political dissent of the 60's and 70's is similar to Deng Xiaoping's approach in the 1980's. It helped make South Korea join the ranks of the world's developed nations.

He even sent Korean troops to Vietnam to help flush out the Vietcong. Korean troops were probably the most ruthless of all the countries that took part in the war. Along with Australian troops, Korean soldiers in Vietnam had one of the highest kill:loss ratios of all combatants. I have heard stories of Vietcong guerillas fleeing when they saw a Korean soldier. They were more eager in engaging the Americans.

According to a recent poll, Koreans were asked who they would most like to see cloned. The number one choice was Park Chung-Hee, followed by Kim Ku, and King Sejong.

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Flushing out Vietcong in a ruthless way - that's a BAD thing. In fact, down in my part of Korea, they tend to think old Park Chung-hee was bad full stop. He put Nobel prize winning democracy promoting good guy Kim Dae-jung in prison, for example, and would have executed him, given half a chance.

Dictators get the economy going by forcing people to do horrible things they would not do of their own accord and endure unsafe and inhuman work conditions. It's not so wonderful.

Let's scrub out PCH and put in KDJ.

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