On October 9, 1983, President Chun Doo-hwan was on an official visit to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. During the visit, he planned to lay a wreath at the Martyr’s Mausoleum, to commemorate Aung San, who founded the independent Myanmar and was assassinated in 1947. As some of the president’s staff began assembling at the mausoleum, one of three bombs concealed in the roof of the memorial exploded. The huge blast ripped through the crowd below, killing 21 people and wounding 46. Among the dead were the Korean foreign minister, Lee Bum Suk, the economic planning minister and deputy prime minister, Suh Suk Joo, and the minister for commerce and industry, Kim Dong Whie. The rest of those killed were presidential advisers, journalists, and security officials, most of them South Korean; however, four Burmese nationals were also among the dead. President Chun was saved because his car had been delayed in traffic and was only minutes from arriving at the memorial. The bomb was reportedly detonated early because the presidential bugle which signalled Chun's arrival mistakenly rang out a few minutes ahead of schedule.
Police identified three suspects, an army major and two captains. One was shot to death in a shootout two days after the bombing; suspect Kang Min-chul and the other attacker attempted to commit suicide by blowing themselves up with a hand grenade that same day, but survived, although Kang lost an arm. Kang confessed his mission and links to North Korea, an action by which he was able to avoid a death sentence and instead received life imprisonment. His colleague was executed by hanging. North Korea denied any links to Kang, who was sent to a prison at Insein, north of Yangon.
As a result of the bombing, Burma suspended diplomatic relations with North Korea. China, which had passed on a diplomatic note requesting trilateral talks between North and South Korea and the US on North Korea's behalf just prior to the bombing, reprimanded North Korea in the state media. Chinese officials refused to meet or talk with North Korean officials for months afterward. 
In 1994, the representative of South Korea to the United Nations General Assembly linked this incident with the downing of Korean Air Flight 858 which he alleged was sponsored by the same government acting with impunity.
Kang was Myanmar's longest-serving prisoner. He learned to speak the Burmese language fluently, according to one of his fellow prisoners. Yangon's moves towards resuming relations with North Korea led to speculation about what would happen to Kang. Because North Korea denies that he is a North Korean citizen, he may be considered a stateless person. Kang reportedly did not want to go to North Korea, which he believes considers him a traitor, or to South Korea, which may try him for his role in the assassination attempt. In 2006, Chung Hyung-Keun, a member of South Korea's Grand National Party and a former employee of South Korean intelligence, sponsored a bill to bring Kang to South Korea.
Kang died of liver cancer on 18 May 2008.