25 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/18/2009 11:57
SOUTH KOREA
South Korea mourns death of Kim Dae-jung
President from 1997 to 2003, during the years of military dictatorship was repeatedly arrested and sentenced to death. Devout Catholic, staunch defender of human rights and Nobel Peace Laureate in 2000, he promoted the Sunshine policy aimed at normalizing relations with the North. Historic summit in June 2000 with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Kim Dae-jung, 85, former South Korean president, died in the early afternoon today at Severance Hospital in Seoul, where he was hospitalized for weeks with pneumonia. He died at 1:42 pm local time from cardiovascular collapse caused by complications arising as a result of the disease. "At 1:35 in the afternoon his heart began to give problems – the hospital spokeswoman said - and it stopped beating a few minutes later, despite our attempts to resuscitate”.

 

President of South Korea from December 1997 to 2003, Kim dedicated his life to establishing democracy in the country after decades of military leadership as well as the reunification of the two Koreas. He survived several assassination attempts, was a devout Catholic and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for promoting the "Sunshine Policy" aimed at improving relations with Pyongyang. The meeting in June 2000 with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the first inter-Korean summit by the war of 1950-53, remains a milestone in modern history.

The military regime had branded Kim Dae-jung as a dangerous subversive, he was imprisoned, tortured and sentenced to death. The former president was sentenced to exile twice and on numerous occasions was put under house arrest. It was his Catholic faith that helped him in the most difficult and obscure moments of his life.

 

Kim, born January 6 1924, a date which remains uncertain, once wrote about how terrible it is to face the death penalty as a political prisoner and how this experience marked his faith. In a postcard sent to his family on 21 November 1980, during one of the periods of imprisonment, he underlined: "I used to believe until now that I have a certain amount of faith. But now in a situation where I am close to death, I experience everyday how fragile my existence is...I get angry about my lack of faith".

His election to the presidency of the country in 1997 marked a turning point in the history of South Korea and the battle for human rights. He was able to convey the same values and ideals to his successor, Roh Moo-hyun, whose death last May 23 had deeply marked him. Greeting the news of Roh’s death, he said to feel as if "half of my body has crumbled."

In 2000, after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Kim said: "Throughout my life, I lived with the conviction that justice wins. Justice may fail once in life, but ultimately always triumphs over the course of history".

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
08/14/2007 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
Hopes and doubts ahead of intra-Korean summit
by Pino Cazzaniga
03/26/2008 KOREA
Stop to North-South family reunions
05/21/2009 KOREA
Pyongyang executes official favourable to dialogue with South
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
11/30/2004 SOUTH KOREA
Religious leaders call for the abolition of the death penalty
08/18/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
Archbishop of Seoul appeals for religious freedom in North Korea
by Thomas Hongsoon Han

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.