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former ROK president Kim Dae Jung dies

18 August, 2009

Not related to Australian politics, but breaking news in Japan is that former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung passed away this morning, having contracted pneumonia last month.

Kim was sentenced to death for sedition in 1980 by the former military leaders before winning the presidential election in 1998 just as the Asian Financial Crisis had hit, and also being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. Kim was also kidnapped in 1973 while in Tokyo by the KCIA. Famously, he and fellow democracy campaigner Kim Young-sam failed to agree on who would lead in the first democratic elections in 1988 – they both ran, split the vote, and both lost.

Kim’s ‘Sunshine Policy’ advocated active engagement with the North, and saw the removal of the ban on Japanese cultural goods in Korea. Kim is the second former ROK leader to die this year after former President Roh’s suicide in May.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the story in the New York Times

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