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Government’s About-face on Two Commemoration Projects for Former Presidents

Government’s About-face on Two Commemoration Projects for Former Presidents

Posted April. 12, 2005 23:27,   


The government decided to provide a six billion won subsidy for a commemorative project for former President Kim Dae-jung, but withdraw 20.8 billion won from a commemorative project for former President Park Chung-hee.

The government decided in a Cabinet meeting held on April 12 that according to the laws on honorable treatment for former presidents, it would provide six billion won, 48 percent of the planned budget of 12.4 billion won, for the Kim Dae-jung commemoration project, led by the Kim Dae-jung Library of Yonsei University. It will provide six billion won over the next three years - two billion won this year, 2.5 billion won next year, and 1.5 billion won in 2007.

From this year until 2009, the Kim Dae-jung Library will spend a total of 12.4 billion won including a 6.4 billion won fund it raised on its own in carrying out various projects: collecting and publication of documents from home and abroad on Mr. Kim, establishing an exhibition room and a preservation facility for special material, and opening an international academic conference in commemoration of the 6/15 inter-Korean Joint Declaration.

On the contrary, the government decided to withdraw 20.8 billion won assigned for the Park Chung-hee Memorial Association related to the construction of the Park Chung-hee Memorial Hall.

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said that “the scheduled subsidy was cancelled because little progress was made even after extending the deadline for the completion of the memorial hall by 20 months to October 2004. In addition, public donations for the construction were only 10.3 billion won, far short of the target of 50 billion won.”

Yoo Yang-soo, president of the Park Chung-hee Memorial Association, said, “It is a project sponsored by former President Kim Dae-jung and was unanimously passed in the National Assembly. It is absurd for the government to reject the approval and withdraw the already-paid subsidy even after we submitted a revised plan of reducing the size of the project.”

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com