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Late Pres. Roh to Get `People`s Funeral` Friday

Posted May. 25, 2009 03:37,   


A "people’s funeral" will be held Friday for the late former President Roh Moo-hyun at Jinyeong Public Stadium in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. He will be buried in his hometown of Bongha Village.

Prime Minister Han Seung-soo decided this at an emergency Cabinet meeting yesterday. Han will be in charge of the funeral, along with a close aide to Roh.

A funeral committee will be formed to decide the procedures of the funeral in consultation with Roh`s bereaved family. His body will be cremated and buried in Bongha in accordance with his will.

President Lee Myung-bak will visit the village to pay tribute. A presidential official said yesterday, “Whether to join a funeral service or visit an altar in Bongha Village over the funeral period will be decided in consideration of the president`s safety.”

On the second day after Roh’s death, figures from all walks of life, including National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o, former Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye and former Democratic Party Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu, streamed into Roh`s hometown to pay tribute.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences over Roh`s death. “I couldn’t hold back my shock and sadness over former President Roh’s sudden death,” Ban said in a message sent to the Roh’s family.

“I pay my deep respects to former President Roh, who greatly contributed to Korea’s democracy and reform and the construction of an advanced nation. I pray for the repose of the deceased.”

National Assembly Speaker Kim visited the mortuary in Bongha but did not pay tribute due to strong opposition from Roh’s supporters. Moon Jae-in, former presidential chief of staff, persuaded the supporters to allow Kim to enter the mortuary by saying, “Prohibiting the National Assembly speaker from paying tribute is a breach of courtesy.”

Certain supporters, however, threw water at Kim.

Park and her aides also came to the village in the afternoon the same day but had to return home at the request of Roh’s aides.

The opening of an extra parliamentary session set for June 1 will be postponed. Ruling party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo said, “Now that a people’s funeral has been decided on, negotiations over the opening of the National Assembly between the ruling and opposition parties will not be held.”

“The June parliamentary session is expected to be held after the first or second week of June.”

Floor leaders of both parties were expected to hold a meeting today on the schedule for next month`s parliamentary session, but the main opposition Democratic Party asked for a delay.

kimkihy@donga.com manman@donga.com