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Ex-Pres. Kim YS to Hold Dinner for Late Rival`s Followers

Ex-Pres. Kim YS to Hold Dinner for Late Rival`s Followers

Posted August. 25, 2009 07:28,   


Former President Kim Young-sam yesterday invited supporters and aides of his late rival Kim Dae-jung for dinner at a restaurant in Seoul`s Yeouido district Wednesday.

Kim Young-sam’s supporters will also attend the meeting as well.

The move toward compromise between the once-warring factions head by the two Kims is expected to help the ruling and opposition parties form a reconciliatory environment in the wake of Kim Dae-jung’s death.

On the day after Kim Dae-jung’s funeral, Kim Young-sam told Kwon Roh-kap, who was Kim Dae-jung’s right hand man, “How much frustrated you must be. I’d like to invite you to a condolatory dinner.”

Kwon readily accepted the offer and encouraged supporters of the late president to attend, including Han Hwa-kap, Han Kwang-ok, Kim Ok-du, Lee Hoon-pyung. Supporters of Kim Young-sam who will attend include special presidential adviser for national integration Kim Deok-ryong and ruling party members Kim Moo-sung and Lee Sung-hun.

Most of those who will attend the dinner are members of the council for democratization that the two Kims created together in 1980. Kim Moo-sung told The Dong-A Ilbo, “To get a just assessment of democratization achieved by (the two Kims), the two sides must overcome regionalism and pursue national integration.”

Kim Young-sam called Kim Dae-jung’s widow Lee Hee-ho at 11:30 a.m. yesterday and said, “Since people are expressing condolences to him, I hope I can be of any help to you. You must stay sound and healthy.”

Lee then asked how Kim Young-sam’s wife was doing, to which he responded, “She’s gotten much better. Thank you.”

One of Kim Dae-jung’s supporters said, “Seeing (Kim Young-sam) deeply frustrated after (Kim Dae-jung’s) death, I felt the two people are pretty much like a needle and thread.”

Kim Young-sam hanged the national flag at half mast at his home after the government Thursday decided to hold a state funeral for his late rival.

He also ended their 40-year relationship of love and hate when he visited Kim Dae-jung in the hospital Aug. 10, saying, “It’s safe to say we’ve reconciled.”

In the 1990s, Kim Dae-jung used to say to those close to him, “Kim Young-sam will feel the saddest when I die, and I will feel saddest when he dies,” despite their relations reaching their lowest point.

Ruling party lawmaker Hong Sa-deok, however, said the meeting of the supporters of the two Kims cannot wipe out regionalism overnight, but paid tribute to the late Kim Dae-jung.

He also said, “The ruling party must highly regard Kim Dae-jung’s three main achievements – democratization, qualitative shift in inter-Korean relations, and building a social safety net.”