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Sons of 2 Former Presidents Talk for 1st Time

Posted November. 25, 2009 08:47,   


Kim Hyun-chul, the son of former President Kim Young-sam who is vice director of the ruling party’s Yeouido Institute, has called former lawmaker Kim Hong-up, the scion of Kim Young-sam’s successor, the late President Kim Dae-jung.

Kim Hyun-chul told Kim Hong-up in a 15-minue phone conversation Sunday, “I’ll attend the 100th-day memorial prayer for the late President Kim Dae-jung at Seoul National Cemetery Wednesday together with ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Moo-sung and former lawmaker Kim Deog-ryong (who was special presidential adviser for public reconciliation).”

Kim Dae-jung died in August this year due to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

A politician with the pro-Kim Dae-jung faction yesterday quoted Kim Hyun-chul as saying, “My decision to attend the ceremony reflects my father’s intent. My father deeply regrets the death of the late president,”

Responding to an online media report saying Kim Young-sam recently called Kim Dae-jung a “dictator who tried to bring me to a public hearing by investigating me for one and a half years,” Kim Hyun-chul reportedly said, “The statement was somewhat misquoted,” adding, “My father truly reconciled with President Kim Dae-jung, who was a long-time comrade during Korea’s democracy movement.”

The phone conversation was the first contact between the two sons of the former presidents. Considering that Kim Hyun-chul was the core factor in conflict between the two former leaders under the Kim Dae-jung administration, politicians with the pro-Kim Dae-jung faction said, “The sons exchanged overtures following their fathers’ suit.”

In August 1998, Kim Young-sam blasted then President Kim Dae-jung as a “communist” when Kim Hyun-chul was excluded from a general amnesty. Kim Hyun-chul was serving a prison term at the time for a corruption scandal involving a steelmaker that erupted near the end of the Kim Young-sam administration in 1997.

Meanwhile, some 100 politicians from the factions of the two former presidents will attend a dinner hosted by Kim Young-sam at the 63 DLI Building in Seoul Thursday. For the Kim Dae-jung faction, some 60 politicians will take part while more than 40 will represent the Kim Young-sam group.

Most political leaders who led Korea’s democratic movement in the 1970s and 1980s are also expected to attend.

A glaring omission on the guest list, however, was Rep. Park Jie-won of the main opposition Democratic Party, known as Kim Dae-jung’s top confidant. In a lecture at Chunnam National University Nov. 10, Park said, “Even if I’m invited, I won’t go.”

“I’m following the late President Kim Dae-jung’s will not to engage in political activities in the name of his (Donggyo-dong) faction,” he added, blasting both Kim Young-sam and the pro-Kim Dae-jung faction.