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Politicians gather at 5th memorial service for former president

Politicians gather at 5th memorial service for former president

Posted August. 19, 2014 05:21,   


The 5th memorial service for the late former President Kim Dae-jung took place at the Seoul National Cemetery in Seoul’s Dongjak district on Monday. The event brought together en masse Kim’s bereaved family including his wife Lee Hee-ho, and political leaders. In attendance at the event were Kim Moo-sung, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party, Cho Yoon-sun, presidential secretary for political affairs, and Han Kwang-ok, head of the Presidential Committee for National Cohesion, who represent the ruling camp; Park Young-sun, interim chairwoman and floor leader, and former co-chairmen Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy; and members of the Donggyo faction, an group of the late Kim’s confidents, including Kwon Noh-kap. It was the first time that both Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo showed up at an official event since they resigned as party co-chairmen due to the party’s crushing defeat at the July 30 by-elections. Some bereaved families of the sunken ferry Sewol also took part in the event.

Saenuri Chairman Kim and NPAD interim leader Park were sitting side by side, but they refrained from talking to each other after exchanging brief greetings. After the ceremony, Park said, “I hoped that today would be a day when both the ruling and opposition parties think about what the path of democracy is, and what the path for a just Republic of Korea is.” On whether the ruling party could renegotiate the bill on the Special Sewol Act, Kim said, “Courageous decision will be made as the party chairman, when there is room for making concessions,” adding, “Currently, we have made concessions to the extent that we can afford to.”

Placed on the right at the entrance to the ceremony site were condolences flowers from President Park Geun-hye and on the left were those from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Sitting by Kim’s flowers were flowers from former Presidents Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo. The flowers from Kim Jong Un were conveyed by North Korea to Rep. Park Jie-won of the NPAD and other politicians who visited the North to receive them on Sunday. Kim Jong Un’s flowers were only decorated with white chrysanthemums and lilies in lieu of deep pink flowers from Kim Il Sung and red flowers from Kim Jong Il in the past, drawing attention from visitors. Former Presidents Kim Young-sam and Lee Myung-bak did not send condolences flowers.