Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies

president-kim-dae-jung-dies

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung died Tuesday at Severance Hospital in Seoul after a prolonged battle with pneumonia. He was 83.

Kim, who served as president from 1998-2003, was a towering figure in South Korea‘s struggle for democracy against the nation’s early authoritarian leaders. He won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for his unflagging efforts at reconciliation with the communist North, including a historic summit with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang.

Kim was a devout Catholic who was an inspiring speaker in both Korean and English. He endured much suffering, including torture and multiple arrests, while promoting his pro-democracy movement.

The South Korean economy improved during Kim’s administration, as the stock market gained new heights. During his presidency, the government poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a Korean investment fund which supported the establishment of small and medium enterprises.