Vatican Daily: Faith Was Kim Dae-jung's Support

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 18, 2009 ( His Catholic faith was the secret to Kim Dae-jung’s spirit, affirmed L’Osservatore Romano in reflecting on the former president of South Korea who died today in Seoul.

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Kim, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, passed away today at age 85, after suffering several months from pneumonia.

He served as president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003.

The semi-official Vatican daily lauded the Korean leader for his «fight for democracy,» and praised his «attempts at reconciliation with North Korea."

«The fight for democratic values made Kim the leader of the battles against the regime, to the point that [those in] power tried to stop him by using every available means,» L’Osservatore Romano recalled. «During the military regime, he was imprisoned, tortured, condemned to death and twice exiled. The Catholic faith, he said, helped him and supported him in those difficult moments.

«After surviving various attempts on his life, he inspired the ‘Sunshine Policy,’ the so-called policy of sending a ray of sunshine toward North Korea to favor an attitude open to dialogue, which in the year 2000 brought about an easing in the relations between North and South Korea.»

It was in 2000 that Kim had his historical meeting in Pyongyang with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il. That same year he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

«In my life, I’ve lived with the conviction that justice wins,» he said in accepting the prize. «Justice may fail in one’s lifetime, but it will eventually win in the course of history.»

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