Former President Kim Young-sam died of old age at his home in Seoul on Nov. 22 in the presence of his son, Kim Hyun-chul, and other members of his family. He was 87.
Together with the late former President Kim Dae-jung, who died six years ago, Kim Young-sam is considered one of the two greatest fighters for the democratization of Korea and for the eradication of corruption.
Together with the late former President Park Chung-hee who achieved historical industrialization of Korea and miraculous economic development, the two Kims are rated as outstanding champions for the democratization of the Republic of Korea.
In 1979, Kim Young-sam was elected president of the then opposition New Democratic Party but the law enforcement agencies deprived him of his office and even disqualified him as a member of the National Assembly. It was at this time when he made the famous remarks, “You wring the neck and kill the cork, but you can never stop the dawning of a bright day!”
There broke out another military coup d’?tat on Dec. 12, 1917 and former President Chung Doo-Hwan seizes power. Chun puts Kim YU under house arrest.
And in 1983 on the occasion of the third anniversary of the May-18 Democratization Movement, Kim YS carries out a 23-day fasting at the risk of his life demanding the release of democratization fighters.
His New Democratic Party wins a great victory at the general elections on Feb. 12, 1985 and wins a Constitutional amendment for a direct Presidential election system in 1987.
This leads to the Military Government’s declaration on June 29, 1987 when the military junta-led government surrenders and agrees to free, democratic elections.
In February 1993, Kim YS was elected the 13th term President of Korea as a result of merger of three parties among his party with that of the then President Rohm Tae-woo and former Prime Minister Kim Jong-pill.
Verdict of the people on this development is divided, but the majority of people were happy as it put an end to the 30 years of rule by the military generals (Presidents Park Chung-he, Chun Doo-Hwan and Rohm Tae-woo).
Kim YS is accorded a general approval from the people as well as historians for his success in the elimination of the private clique of the military named Hana hoe (Oneness Society) and the punishment of military-turned former Presidents Chun Doo-Hwan and Roh Tae-woo, especially Chun who carried out the Dec-12 military coup and stopped the May-18 Democratization Movement at the point of bayonet and gun.
Kim YS is widely known for his outstanding ability to find good people to work with him. Among them are former Presidents Roh Moo-hyun and Lee Myung-bak; former President Lee Hoe-chang of Hannara Party, incumbent Chairman Kim Moo-sung of the ruling Saenuri Party, Supreme Councilman Lee In-je of Saenuri Party, former President SohnHak-kyu of the Democratic Party, former Governor Kim Moon-soo of Gyeonggi province and Governor Hong Joon-pyo of Gyeongsangnam-do Province.
The open-minded personnel management policy of Kim YS poses a striking contrast with many of the incumbent and former leaders of Korea, including the so-called ‘Memo Book for Personnel Actions’ used by President Park Geun-hye and the inability on the part of the political leaders in the ruling and opposition camps who ‘want to use their own men.’
The ‘Two Kims’ (former Presidents Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung) were sometimes ‘comrades-in-arms’ and sometimes competitors and rivals. In 1987 after they had won a Constitutional Amendment for a direct Presidential election system, the two Kims failed to agree on a single candidacy for the 1987 Presidential elections and as a result helped the ruling (competitor) party win making army general-turned ruling party candidate Roh Tae-woo win the Presidential election race again.
There are merits and demerits concerning the government of the late President Kim YS on various matters. However, on the question of North Korea’s success in the developmentand possession of nuclear weapons deceiving the goodwill on the part of the Republic of Korea (south), is rated as one of the most critical questions.
In June 1994, according to Korean news reports, the then President Bill Clinton of the United Stateswas reported to have been considering the bombing and destruction of nuclear weapons development facilities in North Korea. However, this US plan was never carried out because of opposition offered by the Kim YS government of Korea. (Dong-A Ilbo, Nov. 23, 2015)
North Korea had signed a joint declaration with the Republic of Korea government (then under President Roh Tae-woo) that both sides would not develop nuclear weapons.
However, deceiving the South and the international community, the North Korean regime went ahead and carried out its development of nuclear weapons. And even today, the North Korean regime continues to develop nuclear weapons while the ROK in the south continues to honor the agreement and stays away from developing nuclear weapons.
This is one of the clear examples showing that North Korea does not abide by any agreement signed with South Korea.
이경식 기자 email@example.com
<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>