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Monday, 12 March, 2001, 15:02 GMT
Mandela meets 'Asia's Mandela'
Nelson Mandela and Kim Dae-jung
Mandela and Kim have a warm relationship
Former South African President Nelson Mandela has met the man dubbed "Asia's Mandela", fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner South Korea's President Kim Dae-jung.

Mr Mandela expressed his support for Mr Kim's engagement policy toward North Korea during their talks in Seoul, according to presidential aides.

The two men also agreed to make joint efforts to promote peace, democracy and human rights.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the South's Kim Dae-jung embrace
Mr Kim won the Nobel for his peace efforts with North Korea
Mr Kim said he hoped Mr Mandela's visit would contribute to improving relations between Korea and South Africa.

"We are now trying to open a new era of reconciliation and co-operation away from the last half century of confrontation and animosity (with North Korea)," he reportedly told Mr Mandela at a dinner party.

"I expect to see great progress in inter-Korean relations, if we go ahead with the spirit of reconciliation and tolerance you've shown," he added.

Peace park

Reports said Mr Mandela proposed that the two Koreas build a "peace park" inside the demilitarised zone that separates them.

The South African elder statesman said such a project would "help peace take root in one of the world's last Cold-War frontiers".

Rally
Mr Kim's long struggle for democracy earned him the nickname 'Asia's Mandela'
Mr Kim said he would relay the proposal to the North, according to Yonhap state news agency .

Mr Mandela, who stepped down as president in 1999, won the Nobel prize in 1993 for his work to end apartheid.

Mr Kim won the prize last year for his efforts to end 50 years of Cold War hostility with North Korea and his long pursuit of democracy for South Korea.

His years as a pro-democracy dissident, which made him the target of several assassination attempts, earned Mr Kim the nickname "Asia's Mandela".

Although the two men had never met face to face before, they have maintained a close personal relationship.

When Mr Kim ran for president in 1997 Mr Mandela sent him the wristwatch he had worn during his time in prison as a good luck gift.

Mr Kim, 76, won the election by a narrow margin, marking the first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition party in South Korean history.

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See also:

13 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kim Dae-jung: Korean peacemaker
15 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Summer months melt Korean ice
14 Jun 99 | South Africa elections
1994 - 99: The Mandela years
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