Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 18:04 UK

President Kim: Your memories

Mourners offer flowers for
Mourners offer flowers to the former Nobel Peace Prize winner President Kim Dae-jung

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who pioneered his country's "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with North Korea, has died.

BBC News asked website readers for their memories of the former Nobel prize winner.


I think that former President Kim has been the most beloved and the most detested person in Korea. Those who want democracy and progress, and are willing to reunify the two Koreas, really respect him. Many opponents also existed, like the conservatives and the present ruling party. However, a lot of Koreans liked him, and he will live in our minds forever.
Choe, Jiyoung, Seoul, South Korea

When we had a military junta in Korea, he was our hope and role model. During his tenure as a president in South Korea, he heroically tried to overcome the economic crisis and to make peace shine on the Korean peninsula. Nevertheless his political opponents abhor him without any rational reason - they have tried to depreciate his name.
Peter Kim, Seoul, South Korea

When he first started his work as a president in South Korea, we were in an economic recession. He tried to boost the economy by implementing many policies. In fact, the results were very good. He was also the first South Korean president to work hard to improve the relationship with North Korea. I think the so-called 'sunshine policy' was very well thought out and that President Kim's gesture was very generous when he gave opportunities to numerous South Korean people to meet their long-lost families in North Korea.
Although some of his policies turned out to be bad, I personally believe that he was a president who has made a great effort in our history. He also worked tremendously hard to achieve democracy in South Korea.
Se-young Lee, Seoul, South Korea

The first country Kim Dae-Jung chose to visit after taking office was the UK. I had the chance to shake his hand when he visited my university and again at another venue the following day. For such a busy man, he had a really good memory. When we shook hands the second time, he asked if we'd met the day before and, when I said that we had, he smiled and joked asking if it wasn't boring the second time round. Politics aside, I will always remember his bright smile and the man's generosity towards everyone, including North Koreans. He was a politician who put people at the centre - not politics or ideology.
Nemo Kim, London, UK

One thing that surprised me greatly when I moved to the US was how President Kim Dae-jung was so positively received there and, apparently, in the whole world. Growing up in Korea, I did not know a single soul who respected him personally or politically. He was a highly controversial politician and was no Nelson Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi.
As a liberal, I feel betrayed by the world for not bothering to figure out the real hearts and minds of all Koreans, not just the ones who can speak English. I feel that the whole world got it wrong about his legacy.
JA, New York, USA

Mr Kim Dae-Jung is the most honourable, great president we had ever. His leadership was very special and great. He was given a very hard time by dictators but he forgave them with great peace and love. He was a victim of dark rumours from valueless newspapers. The saddest thing is that many people believed those rumours. But President Kim's policy was always for the people, for justice, for everything that was Korean. He did everything that he could do for our nation and people. I really respect him. His death brings great sorrow and I'm not sure if we will ever have a great president like him again.
Jung-A, Busan, South Korea



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