South Korea's Nobel Peace Prize-winner is a devout Catholic whose faith has motivated his overtures of reconciliation to North Korea, according to one observer.
    On Friday, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung joined the select circle of Peace Prize winners, who include Mother Teresa of Calcutta. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the award to the first Catholic Korean president in history is merited because of 'his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular'.
    Dae-jung, 75, has been president since February 1998, and since then, "has contributed to consolidate a democratic government and promote reconciliation with South Korea," the Nobel Committee said.
    "Through his 'sunshine policy,' Kim Dae-jung has attempted to overcome more than 50 years of war and hostility between North and South Korea," the chairman of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, Gunnar Berge, said. "There may now be hope that the Cold War will also come to an end in Korea."
    Last June, the South Korean's "sunshine policy" shone in all its splendor when he began the rapprochement with his Communist brother, Kim Chong-il, by taking part in a historical summit in Pyongyang, with the North's leader.
    On that occasion, Dae-jung proposed to Kim Chong-il that John Paul II be invited to North Korea as a sign of peace and reconciliation. The proposal was supported by the North Korean leader, and is currently being studied by the Vatican.
    Zenit (available soon)
17 Oct 00

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