The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2000 to Kim Dae-jung for 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.
In the course of South Korea’s decades of authoritarian rule, despite repeated threats on his life and long periods in exile, Kim Dae-jung gradually emerged as his country’s leading spokesman for democracy. His election in 1997 as the republic’s president marked South Korea’s definitive entry among the world’s democracies. As president, Kim Dae-jung has sought to consolidate democratic government and to promote internal reconciliation within South Korea.
With great moral strength, Kim Dae-jung has stood out in East Asia as a leading defender of universal human rights against attempts to limit the relevance of those rights in Asia. His commitment in favour of democracy in Burma and against repression in East Timor has been considerable.
Through his “sunshine policy”, Kim Dae-jung has attempted to overcome more than fifty years of war and hostility between North and South Korea. His visit to North Korea gave impetus to a process which has reduced tension between the two countries. There may now be hope that the cold war will also come to an end in Korea. Kim Dae-jung has worked for South Korea’s reconciliation with other neighbouring countries, especially Japan.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to express its recognition of the contributions made by North Korea’s and other countries’ leaders to advance reconciliation and possible reunification on the Korean peninsula.
Oslo, 13 October 2000
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