ROK and Inter-Korean relations
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N.K. contradicts self on naval clash
The North Korean state media repeatedly blamed the "belligerent forces" in Seoul for the brief naval clash on the West Sea last week, notwithstanding making conflicting remarks.
A North Korean patrol boat crossed the disputed inter-Korean maritime border despite warning messages last Tuesday, resulting in an exchange of gunfire with the South Korean navy that reportedly killed one North Korean and injured three.
North Korea's military threats against the South are becoming rather tiresome.
On Friday, North Korea's military said that it would take "merciless" military action to defend its maritime border with the South and warned that Seoul would pay for the naval clash that occurred earlier in the week.
Last Tuesday, a North Korean boat crossed the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border in the West Sea, despite warnings from the South Korean Navy and was driven away after an intensive exchange of fire that lasted about two minutes. The North Korean boat retreated in flames after coming under some 5,000 rounds of fire.
North Korea does not recognize the NLL, which was drawn up at the end of the Korean War. It insists on a military demarcation line that lies south of the NLL and has periodically warned of armed provocations near the NLL. Bloody naval battles took place in 1999 and 2002.
North Korea timed the latest military threat to coincide with the arrival of U.S. President Barack Obama in Asia. It may have issued the threat in order to heighten tension on the Korean Peninsula ahead of Obama's visit to Seoul on Wednesday and ahead of Ambassador Stephen Bosworth's visit to Pyongyang next month.
DPRK Takes Merciless Action to Defend MDL
Pyongyang, November 13 (KCNA) -- The head of the north side delegation to the North-South General-Level Military Talks on Friday sent the following notice to the south side, clarifying the truth behind the recent armed provocation in the West Sea and the principled stand of the Korean People's Army on it in connection with the south side's sophism making profound confusion of right and wrong over the incident:
It is the politically motivated shameless provocation to resort to a futile military adventure to preserve the illegal "northern limit line" still today when the times have changed.
Warships of the navy of the south Korean forces described the exercise of the right to self-defence by a patrol boat of the north side as "an act of trespassing on the above-said line" and preempted the firing of direct sighting shots and "shots aimed at destroying it", not "warning shots" though they were well aware that the patrol boat and its crew sailed to confirm an unidentified object. This was an inexcusable deliberate and open military provocation.
The rash action perpetrated by them, firing thousands of bullets and shells with several warships involved at a time was a premeditated action of the rightwing conservative forces and bellicose military group of the south side to stem the trend of the situation on the Korean Peninsula which has shown a sign of detente through the third skirmish in the West Sea.
Upon the authorization, I notify the south side of the following principled stand of the KPA on the gravity of the incident:
South Korea’s Growing Soft Power
By Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
CAMBRIDGE ? When the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Thailand last month, South Korea was an important presence.
Quietly, South Korea has moved away from being defined by its problematic North Korean neighbor, and is becoming an important middle-ranking power in global affairs.
A South Korean is secretary general of the United Nations; Seoul will host next year's G20 summit; and the country has just reached a free-trade agreement with the European Union.
This was not always so. If geography is destiny, South Korea was dealt a weak hand. Wedged into an area where three giants ? China, Japan, and Russia ? confront each other, Korea has had a difficult history of developing sufficient ``hard" military power to defend itself.
Two Koreas 'Meet in Singapore'
Japanese state broadcaster NHK says South Korea's labor minister Yim Tae-hee and Kim Yang-gon, the director of the United Front Department under the North Korean Workers' Party met in Singapore on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a possible inter-Korean summit.
Quoting South Korean government sources, NHK said the meeting ended without any progress as the two sides could not agree on a location for the summit.
The South Korean official reportedly proposed that Seoul host the next summit as the past two were held in Pyongyang. But the North Koreans refused.
State-of-the-Art Destroyer Deployed in West Sea
The state-of-the-art destroyer Choi Young has been stationed along the Northern Limit Line, the maritime border between the two Koreas off the west coast, a military spokesman said Thursday.
The move comes after Tuesday's naval skirmish, when the two sides exchanged fire for about two minutes.
The destroyer, which went into service in September last year, is 150 m long and has the capacity to accommodate up to 300 people.
The Choi Young is armed with guided missiles and torpedoes and equipped with an anti-radar detection stealth function.
CESCR draws a grim picture of human rights in South Korea
UN representatives points out concerns with migrant workers’ issues and forced evictions, and suggests funds for river project could be better spent elsewhere
Experts of the United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has been examining current issues in South Korea, including the Yongsan tragedy, through the lens of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) at the UN building located in Geneva, Nov. 11. The experts stated that the Yongsan tragedy might have resulted from excessive police force and the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project has been pursued without sufficient discussion. This is results of discussion on the South Korean issue.
Resolving the West Sea battle as ‘security dilemma’
Cheong Wook-sik, representative of PeaceNetwork
On Tuesday, yet another armed clash took place between North Korea and South Korea on the West Sea. Fortunately, there were no major damages on the South Korean side, but a North Korean patrol boat withdrew from the clash in flames. The day before in Europe, an event took place to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War that resulted in a spectacular domino show and was met with celebration from people the world over. The very next day, on the “lone Cold War island” of the Korean Peninsula this third West Sea clash demonstrated that the young generation of North Korea and South Korea could be struck down at any moment by a bullet from the other side.
Pyongyang says South planned Naval clash
November 13, 2009
A North Korean government newspaper accused South Korea of staging a deliberate attack on a North Korean ship Tuesday in the Yellow Sea to coincide with the visit next week to Seoul by U.S. President Barack Obama.
In its editorial, Minju Joson charged that the South Korean military caused the “armed provocation” in the west sea then claimed that the North Korean military was responsible. The paper said the action was meant to raise the stakes before Obama’s trip and also before the scheduled visit to Pyongyang by Stephen Bosworth, the special U.S. envoy for North Korea.
Move over Beaujolais, it’s makgeolli time
November 13, 2009
In many parts of the world, fall means the first French wine of the year: the young, tasty Beaujolais nouveau. But a competitor to this sweet seasonal treat has arisen: makgeolli nouveau, a term being used to market traditional Korean wine made from the first rice harvest of the season.
And according to local department stores, makgeolli nouveau has been even more popular here than its French namesake.
Makgeolli gets a modern sales pitch
[Meet the CEO] ‘Modern branding for today’s consumer will also help bring traditional liquor to the public.’
November 13, 2009
It is no secret that the nation is now in love with makgeolli, or traditional rice liquor, which was once disregarded as little more than a cheap drink. In the 1960s and 1970s, the beverage took up more than 80 percent of Korea’s alcohol consumption total but due to the influx of Western liquor and tightened restrictions in the local liquor industry, its market share dropped to as low as 3 percent in 2005.
These days, however, as more consumers want their alcoholic beverage to be both healthy and refreshing, sales of makgeolli have risen, particularly in recent months.
N. Korea Warns of Military Action Over Naval Clash
North Korea Friday threatened to take "merciless military measures" to protect its West Sea border with South Korea following a naval clash earlier this week.
"Our side reminds your side again that there exists only a sea demarcation line in the West Sea set by our side, and from this moment on we will take merciless military measures to protect it," the official news agency quoted a notice from the North's military to the South's forces as saying.
The North refuses to recognize the sea borderline set by United Nations forces after the 1950-53 Korean War and demands it be drawn further to the south.
How S.Korea Beat Back N.Korean Gunboat
Arms experts and military officers say it was technological superiority that allowed South Korea to send a North Korean patrol boat scuttling back trailing a cloud of smoke across the Northern Limit Line after an incursion Monday.
Was Inter-Korean Skirmish a Deliberate Provocation?
Tuesday's incursion into South Korean waters that resulted in a brief gunbattle was "an intentional, low-intensity provocation by North Korea," Cheong Wa Dae believes. An official said if the North Korean vessel had accidentally trespassed, "it would have retreated after being warned by our vessels. We can't view the incident as an accident since a North Korean vessel fired 50 rounds at our ship for the first time in seven years."
The incursion in the West Sea was "a deliberately planned maneuver designed to look like an accident," according to Nam Joo-hong at Kyonggi University, since the 134 ton vessel breached maritime barriers and came so far down south, and that Pyongyang is demanding an apology from Seoul.
Measures needed to prevent future West Sea conflicts
Observers say basic working-level measures for a West Sea special zone of peace and cooperation suspended since the Lee administration took office must be re-instated
Gun smoke has once again risen over the West Sea. South Korea displayed its overwhelming firepower and defended the NLL, and now tensions have escalated to even higher levels. Observers are saying the G-20 summit to be held in Seoul next Nov. could at the slightest mistake be blemished by a military clash in the West Sea. In other words, there is concern that North Korea could launch a return match to mark the one-year anniversary of the “Third West Sea Naval Battle” fought on Tuesday.
NK Calls Naval Clash South’s Conspiracy
North Korea Thursday blamed this week's naval clash on a "conspiracy" by South Korea's military to thwart the current mood of cross-border dialogue, according to AFP Thursday.
Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling communist party, said Tuesday's clash was not accidental but stemmed from a conspiracy by Seoul's military "to turn inter-Korean relations toward tension through the means of military provocation." The paper's commentary was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
[Role of ROK military]
Seoul Mulling Over N. Korea’s Motive for Naval Clash
By Kang Hyun-kyung
In the wake of the inter-Korean naval skirmish Tuesday, defense experts remained undecided over the motives for the latest breach of the maritime border by a ship from the North.
Prior to this clash, North Korean vessels had fired on ships in the West Sea twice in 1999 and 2002, respectively, taking the lives of scores of South and North Korean military personnel.
A North Korean ship exchanged gun fire with a South Korean patrol boat Tuesday after the former crossed the maritime border, despite repeated warnings issued by the latter.
Asked about the North's motive, Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute, said the North Korean breach of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) could have been ``accidental, rather than intentional'' this time.
Given the picture painted by the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cheong told The Korea Times that the North appeared not to intend a provocative act.
``Only one North Korean ship crossed the maritime border and then engaged in a firefight with South Korean vessels. Considering that there were no backup vessels on the North's side, it would be safe to conclude that the North didn't intend to wage a battle with the South.''
Some North Korea watchers, however, claim the communist regime appeared to be sending U.S. President Barack Obama ? who is scheduled to visit Seoul next Wednesday and Thursday ? the message that the two Koreas are still technically at war.
Working for Peace and Reconciliation:
An Interview with Reverend Syngman Rhee
Haeyoung Kim* | November 5, 2009
Born and raised in Pyongyang, Syngman Rhee went to South Korea in 1950 as a refugee during the Korean War. After 5 years of military service in South Korea's Marine Corps, in 1956 he came as a student to the United States, ultimately receiving his Master of Sacred Theology from the Yale University Divinity School and his Doctorate of Religion from the Chicago Theological Seminary.
Korean navies exchange fire in border incident
Dries Belet, 10 November 2009
Along a disputed sea border off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, South and North Korean warships have fired at each other, leaving a North Korean vessel heavily damaged. Each side blamed the other for causing the skirmish.
Assuming the clash was not accidental, an explanation for North Korean aggression can be found in the skirmish's implications for the upcoming international negotiations on its nuclear program. North Korea is due to reengage with sixparty talks and this Tuesday President Barack Obama consented to send Stephen Bosworth as his envoy to begin bilateral negotiations, after months of 'intensive' discussions with US allies over how to negotiate with North Korea.
Senior N.Korean Hardliner at Hand' During Incursion
Tuesday's inter-Korean naval skirmish occurred when a recently transferred North Korean general was inspecting the unit responsible for the stretch of the West Sea where the incursion happened, intelligence reports say. "We are confirming an intelligence report saying that Gen. Kim Kyok-sik, commander of North Korea's frontline fourth corps, is inspecting a Navy base on the western coast that covers the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea and Hwanghae Province," a military source said.
N.Korean Provocation Requires a Calm Response
North and South Korean naval vessels exchanged fire for about two minutes off the coast of Daecheong Island on Tuesday morning after the North Korean boat crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL). According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the South Korean ship spotted the North Korean patrol boat trespassing about 2.2 km south of the NLL at around 11 a.m. and issued four verbal warnings. But the North Korean boat continued to head south, prompting the South Koreans to issue a final message and fire warning shots. The North Koreans fired around 50 rounds directly at the South Korean naval vessel, which returned fire immediately. The South Korean vessel was hit about 15 times, but suffered no casualties. The North Korean boat returned home in a cloud of smoke. It was the third time that North and South Korean naval vessels clashed in the West Sea after 1999 and 2002.
North Korea and South Korea’s first naval clash in 7 years
S. Korean observers say the 2 minute exchange occurred after the North Korean patrol boat crossed the NLL while investigating illegal fishing activity
North Korean and South Korean naval vessels exchanged fire for two minutes Tuesday morning in the waters around the Northern Limit Line (NLL) off the island of Daecheong in the West Sea. This is the third such clash between the countries and the first in over seven years, following encounters on June 15, 1999, and June 29, 2002. There were no injuries on the South Korean side from Tuesday’s exchange. A North Korean patrol boat headed back over the NLL in a partially-destroyed condition, emitting black smoke, but it is not yet known if there were any casualties.
South Korea deviated from previous rules of engagement in West Sea clash
Observers say South Korea navy is showing little restraint in preventing naval battles from taking place in disputed West Sea territory
The South Korean navy enacted different rules of engagement during the exchange of fire between the North Korean and South Korea naval ships on Nov. 10 in comparison with the two previous inter-Korean naval battles that occurred in the West Sea in 1999 and 2002 (also known as the Yeongpyeong Naval Battle of June 1999 that lasted 9 minutes and Second Yeongpyeong Naval Battle that lasted 24 minutes).
In the previous two battles, the South Korean navy had implemented rules of engagement with five procedural steps of “announcing a warning, moving, firing a warning shot, firing a threatening shot, and firing a precision shot.” The previous rules of engagement were designed to avoid battles between the North Korean and South Korea navies.
In contrast on Tuesday, the South Korean patrol boat issued a warning shot immediately after moving and communicated a warning message. In response, the North Korean vessel took a precision shot and in turn, South Korea took a precision shot. Since 2004, when the rules of engagement were set, three to six warning shots have been exchanged per year, and these shots are the first that have taken place this year. Observers suggest the new rules of engagement curtail steps that could prevent clashes from escalating.
[Editorial] October 4 Summit Declaration follow-up could have prevented naval clash
North Korean and South Korean patrol boats fired rounds at each other in the seas near Daecheong Island south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) yesterday morning. There were no losses on the South Korean side, but as it was the first naval clash in seven years since the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong in June 2002, it is not a matter to be taken lightly. It demands a wise response that does not exacerbate inter-Korean tensions.
DPRK Demands S. Korea Apologize for Armed Provocation
Pyongyang, November 10 (KCNA) -- The Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army Tuesday issued a report on the grave armed provocation perpetrated by the south Korean forces in the waters of the north side in the West Sea of Korea this day.
According to the report, today the north side let a patrol boat of the Navy of the KPA on routine guard duty promptly go into action to confirm an unidentified object that intruded into the waters of its side.
When the patrol boat was sailing back after confirming the object at about 11: 20 a group of warships of the south Korean forces chased it and perpetrated such a grave provocation as firing at it.
The patrol boat of the north side, which has been always combat-ready, lost no time to deal a prompt retaliatory blow at the provokers.
Much flurried by this, the group of warships of the south Korean forces hastily took to flight to the waters of their side.
The south Korean military authorities should make an apology to the north side for the armed provocation and take a responsible measure against the recurrence of the similar provocation.
No Particular N. Korean Moves in West Sea
South Korea Wednesday denied allegations that a pair of North Korean naval boats approached the western maritime border where the navies of the two countries exchanged gunfire a day earlier.
"There is no particular situation developing. The waves are high, also forcing fishing vessels to stay off the waters," Park Sung-woo, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted as telling reporters by Yonhap News Agency.
The allegations that two North Korean vessels closed in on the boundary early Wednesday morning had circulated in South Korea's financial and government circles.
Korean Navies Skirmish in Disputed Waters
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: November 10, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea — North and South Korean naval vessels exchanged fire in disputed waters off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, leaving one North Korean vessel engulfed in flames, South Korean officials said.
The clash underlined the instability in the region just days before President Obama begins a weeklong visit to Asia.
National Assembly questions President Lee’s diplomacy
The DP and GNP are split on the Grand Bargain and Afghanistan, but united in calling for transparency in inter-Korean summit development
In a parliamentary inquiry on diplomacy, unification and security on Friday, members of the Lee administration were grilled about diplomatic missteps regarding President Lee Myung-bak’s “Grand Bargain,” redeployment of troops to Afghanistan, and suspicions that the government is secretly pushing an inter-Korean summit.
Spy Agency Now Regards NK as 'International' Affairs
South Korea’s main spy agency quietly went through an internal restructuring and has started to deal the North Korean issue not just as an inter-Korean matter, but more from an international perspective, a major daily said on Saturday.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) recently removed its department that specifically deals with North Korea and placed it under another body within the organization that deals with international affairs, Chosun Ilbo reported.
A senior government source told the newspaper that the change reflects President Lee Myung-bak’s view that the North Korean issue should now be dealt more from the international geopolitical perspective.
[SK NK policy]
Lee Rules Out Unprincipled Summit Between 2 Koreas
By Jung Sung-ki
President Lee Myung-bak Friday reiterated his position that he will not pursue an unprincipled inter-Korean summit.
``As I said earlier, I won't pursue an unprincipled inter-Korean summit. I will not seek a meeting to save face. That's the bottom line,'' Lee said during a meeting with his foreign and security policy advisers at Cheong Wa Dae.
Media reports said that senior officials of the two Koreas met in Singapore and discussed the possibility of a third inter-Korean summit. Lee's office denied the claims.
[SK NK policy]
Gov't Standardizes Foreign Names for Korean Food
The government is standardizing the names of Korean dishes to help foreign diners know what they are ordering.
The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Thursday that it has come up with recommended spellings and descriptions for 124 Korean dishes in English, Japanese and Chinese.
The ministry said the English names were proposed by the Culture Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Korea Foundation and the Korea Tourism Organization, and reviewed by linguists and food experts.
N.Korea Documentary Wins Another Award
A documentary about North Korean refugees produced by the Chosun Ilbo has won the award for best investigative television documentary by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) in London. It announced the winners of the AIB Awards 2009 on Tuesday, and named "Korea: Out of the North" as the winner of the best investigative television documentary.
The film is a 52-minute edited version in English of "On The Border" and was aired in BBC in May last year.
'Unified Korea Key to Peace in East Asia'
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Conservative scholars Wednesday called on the government Wednesday to convince Chinese and U.S. policymakers to believe that a unified Korea would not pose a threat to them, but would instead create an opportunity.
Nations would benefit from "a Korea that will be whole, free and at peace" as it is the key to peaceful Northeast Asia, they said in papers prepared for a seminar to be held today, organized by the conservative think tank Hansun Foundation for Freedom & Happiness.
For the goal to be achieved, they argued, South Korea needs to help North Korea reconstruct its almost bankrupt economy with technical assistance on export-led economic growth.
According to them, the U.S. and China want the status quo on the Korean Peninsula as the two countries believe unification would risk their interests.
Why Is S.Korea Not Preparing for Reunification?
Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany. Helmut Kohl, who was the chancellor of West Germany, wrote in his memoirs, "Even until that point, I had no idea that Nov. 9, 1989 would be a day that will go down in German history."
The political and economic reforms introduced by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who took office in 1985, shook the political and ideological foundations of the former Eastern bloc. And the Soviet Union, reeling from economic difficulties, gave up acting as the guardian of the Warsaw Pact countries. But no West German politician believed those winds of change would lead to German reunification. Kohl was the exception. The opposition Social Democratic and Green parties even demanded Kohl stop his "unrealistic" rhetoric about reunification.
Military Admits N.Korean Hacker Attack
The North Korean military hacked into the South Korean Army command in March and a password for the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) website leaked out, Lt. Gen. Kim Jong-tae, commander of the Defense Security Commend (DSC), admitted to a parliamentary audit on Tuesday. That confirms a report last month in the Monthly Chosun.
Lawmakers quoted Kim as saying the target of the hackers was the computer of the director of the chemicals division, and his ID and password were leaked through a hacking program when he logged on to the alumni website of the Korea Military Academy. Kim bluntly stated that the military security system "is not safe" from attacks by North Korean hackers at the moment, lawmakers said.
Chamber Looks to Shed Light on NZ Wine
Graeme Solloway, left, trade commissioner to Seoul for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and Les Edwards, chairman of the Kiwi Chamber, display examples of their country’s wine.
The New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea, known as the Kiwi Chamber, is to host an event highlighting the Oceanic country's wine, Monday.
Called the ``New Zealand Wine Experience ? 100 percent pure New Zealand wine,'' it will take place at the Seoul Plaza Hotel.
The event is designed to introduce the country's wine to both Koreans and foreigners alike.
There will be 25 participating wineries and over 110 premium red and white wines available to taste.
A New World wine-producing nation, there are over 500 wineries spread out over New Zealand's North and South Islands.
The chamber hopes to introduce the country's wine to aficionados who may not be familiar with the range it has to offer. The event takes place from 7 to 10 p.m.
For more information, visit www.kiwichamber.com or e-mail email@example.com.
Korean Wave 'Sweeps N.Korea'
North Koreans enjoy watching South Korean soap operas as much as anyone across Asia, a recent defector told Time magazine. "Many people watch them in secret, even when the police have tried to stop it," he is quoted as saying in the magazine's latest edition.
"In recent years, bootlegged South Korean dramas have been flooding into the northern neighbor -- part of a recent explosion across Asia in the popularity of South Korean TV shows and music known as the Korean Wave."
"On the black market in North Korea, American DVDs go for about $0.35; South Korean ones go for $3.75," the weekly said. "Foreign films are allowed to be shown in some contexts, such as the Pyongyang International Film Festival held every other fall, and in recent weeks state television has occasionally shown Disney films like Snow White, Cinderella and Robin Hood. But a wide selection of foreign films have always been available to the country's elites, having been smuggled in before the 1990s, though never at the rate that happens now.
[Hallyu] [Culture war]
Korean Rice Wine Sees Renaissance
Korea is seeing a renaissance of traditional rice wine or makgeolli. Once popular, it saw annual sales of 1.42 million kl in the 1980s, but the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games brought drastic changes to the domestic liquor industry. Foreign alcoholic drinks like beer and whiskey have since then dominated the liquor market, with rice wine seen as a cheap drink for the poor. Sales of makgeolli dropped to 700,000 kl in 1990 and 129,000 kl in 2002.
But the traditional white, thick rice wine regained life in the late 2000s, riding the fad for a healthier lifestyle and retro style.
Last year, some 175,000 kl of makgeolli was sold, and sales are expected to top 200,000 kl this year. Modern makgeolli products -- from fruit-flavored ones to a recreation of the rice wine enjoyed by the upper class people in the ancient Koryo period -- have hit the market, posing a challenge to foreign drinks like wine, whiskey and sake.
Ex-Spy Chief Lee Dies at 85
Lee Hu-rak, former head of South Korea's state intelligence agency known for a secret trip to North Korea in 1972 to broker a historic inter-Korean agreement, died Saturday of age-related causes, his family said. He was 85.
Lee, the right-hand man of late former President Park Chung-hee, served as director of the Korea Central Intelligence Agency from 1970-1973. He was notorious for oppressing dissidents against Park's iron-fisted rule. Park seized power through a coup in 1961 and ruled the country until 1979 when he was assassinated by another close confidant.
Lee secretly traveled to Pyongyang in 1972, where he met then North Korean leader Kim Il-sung to pave the way for a landmark inter-Korean agreement on the principles for reunification, named the "July 4 South-North Joint Communique."
Lee was elected to the National Assembly in 1979 but was prohibited from political activity the following year on corruption charges as a new military junta took power following Park's death. He was freed from the restriction in 1985 but stayed out of politics until his death.
Lee was admitted to a Seoul hospital in May where he received treatment for his illness that worsened recently, according to Yonhap News Agency.
He is survived by four sons and one daughter.
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