|Former Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil, in a wheelchair, attends the first general meeting of a society launched to honor him in the National Assembly Memorial Hall in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)|
Acquaintances of retired political leader and former Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil launched a social gathering in his honor Tuesday.
Named after Kim’s pen name “Unjeong,” the society held its first general meeting in the National Assembly Memorial Hall with Kim attending.
It will push projects to commemorate his accomplishments in the industrialization and modernization of Korea. Its members are former or current political or government figures who formed ties with Kim during his four-decade political career. Kim was a veteran lawmaker elected to the National Assembly nine times.
Kim visited the National Assembly for the first time in five years to attend the general meeting of the society.
The inaugural session was attended by former Prime Minister Lee Han-dong, who will chair the society, National Assembly Speaker Kang Chang-hee and other members mostly based in South Chungcheong Province.
The society plans to publish a book chronicling Kim’s activities and remarks, both public and private. It also seeks to construct a memorial hall in his hometown Buyeo and then reproduce his current Seoul residence there.
Kim was born in Buyeo, South Chungcheong Province, in 1926 and graduated from the Korean Military Academy in 1949. He joined the May 16 coup led by Major Gen. Park Chung-hee in 1961 and served in high-profile posts including chairman of the ruling Democratic Republic Party during Park’s presidency. He also founded the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.
He served as prime minister twice, from 1971 to 1975 and from 1998 to 2000. Called JP, he was a leading politician as one of the so-called “three Kims” along with former presidents Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung.
In 2004, he retired from politics after his failed bid for a 10th term in the National Assembly, and his party, the United Liberal Democrats, failed to gain a sizable number of seats. The party later merged with the Grand National Party, which later renamed itself the Saenuri Party.
By Chun Sung-woo