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Sunshine: Lee Hee-ho's legacy

16 0 0
12.06.2019
By Donald Kirk

In her own way, Lee Hee-ho shares credit with Kim Dae-jung for the Sunshine policy of reconciliation with North Korea that he fostered during his presidency from 1998 to 2003.

Although not exactly shy and retiring, Lee is largely unknown among foreigners, even those who admired "DJ," and is scarcely remembered by many Koreans. Still, she had as much to do as anyone in shaping the career of the man she married in May 1962 when both were nearly 40. DJ by then had made his mark as a fiery political figure, having won a seat in the national assembly that Park Chung-hee nullified after seizing power in May 1961 from the democratic government that arose after the April 1960 revolution, but she sensed his best days lay ahead.

Lee, who died Monday at the age of 97, was captivated by the fighting spirit and shining idealism of the man Park jailed and then released shortly before their wedding. Born into a large, well known Seoul family, the daughter of a doctor, Lee by background was quite the opposite of DJ, the son of a poor rice farmer who also harvested salt on an island off Mokpo in the impoverished and resentful Jeolla region. They shared a common cause, she full of admiration for this hard-driving........

© The Korea Times