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
(1925 - 2009)
“The sunshine politician”
South Korea's President Kim Dae-jung was awarded the Peace Prize for his “sunshine policy” towards North Korea. By means of warmth and friendliness he sought to lay the foundations for a peaceful reunification of the two Korean states, which had been in a state of war since 1950.
It was not only Kim Dae-jung's policy of reconciliation with the neighboring state to the north that the Nobel Committee set store by. It also valued his long and courageous struggle for democracy and human rights in his own country, which had entailed long periods of imprisonment, house arrest, kidnapping and exile.
In the summer of 2000, Kim Dae-jung arranged a summit meeting with North Korea's leader, one result of which was that family members who had been separated for over forty years were allowed to meet. South Korea maintained its humanitarian aid to its neighbor, and relations were developed in the fields of transport, sports, art and culture.