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    South Koreans bid farewell to former leader

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    Over 20,000 people gathered on the lawn outside parliament in the South Korean capital on Sunday for the state funeral of former president Kim Dae-jung, Yonhap news agency reported

    MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - Over 20,000 people gathered on the lawn outside parliament in the South Korean capital on Sunday for the state funeral of former president Kim Dae-jung, Yonhap news agency reported.

    Kim, remembered for championing democracy and working to repair relations with North Korea, died of pneumonia on Tuesday at the age of 85.

    The agency quoted Prime Minister Han Seung-soo as saying in a eulogy: "You dedicated your entire life to promoting human rights, peace and inter-Korean accord. Your footprints will forever remain as part of our proud history."

    South Korea had not held a state funeral since the 1979 ceremony for President Park Chung-hee, assassinated while in office.

    North Korea sent a delegation to Seoul to pay respects to Kim Dae-jung, and conveyed verbal a message from leader Kim Jong-il to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

    Yonhap quoted the South Korean presidential office as saying Lee held a 30-minute meeting with the North Korean envoys, his first since coming to power 18 months ago.

    However, the presidential office did not disclose details of the North Korean leader's message.

     

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