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A South Korean Leader’s Faith - 1981

"Kim Dae-jung (Cropped)" by Presidential Press and Information Office - photos/2001/02/136203.shtml. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - wiki/File:Kim_Dae-jung


Kim Dae-Jung was an opponent of South Korean dictators. His opponents fought dirty, putting restrictions on his political campaigns. In 1973, they kidnapped him from Tokyo and took him aboard a ship, where he was bound and gagged to be thrown overboard. On June 10, 1998, he told a joint session of the United States Congress, “But, as only someone who has brushed up to death’s door can know, I saw Jesus Christ near me. I prayed for my life. And I truly believe God saved me.” His captors were cowed by the arrival of a rescue plane. Afterward he was imprisoned and sentenced to death. While he was a political prisoner, on January 29, 1981 he wrote the letter that follows. Eventually he became South Korea’s president and was the first to transition peacefully into that office after the Korean War. Because he opened talks with North Korea, he won the Nobel Peace Prize


“My dear children Hong-il, Jee-young’s mother, Hong-up, and Hong-gul,

…Every time I think of the days you have all spent in anguish and suffering, particularly when I think about Hong-il, who is still being held in prison, pain and anguish fill my heart. My love for all of you is strong. I have determined to be a good father, the father of a blissful family. And yet I have caused you great pain and torment. In deep remorse, I can only pray to Jesus every day that your trials will in the end lead to some good…”


Kim Dae-Jung. Prison Writings

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