ANKARA, Oct 27 (AA): South Korea’s government will hold a state funeral for former President Roh Tae-woo, who died on Tuesday at the age of 88.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced the decision after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Yonhap News Agency reported.
“With Cabinet members, I express my deep condolences on the passing of former president Roh Tae-woo and give my sympathy to his family members,” he said.
“The government will hold a state funeral and thoroughly prepare it with respect so that people can pay tribute to his contribution.”
Roh, a war veteran, played a key role in the 1979 military coup that saw Chun Doo-hwan become president.
During Chun’s rule, he served as the sports and interior ministers, as well as a National Assembly member and chief of the then-ruling Democratic Justice Party.
Chun’s government was accused of a ruthless crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the southern city of Gwangju in 1980, which left more than 200 dead and 1,800 others wounded.
Roh won the presidential nomination in 1987 and swept to victory in elections – seen as South Korea’s first move toward democracy – later that year.
He led the country 1988 to 1993, establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and China, while also holding the first high-level talks with North Korea and overseeing an agreement establishing the principle of non-aggression between the sides.
In 1996, Roh and Chun were convicted for corruption and mutiny over the 1979 coup and the brutal Gwangju crackdown.
Roh was jailed for 17 years and ordered to pay 260 billion won ($223 million) in fines, according to the Yonhap report.
He was pardoned in 1997 during the government of then-President Kim Young-sam and paid his fines in full in 2013, it added.
After his death, Roh’s family released his last message in which he sought forgiveness for his “shortcomings and faults.”
“I made my own best efforts but now sincerely ask for forgiveness for my shortcomings and faults,” he was quoted by his family as saying, referring to his actions during the coup and in Gwangju.