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First ever Nobel prize for a Korean

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October 14, 2000 


SEOUL, OCT 13 (AP) - Fireworks lit up Seoul's sky Friday after President Kim Dae-jung was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and villagers danced and drank in the island town where he was born.

Staff at a giant Seoul bookstore placed his photograph in a frame that had been kept empty for years in case a Korean won the Nobel. Kim's image joined those of other prize winners on the wall.

Kim, a lifetime crusader for human rights and democracy, fulfilled a national dream: the first Nobel prize for a Korean. Many hoped the prize would accelerate his quest for peace on the divided Korean peninsula.

"It's an honor that will not come again. I am only thankful," Kim was quoted as saying by his spokesman, Park Joon-young.

"Today's honor is due to public support for democracy, human rights, peace, reconciliation and cooperation between South and North Korea during the past 40 years."

People cheered and clapped around large television screens at bus terminals and railway stations when Kim's name was announced. All television networks broke from regular programming to report the news live from Oslo, Norway. Early Saturday editions of all newspapers splashed front-page banner headlines with the award.

Hundreds of fireworks exploded over Seoul in a celebration funded by a private company.

"I have never been happier. I think this will have a positive effecttotalitarian regime and alleged perpetrator of terrorist acts during the 1980s.

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