Nobel Peace Prize goes to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung

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The Independent Online

The South Korean president Kim Dae Jung has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The South Korean president Kim Dae Jung has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee made the award 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".

There was no corresponding award for a North Korean figure, although in the past the prize has often been shared by statesmen across national or sectarian divides.

The Nobel Committee did, however, say it wanted to express its "recognition of the contributions made by North Korea's and other countries' leaders to advance reconciliation and possible reunification on the Korean peninsula."

Making the award, the committee said Kim Dae Jung had gradually emerged as his country's leading spokesman for democracy during the decades of authoritarian rule in South Korea, despite repeated threats on his life and long periods in exile.

His election in 1997 as president marked South Korea's arrival among the world's democracies.

The announcement was a cliffhanger to the last minute as the speculation was more muted than usual.

The five-member committee and its nonvoting secretary Geir Lundestad stake their pride in keeping the secret.

The Nobel committee never reveals the nominees, only their number, which this year was a record 150. But those making nominations for the 9 million Swedish kronor prize prize often announce them

The peace prize capped a week of Nobel announcements - the latest, the literature prize, was awarded Thursday to Chinese dissident writer Gao Xingjian, now a French citizen.

Americans James J. Heckman and Daniel L. McFadden won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics on Wednesday for developing theories on how people work and live, research that contributed greatly to employment training, public transportation, communication systems and other areas.

The physics prize was shared by Americans Jack Kilby, who co-invented the integrated circuit at Texas Instruments in 1958, and Herbert Kroemer; and Russian Zhores Alferov.

This year's chemistry prize went to Alan Heeger and Alan MacDiarmid of the United States and Hideki Shirakawa of Japan for their discoveries in the use of plastics to conduct electricity.

The medicine prize recognized Swede Arvid Carlsson and U.S.-based researchers Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel for discoveries about how messages are transmitted between brain cells, leading to treatments of Parkinson's disease and depression.

The prizes are presented on Dec. 10, the date the prize's founder, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, died in 1896. The peace prize is the only one presented in Oslo.

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