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지나쌤

Yoon donates W5m toward construction of memorial for ex-President Rhee

By Yonhap

Published : Nov. 1, 2023 - 11:25

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President Yoon Suk Yeol during the weekly Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Monday. (Presidential offfice) President Yoon Suk Yeol during the weekly Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Monday. (Presidential offfice)

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday donated 5 million won ($3,685) toward the construction of a memorial for South Korea's first President Syngman Rhee, his office said.

The donation was sent to the Rhee Syngman Foundation, which has led a fundraising campaign to build a memorial for the former president who ruled the country for 12 years until his ouster in 1960.

"Former President Syngman Rhee's fight for independence was a national foundation campaign to construct a liberal democratic state on the global stage, and the market economy system and South Korea-US alliance he achieved became the cornerstone for the development of the Republic of Korea," the presidential office said in a press release, referring to Rhee's efforts to liberate the country from Japan's colonial rule.

"In offering the donation, the president said he supports the successful construction of the Rhee Syngman Memorial as a citizen of the nation," it added.

The memorial's construction is being led by a committee made up of five sons of past presidents and experts from diverse fields. The fundraising campaign was launched Sept. 11 and had raised some 5.5 billion won as of Oct. 26, according to the presidential office.

Rhee is a controversial figure in South Korean history, with supporters crediting him for laying the foundation for a free democracy and critics accusing him of being a dictator during his 12-year rule.

Rhee was ultimately forced out of office following a massive pro-democracy civil uprising touched off by public anger over vote rigging in presidential elections during his government. The protests culminated in the "April 19 Revolution" in 1960 that left hundreds of demonstrators killed or wounded in clashes with armed police. (Yonhap)