President Moon Jae-in relayed condolences to family and friends of his early predecessor Roh Tae-woo, the country’s first directly elected president, who died of illness a day earlier at the age of 88 yesterday through his chief of staff.
Moon said that while former President Roh Tae-woo’s faults such as suppressing the May 18 Pro-Democracy Movement and December coup are not insignificant, Roh also had achievements such as hosting the 1988 Olympics, and adoption of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement.
The nation has also decided to hold a state funeral for the late former president.
It was a tough decision for the government as the late Roh has a mixed legacy.
For more on this decision and what it means to have a state funeral… we have our Kim Do-yeon at the funeral site.
Do-yeon, so what does all this mean in terms of the funeral proceedings?
Conn-young, I'm at Seoul National University Hospital's funeral home where visitors are paying their respects to the late former President Roh Tae-woo.
Earlier today like you said the government announced that the funeral will now be a a state funeral and it will remember him with respect as a former president.
Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum is in charge of the national ceremony.
Take a listen to what the President's top aide had to say about the decision as well as from the minister who will be helping the PM sort things out for the bereaved family.
"As the President included in his message this morning, as former President Roh made more than a few bad decisions but also had some notable achievements, the citizens will have differing opinions. We took that into account and decided on a state funeral during a cabinet meeting."
"We're sorry for the family's loss. It was decided that the funeral will be a state funeral. We will try to go ahead with the funeral proceedings according to what the bereaved family wishes."
As of now, this will be a traditional five-day funeral with a burial on the 30th, this Saturday.
In addition Korean flags in public places will all be flown at half-mast.
On the other hand he will not be laid to rest at the National Cemetery like other former presidents due to his criminal records.
While he was pardoned by his successor the law still prohibits him from being buried there as he was sentenced with treason.
As of now, the family and the ministry are working to see if he can be buried at the Unification Park in the City of Paju as it was his wish written in his will.
Speaking of his will what has been said? A brief version of his will was released last night, but has the family said anymore about it?
Yes, Conn-young, earlier during the day, his son spoke to the press.
First, let's take a listen to what he had to say.
"He asked for forgiveness, particularly regarding the victims of the crackdown on the May 18th Gwangju Pro-democracy Movement, and other things he took responsibility for that happened before he was president. Also he said he will take all the bad things that happened with him. He also said he wished for the generations to live with hope."
The son continued that it's unfortunate that his father couldn't offer the apologies himself.
But he was severely ill and hasn't been able to communicate for the past ten years.
Right, now Do-yeon, you've been there all day.
Who were some people that came to visit as it may not have been an easy trip for some due to the political background of the deceased.
Conn-young, the funeral home started accepting visitors at 10 AM today.
The family arrived first to get ready to greet the visitors.
One of the first ones to arrive was SK Chairman Chey Tae-won who also is Roh's son-in-law.
Here's what he had to say.
"I'm very saddened as well. He suffered for a while, but I hope he rests in peace."
In addition, Samsung Electronics' Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong also stopped by later in the day.
As for politicians there were visitors from all across the political spectrum.
Mostly, they said that this is a place of remembrance rather than criticism and that showing respect to the deceased is the right thing to do.
One of the last visits of the day will be from the Prime Minister as he is expected to be here within the next hour.
The funeral home will stop accepting visitors at 10 PM and will reopen at 9 AM tomorrow.