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Roh Moo Hyun

President of the Republic of Korea

President Hyun was elected to office on December 19, 2002 as the Millennium Democratic party candidate in the 16th South Korean presidential election.

Previously, he served as Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under President Kim Dae Jung. He was first elected to the National Assembly in 1988, where he served as a member of the Special Committee Investigating Political Corruptions during the Fifth Republic.

Earlier, President Hyun was elected vice president of the National Congress for New Politics — and was a senior member of the Millennium Democratic Party. He was also the youngest member of the Supreme Council of the United Democratic Party, and successfully led the election campaign for his presidential predecessor Kim Dae Jung.

Before entering politics, President Hyun was a human rights lawyer beginning in 1981 after the "Burim Incident," in which he defended a university student who had been arrested on false charges of anti-state activities.

He then took up human rights law defending pro-democracy and labor rights activists throughout the period of the infamous Fifth Republic, 1980-1988. President Hyun was also one of the leaders of the June Democratization Struggles in 1987, which called for a Constitutional revision to allow for direct presidential elections.

Upon passing the bar examination in 1975, he became a district court judge — and soon after opened his own law office.

President Hyun graduated from Busan Commercial High School in 1966, and served three years in the army before being honorably discharged from military service in 1971.

He was born in 1946 in a small farming village in Gimhae, Gyeongsang-namdo province.

Articles by Roh Moo Hyun

South Korea’s Roh Moo-Hyun: What Japan Should Learn From Europe

When will Japan apologize to Korea and Asia for its WWII war crimes?

April 7, 2005