Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday praised Korea’s journey to democracy during her visit to a national cemetery for victims of the 1980 massacre in Gwangju.
Suu Kyi, herself a beacon of democracy and major driving force behind the Southeast Asian country’s political reform, placed a wreath at the May 18th National Cemetery.
|Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi burns incense at the May 18th National Cemetery in Gwangju. (Yonhap News)|
The southwestern city is home to a student-led armed uprising on May 18, 1980, against the junta led by Army coup leader Chun Doo-hwan, who later became president. The military’s brutal clampdown led to hundreds of deaths.
The Nobel laureate was quoted as telling Mayor Kang Un-tae that she was impressed by Gwangju’s “desire for freedom and human rights” and the fallen youth’s dedication to the democracy movement.
Despite her homeland’s historic political transition, Suu Kyi called for greater efforts to bring about full-fledged democratization and sate the people’s demand.
The pro-democracy politician and activist also received an honorary citizenship from the city government, along with an undelivered 2004 human rights award from the nonprofit May 18 Memorial Foundation.
Suu Kyi arrived in Seoul on Monday for a five-day stay to attend the opening ceremony for the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.
She met with President Lee Myung-bak, President-elect Park Geun-hye, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and other political and civic group leaders. On Friday, she is scheduled to visit Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil and receive an honorary doctorate and give a speech at Seoul National University.
Suu Kyi, 67, founded Myanmar’s opposition National League for Democracy in 1988 and was freed from house arrest in 2010, heralding in a watershed shift from decades of military rule.
By Shin Hyon-hee (email@example.com)