“My mother has passed on. Fortunately, my family and I could watch her go with a peaceful face,” Moon wrote in a Facebook message posted in the early hours of Wednesday.
|President Moon Jae-in at the altar set up for his mother at the Namcheon Catholic Cathedral in Busan on Wednesday. Yonhap|
“All her life she missed her home she could not go back to, and experienced hardship as with all the mothers but she left behind the words ‘still, I was happy.’”
Moon’s mother, Kang Han-ok, died Tuesday evening at the age of 92. Kang was born in Hungnam, South Hamgyong Province, in what is now North Korea.
A private wake is being held at Namcheon Catholic Cathedral in Busan.
Saying his mother had lived only for her children since his father passed away 41 years ago, Moon said he had failed in his filial duties more often than he brought happiness and honor to his mother.
He added that his mother would have worried for him until the end, watching him standing at the center of the political arena.
In the Facebook post, Moon also thanked the public for their messages and requested that government and political figures refrain from coming to pay their respects but focus on state affairs instead.
A number of political figures were turned away when they attempted to visit the cathedral, including Rep. Kim Boo-kyum of the ruling Democratic Party.
Kim is a former minister of the interior and safety, and is considered one of the ruling party’s potential presidential hopefuls.
Flowers sent by government and political leaders, including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, were also turned away.
However, a number of religious leaders and Rep. Chung Dong-young, the chief of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace, were allowed to pay their respects. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Moon made an exception for Chung upon being informed that he and his wife had waited to meet with him for a long time.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)