DDP Leader Lee Ki-taek Visits Former President Kim Young-sam

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DDP Leader Lee Ki-taek Visits Former President Kim Young-sam

Lee Ki-taek, factional leader from Kyongsang Province who fled the ranks of the opposition Grand National Party to become one of the leaders of the new party tentatively called the Democratic People's Party (DPP), called on former President Kim Young-sam Monday evening at his Seoul residence in Sangdo-dong. It was the first reunion of two in 11 years since Lee decided not to participate in the merger of three political parties in 1989.

Lee had requested a meeting with Kim Young-sam on Sunday, and the reunion took place when Rep. Park Chong-woong, a close aide to the ex-President, relayed Kim Young-sam's answer that he would like to meet for dinner. Unlike the meetings with other leaders of the DDP who have been recently vying for the support of former president Kim, Rep. Park said the dinner would have to be "unofficial".

Lee said he wanted to "pay respects to former President Kim as a long-time political senior and also explain the background behind the creation of the new party."

A source close to Lee said that he would have "stressed the need for YS (Kim Young-sam)'s tacit assistance in any form in order to rally Pusan residents' support for the DDP." Lee had reportedly agonized over whether or not to visit YS, due to fears that he would be seen as attempting to court the favor of the ex-president. Another source close to Lee said his visit could be an attempt to subdue the prevalent sentiments in Pusan that 'KT' (Lee Ki-taek) has still not totally shaken off the influence of 'DJ' (President Kim Dae-jung).

by Lee Su-ho

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