Thousands mourn Posco founder Park Tae-joon

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Thousands mourn Posco founder Park Tae-joon

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Representative Park Geun-hye, former chairwoman of the ruling Grand National Party, pays tribute yesterday at the mourning altar for the late Park Tae-joon, the founder of steelmaker Posco, in the funeral hall of Severance Hospital in Sinchon, western Seoul. [YONHAP]


POHANG - After the death of Park Tae-joon, founder of steelmaking giant Posco on Tuesday, the company’s employees and residents of Pohang, where Posco is headquartered, mourned Korea’s “Man of Steel” throughout the day yesterday.

Park, an honorary chairman of Posco, died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 84, after developing an acute lung infection due to side effects from an operation he received 10 years ago to remove a tumor.

Thousands of Pohang residents and Posco employees visited memorial altars set up in four locations in Pohang, North Gyeongsang. One was at Posco headquarters, another at Hanmadang Gymnasium in Jigok-dong, a third at Postch’s Nobel Garden, where a statue of Park stands, and the last at the Pohang Culture and Arts Center.

Early yesterday morning at Posco headquarters in southern Pohang, executives and staff members including Cho Bong-rae, executive vice president and general superintendent of Pohang Works, paid a visit to the memorial altar erected at the headquarters. A flag was lowered to half mast there yesterday.

“My heart aches thinking that such a great man, who was an officer, a businessman, a teacher and a politician, departed so early,” Cho said. “All employees of Posco should strive to develop the company as Park had wanted.”

Lee Dae-gong, president of the Posco Education Foundation, who was known to be close to Park, appeared at the headquarters and tearfully said, “All the employees at the foundation as well as the students, parents and graduates have heavy hearts.”

News of the death was especially sad for Pohang residents, as Park is considered the man who brought economic development to the city.

“No one can deny the fact that he was the most influential person for the development of Pohang,” said Kim Cheol-ju, 45. “As a Pohang citizen, I thank him and may he rest in peace.”

Thousands of mourners visited the funeral hall at Severance Hospital in Sinchon, western Seoul, where Park died. Three former chairman of Posco were among the first group of mourners to visit. The current chairman, Chung Joon-yang, was also reported to have paid a visit yesterday morning after making an urgent trip back to Korea from an overseas business trip.


By Song Yee-ho, Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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