APU Person(s) of the Year -- Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il
After choosing a Person of the Millennium and Person of the
Century last year, AsiaPacificUniverse.com (APU) will begin an annual
Person of the Year award in 2001.
In making this year's choice, there really was no question as to who
would win. Certainly, there were many personalities who deserved
consideration. The APU award is given to the most significant
newsmaker, for whatever reason, of the year
Aung San Suu Kyii attracted much worldwide attention with her
jaunts in defiance of government-imposed travel restrictions.
her persistence paid off and the government loosened its grip.
General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and President Chandrika
of Sri Lanka also grabbed lots of headlines as their nations
struggled with internal conflict.
In the Pacific, coup leader George Speight brought unprecedented
attention to the small
island nation of Fiji. In the Philippines, President Joseph "Erap"
Estrada faced one crisis after another leading up to his on-going
But, in the end, there can be no doubt that two individuals stood out
above the rest. South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean
leader Kim Jong-il made earth-shaking history when they held the first
summit of leaders since national division 55 years ago.
Nobody could have predicted this a few years back or, even in 1999.
enmity between the two sides seemed so great that many thought
reconciliation was not possible. Indeed, at times it looked as though
war was more inevitable than peace.
Yet, to the surprise of almost everyone, these two leaders managed to
bury the hatchet and come together to talk peace.
The result of this magnanimous act has already had tremendous impact.
Long-separated families torn apart during the Korean War have been
to reunite. Economic cooperation is growing. And most importantly, the
threat of war now seems distant.
The two Koreas were and had always been an international problem. At
time, there were some who thought World War III might start at the
The easing of tensions, then, is one of the most significant events
toward world peace since the fall of the Iron Curtain. And there's
hardly anyone around now that doesn't give reconciliation a good
Kim Dae-jung was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his dramatic
but unfortunately his North Korean counterpart was neglected.
APU would like to recognize both men, Kim Jong-il and Kim Dae-jung,
their courage and foresight
in helping to bring peace to the two Koreas.