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The late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the late Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun were both committed in improving Inter-Korean relations.
Kim Dae-jung was president of South Korea from 1998 to 2003. His policy of engagement with the DPRK has been termed the "Sunshine Policy". He sought detente on the divided peninsula. The two sides remain technically at war as no peace treaty was signed at the end of the Korean War in 1953.
In 2000, Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il held the first-ever inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. Kim Dae-jung became the first South Korean President to ever set foot in the DPRK.
The Summit produced the North-South Joint Declaration, which allows numerous separated families from the two countries to hold reunions in Pyongyang and Seoul. It also led to several sub-topic talks, including those on the Red Cross and Economic Cooperation.
During Kim Dae-jung’s presidency, the two countries began to connect roads and railways across the border. They also jointly built an industrial park, and millions of South Koreans have visited the Mount Kumgang resort in the North.
These efforts won Kim Dae-jung the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. After his death in 2009, Kim Jung Il sent a telegram of condolences, and sent a delegation to South Korea to pay tribute.
The Hyundai Group is also a pioneer in cross-border business projects.
In 2000, its chairman, Chung Mong-hun was received by Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang. His visit proved crucial in the inking of several economic deals, including developing the resort at Mount Kumgang.
After Chung’s death in 2003, the two sides held a joint memorial ceremony at the resort.