calendar>>July 28. 2011 Juch 100
Jong Ju Yong, Pioneer in North-South Economic Cooperation
Pyongyang, July 28 (KCNA) -- Jong Ju Yong, former honorary chairman of the Hyundai Group of south Korea, was one of the patriotic-minded businessmen who put the nation's interests above political view.

His motto was to serve for the nation through business activities. During his long career as a businessman, however, he failed to enjoy the pleasures of life.

In his waning years, he took a turnabout in his life, motivated by the belief that genuine patriotism finds itself in the effort for the country's reunification.

At that time, Jong was suffering from difficulties in his business, caused by government authorities' political pressure, as he acted against their will. He began to incline towards the north that he left many years ago, and made up his mind to visit it.

While touring his native place, Thongchon in Kangwon Province, and Mt. Kumgang, a scenic resort, he determined to do something for national reunification.

One day, he read leader Kim Jong Il's celebrated work "Let Us Reunify the Country Independently and Peacefully through the Great Unity of the Entire Nation".

He was deeply moved by the work declaring the north was willing to join hands with all pro-reunification persons of national conscience, even ruling forces, conglomerators and army generals.

He shifted his business strategy to cooperation and exchange with the north.

On October 30, Juche 87 (1998), Kim Jong Il met visiting Jong Ju Yong and his entourage and asked about his health, calling him "Mr. honorary chairman."

He highly appreciated the personality of Jong carrying into practice what he intends to do.

He also said he would always join hands with those doing good things for the nation and expressed support for Hyundai in its business for cooperation and exchange between the north and south.

Back to south Korea, he introduced Kim Jong Il's great traits at a press conference.

When a south Korean journalist asked him why he spoke well of Kim Jong Il, Jong replied that the leader was the greatest man he had ever seen in the world.

Afterwards, he developed the Mt. Kumgang tourist destination and began operating a passenger liner in the East Sea in November 1998 for the mountain tourism.

In June 2000, when Kim Jong Il met Jong again, he praised the south Korean businessman as a pioneer in opening a way of national reconciliation and that his merit would be recorded in history.

Upon hearing the news of his death on March 21, 2001, he sent a mourning delegation to south Korea, the first of its kind since the division of the country, along with his message of condolence and wreath.

When a Hyundai-funded gymnasium was built on the banks of the Pothong River, he had it named Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium.

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