Lee Myung-bak

Former president of South Korea Lee Myung-bak

Lee Myung-bak is the 10th President of South Korea. Prior to his presidency, he was the CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction and the mayor of Seoul. He is married to Kim Yoon-ok and has three daughters and one son. His older brother is Lee Sang-deuk, a South Korean politician. He attends the Somang Presbyterian Church. Lee is a graduate of Korea University and also received an honorary degree from Paris Diderot University on May 13, 2011.
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Park's Dresden Speech
Huffington Post - almost 3 years
One year ago today, on March 28, 2014, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea delivered what she clearly hoped would be a historic speech in the former East German city of Dresden, calling for reconciliation and reunification of the divided peninsula. Park may have thought she was holding out an olive branch, but her counterpart in North Korea did not see it that way. State media of North Korea derided it using sexist insults while its military threatened another nuclear test and fired artillery across the sea border. A spokesman of the National Defence Commission, arguably the most powerful body within North Korea, memorably condemned it as "daydream of a psychopath." Why has the outreach failed? One reason may have been the lack of communication. South Koreans reportedly had not informed or consulted the North prior to Park's speech.[1] From the North's point of view, it may well have seemed like announcing an engagement without notifying the fiancée. Park's one-sided approach co...
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 Huffington Post article
Image of Asia: Ex-leader's memoir published in South Korea
Yahoo News - about 3 years
In this photo by Ahn Young-joon, a man reads a memoir by former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak titled "President's Time" at a bookstore in Seoul. Lee wrote in the memoir published Monday that late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il repeatedly pushed for summit talks with South Korea before his 2011 death but the plans failed because Pyongyang demanded $10 billion and large shipments of food and fertilizer as a condition of the talks. Lee is vilified in North Korea for halting the South's "sunshine policy" of providing generous economic aid to Pyongyang with few strings attached. He writes in his memoir that the "sunshine policy" was tarnished because North Korea diverted aid to nuclear and missile development and staged provocations against South Korea.
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 Yahoo News article
US prevented South Korea air strike on North, says Robert Gates
Yahoo News - about 4 years
South Korea declined to comment Wednesday on revelations that the United States talked it down from launching a retaliatory air strike on North Korea in 2010. The claims were made in the newly published memoir of former US defense secretary Robert Gates, in which he also describes former South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun as "probably a little bit crazy". The 2010 incident followed the North's surprise shelling of a South Korean border island in November of that year. The attack triggered what Gates labelled a "very dangerous crisis", with the South Korean government of then-president Lee Myung-Bak initially insisting on a robust military response.
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 Yahoo News article
Impasse in Japan-Korea Relations is an Opportunity for Resolution
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Japan-Korea relations are at one of the worst levels of the postwar era. For many observers, this is puzzling. The deterioration in Japan-China relations, however regrettable, has certain structural causes. The rise of China is taking an unambiguous character of the use or threat of force, which will require a forceful response from Japan if necessary. The danger is real and imminent, but at least there are many comparable events in history, and we hope that some solution could be found from that history. So, the first question in Japan-Korea relations is whether there is a structural cause for the current deterioration of their relationship. At first glance, the answer is no. Korea has remarkable achievements: it established a powerful democracy from a militarist autocracy, developed one of the most vibrant and energetic economies in East Asia, and it has dazzled the Japanese with "Korean waves." Japan, after being adrift for more than 20 years, is now regaining vigor under Abenomic...
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 Huffington Post article
South Koreans Spend Way Too Much Money On Education
Business Insider - over 4 years
MIRIM HIGH SCHOOL for girls in Seoul is living proof that South Koreans take education seriously. The students, aged 15 to 18, bow respectfully whenever a teacher passes. Many of them board, and all attend extra-curricular classes from 6pm to 9pm. Do they work too hard? Chang Byong-gap, the headmaster, laughs at the question. South Korea’s passion for education has historical roots. In the early years of the Choson dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910, those who passed a civil-service exam could gain entry to the privileged yangban class, a scholarly aristocracy. Those roots were reinforced by more recent history, notes Michael Seth, author of "Education Fever". Under Japanese colonial rule between 1910 and 1945, Koreans’ educational aspirations were frustrated, resulting in pent-up demand. In the carnage of the Korean war of 1950-53, many of the old social hierarchies crumbled, convincing people they could succeed by their own efforts. Before 1971 children were taught in two...
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 Business Insider article
North and South Korea to reopen Kaesong industrial complex
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Site provides cheap labour for South Korea and hard currency for the North North and South Korea have agreed to re-open a shuttered industrial park on a trial basis starting on Monday, according to the South's unification ministry. The Kaesong industrial zone is located a few kilometres inside North Korea and was closed when Pyongyang pulled its 53,000 workers out amid rising tensions between the two Koreas in April. Attempts will be made to attract foreign investors into the zone, said the ministry, which is responsible for handling South Korea's stance on inter-Korean relations. The industrial park draws on investment from more than 100 South Korean firms. It provided cheap labour for South Korean firms and much-needed hard currency for the North, generating a $80m (£50m) wage bill last year, according to Seoul's unification ministry. But it was also part of the Seoul's "sunshine policy" of reaching out to Pyongyang, which ended when the previous South Korean president, Lee My...
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 Guardian (UK) article
SKorea's ex-spy chief indicted in election scandal
Fox News - over 4 years
South Korean prosecutors have indicted a former spy chief on charges of meddling in last year's presidential elections by ordering an online smear campaign against opposition candidates. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said Friday that Won Sei-hoon ordered his agents to post comments slandering liberal candidates and praising conservative Park Geun-hye. Park won the December vote and took office in February. Won resigned as National Intelligence Service chief in March after serving for four years under former President Lee Myung-bak. Prosecutors say in a statement that NIS also tried to portray opposition candidate Moon Jae-in as a North Korea sympathizer. NIS plans to issue its response later. Won would face up to five years' imprisonment if found guilty. The opposition threatens to impeach the justice minister over the scandal.
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 Fox News article
Koreas agree to meet for highest level talks in years
Fox News - over 4 years
The two Koreas will hold their highest-level talks in years Wednesday in an effort to restore scrapped joint economic projects and ease animosity marked by recent threats of nuclear war. That in itself is progress, though there are already hints that disputes in their bloody history could thwart efforts to better ties. Still, just setting up the two-day meeting in Seoul, through a 17-hour negotiating session that ended early Monday, required the kind of diplomatic resolve that has long been absent in inter-Korean relations, and analysts say it could be a tentative new start. It's also a political and diplomatic victory for new South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who expressed her country's interest in talks and rebuilding trust even as she batted back North Korean war rhetoric with vows to hit back strongly if attacked. "It's very significant that they're sitting down and talking at all ... after all the heated rhetoric this spring," said John Delury, an analyst at Seoul's Yon...
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 Fox News article
NKorea proposes working level talks with SKorea
Fox News - over 4 years
North Korea on Friday proposed holding low-level government talks with South Korea this weekend as the rivals look to mend ties that have plunged during recent years amid hardline stances by both countries. Pyongyang, which wants to meet Sunday in its border city of Kaesong, also said it would reopen a Red Cross communication line with South Korea in their truce village later Friday. During a weeks-long period of animosity marked by a string of North Korean threats of war and South Korean vows of counterstrikes, the North in March shut down the communication line used for exchanging messages on humanitarian issues. The statement Friday by the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which handles relations with Seoul, followed the countries' agreement a day earlier to hold talks on issues including reopening a jointly run industrial complex in Kaesong that had been the last symbol of inter-Korean cooperation before it closed this spring....
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 Fox News article
As US talks up diplomacy, NKorea takes hard line
Fox News - almost 5 years
The United States and Japan opened the door Sunday to new nuclear talks if North Korea lowered tensions and honored past agreements, even as the saber-rattling government rejected South Korea's latest offer of dialogue as a "crafty trick." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Tokyo that North Korea would find "ready partners" in the United States if it began abandoning its nuclear program. Japan's foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, also demanded a resolution to a dispute concerning Japanese citizens abducted decades ago by North Korean officials. The diplomats seemed to point the way for a possible revival of the six-nation talks that have been suspended for four years. China long pushed has for the process to resume without conditions. But the U.S. and allies South Korea and Japan fear rewarding North Korea for its belligerence and endless repetition of a cycle of tensions and failed talks that have prolonged t...
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 Fox News article
North Korea taps reformist premier amid nuclear tension
Fox News - almost 5 years
North Korea on Monday shifted, at least temporarily, away from weeks of warlike rhetoric, appointing a new premier seen as an economic reformer after a high-level declaration that nuclear bomb building and a stronger economy are the nation's top priorities. The U.S., meanwhile, announced its latest conspicuous display of firepower, sending F-22 stealth fighter jets to participate in annual U.S.-South Korean war games that Pyongyang calls preparation for invasion. The new South Korean president, who has a policy meant to re-engage Pyongyang with talks and aid, told her top military leaders Monday to set aside political considerations and respond strongly should North Korea attack. The reemergence of Pak Pong Ju as premier at an annual spring parliamentary session is seen by analysts as a clear signal that leader Kim Jong Un is moving to back up recent statements vowing a focus on strengthened economic development. The U.N. says two-thirds of the country's 24 million people face r...
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 Fox News article
NKorea criticizes SKorea prez's 'swish of skirt'
Fox News - almost 5 years
North Korea's first public, senior-level mention of South Korea's first female president ended up being a sexist crack. The body that controls Pyongyang's military complained Wednesday about the "venomous swish" of her skirt. But despite that swipe, and a continuing torrent of rhetoric from Pyongyang threatening nuclear war and other mayhem, President Park Geun-hye is sticking by her campaign vow to reach out to North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, and to send the country much-needed humanitarian aid. Public frustration with the last five years of North-South relations, which saw North Korean nuclear tests, long-range rocket launches and attacks that left dozens of South Koreans dead, is a big part of the reason Park is trying to build trust with Pyongyang, even as she and South Korea's military promise to respond forcefully to any attack from the North. Park's predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, infuriated North Korea by linking aid and conces...
Article Link:
 Fox News article
SKorea's new leader faces NKorea nuke crisis
Fox News - almost 5 years
Even before she takes office Monday as South Korea's first female president, Park Geun-hye's campaign vow to soften Seoul's current hard-line approach to rival North Korea is being tested by Pyongyang's recent underground nuclear detonation. Pyongyang, Washington, Beijing and Tokyo are all watching to see if Park, the daughter of a staunchly anti-communist dictator, pursues an ambitious engagement policy meant to ease five years of animosity on the divided peninsula or if she sticks with the tough stance of her fellow conservative predecessor, Lee Myung-bak. Park's decision is important because it will likely set the tone of the larger diplomatic approach that Washington and others take in stalled efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. It will also be complicated by North Korea's warning of unspecified "second and third measures of greater intensity," a threat that comes as Washington and others push for t...
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 Fox News article
New UN resolutions prompt North Korea to issue stark warning to South Korea
Fox News - almost 5 years
North Korea issued a stark warning to South Korea Tuesday that if its international allies continue to push for tougher United Nations resolutions, the country would face its "final destruction," The Australian reported. "As the saying goes, 'a newborn puppy knows no fear of a tiger' -- South Korea's erratic behavior could only herald its final destruction," Jon Yong Ryong, the North Korean envoy, told a session of the UN Conference on Disarmament. The report pointed out that the conference is usually a venue where the two countries trade jabs, but North Korea's recent nuclear test adds some urgency to the comments. European Union finance ministers condemned the Feb. 12 nuclear test by North Korea and have imposed trade and economic sanctions on the Asian nation. A statement by the 27 European Union finance ministers, who met Monday in Brussels, said they condemn the test "in the strongest terms" and demand that North Korea abstain from further tests. The statement also ur...
Article Link:
 Fox News article
S. Korea Says North Won't Abandon Nukes
Voice of America - about 5 years
Outgoing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is warning that dialogue and sanctions will not be enough to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program. Speaking at a meeting of high-level dignitaries in Seoul, President Lee said only a change in North Korean leadership could remove the threat of a nuclear-armed Pyongyang. The French news agency quoted Lee as saying that South Korea can "help change the North Korean people, if not the North Korean regime." The ...
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 Voice of America article
NKorea brandishing nukes to get US to talk peace
Fox News - about 5 years
The way North Korea sees it, only bigger weapons and more threatening provocations will force Washington to come to the table to discuss what Pyongyang says it really wants: peace. It's no coincidence that North Korea's third underground nuclear test — and by all indications so far its most powerful yet — took place Tuesday on the eve of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. As perplexing as the tactic may seem to the outside world, it serves as an attention-getting reminder to the world that North Korea may be poor but has the power to upset regional security and stability. And the response to its latest provocation was immediate. "The danger posed by North Korea's threatening activities warrants further swift and credible action by the international community," Obama said in a statement hours after the test. "The United States will also continue to take steps necessary to defend ourselves and our allies." ...
Article Link:
 Fox News article
Suu Kyi Meets S. Korea's First Female Leader, Attends Special Olympics
Huffington Post - about 5 years
SEOUL, South Korea -- Both women lost their fathers to gunshots. Both also overcame that tragedy and rose to political prominence in countries where men dominate decision-making, buoyed in part by the legacies of their fathers. Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader whose 2010 release from house arrest signaled the beginning of Myanmar's transition from decades of military rule, met Tuesday in Seoul with Park Geun-hye, who takes office next month as South Korea's first female president. Details were not immediately available. The meeting between two of the most prominent women in Asia spotlights a tragic coincidence in their family history: Suu Kyi's father, Gen. Aung San, was killed by assassins in 1947 while Park's, President Park Chung-hee, was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979. Both women have benefited from their late fathers' reputations. Even as she has blazed her own political trail, the 67-year-old Suu Kyi represents to many of the voter...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lee Myung-bak
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 2013
    Age 71
    He ended his five-year term on 25 February 2013, and was succeeded by Park Geun-hye.
  • 2012
    Age 70
    In his Liberation Day speech on 15 August 2012, Lee demanded that Japan take "responsible measures" for the comfort women, blaming Japan for violating women's human rights.
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    On 14 August 2012, on the eve of Liberation Day, Lee said that the Emperor of Japan Akihito should not visit Korea unless he apologized to the victims of Japan's past colonialism.
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    In a speech on 13 August 2012, Lee said that his actions were motivated by a desire to force Japan to settle the comfort women issue.
    Towards the end of his term in office, Lee began to take actions that caused friction between South Korea and neighboring Japan. On 10 August 2012, Lee flew to the Liancourt Rocks, known as Dokdo or Tokto (독도, literally "solitary island") in Korean, or in Japanese.
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    His direct and tough policy towards North Korea promoted a negative image of him throughout North Korea. Lee's name became a target practice in the North Korean military as shown through the Korean Central Television on 6 March 2012.
  • 2011
    Age 69
    President Obama hosted Lee for a day-long state visit and state dinner on 13 October 2011.
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    The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project was a multi-purpose green growth project on the Han River (Korea), Nakdong River, Geum River and Yeongsan River in South Korea. The project was spearheaded by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and was declared complete on 21 October 2011.
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    Under the Lee Administration, South Korea successfully concluded a free trade agreement with the European Union on 1 July 2011.
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    Former president, Kim Young-sam expressed negative outlooks on Lee's role as the president and his influence between South Korea and Japan according to a Wikileaks file. As of late 2011, Lee's administration had a series of corruption allegations surrounding certain high-ranking government employees.
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  • 2010
    Age 68
    President Lee succeeded in bringing the Cheonan incident to the forefront in the Chair's Statement for the Asia-Europe Meeting in 2010 at Brussels, drawing member nation support for the South Korean government's stance on North Korea's nuclear issue and stability in Northeast Asia.
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    However, businesspeople in their 50s-60s in the construction and real estate sectors withdrew their support of Lee after the 2010 regional election and 2012 presidential election.
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  • 2009
    Age 67
    President Lee's diplomatic efforts led to an agreement between Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and the UAE on the construction of a USD$20 billion Korean standard nuclear power plant during his visit to the UAE at the end of 2009.
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    In 2009 alone, Lee visited 14 countries, including the U.S. and Thailand on 11 occasions and attended 38 summits.
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    Lee accepted an invitation by Obama to visit the United States on 16 June 2009.
    Multiple news outlets have remarked upon the apparently close friendship between Lee and U.S. President Barack Obama. Despite Lee's wavering support at home, Lee's leadership was lauded by Obama at the 2009 G-20 London summit, where Obama called South Korea "of America's closest allies and greatest friends."
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    In February 2009, President Lee established the Presidential Committee on Green Growth, which absorbed the sustainable development commission and two other committees on energy and climate change under direct authority of the President.
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  • 2008
    Age 66
    On 7 July 2008, Lee named Ahn Byong-man, a presidential advisor for state future planning, as his new minister of education, science and technology.
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    President Lee Myung-bak was a pioneer for Korean environmental and climate policy and laid out an agenda for National Strategy for Green Growth and the Five-Year Plan for Green Growth in 2008.
    At a special conference held on 19 June 2008, President Lee announced that he would drop the Grand Canal project if the public opposed the idea, and the premier confirmed this statement on 8 September 2008.
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    Two months after his inauguration, Lee's approval ratings stood at 28%, and by June 2008 they had reached 17%.
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    Lee was widely considered to be pro-U.S. In mid-April 2008, Lee traveled to the United States for his first official overseas visit to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House and Camp David.
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    He took the oath of office on 25 February 2008, vowing to revitalize the economy, strengthen relations with the United States and "deal with" North Korea.
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  • 2007
    Age 65
    In spite of the lowest voter turnout ever for a presidential election in South Korea, Lee won the presidential election in December 2007 with 48.7% of the vote which was considered a landslide.
    During the 2007 presidential election, questions about his relationship with a company called BBK were raised.
    In December 2007, a few days before the presidential election, Lee announced that he would donate all of his assets to society.
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    However, in August 2007, the prosecutors said in the interim announcement, "We do suspect Lee's brother's claim over the land in Dogok-dong, but have failed to verify the real owner of the asset."
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    On 20 August 2007, he defeated Park Geun-hye in the GNP's primary to become the party's nominee for the 2007 Presidential election.
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    On 10 May 2007, Lee officially declared his intention to seek the nomination of the Grand National Party (GNP) as its presidential candidate.
  • 2002
    Age 60
    In 2002, Lee ran for mayor of Seoul and won.
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    Before his election as president, he was the CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction, as well as the mayor of Seoul from 1 July 2002, to 30 June 2006.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1999
    Age 57
    In 1999, Lee was alleged to have met Kim Kyung-joon and established the LKE Bank with him.
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  • 1998
    Age 56
    Lee resigned in 1998 before being fined USD$6.5 million for breaking election law and forcing Kim to flee.
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  • 1996
    Age 54
    In 1996, Lee was reelected as a member of the Korean National Assembly, representing Jongno-gu in Seoul.
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  • 1995
    Age 53
    In 1995, he ran for the city of Seoul's mayoral election, but lost to former prime minister Chung Won-sik during the primary of the Democratic Liberal Party.
  • 1992
    Age 50
    In 1992, Lee made the transition from business to politics.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1988
    Age 46
    In 1988, he was named chairman of Hyundai Construction at the age of 47.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1968
    Age 26
    Shortly after he was hired by the company, Lee was sent to Thailand to participate in the project, which was successfully completed in March 1968.
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  • 1965
    Age 23
    In 1965, Lee started work at Hyundai Construction, the company which was awarded Korea's first-ever overseas construction project, a $5.2 million contract to build the Pattani-Narathiwat Highway in Thailand and china.
  • 1964
    Age 22
    Lee attended night school at Dongji Commercial High School in Pohang and received a scholarship. A year after graduation, Lee gained admission to Korea University. In 1964, during his third year in college, Lee was elected president of the student council.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1945
    Age 3
    In 1945, after the end of World War II, his family returned to his father's hometown of Pohang, in Gyeongsangbuk-do in the American-occupied portion of the Korean Peninsula.
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  • 1941
    Born
    Lee Myung-bak was born 19 December 1941, in Osaka, Japan.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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