WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday expressed condolences to the death of South Korea's former president Kim Dae-Jung and praised his "tireless efforts" to promote peace on the Korean peninsula.
"I was saddened at the passing of former President Kim Dae-Jung of the Republic of Korea, a courageous champion of democracy and human rights," Obama said in a written statement.
"President Kim risked his life to build and lead a political movement that played a crucial role in establishing a dynamic democratic system in the Republic of Korea.
"His service to his country, his tireless efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula, and his personal sacrifices on behalf of freedom are inspirational and should never be forgotten.
"On behalf of the American people, I extend my condolences to his family and to the Korean people," Obama said.
Kim Dae-jung, 85, died of pneumonia early Tuesday. Taking office in 1998, he served as president for five years, during which he met with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)leader Kim Jong-il for the first time since the armistice of the Korean War.
Apart from that, Kim also won the Nobel Prize for his "lifelong" strife for democracy and efforts to realize reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula.