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Roh Moo-hyun

Roh Moo-hyun (Hangul: 노무현; Hanja: 盧武鉉; Revised Romanization: No Mu-hyeon) is the current president of South Korea. He was elected to the presidency on December 19, 2002, and took office on February 25, 2003. He was a noted human rights lawyer in the 1980s.

Roh was born on August 6, 1946 to a poor farming family in Gimhae, near Busan, in southeastern South Korea. In 1960, he led a protest in his school against mandatory essays extolling his country\'s first autocrat. He worked at odd jobs and studied alone to pass the bar exam. In 1977 he became regional judge at Daejeon, and began privately practicing tax law in 1978. In 1981, he defended a case against students who had been tortured for possession of contraband literature. In early 2003, he was quoted as saying, "When I saw their horrified eyes and their missing toenails, my comfortable life as a lawyer came to an end." He opposed the autocracy in place at the time in South Korea, and helped lead the pro-democracy June Struggle in 1987 against the dictator Chun Doo-hwan. The following year, he entered politics and "grilled" the government over corruption allegations and a 1980 massacre of protesters. In 1988 he was elected to the National Assembly (of lawmakers) representing the Unification Democratic Party(통일민주당) and shortly after gained popularity in the first parliament hearing which was broadcasted thoughout the nation. Roh, in 2000, became the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. In 2001, he was elected to the Supreme Council as a representative of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party.

As president, Roh continues the engagement policy or Sunshine policy towards North Korea started by the president before him, Kim Dae-jung. Yet, his cabinet's recent attitude towards this policy seemed compromised due to geo-political situation of which has been highly escalated due to North Korea's nuclear programme. However, it is widely perceived that this government is not capable of tackling issues around. His support for US military forces in Korea, even after possible reunification, needs enduring scrutiny due to lack of confidence in his policy.

With First Lady Kwon Yang-sook (권양숙 ; 權良淑), Roh has a daughter (born 1975), an embassy worker; and a son (born 1973), an electronics conglomerate employee.

See also: Politics of South Korea

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