Kwon Young-min seemed the perfect choice when Kim Dae-jung named him first protocol secretary before his inauguration as president in February 1998. The designation, as Kwon explained nearly a decade later in his memoir, Ja-ne Chulse Haetne (You became a success), was short-lived, The quotation was from Choi Kyu-ha, who had served eight months as president of Korea after the assassination of Park Chung-hee on October 26, 1979. Kwon, secretary of Choi Kyu-ha when Choi was prime minister (before he automatically became president), had been consul-general in Atlanta when Jimmy Carter hit upon the idea of settling the first nuclear crisis in 1994 by calling on the presidents of both Koreas. Kwon had the delicate task of arranging for Carter, from his base at Atlanta’s Carter Center, to meet South Korea’s President Kim Young-sam in Seoul before going to Pyongyang for his historic meeting with Kim Il-sung.
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