South Korean President Kim Dae-jung accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of his people Sunday and pledged to continue his lifelong campaign for democracy, human rights and reconciliation with North Korea.
Smiling, Kim accepted the prize, which includes a medal, a diploma and 9 million Swedish kronor (about dlrs 940,000), at the ceremony at Oslo City Hall, marked by music, flowers and speeches.
The 76-year-old leader, a former political prisoner, said the prize is one he shares with the Korean people - and one he would have liked to share with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Since a historic summit in June, North and South Korea have embarked on a series of friendly gestures, including two reunions of separated relatives, the reopening of liaison offices and an agreement to reconnect a cross-border railway.
The two Koreas were divided into the communist North and the pro-Western South in 1945.
They fought a war from 1950-53, which ended in an uneasy armistice, not a peace treaty.
Delivering his acceptance speech, Kim pledged to dedicate the rest of his life to human rights and peace in Korea and the world.
Before the ceremony, Kim attended a gathering of 2000 children and lit a flame outside Oslo City Hall to commemorate the event.
The peace prize is the only Nobel awarded in Oslo, with the others presented in Stockholm, Sweden.
They are always presented on Dec. 10, marking the date their benefactor, the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, died in 1896.
Last year's peace prize went to the international humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders.
SOUNDBITE: (Korean with English Translation)
"Your majesty, your royal highnesses, ladies and gentlemen. Excepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the honorary is committed to an endless duty. I humbly place before you as our great heroes of history have taught, as Alfred Nobel would expect of us, I shall give the rest of my life to human rights and peace in my country and the world and the reconciliation and cooperation of my people."
SUPER CAPTION: Kim Dae-jung, South Korean President and Nobel laureate