By Kang Shin-who
A wreath of flowers North Korean leader Kim Jong-il sent to mourn the death of late former President Kim Dae-jung has been moved to the late former President’s library from the memorial altar at the National Assembly.
Choi Kyung-hwan, a personal assistant to the Nobel Peace Prize winner, said the wreath of Kimjongilia (flowers of Kim Jong-il) was moved to the altar at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library & Museum in the late evening Saturday because the altar at the parliament was to be removed directly after the funeral ceremony.
“The wreath of flowers will be introduced to the mourners at the altar at the Kim Dae-jung Presidential Library at Yonsei University for a while,” Choi said.
The last gift from the North’s leader to the deceased former head of state consisted of white chrysanthemums and dark pink and red Kimjongilia.
The flowers were decorated with two big ribbons, one of which read “Kim Jong-il,” and the other, “In condolences to the late former President Kim Dae-jung.”
Upon arriving Friday afternoon at Gimpo International Airport, the high-level N.K. delegation cautiously unloaded the floral tribute from their airplane and placed it into a truck, which was followed by cars carrying the delegates.
All of the six delegates waited until the wreath was unloaded, and only after placing it on the altar at the National Assembly did they bow their heads and pay silent tribute in front of the former President’s giant portrait.
The wreath had been placed between ones from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former President Kim Young-sam. Cultivated by Japanese botanist Motoderu Kamo in 1988 to commemorate Kim Jong-il’s 46th birthday, the Kimjongilia is a hybrid cultivar of tuberous begonia.