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Kim Koo (August 29,1876 - June 26,1949), the sixth and last president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, was a Korean patriot who has struggled against Japanese invaders during their de facto occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
After Empress Myeongseong of Korea was assassinated by Japanese invaders, he killed a Japanese military officer for this revenge in 1896. He was arrested but suceeded to escape from prison. Kim Koo defected to Shanghai after a nationwide non-violent resistance movement that started on March 1, 1919 was violently quenched by the Japanese imperialist government. He participated in the exiled regime with Rhee Syng-man,Yo Un-hyung.
In Shanghai, Kim joined the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, which vowed to retake Korea from Japanese invaders. He soon became the Police Chief. Kim Koo became the president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in 1927, after serving the post of Police Minister. He was re-elected to the office many times by the Provisional Assembly.
In 1931 he organized a nationalist group, Korea Patriotic Legion . One of the members, Yoon Bong-Gil, ambushed and eliminated the Japanese military leadership in Shanghai on April 29, 1932. The commander of the Japanese Army and Navy died instantly. It was a great victory for the Korean cause. Another member, Lee Bong-chang , tried to eliminate the Japanese emperor Hirohito at Tokyo in January 8 the same year. After escaping to Chongqing where Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Government was established, Kim established the Korean Liberation Army , commanded by General Ji Chung-chun . When the Pacific War broke out on December 8 1941, Kim Koo declared war on Japan and Germany, and commited the Korean Liberation Army to allied side, who took part in warfare in China and Southeast Asia. Kim organised for the Korean Liberation Army to advance to Korea in 1945, but days before the departure of the leading unit, the war ended.
He returned to Seoul upon the Japanese surrender to the Allied in 1945. When the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. set out to establish two Korean governments, respective in the southern region and the northern region, he was determined not to participate in either of the efforts. He was later assassinated by Ahn Doo-hee , whose motivations are obscure to this date.
As the division of the newly-independent country became obvious, he led a team of former independence activist to Pyongyang, later to become the capitol of North Korea, to hold unification talks with Kim Il-sung, later becoming the president of North Korea, but failed drastically after being humiliated by Kim Il-Sung.
In 1948, the inaugural Parliament of the Republic of Korea nominated Kim as a candidate for the office of the first president of the Republic. In the election by the National Assembly, Kim was defeated by Rhee Syng-man, the first president of the provisional government, with result of 180-16. He also lost the election for vice presidency to Lee Si-young , with the result of 133-59. Kim himself didn't know about his nominations until after the election, and he certainly did not approve the nomination, as he considered this a ploy to discredit him.
He is still revered by many Koreans to have been deserving of being the first Korean president after the liberation, rather than Rhee Syng-man, who was favored to lead South Korea by the US government. He was posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of National Liberation of Korea. His biography, Journal of Baekbeom became a bestseller in Korea when published.
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