PUSAN, South Korea — Delivering on his promise, Kim Young Sam pulled in a massive crowd Saturday for the kickoff rally of his presidential campaign.
"I have the absolute trust of the people," the 59-year-old opposition politician asserted in a rousing speech to the enthusiastic throng in this big southeastern port, the country's second-largest city and Kim's hometown. His aides estimated the crowd at more than 1 million. Some veteran observers placed it closer to 500,000, but either figure marked Kim as a powerful draw.
He is locked in a struggle with Kim Dae Jung to represent the opposition in December's presidential election against ruling party nominee Roh Tae Woo.
Last month, Kim Dae Jung drew more than 300,000 followers in his emotional return to Kwangju, capital of his home province in the southwest. Political analysts viewed Saturday's rally here as a test of the comparative appeal of the two Kims. Since Pusan is the larger city, both Kims can claim a draw, and both still refuse to give way.
In his Saturday rally, Kim Young Sam kept the competition inflamed. "I have judged that only I can win the election, because I have support from all walks of life," he declared. "If there were a guarantee that my support for Kim Dae Jung would realize democratization, I would concede to him." But, he said, his rival "would be defeated because there are many who oppose his personality and his political, economic and social points of view. . . ."
The rally was held in a large field near the coast on a clear, breezy day. Kim's supporters, some of them bused down from Seoul, responded to his remarks with repeated applause and chants of "Kim Young Sam! Kim Young Sam!"
"The leader of the present government has finally surrendered to our good people," the candidate declared. "The fight against injustice has started again."
He accused the administration of President Chun Doo Hwan of corruption and human rights violations. And, he said, the government is trying to fix the December election in favor of Roh, Chun's handpicked candidate. Government-controlled television is "Mr. Roh's personal advertising media," he charged.
"My government will be clean and honest," he promised, drawing the loudest applause of the day from the largely middle-class crowd. "It will root out corruption and carry out bold reforms."