Tag Archives: park chung hee

When Barack Met The Yushin Princess

8 May

When Barack Met the Yushin PrincessFor the photo-op that summits generally are, the important events in inter-Korean relations are happening on the Korean peninsula, not at the R.O.K.-U.S. summit in Washington, D.C. Optimism is rampant, in what one official called a “provocation pause” following the redeployment of two Musudan missiles to a non-operational mode. And, the Bank of China has halted transactions with North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank. Finally, Pyongyang threatened South Korea with retaliation for allied drills conducted near the Yellow Sea.

In the highly conditional threat, the section of the Korean People’s Army responsible for operations in North Korea’s southwest said it would hit back if any shells fall in its territory during the drills, which began Monday and are to end Friday. Should the allies respond to that, it said the North Korean military will strike five South Korean islands along the aquatic frontline between the countries.

The area includes waters that are claimed by both countries, and is the most likely scene of any future clash between the rival Koreas. North Korea disputes a boundary unilaterally drawn close to its shores by the U.S.-led U.N. Command after the war, and has had three bloody naval clashes with the South since 1999.

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The Fruit Of A Poisoned Tree

1 Jul

The Yushin PrincessHave you seen these posters around Busan?

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The Spirit of 1961

14 Jun

I disagree that the beef protests in Seoul are inherently anti-American, but definitely some of the . There’s a difference between these two arguments.

This [sixth anniversary observance of the death of two middle school students in 2002] should pretty much lay to rest any claims that the anti-US beef protests are not anti-American…

(…)

…this just confirms my prior statements that the forces behind the US beef protests would next move to use their new found political power to go after USFK.

For once, The Economist has right:

Mr Lee is seeking to placate a public angered by the government’s decision in April to resume beef imports from America, stopped in 2003 after mad-cow disease was found in American cattle. South Koreans, who eat almost all parts of a cow, fear that American beef is still unsafe. Mr Lee and the American ambassador to South Korea have imperiously dismissed such concerns. A restive public suspects that the two countries’ free-trade agreement is being placed above its health concerns. Few were impressed by the resignations.

Mr Lee has little room for manoeuvre. Any serious attempt to rewrite the trade deal will upset America. At a meeting in Washington this week, South Korean officials sought assurances that America would not send beef from cattle older than 30 months (believed to be a greater health risk). But the American administration said it would not renegotiate. If so, Mr Lee will face increasing isolation at home and may become a lightning rod for mounting dissatisfaction about rising prices and unemployment. This month the president’s Grand National Party suffered a precipitous drop in support in local elections.

Without popular backing, Mr Lee’s ambitious legislative agenda of privatisation and cuts in tax and spending is unlikely to be passed by parliament. The nightly protests are now as much about Mr Lee as they are about mad cows. To regain public trust the president, a proud man who has risen from poverty, may need to show a softer touch. He does not have much time.

Incompetence has underestimated popular anger, and fuel prices, unemployment, and the upcoming season for striking has all fed into a massive current of protest that could overwhelm all legitimate political expressions of dissent. Anti-foreign sentiment is the least of America’s worries now. Fuel and food riots are hardly limited to ROK right now.

The one remaining question for these shaky times: is Lee Myung-bak more like , or .

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