So far, only in Far East
The South Korea population has surprised George Bush, by preferring in the presidential election Roh Moo-hyun, the candidate from the ruling Millennium Democratic Party.
This is really a surprise, for just two months ago, during the pre-election fight, Roh was only third in the rating, while the obvious favourite was some Lee Hoi-chang from Grand National Party . What is behind all these florid Eastern party titles, one could understand from positions of Roh or Lee on the most important questions for today’s Korea: nuclear programme of North Korea.
Roh: “I insist on the US and North Korea immediately recommencing the negotiations and Seoul government making its efforts to persuade both sides to start the dialogue for prevention further growth of tension in Korean Peninsula.”
Lee: “North Korea must stop balancing on the verge of war, this could submerge Korean Peninsula in an uncontrolled crisis… Seoul government must immediately revise “solar heat policy” and its obligations as for help to Pyongyang.”
It is not difficult to see that the first of these two positions which is the result of the South-Korean President Kim Dae-jung today’s course a priori implies respectful relation to North Korea (for it practically puts it on one level with the US). It is close to the declaration which was recently signed in Beijing by Vladimir Putin and Jiang Ze Min and to Kim Jong-il ideas, whose aim was to reestablish a normal dialogue with the US. While the second position is a blind copying of the Washington rhetoric, whose aim is to force tension towards Pyongyang and support of US dictates in Far East.
The Lee Hoi-chung stake on the South population fright of mythic menace of the North missiles probably gave him some initial advance, though later, in the electorate spirits fright of real danger from US military prevailed, which is stationed in South Korea. This is probably why the Financial Times, while commenting on the South-Korean election wrote anti-American spirits had brought Roh to presidential post.
The difference between the votes was insignificant: Roh gained 48.9 percent, while Lee – 46.6 percent. As far as the South-Korean constitution does not imply repeated voting, the election fate was decided by the simple arithmetic majority). The 2.3 percent makes about half a million of ballots.
I would not risk to make a mistake while assuming these precious additional vote was brought to Roh by Americans in military uniforms, who ran over two South-Korean school girls this summer, and US judges who declared these killers to be innocent this autumn. Apropos, the Financial Times is of view the election results were influenced by mass demonstrations of South-Korean youth protesting against the crime and against the sentence. An important role belongs also to the negative reaction of South-Korean population to the US administration scornful relationship to North Korea.
So, Bush who characterized Iraq and North Korea as two ends of Axis of Evil got into a mess: on the Far-East end of the Axis, on one hand he met the North population humility, on the other, he faced his own allies, the South-Koreans, resistance. For, Roh Moo-hyun who should occupy the presidential chair next February intends not only to continue the solar heat policy towards North Korea, started by today’s President Kim De Jung, but he also promises to revise the US military status in South Korea.
Translated by Vera Solovieva