Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lee Myung bek comes down from the clouds

Reading say the west's media reporting on Korea, the eye comes away with the impression that the ROK [Republic of Korea aka South Korea] president Lee Myung bek is riding high on the waves of check and mating the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea]on the sinking of the corvette 'Cheonan' in March 2010.
The American press has rallied around Mr. Lee, and has praised him for his firmness and hard nosed policy towards North Korea. The US has thrown its military and diplomatic weight behind him. And all indications point to South Korea thumping and trumping the 'failed state' of North Korea. Snip all economic and humanitarian aid; bring Seoul's case to the United Nations [UN] to condemn once more the DPRK and impose another round of unworkable sanction. Pressure China to fall into line by abandoning its North Korean ally and neighbour. And Mr. Lee's muscular posture will assure him of an electoral victory by re enforcing his National Grand Party's [NGP]hold on the reins of local, provincial, and national governance. And what's more rally the South Korean people around his flag pole. And so it goes.
But is everything going his way in this Panglosian scenario? Hardly.
China has not fallen into step. It remains behind the DPRK, which it may not particularly favour but whom it cannot politically and military afford to give the heave ho.
Tough economic sanctions, as GuamDiary observed, suddnely had wiggle room, so that the Kaesong Industrial Zone, located in the North, which allows hard currency to flow in Pyongyang coffers, remained off limits.
And the galling wake up and smell the biscuits, came when the 16 key municipal and provincial governourships escaped Mr. Lee's NGP's grasp. It garnered only 6 posts which is hardly an endorsement for Mr. Lee's no nonsense approach to the economy and foreign affairs. Speaking in per centages, that makes the NGP's slice around 35 per cent. Hardly comforting news for a party which own a majority in the parliament.
Let's face it, Lee Myung bek's star is waning. Washington should take note since secretary of state Hillary Clinton and US general Schoup have done everything to field the illusion that he's the right man at the right time to deal with the rising tensions on the divided Korean peninsula. Mr. Lee's in your face approach to the DPRK within the first few days of talking his seat in Seoul's Blue House, was and is to humiliate and teach Kim Jong il a hard lesson. He torpedoed the 'Sunshine Policy', reduced much needed food aid and economic programmes which would benefit more the ROK than the DPRK. In brief, he's done everything to, and has succeeded in reviving the cold war between North and South Korea.
The loss of keep mayoralty and governour posts, except Seoul which barely squeezed in the GNP's column, is a warning sign, that Mr. Lee has bet on the wrong horse. His time in office looks threatened and his loss of face great!

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