Monday, August 22, 2011

Lee Myung bak's hardball slams him back

South Korea's president Lee Myung bak has made no bones about 'teaching North Korea a lesson'. He trashed Kim Dai Jung's 'Sunshine Policy', cut off food supplies and fertilizers' when he took over the Blue House in 2008, upped the ante in a belligerent, bellicose sounding 'Drang nach Norden' policy towards the DPRK, and has recklessly taunted Kim Jong il & co. by playing tin admiral in joint US ROK military games along the NLL [Northern Limit Line] which briefly turned into a sharp reposte from the North when South Korean shells fell in North Korea's territorial waters in November 2010.
Lee has stopped South Koreans from visiting resorts on Kumgangsan [Diamond Mountain], much reverred by Koreans north or south, which during the heady days of the 'Sunshine Policy' South Korean capital built, supported, and drew profit. The pleasure sights also brought much needed hard cash to a strapped North Korean economy.
The accidental shooting of a South Korean tourist who ventured too close to an 'installation' brought a complete stop to visits to Kumgangsan by Lee's presidential fiat. The North cloaked itself behind its refusal to apologise for the tourist's death. And the matter lay there until today.
Since the 'freeze' North Korea has tried to negotiate with the private owners of the resorts, but talks lingered and got nowhere.
On other fronts, Lee Myung bak has tried to push his advantage, with US agreement and backing, but to little avail. In fact, the South Korean's efforts on the economic, military, and economic fronts have made long fire.
Now the North has slammed hard the ball of 'in your face' politics by ordering all South Koreans keeping the tourist sites in good order to leave the country, and it wouldn't surprise GuamDiary that it would threaten to 'nationalise' the South's share in the jointly run area.
Tensions will rise for sure. Will Lee Myung bak, to soothe the ruffled feathers of South Korean investers find a face saving exit?

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