Thursday, April 03, 2008

Election Time

Recently South Korea elected a new president, Lee Myeong-bak and on the 9th there is a parliament election (there are posters everywhere like the one pictured). Lee Myeong-bak is in the conservative party, where as the former president Roh Moo-hyun was in the liberal party. What does this mean? Well, during Roh's presidency he created the Sunshine Policy, which basically meant he focussed on repairing the relationship between North and South Korea. South Korea sent a lot of aid to North Korea, without a lot of strings attached. Lee is a businessman and he was actually being investigated for embezzlement when he was elected. His focus is all about improving South Korea's economy and its relationship with the USA and that means that tensions are rising with North Korea as a result.

Here's a recent article (from Sunday's newspaper, yes, just the day after we visited the DMZ) about North Korea flying jet fighters close to South Korea's airspace. The Koreans I talked to didn't seem very worried about all of these things but it's early in Lee's five year term (in Korea the president is elected for a single five year term). Maybe we'll get lucky and Kim Jong Il will kick the bucket.

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