Thursday, December 19, 2002

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IS TOO CLOSE TO CALL. But all exit polls have Roh Moo-hyun enjoying a slight lead. If this holds up, my prediction of an Lee Hoi-chang victory will be proven false. Probably won't be the last time I get things wrong.

A couple of notes:
--the American press reports, all of which seem to be following the lead of the AP wire story, refer to ROh as the "Pro-government candidate." I'm note sure what this is supposed to mean. Yes, Roh comes from the same party as President Kim Dae Jung. But Lee's Grand National Party has a huge presence in the National Assembly. Does this make Lee "anti-government"?
--If the exit polls are correct, it seems to me that anti-Americanism, or at least a desire to fundamentally restructure SOFA, was the issue that put Roh over the top. When push comes to shove, more Koreans seem to have thought that this issue was important than those who worry about a nuclear-armed North Korea. Take this to its logical conclusion and we may very well see a nuclear armed and not so well inclined toward the United States Korea in the future. The U.S. had best tread lightly!

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