Thursday, April 08, 2004


Financial Times (Andrew Ward, "N KOREA ENDORSES ROH'S PARTY IN SOUTH'S POLL," 04/07/04) reported that the DPRK has urged South Koreans to vote against "conservative forces" in next week's general election, in what amounts to a de facto endorsement of president Roh Moo-hyun and his supporters' left-of-centre Uri party. The DPRK's intervention appeared designed to deepen divisions in ROK society between older conservatives loyal to the country's military alliance with the US and younger liberals more sympathetic towards the DPRK. Without mentioning Uri directly, the DPRK's state news agency urged voters in the ROK to "totally bury the pro-US conservative parties including the Grand National party [GNP] and the [Millennium] Democratic party," and help the "pro-reunification candidates win in the election".

This sounds like a Korean government institution expressing a preference for a particular political party during a campaign. Watch for the GNP to impeach the entire DPRK government next!

Thinking more seriously, it will be interesting to see whether this announcement has any effect at all on the ROK electorate. Probably not. Anti-DPRK hardliners were going to vote for the GNP anyway and pro-engagement groups continue to favor Roh and the Uri party. So what did North Korea think it would gain from this announcement?

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