Monday, August 18, 2003

China's Role

In the up coming six-way talks the role of China has the potential to be crucial. Relations between China and South Korea and China and North Korea have changed dramatically since 1950.
I just find it enormously odd that South Korea likes a country that fought against them more than the country/ies that fought with them. And they support a country that is propping up the North regime through aid (though the South is also bending over backwards to pay for the North's existence, its military, and nuclear program) over a country that wants to eliminate North's nuclear weapons and the regime itself. Go figure.

The North Koreans also have women in their military ranks. Considering how sexist South Korea is in promoting women or placing them in any role of significance, and considering that any progress in this areas has taken an extremely long time and is still nascent in society, the fact that the North is promoting women in the military seems to indicate a diminished and desperate military force trying to make up numbers. While I wouldn't presume that they are not worthy soldiers and haven't completed rigourous training I do think the North wouldn't have let them enter if they had enough healthy men to fill the positions.

On the five-day work week
Strikes are a-foot to protest the government's proposal for the 5-day work week which is said to favour business. The proposal is being pushed through despite opposition based on the fact that arguments on the issue have gone on long enough and the failure to reach agreement in that time indicates that no agreeement will be found given more time. As I 've mentioned I don't really know all the ins and outs of the negotiations and these days I tend to favour the worker over corporations but it seems in this case (and other cases concerning Korean labour unions) that the labour unions have had unrealistic expectations and been too quick to strike when things aren't going their way. I can't help but think that, given the number of countries who only work five-day weeks, Korea could have easily seen how it is done in other countries and worked out a country-appropriate plan with minimum hassle. Go figure.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui