Tuesday, September 02, 2003


The truckers are striking, while workers from GM Daewoo have gotten a rise, not to mention Kia and Hyundai all of which have now successfully striked to win large pay rises. But Time aptly points out strikes during a period of economic downturn are only goin to make the country's economic situation worse. The article also notes that,
Foreign investment in South Korea has plunged by more than a third since 1999, partly due to strike fatigue. "Korea is losing its competitive edge," warns Sunny Yi, a management consultant at Bain & Co. "Unions are making things worse."
. In fact, FDI has reportedlydropped from $15.22 billion in 2000 to $9.1 in 2002 and is only$2.66 billion in the first half of this year. On a side note, the decline in FDI in the article is partly attributed to the state regulations imposed by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy, the same ministry which is also being praised for leading the nation to its fifth monthly trade surplus in a row.

Negotiations with the North
Former Pesident Jimmy Carter has writes about the known stubborness of North Korea with a couple of good examples of their past tenacious behaviour. However, he emphasises the need to patience and diplomacy as the answer to solving the dispute.
There must be verifiable assurances that prevent North Korea from becoming a threatening nuclear power, with a firm commitment that the U.S. will not attack a peaceful North Korea. This is a time for sustained and flexible diplomacy between our two governments, to give peace and economic progress a chance within a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.
Although, from reading the article I got more of a sense that any solution is only going to be temporary given that every other 'solution' has only led to a cycle of crisis-agreement-failure of agreement-crisis.

Trust Us, we're the government
The Korean Government, those soles of integrity and honesty, have decided they have had enough of the press who insist on publicising government bribery scandals, slush funds, gifts, pictures of fist fights and other assorted negative spins relating to their works and decided to launch their own internet news service at taxpayers expense.

Depends on your perspective
But on the issue of press spin stories and objectivity, I found two editorials regarding a police bashing incident. The Chosun tells us
An incident has occurred in which the police tried to stop some drunk men from fighting each other, then called in backup to beat on the guys en masse for around five minutes because the drunk men had bitten and struck the police who had first arrived. This scene, in which the police lost all reason and let loose the violence, was caught on surveillance cameras, leaving the police with utterly no excuse for themselves.

Meanwhile, the Korea Herald reads
the president's policy of a "kinder and gentler" administration, along with his forfeiture of power, seems to have created serious confusion at police departments with officers unable to enforce their authority to a desensitized public. [noting that] Last Sunday, two police officers were sent to the scene of a brawl at an outdoor drinking cart in eastern Seoul, but were subsequently beaten by the brawlers with their uniforms being ripped off after trying to break up the altercation. The scene was handled thereafter when two more policemen showed up as reinforcements.

Maybe the police should follow the example of the Blue House and set up their own internet news site to gives us their spin on what happened.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui