The Lee Myung Bak Dossier

first_img The Lee Myung Bak Dossier Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? SHARE Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Facebook Twitter AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] By Daily NK – 2005.09.13 5:59pm center_img [imText1]Asked about their preferences for the next president, 30 percent said they support former Prime Minister Goh Kun, while 16 percent backed Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye. Seoul Mayor Lee Myung Bak and Unification Minister Chung Dong Young were third and fourth on the list with 15 percent and 10 percent, respectively. (emphasis mine)The Grand National Party’s top two contenders for the presidency both owe much to the legacy of Park Chung Hee. If Ms. Park is the old dictator’s progeny in the biological sense, Lee Myung Bak is much more his progeny ideologically.Ideological RootsGeneral Park transformed Korea through large-scale state-controlled projects that reflected his socialist roots, which were themselves influenced by concepts of state-managed development Park learned during the Japanese occupation. Park came of age in a fascist system–fascism itself being an offshoot of communism–in which the state served as an omnipotent economic and social engineer, with corporations serving as junior partners.Park applied these practices to Korea’s post-war development, and Lee Myung Bak had a close, if troubled, relationship with Park’s world view, and his own experience mirrors his country’s during that era. Park came from a poor family and put himself through Korea University by doing odd jobs that included collecting garbage. After spending six months in prison for protesting against Park Chung Hee’s authoritarianism, in 1965 he graduated and turned his energy into the corporate world, rising to the top of Hyundai Construction & Engineering, perhaps the crown jewel of South Korea’s chaebol, at the age of 36. Lee’s political philosophy could best be described as a faith in the power of heavy equipment. Some would say this is also where he acquired his diplomatic and consensus-building skills. It is not for nothing that he is known as “the bulldozer,” a name Lee reportedly dislikes. With a strong focus on economic issues and an innate social conservatism, Lee’s political base will consist mainly of voters over 40.Mayor of SeoulDuring his tenure as mayor of Seoul, Lee certainly changed the face of the city, though not always for the better and presumably at great cost to taxpayers.His restoration of the Cheonggyecheon Stream downtown certainly beautified the city in a sense (before and after pics here, HT: antti), but did no good for its hellish traffic, and came at the terrible, mostly-forgotten cost of destroying–or so my friends report–the Pimat-Gil, the crowded, narrow alleys along the Chong-ro where you could buy grilled mackerel and soju shots on freezing January nights . . . it was one of the most uniquely “Korean” places in Seoul and I will never forgive Lee for destroying it. Others claimed that the plan damaged historical artifacts in the construction area. The price was a whopping $370 billion won, about $350 million. All of this created plenty of traffic disruption; Lee tried to improve these with a new system of bus lanes that failed so miserably he had to make a public apology. Not surprisingly, Lee fiercely opposed plans to relocate the capital out of Seoul, and his opposition made him a bitter and personal enemy of President Roh Moo Hyun and his party: When Lee joked with reporters that he might call out the military to prevent a move, the Uri party pounced on his statement and tried to link him with the authoritarian politicians he fought against as a student. “The mayor acts as if he is a person of the 21st century, but the remark shows how deeply he was devoted to anti-democracy and anti-parliamentarian elements of a dictatorial period,” Uri spokeswoman Kim Hyun Mee said.Lee can give as good as he gets: He calls President Roh Moo Hyun’s government “amateurs who don’t have the capacity and experience needed to run a country.”. . . . Lee has condemned what he calls Roh’s “politically motivated scheme” to “split the capital and win votes” outside Seoul for his party.International IssuesLee’s record on international issues is harder to assess, because it doesn’t appear that he either cares or speaks about them very much unless they are directly related to economic issues.Lee’s plans for bringing foreign investment into Seoul have in fact won international recognition. His love of public works projects (and perhaps his naked ambition to appeal to younger voters) showed when he proposed turning the U.S. Army’s Yongsan Garrison into a (roll eyes now) frigging peace park after the U.S. hands it over to the Korean government. One might expect someone with long ties to the Hyundai Group to be more supportive of using trade and engagement to gradually transform the North. Lee doesn’t appear to believe in the viability of that approach, even if the self-serving context is suspect: “The reunification of Korea is not so far away,” he said through an interpreter. “If you take into account that fact it would be rather absurd to relocate the capital south of Seoul both of in terms of politics and diplomacy.” South Korean officials tend to say unification is not around the corner — not least because the cost of reuniting the two halves of a peninsula divided for 50 years would be huge. But Lee pointed to the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s costly and hasty unification less than a year later. “The reunification of Germany took place unexpectedly and in very difficult circumstances,” said Lee. “That might be the case for Korea in the future. But still, as for now it would not be appropriate to get into details.”What I can’t find is so much as one solitary utterance about human rights in the North.No ambitious Korean politician could pass up the opportunity to bait the Japanese, and Tokyo’s racist loudmouth Governor Shintaro Ishihara recently proved himself an ideal sparring partner. But watch Lee’s appeal to red-meat nationalism squirm uneasily around his fear of upsetting the investors: Seoul City mayor Lee Myung Bak on Tuesday gave his Tokyo counterpart Shintaro Ishihara quid pro quo for labeling President Roh Moo Hyun’s criticism of Japan “third-rate politics.” “If our politics are third rate, then Ishihara’s must be fourth and fifth rate. . . .Anybody can criticize our politics, except Japan’s extreme right.” “Japan needs to apologize for the mistakes of its past and contribute to mutual prosperity in Asia and human happiness.” The mayor said rudeness aimed at a national leader “can threaten bilateral ties,” adding, “I call on Ishihara to reflect on his rash comments that break with international custom.” At a press conference later, Lee said he spoke out of concern for the national interest rather than to lend the president political support. “The economic and cultural cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo should not suffer, but if Japan continues to behave like this, it may have an influence,” Lee added.Social IssuesSocially, Lee is about as paleocon as they come, even for conservative, Confucio-evangelical Korea. Here is what I (and plenty of others) consider his oddest moment: As a devoted Presbyterian senior, he recently attended a religious meeting in Seoul and publicly said he was offering the city of Seoul to Almighty God in his capacity as Seoul mayor. Such a message drew widespread and vehement criticism from members of non-Christian community across the country as well as Seoul citizens and civic groups. Political observers said that such a comment was highly calculated and aimed at the forthcoming presidential elections. The Christian community in Korea exercises tremendous influence on local politics.This crosses the line between governing according to religious-based principles that shape our public morality and rank sectarianism–hardly a temperate comment in a nation that remains 40% Buddhist, Confucianist, and “miscellaneus.” More recently, Lee appointed himself guardian of the pubic morals by promising to send the cops to shut down “sexy dance contests,” thus threatening to make war against one of the universe’s last dwindling business models for completely harmless fun.Ethical TroublesLee Myung Bak’s ethical reputation is checkered, although some of the charges mirror the impeachment charge against Roh Moo Hyun in their hypertechnical pettiness. He was charged but acquitted of election law violations in 2003 for engaging in partisan campaigning before the official start of the election season. Similar charges had been levied against him in the past. More damaging are charges that he has used public funds to promote his own political goals. Lee has been accused of using taxpayer funds to buy up thousands of copies of “World Village,” a product from the publishers of “The Monthly Chosun,” in consideration for the latter’s favorable press coverage. He was accused of using taxpayer funds to bring sympathetic journalists along on a junket to Europe, an accusation that briefly resulted in Mayor Lee being barred from his city’s own press room. He was also said to have used public funds to support a political rally against moving the capital out of Seoul. Analysis & Opinion RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Analysis & Opinion Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img read more

End of the line for Solicitors From Hell

first_imgThe founder of the controversial Solicitors from Hell website has finally admitted defeat after the High Court ordered him to remove the site from the internet. Rick Kordowski said he will bow out from what he described as a ‘campaign to expose apparent wrong-doing’ in the legal profession. The High Court yesterday ordered Kordowski to ‘cease, forthwith, to publish the website solicitorsfromhell.co.uk’. The ruling follows a Law Society court action to secure an injunction against the site. Chancery Lane had argued it needed ‘to protect its members and the best interest of the public, as the site was not a credible source of reliable information about solicitors’. Welcoming the judgment, Society chief executive Desmond Hudson commented: ‘This website has served simply as a vehicle for pursuing personal grudges and vendettas against conscientious and reputable firms and legal professionals. ‘Far from being of any help to consumers, it has been a danger. I feared the website was directing people in real need of help away from professionals best placed to assist them.’ Kordowski told the Gazette he intends to ‘leave this matter to the next generation’ and is unlikely to relaunch the site. He added: ‘It’s a sad day for freedom of speech and the court’s decision has deprived the public of a valuable warning system.’ He said he expects similar sites to spring up in its place. The website has been subject to a number of legal actions for libel and accrued around £170,000 in costs handed down by the court. The Law Society’s Hudson added: ‘If a client has a complaint about their solicitor, they should complain to the Legal Ombudsman, the body set up by the government for that purpose.’last_img read more

Laso invests in wind blade transporter

first_imgThe company, which is based in Venda do Pinheiro, says its Goldhofer wing transport device (FTV) promises to play a decisive role when transporting wind turbine blades on winding roads, tight corners or when significant gradients are involved.The Goldhofer FTV allows users to rotate the components being transported or adjust the angle of tilt by up to 60 degrees.João Pedro explains that the ever-increasing dimensions of wind energy components is presenting new challenges and difficulties to the companies that have to transport them.He adds that safety issues during transport of these wind components is also an increasing concern and, for Laso, being able to comply with these challenges is an important factor. www.laso.ptwww.goldhofer.delast_img