esponding to North Korea’s military authoritative December announcement [30 December 2011] that the DPRK will not deal with the Lee Myung bak regime in Seoul, ROK’s ‘revanchist’ president tried to smooth the sharp elbow reply with ‘vanilla’ observations that a new leader in the North offers the South opportunities in ‘talking to’ a Kim Jung eun & co.
Harvard’s John Park read into Lee’s word a ‘high road ‘ appeal to reducing tensions in the divided Korean peninsula. GuamDiary questions Park’s assertion. We look at Lee’s openly broadside attack against Kim Jong il from day one of his ascension to the Blue House, beginning with the suppression of the ‘Sunshine Policy’, followed by denying fertilisers and food aid, and a propaganda war the person of the ‘Dear Leader’; the South Korean president’s assault, closely coordinated with the Obama administration, had revived the harsh winds of the Cold War which Lee’s two predecessors Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo hyun tamed and quieted. Not only that, he pushed the envelope so that either the North would implode or it would commit a warlike action that the ROK and US could take advantage of. Unfortunately for ‘revanchist’ Lee, the DPRK called joint US ROK’s bluff during joint military exercises along the Northern Limit Line within a spittle of DPRK territorial waters in November 2010. Obama took fright that it would have to engage America in a third war in Asia; to his South Korean ally, the US president stayed Lee’s hand, settling for ‘rollinb back’ the Northern regime through ‘patient constraint’
Broadly speaking, GuamDiary has to restate the known history that the US and South Korea media conviently ignore in favour of the mystical veneration of hoary slogans from the last 60 years at least.
So we ask can the lame leopard as president of the ROK change his spots? Possibly, but we wont hold out breath.
Lee like Obama lost a golden opportunity to engage Kim Jung eun by sending food aid to the North. He did not; he only offered hollow buzzwords of ‘new opportunities’.
2012 is an election year in South Korea. And there is a general dissatisfaction with Lee and his party. They lost the import post of mayor of Seoul Lee used as a springboard to win the Blue House in October 2011. His aggressive policy towards the DPRK has galvanised a broad swath of opinion in South Korea that considers Lee ‘a national traitor’ for abandoning the ‘Sunns, shine Policy’.
Lee dropped another stitch by severely restricting an unofficial delegation of 18 South Koreans, headed by the widows of Kim Dae Jung and Hyundai’s founder, to venture to Pyongyong to convey their condolence at Kim Jong il’s bier. Were Lee ‘sincere’ in reducing enmity with the North, he could have easily allowed ordinary citizens in the South to do the same. Yet, he dare not! The feet that would have wended their way to the North would have been a referendum of the failure of his hostile policy towards Kim Jong il & co.
So, the cover the egg on his face, Lee peppered a hardline response to the North with empty pious hopes of opportunities to turn a new page on inter Korean relations. Will he? That is the question! Is he a leader who can and does grow? Judging by his record, prospects are indeed dim.