Sunday, June 04, 2006

Conservatives Win in South Korea

And, Kim Jong-Il is not liking it. This spells real trouble for the North, as it is unlikey that the Grand National Party (GNP) will continue the "sunshine" policy or offer continued massive support.

Conservatives Enjoy Landslide in Korea
( - South Korea's liberal ruling party has suffered a stunning defeat in nationwide local elections, and that could have implications for the government's sensitive policy of engagement with its Stalinist northern neighbor.

Chung Dong-young, chairman of the Uri Party, resigned Thursday, after Uri won just one of 16 posts up for grabs for nine provincial governors and mayors of seven major cities.

The pro-U.S. conservative Grand National Party (GNP), which is reviled by the North Korean regime, took 12 of the 16.

At a lower level, results were equally devastating for Uri, which won only 19 out of 230 contests for heads of smaller city councils and wards, compared to the GNP's 155.
North Korea and its Dear Murderer have relied heavily on the South,
Uri backs the "sunshine" policy of engagement with North Korea, formulated by former President Kim Dae-jung and pursued by Roh.

As the three-and-a-half year crisis over Kim Jong-il's nuclear programs has dragged on, Roh has repeatedly disagreed with any calls for the U.S. to take punitive steps against the North, saying it was not in the South's interests for the communist regime to collapse.

Uri has also taken issue with Washington's handling of the nuclear standoff. Senior party members were especially critical of the passage of legislation promoting freedom in North Korea, and of the U.S. decision late last year to impose financial sanctions on banks linked to counterfeiting and other illicit North Korean activity.

The GNP, by contrast, has been skeptical of the sunshine policy, accusing the government of being too willing to make concessions to Pyongyang that aren't reciprocated.

Conservatives were appalled when Roh, during a visit to Mongolia earlier this month, said he was willing to provide the North with more aid, without conditions, and make "many concessions." He also said he was ready to meet with Kim Jong-il "anytime, anywhere."

Wednesday's election result comes as a blow not just to Roh, but to Pyongyang too.
"For Kim Jong-il and his regime, the possibility that a conservative government will take over after the next election is the worst-case scenario," a columnist wrote in the conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper last week.

"Pyongyang has had enormous help from the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations," he wrote. "If the [GNP] conservatives come to power and the Bush administration's and Japan's efforts against the North persisted, it would rock the Kim Jong-il regime to the core."
The next President of South Korea is almost certain to be Park Geun-hye.

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