Korean Politics Odds and Ends – 9/15/2012

The presidential election is less than 100 days away, and very exciting times are ahead. Today’s digest is less about what happened, and more about what to watch for:

  • Hello, Sunshine!   Meet the new North Korea policy, same as the old North Korea policy. Park Geun-hye revealed her proposed North Korea policy in her recent interview with Dong-A Ilbo. Park’s proposed policy involved a significantly softened stance toward North Korea compared to her proposed policy back in 2007, when she ran against Lee Myeong-bak in the primaries. Significantly, Park said: “Humanitarian aid or mutually beneficial business arrangements must continue regardless of the changes in the political environment.” Park was also placed high hopes on meeting with Kim Jong-un.
  • Cleaning out the Closet.   Park is also reportedly preparing an all-encompassing speech on her stance toward her father’s legacy. This was prompted by the kerfuffle following her recent radio interview, in which she apparently questioned the legitimacy of the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision holding that her father’s administration framed and executed eight of his political opponents, in what is known as the People’s Revolutionary Party incident. She initially refused to apologize for her comments, and sacked the party spokesman who mistakenly issued an apology on Park’s behalf. Park since then expressed “regret.”
  • Running Man.   The worst kept secret in Korean politics just got revealed a little more.  Reportedly, Ahn Cheol-soo’s camp decided internally that he will be running for the president, and began taking steps to make the announcement. Ahn recently visited the May 18 Memorial in Gwangju, acting more like an active progressive politician who is wooing the crucial Jeolla-do vote.
  • Running Moon.   On the other side of the progressive corner, the juggernaut that is Moon Jae-in is continuing to crush his opponents through the DUP primaries. In the last primarily election in Seoul, Moon hopes to push past the 50% mark, which would allow him to be the outright candidate instead of undergoing another round of final voting, likely against the second place Sohn Hak-gyu. The primaries did help Moon erase the gap between him and Ahn — once a double digit underdog, now Moon is neck-and-neck with Ahn in the polls as the favored progressive candidate.
  • Divorce Papers are in . . .   It’s official: the alliance between the DUP and the UPP is no more. UPP has now experienced a total implosion, as all of the party’s National Assembly members quit the party, planning to form a new one. Gang Gi-jeong, executive officer of the DUP, said that she regretted that the UPP could not re-invent itself, and that the alliance between DUP and UPP was “effectively finished.”
  • . . . and Marriage Proposals are out.   As the news spreads that Ahn is close to announcing his candidacy, Moon’s camp is already discussing how to form a unified ticket with Ahn. Prominent SNU law professor Cho Kuk, supporter of Moon, proposed on a recent radio interview that Moon and Ahn should have a sit-down to unify the presidential ticket in a one-shot negotiation, rather than dragging the process out in the public. But of course, who will be at the top of the ticket is very much up for grabs at this point. For all presidential elections, the message battle leading up to Chuseok is crucial, as people tend to solidify their voting choices after discussing politics with their families during the holidays. The next two weeks will be very exciting time to watch Korean politics.
  • RolyPoly

    Moon Jae-in is the next president of Korea.

    People can talk, talk and talk about garbage. Newspapers print garbages too. But, on the election day, Korean people will vote whom they like.

    Another poor boy sob story and Moon eating cheap soup at poor part of Seoul and Moon is in to Blue House.

  • brier

    I imagine the Hole will have lots of good blogging material if Mr Ahn wins.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    ” Park was also placed high hopes on meeting with Kim Jong-un.”…

    I’d be so tempted to bring up my mother if I were her.

  • yuna

    LOL have you read this? -the prediction according to the face-readers.

  • yuna

    I am quietly hopeful and feel like finally the “reasonable” Koreans are being represented by “reasonable” people in politics.

  • brier

    I would like Ahn a lot more if he he didnt remind me of a tree dwelling sloth. Get a hair cut and have a cup of coffee in the morning!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Every country’s politics kinda smell the same…

  • Sterling Copper

    It’s funny how Park is in a trouble for talking carelessly about the past despite her “good mouth”. Seriously though, it’s Korean politics and anything can happen from now to December. The demise of DUP might even be a good thing for the progressive, since the DUP presidential candidate would not have any credibility even in the far left faction of the progressive wing. Now the future candidate from Ahn/Moon alliance would not have worry about catering to the demands from the DUP and risk alienating the moderates.

  • RolyPoly

    I think soon the media will print the dirt about Park JeongHee.

    He was a sex-maniac sleeping with different woman every night. It is rumored all actresses and good-looking college students slept with him. A sort of systematic rape. The girls could not say no.

    I believe most of PGH supporters are women. That is why BirdPiss party spread Ahn’s mistress story. To turn women voters away from Ahn. But, when they hear about Park’s dirty deeds, they will change their mind quickly.

    I expect PGH coming in the last place, even if it goes to 3 candidate race.

  • SalarymaninSeoul


    sure, Moon may eat cheap soup with the poor people, and upon his election (or Ahn’s too) it will be everyone in the country who will be eating cheap soup in the poor parts of Seoul (and beyond).