The Korean government is backpedaling from its major market-opening programs in the face of backlash from local interest groups.
At stake are the four major market-opening programs _ the free trade agreements with Chile and Japan, the bilateral investment treaty with the U.S. and the establishment of a business hub in Northeast Asia.
More than 50 interest groups have formed a coalition to scuttle these market-opening policies spearheaded by the Roh Moo-hyun administration.
A Seoul court ordered a man to pay compensation to his estranged wife yesterday after they split up because he refused to have sex.
"The accused caused the collapse of their marriage by refusing to have sex with his wife without giving a justifiable reason," said presiding Judge Hong Jung-pyo of the Seoul Family Court.
Hong ordered the 35-year-old husband to pay 50 million won (US$41,850) in compensation to his wife.
"The accused is obligated to pay compensation for the psychological pain the plaintiff has suffered," Judge Hong said, adding that the husband was responsible for the couple's split as his refusal to have sex made his wife frustrated and prompted her to leave him.
The 33-year-old plaintiff filed the suit in June 2001 after leaving her husband, citing his failure to have sex since they married in April that year.
The suit also revealed the couple did not consummate their marriage on their wedding night because the husband was "tired" and that despite repeated requests, he rejected his wife's sexual advances, saying, "I'm not ready for that. Give me more time."
The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Tae-young officially corrected the statement he made Tuesday that President Roh Moo-hyun had indicated at the summit in Japan that he would reject all measures beside dialogue in solving the North Korean nuclear issue. Yoon said the report was false, and that he had misunderstood the president's words because Roh talks fast."
But one thing unchanged in the summit was that even though our government pursued a practical agreement, its citizens followed the old practice of trying to highlight Japan’s “original sin” against Koreans. If we continue to bind the future to the yoke of the past, we cannot easily achieve mature and constructive relations with Japan. In particular, some Korean media and people were busy criticizing Japan’s passage of the emergency military bills instead of focusing on what was discussed in the meeting. Japan’s process of normalization should not be condemned as a right-wing attempt. What Japan wants for a change is to be prepared with authority and readiness so that it can protect itself from external threats. Also, Japan wishes to display a political power matching its economic power in the international community. As long as Japan opposes nuclear armaments and has no intention of self-righteously managing Northeast Asia, we should have the wisdom to utilize Japan’s expanded role in security issues for our security interests.
What then happened to Mr. Roh’s promise to U.S. President George W. Bush that Seoul would consider “further steps” if threats from the North increase? What is Mr. Roh’s real intention? Is he as fickle as a reed? How does Washington view such an attitude? Mr. Roh is making the wrong move to regain his supporters.
The Civic Alliance of Education Community, an organization led by Lee Sang-joo, former minister of education and deputy prime minister who has categorically criticized the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), and who is joined by former government officials and opinion leaders will kick off on June 14.
Marmot's Note: I've met Lee Sang-joo a number of times at Kyung Hee University. He's a true gentleman, and used to play basketball for Pitt.