16 September, 2005

Roh and Imperialism

Roh South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun recently made some highly controversial comments during his keynote address to the United Nations:

President Roh Moo-hyun, in his keynote address at the 60th plenary session of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, said the world “must shake off the mindset and vestiges of imperialism that appear to linger in various forms.” He also called for vigilance against a resurgence of “self-centered” major powers. Countries leading the international order today must first undertake a thorough self-examination and reflect on their past and future, Roh said.

The presidential spokesman said the remarks were made with no particular country in mind. But it is not hard to guess which country is being targeted by the use of the word "imperialism" in the world order unfolding since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

It is interesting that President Roh will make such comments when his country relies on the current world order to maintain Korea’s current economic might.  This is what the Chosun Ilbo had to say in regards to this reality:

Our country is the 11th largest economy and 12th biggest trading nation in the world. That is the outcome of our rapid growth in the past 60 years since our liberation from Japanese colonial rule, fully enjoying the benefits from the international order that stands on the axis of the United States. The cold reality we face leaves us no alternative but to stake our future on exports. It must have been that consideration that prompted the president to dispatch our troops to Iraq despite opposition from his supporters.

Yet the same president who took that step has now branded the international order we have relied on and have no alternative to relying on in the future as "imperialism,” in an international arena where the leaders of over 170 countries were assembled.

That sort of thing is usually done on the formal diplomatic stage by some South American and African countries. No wonder then that a number of people who listened to the president’s address said it reminded them of the Bandung conference in the mid-1950s, where some Third-World countries attacked both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

President Roh should also keep in mind that this so called imperialism that he is accusing the US of, Korea is guilty of as well.  Many consider the US imperialists because of the unchecked spread of American companies and culture backed by US military might.  Using this definition it is easy to argue that Korea is just as guilty of imperialism as the United States.  They just commit it on smaller scale since they are a smaller country.

Here are a few examples.  First of all, Korea has continued to build it’s economic muscle throughout the world by using cheap sweat shop labor from China, Cambodia, Philippines, etc. to manufacture products for export.  Also, Korean culture has spread unchecked led by the Hallyu phenomenon that has spread throughout Asia and beyond.  If people are tired of having American music pushed on them, than I’m also tired of having Bae Yong-joon being shoved down my throat.  Korea as well has used their military might when needed to back their own economic interests.  The sending of Korean soldiers to Vietnam is the ultimate example of this.  In recently released documents, former President Park Chung-hee even admits to deploying troops to Vietnam for mainly economic reasons:

President Park Chung-hee viewed the Vietnam issue pragmatically. After reading a Cheong Wa Dae report in January 1965 on troop deployment to Vietnam, Park left a hand-written note in the report saying, "Deploying troops may be unavoidable, but we will make sure we get sufficient compensation" from the U.S.

The most recent example of using the military for economic reasons is the deployment of the Zaytun unit to Iraq.  The Korean politicians can spin the reason for the deployment as for humanitarian purposes all they want, but the bottom line is that Korea is in Iraq for economic reasons which benefit the national interests of their country.  If Korea was in Iraq for humanitarian purposes than they would be doing more than installing a few toilets

Nations use their economic, cultural, & military capabilities in a manner that best advances their national interests.  Korea is no different.  So President Roh can whine all he wants about US imperialism, but if he really wants to end imperialism maybe he needs to start looking closer to home.

by @ 7:55 pm. Filed under South Korea

short friday links

AsiaPundit has had a long week, actually AsiaPundit hasn’t had a day off since the fourth and won’t until the 24th (when he will have to spend a whole weekend moving the apartment and AsiaPundit Global Headquarters). So tonight, very, very, short links. I’m getting a nice tasty beer. See you at the Shanghaiist party.:

ShanghaiistpartytonightWhat: Help celebrate Shanghaiist’s first 67 days of existence!
Where: British Bulldog Pub, 1 Wulumuqi Nan Lu, near Dong Ping Lu (乌鲁木齐路1号,近东平路)
When: Friday, Sept. 16, 7 pm-ish to late
Who: Everybody
Live music: Xingfu 13 (Tang Hui Pub’s house band) at 9 pm, Shanghai Cowboys (old school country and western) at 10 pm
Drink specials: Those who bring a printout of the party flyer
get two extra hours of happy hour (2-for-1 on selected drinks). Normal
happy hour runs from 6-8 pm. Extended happy hour will go from 8-10 pm.
Dress code: We don’t care what you wear
Entrance fee: None!
Prizes: Guests will have the chance to win some great prizes kindly donated by local businesses:

While China shuts down blogs for comments that offend the state, in Malaysia a blogger temporarily shut his site for comments that he found offensive. (via Caleb):

Blogger to pull plug on culprit
Halim Said
Kuala Lumpur, Sept 16:
A blogger, angered by a seditious message on his weblog, intends to lodge a police report today against the sender.
Peter Tan, who owns petertan.com/blog, said he will provide the
Internet protocol (IP) address of the sender, nicknamed ‘good man’ to
the police.
Tan, who started his blog two years ago, said the abusive message containing racial slurs was posted at 7.16pm last Sunday.
Tan, 39, from Penang, said he was puzzled when he saw the message,
days after it was posted, as he was away attending a seminar for the
disabled between Sept 10 and 14.
“As I had no access to the Net during the seminar, I could not
screen the messages coming into the blog,” said Tan, a paraplegic.
Tan admitted that he had received several malicious messages on the blog last month but had deleted them.
“I’m keeping this one (message) for the authorities. This has gone
too far and I want the person who did it to be held accountable.”

It’s well known that China wants to continue putting men in space, we’re not yet clear on whether China wants to knock satellites out of the sky.:

MissilegirlChallenges to Space Superiority,
published by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, highlights two quotations by “Liying
Zhan” of the “Langfang Army Missile Academy” to suggest that China will
“threaten on-orbit assets.”
Gregory [Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists] tracked down the original article (here is the article in Chinese) after I noticed the quotes seemed, well, too good to be true.
Turns out, I was right. The term “translation” is less appropriate than, say, “distorted hack job.”

Now, Gregory Kulacki and David Wright have written An Analysis of a March 2005 Report by the U.S. National Air and Space Intelligence Center (15 September 2005).

Endemic cheating in school won’t help China produce all of those rocket scientists it will need, something should be done.:

Those who have spent any length of time
at all in a Chinese classroom know just how rampant the cheating and
plagiarizing runs in this country. There is absolutely no sense of
academic honesty in China, which somewhat helps to explains why they
don’t have any respect for intellectual property either. However, the
Central Government is now considering measures that would send cheaters to prison for exam fraud.

SHANGHAI, China — Exam cheats, think again — instead of four years of college, you might get seven years in prison.
government is considering a law calling for sentences of three to seven
years for particularly egregious cases of exam fraud, the official
Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
the past, cheats were merely banned from future tests. A pair of widely
reported cheating scandals last year in the central province of Henan
involving crooked teachers and scores of students prompted calls for
harsher punishments.

A short reminder to US readers, not everyone in South Korea hates you.:


For more, OFK has a letter from Congress to Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. Also see the , GI Korea and the Nomad.

The always-excellent Jamestown Foundation has posted its latest China Brief.

Do you Yahoo!? Simon Patkin doesn’t!;

Following the revelation of Yahoo’s disgraceful leaking of email
details with regards to journalist Shi Tao, I have decided to switch my
home page from Yahoo to www.myway.com
I will still use Yahoo when I need to or it would be inconvenient to do
otherwise. But, at the same time if things can be done in another
company’s website, I will use that website in preference to Yahoo. If
you feel the same way and it does not inconvenience you too much, maybe
you can move from Yahoo too.

Chinese netizens have reacted to reports of Mainland Chinese behavior at HK Disneyland (ESWN translates). Still, Hemlock notes that the mouse is undeterred, the big lychee will see another park.:

Mickeyhat_1Disney is promising us a second theme
park, even as the Mainland pee-pee situation at the first one gets
worse.  According to wild American friend Odell, the Chief Guest
Behaviour Management Artist’s lot is not a happy one.  “All the
squatting, smoking and spitting – we can handle that,” he assures me
over a lingzhi and jojoba latte at the IFC Mall branch of Pacific
Coffee.  “It’s the other stuff.  We’ve had several babies die because
of milk formula made of talcum powder and chalk dust.  There’s a gang
trafficking women.  And yesterday a hundred people were killed in a
coal mine explosion in the bowels of the Snow White Grotto.”  But is
the thing making money?  He nods and mumbles something about harvesting
organs for transplant. 

(nb. this post was accidently held in ‘draft’ status until Saturday morning.)

by @ 6:45 pm. Filed under South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Censorship, North Korea

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