[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Is Roh’s Song in tune?

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[GOING TO THE BLOGS]Is Roh’s Song in tune?

Though the issue of the North Korean nuclear test hasn’t exactly moved to the back burner, much of the attention of the Korean blogosphere this week focused on the pending shake-up of President Roh Moo-hyun’s cabinet. Four senior posts will soon have to be filled.
Responding to reports that the senior presidential security advisor, Song Min-soon, will be nominated to fill the role of foreign minister ― soon to be vacated by Ban Ki-moon ― and the pending nomination to replace Yoon Kwang-ung in the defense minister portfolio, Robert at “The Marmot’s Hole” (http://www.rjkoehler.com/) writes of Mr. Roh, “The fact that he’s reportedly chosen Song as the next foreign minister leads me to believe Cheong Wa Dae is tired of the infighting between itself and the Unification Ministry on one side and the foreign and defense ministries on the other, so we might see someone who fits Roh’s ‘code’ as the next defense minister.
“In the short term, this might be a good thing for Seoul, since South Korea might at least be able to put together something resembling a coherent foreign policy, especially in regard to North Korea and the United States. On the other hand, if the foreign and defense ministries become dominated by Roh loyalists, things could get very, very rocky in the Korea-U.S. relationship for the rest of this administration’s term.”
In light of Song’s recent labeling of the United States as a war-mongering nation, many bloggers took issue with his nomination as foreign minister.
In the comments section at “One Free Korea” (http://freekorea.us/), Red Forman asserts, “The South Korean government continues to set the stage for the dismantling of the US/Korea alliance. Statements like Song’s make it clear the South Koreans in leadership positions have no real idea what an alliance really is.”
No doubt Mr. Song in the role of foreign minister would further complicate an already uneasy alliance between the United States and South Korea, as reports of the guarded American reaction to the rumors of his nomination would suggest, but One Free Korea’s blog host Joshua offers this perspective:
“Personally, I see people like Song as a surface manifestation of something bigger and more directly relevant to whether the alliance has a future,” Joshua writes. “The alliance could survive if Roh and his crew are gone in 2007, and if succeeding governments manage to persuade the people America is a good ally for them to have.”

Korea’s forgotten president
Last week marked the passing of former South Korean President Choi Kyu-hah. Mr. Choi took over leadership of the country following the assassination of Park Chung Hee in late 1979 and held office until replaced by Chun Doo Hwan in September, 1980. Because his time as president was brief, he often escapes attention in discussions of former presidents.
Writing at his blog of the same name, Oranckay (http://oranckay.net/blog/) takes time to remember Mr. Choi. “I don’t know anyone who ever spoke favorably about former President Choi Kyu-ha,” he says. “Not that anyone particularly blames him for anything, either. In fairness, the poor man never wanted to be president and stopped being president at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Subway stories
Seoul’s subway system has developed into one of the world’s premier undergrounds. For just a few hundred won, one can traverse most of the greater Seoul area, and if you’re lucky, you just might come away with an interesting story or two.
One of the lucky ones is Cat at “SeoulLife.net” (http://seoullife.net/), who recently observed a peculiar couple on one of the city’s subway boarding platforms.
“They waited side by side for the doors to open and when they did, you couldn’t help but notice something a little off. His arm was draped over her shoulders in a gentle embrace. They seemed quite relaxed. But the index finger of his right hand, the one attached to the arm over her shoulders, was quite clearly caught between her teeth. They were standing there, together, seemingly nonchalant. But she was biting down on his finger.”
To wrap your teeth around the rest of the story, visit Cat’s blog.


by Scott Hammel

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