Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The insight on how to deal with Korea

I am deeply impressed by his insight.
Korean society as a whole uses nationalism to get what it wants - including when it comes to fulfilling agreements. This goes beyond the US-SK relationship. It used it against both Chile and China on trade major trade deals that have come up within the last 5 years. We should have taken special note of how China handled the Great Garlic War: when news leaked of the terms of the agreement SK tried to keep under wraps came out that specified a gradual reduction in tariffs on Chinese agro-fishery products, the Korean government did what it does with the US on trade and security issues —- caved into nationalist sentiment. It said the agreement was clearly flawed and detrimental to Korea’s interests and it would renegociate. The Korean press played up the nationalism too. Then China balled up its fist and wacked Korea upside the head by slapping huge tariffs on telecommunication and chemical industry products Korea was making a fortune on in China.

The Korean press and government got the message and reversed position on a dime — explaining to the Korean public that even if SK fulfilled its obligations in the deal, it would still be enjoying a massive profit in the bilateral trade, and the Korean people listened and the China bashing was kept to small groups.

The same kind of thing happens every time Korea’s nationalism increases on the US relationship front. When things get too out of control, and the US press starts writing about it and/or the US government begins making serious threats, the Korean media tells the masses to shut up, and they listen.usinkorea at lost nomad

—-Korean nationalism will seek to turn things into major issues and use the society’s expressed anger to get what it wants — even if what it wants is for Korea to fail to do agreements it has signed.

China has reacted to these things by slamming Korea upside the head by placing high tariffis and other economic sanctions or actions against Korean imports there. And Korean society has backed down quickly.

The pattern in anti-US activity has been for some time that — when Korea feels like venting spleen, they will build up any issue, large or trivial, and keep it going as long as it felt good to them.

Sometimes it just peters out on its own.

But other times, when they really get going, it will catch the attention of the American press and/or it will piss off someone high up in the US government.

Whatever the case, whenever Korean society fears that it might hurt Korean exports, hurt Korea’s image, or cause a shift in USFK’s committment to Korea…

….they put the brakes on anti-US activity fast.usinkore at marmot

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