Saturday, January 07, 2017

news from Korea

Courtesy of the online Chosun Ilbo:

President Park Now Denies Everything

My thinking is that Park Geun-hye is doing whatever she can to run out the clock. She's no longer even concerned about carrying out her duties as president (which she can't, anyway, given she's now going through impeachment proceedings*); for her, the important thing now is to avoid the dishonor of being forced out of the Blue House before the end of her term. Call it "face," call it "honor"; it comes down to pride and ego.

I still think Park would serve the country better by simply stepping down and allowing a snap election to select a president pro tempore to serve out the rest of her term, but that alternative no longer exists thanks to Park's conduct. For her, the strategy now is to throw as many roadblocks in the way as possible so that she can last until the end of her term, thus preserving her ability to say, "I served a full term as president."

In other news, Chung Yoo-ra, the pampered, over-privileged daughter of Park's spooky, manipulative, domineering confidante Choi Soon-shil, has been found and arrested in Denmark. She's in detention with Danish authorities and has retained a Danish lawyer who specializes in criminal law. Denmark says it will happily extradite Chung if South Korea makes such a request (which I hope it does). My boss notes, pessimistically, that there seems to be little substance to any of the allegations against Park herself. Park's and Choi's various associates, the whole ring of corruption, are brazenly stonewalling Korean authorities who are trying to question them. Justice in Korea never moves straight from A to B (as is true for pretty much everything in this country**); I'll be curious to see how this all turns out. In the meantime, I think 2017 is going to be a very interesting year for South Korea.

*As my buddy Mike reminded me, this is quite unlike what happened to Bill Clinton, who continued functioning in office despite being impeached.

**To be fair, US justice often works in mysterious ways, too.

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