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World Cup Frenzy in the Political Arena

Posted June. 23, 2002 12:24,   


President Kim Dae-jung watched the Korean team`s quarterfinal match against Spain at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium on Saturday.

President Kim was not in good condition since his second son was arrested for bribery and he made an official apology for his son`s misdeed a day earlier. But he wanted to show up at the stadium to lend support for the Korean players to advance into the semifinals together with the public.

Lee Hoi-chang, the presidential candidate of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) also made an appearance at the Gwangju World Cup Stadium.

He had initially planned to participate in street cheering, but he went to the stadium because of a possible security problem.

Lee arrived at the stadium an hour before the match started and chanted `Dae~Han Min Guk` with Red Devils, the official Korean team supporters.

Party chairman, Seo Chung-won, watched the match on TV at home.

Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) watched the match on TV at a restaurant in Busan. He was accompanied with about 60 people including former congressman, Han Ii-heon, who lost the mayoral election in Busan. He said at a meeting a day before that it is somewhat embarrassing to shout and dance right after MDP`s players were defeated in local elections. He visited Busan for the first time since the local elections. MDP chairman, Han hwa-gap watched the match at the KBS hall in Gwangju with other soccer fans.

Kim Jong-pil, the chairman of the United Liberal Democrats (ULD) visited Japan as the chairman of the Association of Lawmakers in Korean and Japan. He watched the match on TV with other lawmakers at a hotel in Tokyo.

Chol-Hi Lee Jong-Hoon Lee klimt@donga.com taylor55@donga.com