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Responses from World

Posted December. 20, 2002 01:53,   


From the moment the presidential election was officially over at 6 p.m. yesterday, foreign correspondents put themselves on the run, sending out urgent messages to keep their headquarters posted on the election results. They reported that Roh Moo-hyun of Millennium Democratic Party was leading over Lee Hui-chang of Grand National Party, demonstrating how great interest the world had in this election. Even an Arabic satellite broadcasting company dispatched a correspondent to report the ever-changing ballot-counting results with analysis. Especially, foreign correspondents showed a huge interest in the possible impacts on the North Korean policies of a new administration in South.

○… The New York Times reported on December 18 (local time) that the presidential election in South Korea had been transformed into a referendum on its policies toward North. The newspaper quoted Roh as saying, "What is more important than the peace between North and South is the survival of 70 million North and South Koreans." USA Today reported on the rising anti-American sentiment that had already become sizable before the election, and cited Roh`s public statement that he wanted a `more equal” relationship with the United States.

"This upcoming election in Korea is more like a referendum on how to handle communist North Korea that is not predictable at all," reported Reuters. It added an explanation and said, "Koreans selected a candidate from the ruling party, making more complicated the Korea-US relationship hinged on the North Korean nuclear issue."

Roh had led the race from the earlier stage, and, therefore, Kim Dae Jung administration`s Sunshine Policy was likely to be maintained in the next administration, reported The Financial Times. The AFP predicted that Roh`s victory would cause a huge change to South Korea`s relationship with the United States. "Roh will challenge the Bush administration that puts priority on North Korea’s abandoning of its nuclear weapons program," reported the AFP.

○… The spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, in the December 19th briefing, said, "The presidential election in Korea is the internal matter of Koreans. Whoever will be the next South Korean president, China believes, the existing cooperative Sino-Korean relations will continue to grow up."

Many Chinese networks including the state-run Xinhwa, reported about the possible changes that might be brought about by the outcome in the election. TV Asahi analyzed, "This election will wipe out the regional hatred that had popped up during the past elections."

NHK Satellite TV ran a special program on the presidential election in South Korea from 9 to 12 p.m., and aired documentaries on Roh.