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Pres. Lee Not to Avoid Criticism on U.S. Beef Issue

Posted May. 16, 2008 08:57,   


“Lee is a person who stands in the rain for the moment when a heavy shower falls,” said one of Lee Myung-bak’s confidants when asked about the president’s reactions to the political crisis that he faces over the resumption of American beef imports.

Amid malicious rumors, which were fueled by netizens on the Internet and through some television programs, many of Lee’s aides said, “Let’s take the bulls by the horns against the instigation of leftist activists.” However, President Lee was against it.

One of Lee’s advisors said that President Lee’s long-term experience as a CEO taught him that it is wise not to fight with someone who is criticizing him. “Even if Lee disagrees, he accepts criticisms. He takes his time and gradually persuades others.”

President Lee stressed the importance of communication between the government and the younger generation through the Internet during Wednesday’s meeting of the Future Planning Committee. This is a good example that illustrates Lee’s practical approach to a crisis: Don’t go against the flow of the time. Embrace your enemies wholeheartedly and make them eventually stand on your side.

In his meeting with Christian reverends on Thursday in southern Seoul, Lee said, “I will reflect on myself to check if I was arrogant in front of the people and history.” “I will change myself first before asking others to change.” These remarks indicate that Lee seeks solutions by changing himself when faced with a crisis.

President Lee can be described as more of an out boxer. When his opponent throws punches on him, he blocks or avoids them until the right time comes for him to turn the table.

“When it is snowing, there is no use sweeping snow with a broom.” Lee often quotes this adage given by the late Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung.

“Even when I disagreed with Chung’s opinions, I never told him ‘You are wrong’ in front of him,” Lee said in a recent meeting, while looking back on the time he worked for Chung. “To make sure that he was not offended, I used to wait for the right time and opportunity to briefly bring up my dissenting view on his remarks. Chung would eventually change his stance.”

One of his advisors also said that the president’s recent humble attitude is a sign indicating that he is feeling a sense of crisis. “At the same time, he has become more discreet and introspective, suggesting that he has already drawn up a solution for the beef crisis,” he added.