South Korea. According to
Countryaah website, the country's president Kim Dae Jung had a
difficult last year in power. Both his government, his party
the New Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) and Kim personally
saw the popularity decline in favor of the opposition Great
National Party (GNP). The cause was a series of high-level
corruption scandals, some of them in Kim's absolute
vicinity. Two of his sons were sentenced to prison for
bribery. Kim tried to curb South Korea's anger through
several government reforms and in May Kim left the MDP after
apologizing to the nation.
In addition, the privatization of state-owned enterprises
aroused people's anger and in the spring the country was
drawn with constant mass protests. The protesters threatened
to sabotage the Soccer World Cup that South Korea would host
in June along with Japan.
However, the tournament was a success, but the local
elections that month meant a new setback for the government.
GNP won 11 of the 16 most important entries. Election
elections two months later gave the opposition a majority in
parliament. In a first demonstration of power, Parliament
chose to reject Kim's first two proposals for a new prime
minister. Finally, businessman Kim Suk Soo was chosen, known
for his strong integrity.
Kim's next nose came when eleven MDP MPs jumped off since
they no longer believed in the party's candidate, human
rights lawyer Roh Moo Hyun, in the December 19 presidential
Ahead of the presidential election was the battle between
Roh and GNP candidate Lee Hoi Chang, who held a tougher line
against North Korea. In the latter, the election seemed to
be very even. On Election Day, Roh received 49% of the vote
against 46.5% for Lee. Thus, the MDP was allowed to retain
power and Kim's sunshine policy could continue.
Even foreign policy Kim Dae Jung had problems. Big
demonstrations were held when US President George W. Bush
made his first visit to the country in February. Bush had
previously labeled North Korea a "shoulder of evil", which
contributed to Kim's sunshine policy towards North Korea
being stranded. Later in the year, however, new talks were
held between South Korea and North Korea and in September
the construction of a road and rail line across the "border"
resumed. New family reunions were also held and countries
began to clear mines in a joint project.
However, the success of the reconciliation work was
preceded by a sharp setback in June when a South Korean
patrol vessel sank in a collision with a North Korean
military vessel at the disputed border between the Yellow
Sea countries. Six South Koreans and up to 30 North Koreans
were killed in the confrontation. The parties blamed each
other, but a conflict ensued when North Korea apologized and
South Korea vowed not to abandon the sunshine policy.