South Korea. According to Countryaah website, national day of South Korea is every August 15. 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 election.
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.
The Free Trade Agreement with the European Union
South Korea has already signed several free trade agreements with Chile, India, Singapore (ASEAN). If the long awaited one with the United States has not yet been formalized, the one with the European Union (Eu) was signed on 6 October 2010 in Brussels. In this way, bilateral relations have assumed the rank of ‘ strategic partnership ‘. This agreement, whose negotiations began in May 2007, should immediately lead to the lowering of tariffs, the promotion of trade and investment and the creation of jobs in both Korea and the 28 EU countries. The agreement, ratified before the G20 summit hosted by Seoul, is the first ratified by the EU with an Asian trading partner and should encourage significant growth in the volume of trade.
It has been calculated that it should contribute 0.56% per year to Seoul’s GDP growth for the next ten years, and that 253,000 jobs will be created, mainly in the service sector. 15 years after ratification, South Korea’s trade surplus relative to the EU is expected to increase to around $ 361 million a year, as exports are expected to grow more than imports. The manufacturing sector is expected to be the largest beneficiary, with an estimated $ 395 million increase in annual exports for 15 years. Some risks, on the other hand, could be created for agriculture and fishing, given the possible increase in imports from Europe in these two sectors. The sector that posed the most difficulties in the negotiation phase was that of the automobile:
The choice to liberalize trade could instead prove beneficial to both Korea and the Union: South Korean manufacturers will be able to broaden their exports, while consumers will have more choice among vehicles imported from the EU. Korean companies that do business with the EU expect a lot from this free trade agreement, including increased volume of trade, technology development cooperation and European investment. As a result of recent surveys, many Korean companies have expressed their willingness to divest from other parts of the world to invest in Europe.