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SOUTH KOREA: ELECTIONS -- South Koreans elect progressive

feature proposal 12:34am Fri Dec 20 '02 (Modified on 12:53am Fri Dec 20 '02)
www-features (at) article#224145

Voters Opt For Peace, Reject U.S. Presence By Narrow Margin
On Wednesday, South Koreans elected a human rights attorney as President. Roh Moo-hyun, a progressive who ran on a platform of reconciliation with North Korea and resistance to the United States, defeated the hawkish Lee Hoi-chang by a margin of less than 3 percent. While North Korea has adopted a newly aggressive stance, South Koreans have had to deal with a wave of scandals in the current administration and a series of events involving American servicemen that have sparked anti-American protests.

There are 37,000 US soldiers stationed in South Korea. In June, two of them struck and killed two young girls with a 45-ton armored U.S. military vehicle. This past month, those soldiers were acquitted in a US military court, leading to a wave of protests at US military bases. Roh responded by calling the South Korea-United States Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) "deeply unjust." Other recent protests focused on the US-led war on Iraq and the effects of globalization.

See past coverage: Dec 04
UK Guardian: "South Korea elects dove as president"



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