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The Presidential Election in South Korea
chungheesoo

-Dark Threatening Fog is covering up the Future of the Korean Peninsula

Dr. Joseph H. Chung (정희수) Professor of Economics, Quebec University in Montreal (UQAM)

 

(지난 호에 이어)

However, to rule the world, at least Asia, Japan must do something to kill China. The Taiwan President, Tsai In-wen is ardent promoter of Taiwan independence and close friend of Tokyo and Washington. It is possible that Japan wished for China's invasion of Taiwan. Indeed, it can happen.

 For Washington, Taiwan is a fixed aircraft carrier at the front door of China and the best weapon which has been used for decades for the containment of China. Therefore, Washington will continue to arm Taiwan. This will increase the possibility of the intervention of the China's PLA.

 It is true that Washington recognizes the principles of ONE CHINA by virtue of three joint declarations (1972, 1979 and 1982) and the Taiwan Relations Act (1982) and China's right to govern Taiwan. But, Washington adopted an ambiguous Taiwan policy by installing the American Institute in Taiwan (IAT) and by imposing the flexible condition of American weapon sales to Taiwan by virtue of the Six Assurances imposed by Ronald Reagan in 1982.

 There are five conditions which Taiwan must respect to avoid the invasion of Beijing: declaration of Taiwan independence, internal turmoil in Taiwan, military alliance with other countries, acquisition of weapons of mass destruction(WMD) and the violation of 1992 Taiwan-China Consensus for One-China system.

 Among these five conditions for China invasion into Taiwan, the most important condition is the Taiwan's Independence Declaration.

 In Taiwan, there are two major parties: the Kwomintang (KMT) and the Democratic and Progressive Party (DPP). The KMT has been in power except two government of DPP.

 Washington has been supplying weapons for decades. But, the two Republican governments have been the most active in selling weapons to Taiwan, namely the Bush government and Trump government.

 For instance the government of G.W. Bush shipped each year weapons amounting to USD 3.74 billion when Chen Shui-bian of DPP (2000-2008) was in power. The Trump government provided each year weapons amounting to as much as USD 4.45 billion, when Tsai Ing-wen of DDP (2016-2022)was in power.

 The DDP is the party claiming more autonomy vis-a-vis China. For the time being, it refrains from the declaration of independence to avoid the invasion of China's PLA. But, there is heavy pressure from Taiwan population for independence. Nevertheless, Tsai has been avoiding the declaration of independence saying that Taiwan is a de facto independent.

 However, the sustained shipping of weapons to Taiwan can be seen by China as Washington's pressure on Taiwan to choose independence.

 Even if Taiwan does not declare independence, China may attack Taiwan, if it imports WMD such as strategic nuclear weapon. The acquisition of WMD is one of the conditions China's Taiwan invasion.

 Another possibility is to create a situation in which Taiwanese plane or warship is attacked by the PLA.

 Once the shooting war starts, the Japanese SDF will play the major part of the shooting, while the U.S. will minimize its direct fighting.

 The most dreadful perspective is the role of the Korean armed forces. Since the Korean government has no authority of mobilizing its own armed forces because of the OPCON agreement, the ROK forces will have to join Japan. And the outcome is clear enough.

 Taiwan will be destroyed and it will be governed directly by China. But, Japanese economy and the Korean economy will be devastated.

 Nevertheless, Japan wants this war, because it has not abandoned its dangerous dream of ruling Asia after having destroyed China. Besides, the armament is the best way of reviving the Japanese economy, just like it was during the 1930s before the Pearl Harbour attack.

 As for the U.S. it wants this war, because this war destroys both China and Japan which are or will be enemies of America.

 In short, the electoral victory of Yoon may bring a doomsday for Korea.

 

3. Victory of Economic Stagnation of Sustained Growth

 Lee's vision of economic policy was the liberation from the trap of neo-liberal regime and corruption.

 Under the neo-liberal regime, the ultimate objective was to maximize GDP growth. To do so, corporate profit should be maximized through the use of technology which reduced the labour cost on the one hand, on the other, the use of the imported low cost raw materials and intermediate goods which also cut down production cost

 Lee was planning to avoid the neo-liberal regime and continue the policies of Moon Jae-in. These policies include the following policy measures.

 First, Lee would continue to break the bribery culture which has ruled the government-business relations. Under the previous pro-Japan conservative government, the government used to offer all sorts of privileges to Chaebols including tax allowances, grants and subsidies, easy access to privileged information and above all overlooking of illegal and immoral activities of large corporations for bribes paid to politicians and bureaucrats. The bribe culture affects the productivity of corporations and slows down GDP growth.

 Second, Lee was going to improve the Chaebol-SME relations. Under the pro-Japan conservative government, Chaebols abused SMEs. For example, Chaebols did not respect contracts with SMEs, even stole new technology developed by SMEs. Lee was going to better integrate SMEs into the value chains led by the Chaebols. In fact, this policy has had some success under President Moon Jae-in.

 Third, Lee was planning to assure GDP growth which is beneficial to all citizens in such a way that income be more equally distributed and the rate of jobless will decrease

 Fourth, the labour rights were to be better protected and promoted. The planned measures included these: more unionization, labour participation in national economic policy designs, shorter work hours, overtime payment, more nursing homes for working mothers.

 Fifth, under the leadership of President Moon Jae-in, more resources have been allocated for the benefits of to low income people, senior citizens, single mother, disabled and other marginal groups. This policy would continue.

The increasing purchasing power of the ordinary Korean will enhance domestic demand, create more jobs and promote sustained economic growth.

 By contrast, Yoon is planning to restore the radical version of neo-liberal economic regime through the following measures.

 First, the role of the government will be minimized so that the contents of national economic policy will be determined by large corporations

 Second, the public corporations will be privatized. Even the public health insurance will be privatized.

 Third, the regulations, in particular, those related to housing will be deregulated allowing real estate speculation.

 Fourth, the corporate tax will be reduced so that corporate profit can increase.

 Fifth, the minimum wage will be cut and labour unionization will be prevented.

 Sixth, the government will cut welfare spending including old age pension, housing allowance, grants to public health services. This will make the survival of the low-income people.

 The combination of these planned measures implies the concentration of income and wealth in the hands of the corrupted community led by the oligarchy composed of academics, business, bureaucrats, media and politicians (ABBMP)

 The income distribution is still skewed in favour of the rich despite the efforts of the government of Moon Jae-in. But, Yoon's policy will worsen the inequality of income distribution leading to shrinking domestic demand, increasing jobless and eventually long-run economic stagnation. (다음 호에 계속)

 

 

 

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