Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Merkel in Kiev amid Russian aid convoy ‘escalation’

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Philippines recalls peacekeepers in Liberia over Ebola

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • US sued over ‘deportation mill’ in New Mexico

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Ferguson

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Bush to visit Seoul amid mad cow controversy

Latest update : 2008-08-05

US president George W. Bush faces a dual welcome in Seoul: the conservative government's pro-US message risks being drowned out by ongoing street protests against US beef imports.

 

U.S. President George W. Bush is to begin his scheduled three-stop visit to south-east Asia in Seoul, amid a simmering controversy sparked by the Korean government’s decision to end a 2003 ban on US beef imports. More than 20,000 policemen have been deployed to control street protests in downtown Seoul, both for and against Bush's policies, that threaten to drown out the visit’s intended message.

 

Bush is to meet with South Korea’s new, pro-American president Lee Myung-Bak for the third time since their first summit at Camp David last April. “The visit aims at stressing the overall strength of the alliance between Washington and Seoul, which is one of the new conservative government’s main policy lines” says Olivier Thomas, FRANCE 24 correspondent in Seoul.

 

Topping the agenda is the prickly issue of North Korean nuclear disarmament. While Pyonyang’s ties with Washington have been slowly warming, its relations with Seoul are stone-cold following the killing of a South Korean housewife in the North’s Mount Kumgang resort in July, after she strayed into a military area.

 

Seoul may ask Washington to refrain from striking North Korea from a list of state-sponsors of terrorism, a long-held demand from Pyonyang. Bush has announced his intention to remove North Korea from the list on August 11 if the North agrees to procedures for verifying a declaration of its nuclear programmes.

 

“The US beef issue is a catalyst for progressive Korean’s discontent with the current government

 

Also on the agenda will be efforts by both presidents to have their legislatures approve a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA) aiming to increase trade between the two countries by 25%. It is unlikely, however, that the FTA be ratified before the end of Bush’s term.

 

Originally intended to pave the way for the FTA, Lee’s decision to resume imports of US beef sparked months of massive, sometimes violent, rallies in the South Korean capital. South Koreans widely believe US beef carries mad-cow disease, despite the extra sanitary safeguards promised by their government.

 

“The US-beef issue has become a catalyst for progressive Korean’s discontent with the current government. President Lee’s approval rating has plummeted below 20%, a first in Korean history” says Thomas.

 

Under these circumstances, Bush’s call for a bigger South-Korean troop contribution in Afghanistan may not be met favourably, as Lee tries to soothe public opinion’s hostility.

 

Bush’s final stop in South Korea will be a visit to U.S troops based in the country, another bone of contention for left-wing Koreans.

Date created : 2008-08-05

COMMENT(S)