Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: South Korea


One area where South Korea is ahead of us: It has a woman president

outh Korea's new President Park Geun-hye leaves after her inauguration at parliament in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. Elected in December, Park is believed to be the first Korean woman to rule in a millennium. (AP Photo/Kim Hong-Ji,
South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, leaves after her inauguration Monday in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Hong-Ji)

On Monday, Park Geun-hye became South Korea’s first woman president. How did that country – which lags the United States in most surveys of how well women are doing – elect a woman to its highest office before we did?

As the following article points out, Park is well known in South Korea, the daughter of a longtime dictator. She has a sympathy factor going for her as well; her mother was killed in 1974 by an assassin aiming at her father (who was himself assassinated in 1979).

Even so, she must have strong political chops to win the presidency. She is a conservative, market-oriented politician who in the past campaigned on a platform of tax cuts, less regulation, and strong law and order. She has a reputation for keeping promises she makes. No wonder she’s popular.

Here’s the article about her we’re running Friday in the print edition. Read more »


China still abets North Korea’s acts of war

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

As of this writing, a second Korean war hasn’t broken out. Thank heaven for small mercies.

The exchange of artillery bombardments between North Korea and South Korea is the kind of skirmish that leads to big conflicts. The casualties could be high. This follows North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean warship in disputed waters last March, and its recent revelation of a major expansion to its nuclear weapons program.

A private group acting like North Korea would be called a terrorist network. The difference is that North Korea has an army, a navy, the beginning of a nuclear arsenal and countless big guns and rockets within range of Seoul.

America has every reason to worry about bombardments and ship sinkings. Given its close alliance to South Korea, the United States would almost automatically be drawn into a north-south conflict.

What’s going on behind closed doors in Pyongyang? There’s no telling, really, though one theory points to political maneuvering as dictator Kim Jong Il prepares to pass off power to his youngest son, Kim Jong Un.

To outsiders, the North Korean dictatorship remains a black box. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday, “I don’t know the answer to any question about North Korea that begins with the word ‘why.’”

Blaming the dictatorship is an exercise in futility. Condemn it, threaten it with sanctions, it acts belligerent. Make nice to it, send it assistance, it acts belligerent. Every variation of American and international diplomacy produces the same results.
Read more »


Without trade pact, U.S. forfeits Korean market

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

There are any number of reasons to support a free-trade agreement with South Korea, but one is especially urgent.

South Korea is a big, dynamic and growing market. Right now, its government imposes a welter of tariffs and regulations on imports, most of which are going to stay in place as long as South Korean goods face corresponding tariffs and restrictions in foreign markets.

American industries – at least industries willing to compete – want full access to that market. But so do industries in the European Union and Canada. Their governments are pursuing trade agreements with South Korea, which would result in mutual lifting of tariffs.

The United States can stand by, crippled by indecision and the powerful automobile lobby, while European nations and Canada lay claim to Korean demand for foreign goods. Or it can beat them in – which America-friendly South Korea would clearly prefer.
Read more »