The mysterious sinking of the Cheonan and death of 46 South Korean sailors really isn’t mysterious.
Then why no full public investigation and response to the rogue state in the north?
There’s two things going on here, according to a great column by Aidan Foster-Carter.
First, South Korea has decided that war is unprofitable (unlike the U.S., they rely on international investors):
Even short of outright conflict, in today’s globalized world it wouldn’t take much for foreign investors to stampede for the exits if they thought the long Cold War in Korea was about to heat up even a little. The morning after the Cheonan sank, Seoul’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance sent letters to the three top ratings agencies – Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch – saying the incident would not affect the economy. As it happen, all three are finishing up annual reviews of South Korea’s sovereign credit rating. In the past geopolitical risk on the peninsula has sometimes rattled them, as well it might if it were true. So it is manifestly in Seoul’s interests to calm the waters, as they have succeeded in doing – for now.
Second, and more troubling, South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak wants to break from decades of spats and alliances and simply ignore Kim Jong-il.
Bad move… Even if Pyongyang is innocent of this particular outrage, the fact remains that Lee Myung-bak hasn’t a clue how to handle the North. His cold shoulder patently isn’t working; it just leaves a vacuum which Beijing is only too happy to step in and fill. Lee is losing North Korea to China: what price reunification? But that is another story.
Now that should scare investors. Check out What You Need To Know About The South Korean Economy >
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