Created: 7/27/2000

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South Korea: Analytic Perspective

Summit Euphoria Harts

A month after the summit. President Kim is facing criticism at home, largely from conservatives, that be has been dithering on economic reform, mishandling tbe thaw with tbe North, and pursuing policies that have weakened ties toedia poll conducted early this month showed tbat Kim's personal popularity fellostsummit high ofercent toercent, slightly below its prcsummrt level

Kim bat repeatedly delayed initiatives to reform cooglornerates and banks, and recent hotel and medical strikes are feeding perceptions he cannot put an end to persistent labor unrest

Seoul has not explained the delays, which may be because of officials' fears dial layoffs from restructuring could inflame labor groups. |

of North Controversial

Press statements by Kim's Blue House aides suggest they are judging domestic policy options by how they think Pyongyang would react. This leaves Kim open to charges be is protecting the North's interests at tbe expense of those of tbe South.

Nationalmbcrsroposal toice-presidential system. Blue House officials, referencing the sumrnit. cautioned thai the debate should take into account "relatedmeaning Pyongyang.

Blue House publicly has warned the opposition to use prudence on inter-Korean issues to avoid antagonizing the Noith.


Keeping US Card Out of Play

Tnri Srrrrt

At tbe same tunc, the ongoing surge in anti-US sentiment after tbe summit indicates Kim must consider public demands that he assert Korean irfcrests over (hose of the US, views strongest among younger

The National Assembly temporarily suspended Its session last week after legislators sparred over North Korean media attacks on the opposition andonservative dally. The opposition claims Kim is complacent and that P'yongyang is trying to influence domestic debate and press jreedom.

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