(Seoul) When Roh Moo-hyun campaigned for president in 2003 he did so on an anti- American platform. This platform resonated with the younger and more radical voters in Korea who have little or no memory of the Korean War. Roh (pronounced No) is now getting his wish and isn’t so sure he meant what he said.
After the U.S announced that one third of the troops would be pulled out of Korea the president started to backpedal in an effort to protect South Korea from the continued nuclear threat from the North. All of a sudden the Korean government has realized that not only do U.S. forces help protect their country but they have an economic impact as well.
The first casualties of the pullout are the civilian Korean base employees who are starting to receive their pink slips. Currently the numbers are small, but are expected to reach 5,000 to 8,000 once the pullout is completed. Not only will this bring added economic pressure as the economy has to absorb these job lossses, but the troops do spend money here and that spending will now disappear increasing the economic impact.
President Roh is keeping his campaign promise and in the process maintaining support from his young voter base, but with the Korean economy in the doldrums, thus may be a promise he wishes he never made.