The FTAs "snuff out opportunity," Kaptur said. "Indeed, they snuff out the opportunity for free life. The support for these FTAs is narrowing and narrowing and narrowing."
The Yonhap piece does not make it clear if the other congressmen were at the protest or just giving moral support.
In the meantime, what are their Korean allies doing back in the old country? (Yonhap again):
Protesters stomping on the American flag to show their opposition to Korea accepting American products.
I am not sure if any of those Congressmen know how their new buddies act in Korea, but this would be a good chance for readers to help them find out. If you click on the names of the Representatives above, you will get their contact information. Feel free to send them an email or give their offices a call. Even better, contact your own representative. Here is the Congressional directory. If you do not know who your Congressman is, just enter your zip code here and find out. The basic message; don't hang out with American flag stompers.
BTW, you may want to point out that the professional protesters in DC do not represent the opinion of the majority of Koreans, who support the FTA 59% to 29%.
The sinister neocon plot to destroy the will of the Korean people to achieve a peaceful and independent unification is rolling along. The linchpin of the master plan is the plan to control the minds of Korea's future leaders. So far, the plot is working perfectly.
Behold! The numbers speak for themselves (Chosun):
The number of Korean students carrying F1 visas in the U.S. stood at 86,600 as of the end of September 2005, placing them in the no. 1 spot among overseas students there. According to statistics by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the number of Korean students increased to 86,626 from the 73,272 in December -- an increase of 13,354 students in just nine months. Korean students accounted for 13.5 percent of all foreign students in the U.S., up from 12.5 at the end of 2004.
Based on statistics from the end of September, India was in second place with 77,220 students or 12.1 percent, followed by China with 59,343 or 9.3 percent, Japan with 54,816 or 8.6 percent, and Taiwan with 36,091 or 5.6 percent. The department said the leading five Asian nations account for 50 percent of all the international students in the U.S.
We are even taking a few North Korean brains:
North Korea, by contrast, sent a mere 199 students to the U.S. for study, putting it in 146th place.
Seriously though, perhaps the could folks at LiNK could try to hook-up with some of those 199 students (although I expect that they would have to be members of the ultra-loyal elite to be allowed to study in the USA).
"Finding a common approach (between Seoul and Washington) to dealing with North Korea is increasingly difficult. Kaesong is a perfect example," Beck said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
He said it would be impossible for South Korea to achieve its goal of including goods made in Kaesong in its free trade agreement with any U.S. government.
There is across-the-board concern even among American labor unions about the transparency of North Koreans' working conditions in the complex, which also damages Washington's campaign to put financial shackles on Pyongyang, he said.
"Kaesong is not just an area for the best hope for North-South cooperation but it is also one of biggest potential points of conflict between Washington and Seoul," he said.
Given North Korea's propensity for trying to drive wedges between the US and Korea, Beck thinks they will eventually (I'd say once again) play the 'we are one race' card (read on):
(Chosun Ilbo pic) Some guy dances to Korean drum music during a recent protest in L.A. against a bill that would make illegal immigration, uh, illegal (OK, more illegal than it already is). This gang might include some of the 200,000 Korean criminals currently in the US.
If Mexico (and let's face reality, these were basically Mexican rallies) was run by an evil commie dictatorship, I could understand them escaping the motherland by hook or crook, but it is not. These people are not refugees nor are they not facing starvation. They are folks who came to make a buck. There is nothing wrong with that, but need to get in legally.
At least the Korean working girls who came to the US to practice their trade, filled out the necessary forms. Of course, they lied and are criminals, too.
AFL-CIO may use the Gaeseong Industrial Complex to fight against a free trade agreement with Korea: The Korean government is seeking to justify their fears.
Thea Lee, assistant director of the AFL-CIO had this to say at a congressional hearing yesterday (Yonhap):
(T)he working conditions of the North Korean workers "seem to us a little bit worrisome," especially in terms of protection and the conditions that they work under.
"Certainly, the wages are extremely low by South Korean standards, and we expect that the workers there have very few rights to organize independent unions, to exercise any rights at all."
Does the AFL-CIO plan to organize workers in Gaeseong? Not really. This is just a bit of positioning ahead of organized labor's latest fight against free trade. Lee let the committee know the organization's real concern:
"We have a lot of concerns about what the impact of that would be, if we were to enter into an FTA with South Korea," she said.
I can promise you that you will hear this 'concern' again in the months ahead as the AFL-CIO and other anti-FTA groups use the restrictive labor conditions at Gaeseong to make it look like Americans workers would have to compete with (let's not use a loaded term like "slave") unfree labor.
At first, I thought that the AFL-CIO is putting up a red herring. After all, most (all?) products made in North Korea are banned from the United States. But it seems that their fears might be justified if the Korean government has its way (Bloomberg):
"The free-trade agreement must be expanded to include Gaeseong products," said Kim Dong Keun, chairman of the park's management committee, in Gaeseong. "The matter is still up for negotiation."
It might be up for negotiation but that doesn't mean its going to happen, as a US Trade representative spokesman said:
"This is a negotiation between the United States and the Republic of Korea," Christin Baker, Portman's spokeswoman, said Thursday. "Its provisions will apply to goods originating within the territories of the two parties."
I would think that the logic is pretty simple. Gaeseong is North Korean territory. The free trade agreement would be between the United States and South Korea. Therefore, goods made in Gaeseong would not be included. Would products made by American-owned companies in China be included?
Of course, if the Korean government wants to have products made by North Korean workers included in the FTA, they can always let them work in the south.
It seems that team Korea can not get any respect at the Baseball World Classic. First they they get stuck in some three-star dive while the Japanese live it up in a luxurious three-and-a-half star hotel.
OK, that was a little sarcastic but I was checking out the shopping section and noticed something strange.