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KORUS Facing Tremendous Opposition in South Korea, Has Yet to Be Ratified

The Korea Times reports today that “A growing number of judges are throwing their weight behind the unprecedented revolt against the Lee Myung-bak administration’s ratification of the free trade agreement with the United States (KORUS FTA)”:

Despite Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae’s repeated calls for them to refrain from expressing political opinions publicly, several judges are voicing their opposition to the trade pact.

A standing judge said on the court’s intranet Thursday that the FTA could infringe on Korea’s judicial sovereignty, calling for the judicature to take action for the renegotiation of the agreement.

“After reviewing discussions about the FTA, I concluded that the deal is likely to have many clauses disadvantageous to Korea and infringe on the nation’s judicial sovereignty,” judge Kim Ha-neul at Incheon District Court said on the intranet.

The 43-year-old went on to say, “The judiciaries, which have the final authority to interpret laws, should present some guideline on the FTA and especially on the controversial investor-state dispute (ISD) settlement clause.”

He said he will appeal to Chief Justice Yang to form a task force team to review whether there are unfair clauses in the FTA and, if so, how they should be changed.

In the U.S. the deal faced intense scrutiny from labor leaders and millions of Americans concerned with job outsourcing and workers rights.

Similar opposition arguments are being used in Soeul as in Washington. Many who opposed the trade deal in the States suggested it was “anti-American,” a sentiment that reflects interest in patriotically doing business on U.S. soil, with U.S. companies and U.S. workers. In South Korea, the dissenting judges berating that country’s president, Lee Myung-bak, call him “pro-American,” or what you might consider anti-Korean, for preferential treatment towards the U.S. over his own constituents:

Besides Kim, dozens of judges have expressed their opinions — mainly in opposition — to the FTA. Such developments accelerated after senior judge Choi Eun-bae’s anti-government comments on his Facebook page caused controversy over the use of social networking services (SNS) by judges and other public officials.

Choi called President Lee Myung-bak and the ruling Grand National Party “pro-American to the core,” saying he “will not forget Nov. 22, the day when Korean bureaucrats betrayed their country.”

Read the entire Korea Times piece HERE.


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