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Previewing South Korea's Presidential Election

Recorded on December 10, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

South Korea is on the cusp of a new future, but the form it will take remains uncertain.  There is collective indecision as to the country's direction, its proper role in Asia, and the form of its economy and society.  The South Korean presidential election of December 19, 2007 is a battle for the soul of the nation and will set its strategic course for the next five years.

Although polls show a seemingly insurmountable lead by conservative candidate Lee Myung-bak, South Korean politics are known for their volatility and unpredictability.  Lingering corruption allegations against Lee and the large number of undecided votes provide the potential for sudden and dramatic changes.  Questions remain over the degree of difference in the leading candidates' platforms and whether underlying political and societal characteristics will constrain the degree to which a new president can change South Korean policy.

Join us as our panelists address the issues and trends that have affected the political landscape, discuss the likely election outcome and determining factors, and assess the likely impact on South Korea's economic strategy and its policies toward the United States, North Korea, and Japan.