Thursday, August 12, 2004
"The new capital site was found to be the best among the candidate locations in terms of potential contribution to the nation's balanced regional development, ease of access and living environment,'' Lee said.That sounds a whole lot like something cooked up by an African megalomanical ruler or some former Soviet pseudo-democracy. It's not quite the sort of well thought-out process of a modern democratic state. The newspapers in the RoK (well, at least the ones that have English web sites) mostly aren't pleased, but I can't tell how much of that displeasure comes from the fact that they're all based in Seoul:
- No More Unilateral Push (Korea Times)
- Halt capital move (Korea Herald)
- Will the Government Relocate the Capital Despite Public Opposition? (Dong-A Ilbo)
- Review the capital move (JoongAng Daily)
And that doesn't even cover the real meat of this one: the ludicrous idea that Seoul's overpopulation can be solved by moving the seat of government. The overwhelming majority of Seoul's residents work in the commercial sector (as in any major world metropolis) and companies don't really give a flying fack about where the government works.
The only nations with some justification for building a planned capital are federal countries where the constituent parts all agree that the capital should not be buried in the middle of one subdivision. Hence we have Canberra, Ottawa, and Washington, DC. Well, Ottawa was a geostrategic choice as well, but nobody expected it to overtake Toronto or Montreal in population, and indeed it didn't.Seoul is the historic capital of the Korean nation, and moving the capital isn't going to alleviate the regional disproportions in development and population. There are considerably more cost-effective means of protecting the government from attack (insert "Undisclosed Location" jokes here). I guess we'll have to see just how far and how successful will be this expensive attempt by the RoK government to dramatically change the people's freely chosen lifestyle.
Well, I suppose a country as messed up as the DPRK might just buy all the economic and demographic bull that the RoK's using as the excuse.