A recent article in the Chosun Ilbo, Why is the British Media Most Critical of Korean Markets? (3 March) asked why British news organisations are so negative:
Following the global financial crisis last year, most of the foreign media reports that shook the Korean economy were from British news organizations. Seven out of 10 foreign reports that the Korean government was forced to respond to with explanatory statements or rebuttals came from British news organizations.
The Chosun doesn’t really provide any answers. But when there have been so few “good news” financial stories anywhere in the world over the past year or so, and with the Financial Times being one of only two English language newspapers with a permanent bureau in Seoul, it’s hardly surprising that “bad news” should appear in the financial paper of record, which happens to be based in Britain.
The biggest noise recently caused by the FT was the story about Daewoo’s land deal in Madagascar. As ever, the Marmot gathers the reactions here. The offending FT article and editorial are linked at the bottom of this article.
All of which means that it was a nice surprise when the Chosun gave the FT a pat on the back recently – FT Hails Korea’s ‘Green New Deal’, 9 March 2009 – following an article in which the FT commented favourably on a Won 50,000bn spending package designed to boost employment on a wide range of environmentally-related projects.
As ever, of course, there’s a fly in the ointment. According to the FT,
not everyone is convinced Korea has gone green. The country has a dismal reputation among bird enthusiasts for destroying wetlands and killing migratory birds by claiming land seven times the size of Manhattan from the Yellow Sea for factories.
Birds Korea, a conservation group, has called for the suspension of the project to clean and dredge four main rivers and exploit them for leisure activities until the full impact on endangered birdlife has been assessed.
Korea-watchers will have come across Birds Korea before – an environmental organisation which was so vocal in opposing the construction of the sea walls at Saemangeum. And who is one of the leading lights in Birds Korea? Niall Moores, a Brit.