Cold Feet and Hot Heads in South Korea

SOUTH KOREA - Earlier today South Korea's prime minister decided to backtrack on previous words and leave the door open to revising the US beef import deal due to mounting public pressure over safety concerns.
calendar icon 8 May 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

According to the news agency Reuters, South Korean officials had previously insisted the agreement could not be renegotiated.

"We will keep watch on the negotiations between the U.S. and other countries and will at any time ask to revise the (beef) agreement if any new situation comes about," Prime Minister Han Seung-soo said at a news conference.

South Korea agreed last month to open its market wider to American beef after U.S. lawmakers said a separate, sweeping bilateral free trade deal would not make it through Congress until Seoul made concessions on beef.

On May 15, South Korea resumes quarantine inspection on all cuts of U.S. beef from animals of any age, which will start imports flowing again and lifts a blanket ban Seoul had imposed in 2003 following an outbreak of mad cow disease.

South Koreans have taken to the streets to protest as rumours have spread quickly in the world's most wired country making claims such as diapers and cosmetics posing a risk for mad cow disease because beef products are used in their production.

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