Pro-government candidate Roh Moo-hyun declared victory in South Korea's presidential election yesterday, saying he would work for a "new era of dialogue and harmony." \nRoh's campaign rival, opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang, conceded defeat. With 85.9 percent of the vote counted, Roh had an insurmountable lead of 2.3 percent, television stations said. \nA Roh presidency could affect relations with the US, a chief ally, and North Korea. Roh has said he wants a more "equal" relationship with Washington, and advocates dialogue with his communist neighbor. \n"Thank you my dear fellow countrymen, who have elected me as president," Roh said in a speech at his party headquarters. His supporters clapped and cheered, and some danced with balloons in the street. \n"I will try to open a new era of dialogue and harmony," Roh said in an overture to the opposition. \n"I will try to become a president, not just for the people who supported me, but also for the people who opposed me in the election," said a joyful Roh, who appeared to be on the verge of tears. \nTurnout among the 35 million eligible voters was 70.2 percent, 10.5 percent lower than in the 1997 presidential election. \nThe vote took place amid a surge in anti-US sentiment, fueled by the recent acquittals in US military trials of two American soldiers whose armored vehicle hit and killed two South Korean teenage girls in June in a road accident. South Korea's relations with its top ally have emerged as a key election issue. \nRoh supports President Kim Dae-jung's "sunshine" policy of engaging North Korea, and believes dialogue is the best way to resolve concerns over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. But Lee, 67, had said Kim's policy was a failure, and preferred a tougher approach more in line with that of US President George W. Bush. \nKim's five-year term ends in February. Under South Korean law, he is barred from seeking re-election. \nMany South Koreans believe Bush, who has ruled out talks with Pyongyang unless it abandons its nuclear development, is an obstacle to reconciliation with North Korea. Roh, who wants South Korea to be less dependent on Washington, benefited from growing unhappiness with the 37,000 US soldiers stationed in the South. \n"Bush is a trigger-happy man," said Kim Han-sik, a 32-year-old voter. "We need a leader who can say no when we think we should say no. Our country has been too subservient to the United States." \nRoh's campaign had appeared in peril when a key backer and coalition partner withdrew his support late Wednesday. \nChung Mong-joon, the popular architect of South Korea's successful co-hosting of the soccer World Cup this year, said he was upset over a comment Roh made Wednesday. \n"If the United States and North Korea start a fight, we should dissuade them," 55-year-old Roh had said. \nChung, a former presidential candidate who dropped out of the race to support Roh, said the United States was a close South Korean ally and had no reason to start a fight with North Korea. \nBut local media, citing Chung officials, said the soccer chief was angry after Roh indicated he would not back Chung for the presidency in 2007. Chung had counted on Roh's backing. \nIn recent weeks, tens of thousands of young South Koreans have taken to the streets to protest the acquittals of the US soldiers and demand more South Korean jurisdiction over US troops in their country. \nThe soldiers were acquitted of negligent homicide charges, but many South Koreans believed the trial was unfair. US military officials apologized repeatedly for the deaths. \nAlso see story: \nA radical takes over the Blue House in Seoul
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Two US senators were critical of the WHO after a senior WHO official appeared to hang up on a Hong Kong reporter who asked about Taiwan’s membership status in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. During a video interview with Radio Television Hong Kong’s Yvonne Tong (唐若韞) on Saturday, WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward first claimed not to have heard her question on whether the WHO would consider giving Taiwan membership. When Tong repeated the question, he asked her to “move on to another one.” The video then showed the line disconnecting after Tong said she would like to hear more about Taiwan.