Warning by ‘Missionary of Reform’: Former Virginia Governor against Moon Administration’s Chaebol Policy | BusinessKorea

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Former governor Allen criticized President Moon's economic reform measures in a contribution to the Washington Times on August 15 (local time).
Former governor Allen criticized President Moon's economic reform measures in a contribution to the Washington Times on August 15 (local time).
18 August 2017 - 11:30am
Michael Herh

Former Virginia governor George Allen, who is called "the missionary of reform," gave advice to President Moon Jae-in who marked his 100th day as president. He served as chairman of the Republican Senate Committee and was a Republican presidential candidate.  

“From many visits to the Republic of Korea as a governor, U.S. senator and private citizen through the years, I have admired the rise of free people who appreciate American’s historic sacrifice for their freedom and share our values as trusted allies,” Allen said in a contribution to the Washington Times on August 15 (local time).

“Indeed, in many speeches I present a nighttime satellite picture of the Korean Peninsula showing darkness and light — restrictive totalitarianism versus freedom and longer, healthier prosperous lives. There’s no better object lesson in the world telling the effect on free people and a free enterprise system,” Allen emphasized. 

Former governor Allen then criticized President Moon's economic reform measures. “Likewise, Mr. Moon’s economic policy decisions will certainly have serious consequences given his promises to take on reforming the chaebols (conglomerates) -- the lifeblood of the Korea’s export-driven economy led by giants, including Samsung, Hyundai, and LG,” Allen said. “President Moon’s reform policies help foreign rivals competing with Korean companies.”

“Increased taxes on technology manufacturers for investing in automation will diminish innovation where South Korea has become a world-class leader. Uncertainty in the leadership of Korea’s technology companies could create an unprecedented opportunity for foreign competitors such as China’s Huawei and others to push aggressively into the Korean market and take market share from the electronics giant across the globe,” Allen pointed out.  

Allen also expressed regret over Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, who received a 12-year prison sentence from the prosecution. “Samsung has had a spectacular run of late but the jailing of Lee Jae-yong, its chairman-in-waiting, related to the scandal that led to President Park’s ouster, puts the company in a precarious leadership position. A cozy business-government relationship may very well be part of Korea’s culture, so much so that many consider the contributions made by Korean business executives as routine in that system. Many believe Mr. Lee has been singled out by zealous prosecutors seeking a seemingly severe, 12-year prison sentence due to his significant national profile,” Allen said.

Allen forecast that President’s tough medicine for reforms will not be effective. “The tumultuous and sad period of political scandal that free citizens in Korea have just endured did not necessarily end with Mr. Moon’s election. In fact, depending on his determination to shake things up, it might have simply entered a new stage. It is possible political and economic uncertainty will pervade the peninsula if Mr. Moon moves aggressively to implement anti-business, anti-innovation, leftist economic policies and take aim at the chaebol leaders at the expense of the Korea’s economy. Reformers such as Mr. Moon may regard this as just the kind of tough medicine that is needed, but he should keep in mind that causing long-term and irreparable harm to business titans will impact the entire South Korean economic structure. Most people understand that in a free country, one cannot have a strong military without a strong economy,” Allen wrote in his contribution.



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