A march of 30,000 people confronted George Bush when he went to South Korea to attend the Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Community (APEC).
APEC aims to give support to the upcoming WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong and to push forward free trade and privatisation, and strengthen Bush’s war on terror.
But he had to go back empty handed — as he did earlier this month at the Summit of Americas.
In the same week South Korea’s cabinet backed a proposal to withdraw one third of the country’s 3,200 troops from Iraq.
The Washington Post complained, “As Bush wrapped up his stay in Beijing on Sunday and prepared to head home Monday after a brief stop in Mongolia, the trip has produced no real breakthroughs of any sort.
“On a wide variety of issues, from trade to security to human rights, Bush won no concrete agreements from any of his summit partners. Bush wanted to propel free trade during an economic summit in South Korea, but the general statement drafted by Pacific Rim leaders drops no tariffs and merely sets the stage for further talks.”
On Friday last week, the first day of the summit, 30,000 people from all walks of life came out on the streets of Busan to protest, chanting “No Bush, No APEC!”
The demonstration was the biggest protest this year in South Korea.
As a member of the Korean socialist group All Together said “it was a unity of diversity”.
This reflects the rising level of radicalisation and confidence of the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements in South Korea.That anger is fuelled by the growing inequality in Korean society.
Recently the movement has been inspired by the anti-war demonstrations in the US and anti-Bush demonstrations in Argentina.
Across the country people know that Bush is the biggest threat to humanity and the planet.
APEC is clearly only a mechanism to force through neo-liberal globalisation in the Asia Pacific region.
Building upon the success of the anti-Bush demonstration, the South Korean anti-war and anti?capitalist movements are working to bring all Korean troops home from Iraq.