The Quid Pro Quo
July 4 2001
Just a day after the South Korea has wired a king’s ransom for the payment of outstanding Mt. Diamond tour fee into the North Korean account of Macao Bank, DJ Kim’s mandarins start to ducktalk and rah-rah on the inter-Korean dialogues, implying that “ we have sent money and now it’s Chairman Kim’s turn to respond with a return visit to Seoul.”
The stage in another series of “shellgame” was set and it appears the ShowTime has an opportune moment…King George is busying himself with both hands full of Middle East and Balkan conflicts, a cold cash of $22.4 million is in Chairman’s pocket, some of the recalcitrant Media in the South are under the gun, and the liberation day of August 15 is approaching fast.
Is the halcyon day of Korea around the corner, as the Nobel Peace Prizewinner brays?
Recently DJ Kim, a knockoff crusader of agape for his northern brother, appears to have gone bananas over his last pitch to resuscitate half dead engagement policy on North Korea, pouring over $ 70 million of taxpayer’s money into the dried-up coffer of the Asan Enterprises, the money-losing tour operator of Mt. Diamond.
As the Asan Enterprises has failed to raise the fund from the bank for the outstanding tour fees ($22 million since February plus $400,000 for June) to pay the host country North Korea and faced an imminent bankruptcy from an unprofitable venture of Mt. Diamond Tour, DJ Kim unabashedly ordered the state-run Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) to bail out the Hyundai-Asan, declaring correctly that his Sunshine Policy is dead if the Tour programs belly up.
Now South Koreans become another cash cows for Chairman Kim to pull the cart of Mt Diamond Tour, thanks to their Nobel Laureate.
In the first place, the KNTO is not a profit-seeking enterprise but the public corporation to promote the Korean tourism overseas, in which organization is not equipped with the infrastructure to run the million-dollar tour business but is filled with lazy bureaucrats and cashiered politicians who parasitize on the public trough.
The Hyundai-Asan only paired with the KNTO as a cosigner, because creditors refused to take their Hotels and other properties as collateral for the loans fearing that the Tour program is surely going down the tube sooner or later, that is, the company has lost over 500 billion won since its operation in late 1998 and the number of tourists have declined steadily leading to cancel the half of scheduled trip.
Therefore, the taxpayers suffer a double jeopardy, first as the loan security and then later debtor.
The shellgame debuts on the stage with a new land-based tour replacing cruise ships that connects two Koreas through 13.7km land route to Mt. Diamond region in six months and expands to other tourist areas like Mt. Snowcap (Paikdu) and Kaesong District.
As every business venture depends heavily on the number of potential customers for its success, the Tour started to lose its patina of a lost land image land when its amorphous group of tourists dwindles down to the non-viable level.
In highlighting a rosy forecast on the overland tour, the KNTO and Asan enterprises project a far-fetched, outlandish, and reckless scenario, in that they target various levels of South Korean students as half million of them each year take an excursion trip to the North yielding profit of 7 billion won a year.
It is a daylight piggybank heist!
Imagine your kids dip into their cookie jar, aboard on the bus, travel through highly fortified DMZ and barbed-wire fences along the route where heavily armed soldiers patrol with bayonet on their AK 47 and M-16 rifles, and finally arrive and corral into the designated area like a bunch of frightened and adolescent POWs.
Picture them on the bus peeking out the window searching for their brothers and sisters in the North and none of them appears to call Banzai.
Draw the scene of accident that the bus rolls over, kids require an emergency room cares, and no medicine, ambulance and paramedics are available.
Search the maze of fortified routes for the lost students who wandered out from their pen for nowhere.
It would be a nightmare that all parents lose their sleep until their kids get back home safe.
During the financial crisis in 1997, South Koreans lined up to give up their gold for saving Chaebols and now their kids are forced to give out their piggybanks in order to save the necks of Chaebols, DJ Kim and Chairman Kim.
Thousands of workers have lost their jobs and hundreds of companies went belly up due to the restructuring policy of the comprador-ruler DJ Kim, who has serenaded that workers share a bone-carving pain and businesses stand on the principle of free market.
When it comes to the Mt. Diamond Tour that he thinks is pivotal to his lust for legacy, nothing stands in between that is bound to kill the project and anything is legitimate and honorable that is helping his endeavor, which makes him corrupt and venal, attempting to buy out Chairman Kim, as he made a Machiavellian alliance with a political hack JP Kim in his presidential bid three years ago and later betrayed JP into the howling pack of the civic alliances.
In ferreting out Chairman Kim to Seoul or even a plain chitchat with the North, DJ Kim increasingly relies on the buyout plan, that is, he appears to believe that money can buy Chairman’s soul as if peace could be bought in the money market deal, as Serbs sold their former leader Slobodan Milosevic for $1.3 billion to the NATO and in Macedonia the General Secretary of the NATO offered a financial aid for cease fire in the region.
For Chairman Kim, a king’s ransom he has received is an overdue fee that Hyundai-Asan failed to pay to him and he owes nothing to DJ Kim who provided money with South Korean blood.
In addition, Chairman Kim does not have to hurry up his return visit this year when he knows that his counterpart goes berserk and pays him more next year as DJ’s tenure of power nears the end.
When you find the hypertrophy of money in any deal of the peace process, an empty rhetoric of peace flourishes, talks drag on, and you tend to shake the money tree more and more until the last minutes the tree is uprooted, as human desire has no boiling point.