Awaiting a Change of Korea

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SEOUL: Investors continued to flee the South Korean ship Monday, which hardly bodes well for the country's new captain, president-elect Kim Dae Jung. But Kim, who likened his nation to "a man heaving his last breath" while meeting with visiting U.S. Treasury official David Lipton, is not letting the financial crisis scuttle his hopes for a kinder, gentler and unified Korea.

Over the weekend, Kim engineered an amnesty for two imprisoned former dictators, Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo, who had both previously ordered Kim's execution. And Kim still has hopes for South Korea's reunification with the North, though it's still unclear whether those across the DMZ in Pyongyang share his desire. Long before that can happen, however, the South Korean economy must submit itself to the IMF knife. Financial players still doubt Kim has the discipline to go with his dreams.