Letter: North Korea bullies Seoul voters

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The Independent Online
Sir: Given the recent events in the Korean peninsula, one must start to worry about the way Far Eastern Communist countries perceive the course of democratic voting. Can they really believe that their military threats are going to produce a situation which benefits them?

Both China's live ammunition tests and North Korea's grumblings over the settlement of 1953 have been timed to coincide with the legislative or presidential elections of their antagonists. Also, it is obvious that the reason for these threats was to attempt to influence the voting patterns. In Taiwan, Chinese manoeuvres produced a justified resentment, which led to the rejection of the candidate China wished to see. In South Korea too, it seems likely that the New Korea Party of Kim Young Sam has returned from the electoral abyss thanks to the North's trying to push him further down.

In neither of these places do the Communist authorities wish to see war, and it would be unwise of them to flout Western opinion and money. North Korea not so long ago was appealing for massive food aid to prevent starvation, from Japan, from America, and from her prospective enemy, South Korea.

Let us hope that Communist planners will recognise the failure of any policy to intimidate politically aware free voters.

Donald Stark

London SW1