S. Korean Cabinet Offers to Resign Over US Beef Imports

Cabinet offers resignation as 1m prepare to march
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2008 6:08 AM CDT
South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo bows to the nation with other ministers at the Government House in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 10, 2008. South Korea's entire Cabinet has offered to resign...   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The entire South Korean government has offered to resign in the face of a popular protest triggered by the lifting of import restrictions on US beef. The Korean government withdrew a ban introduced to prevent mad cow disease, setting off demonstrations expected to bring a million people onto the streets today. The original agricultural dispute has expanded into a wider movement against Lee Myung-bak, the former construction executive elected president 4 months ago.

Lee lifted the ban in April to win support from American lawmakers for a wider free-trade accord, Bloomberg reports, prompting charges that he is insensitive to public health concerns. "What started off as non-political protests against US beef have evolved into violent outbursts against Lee's overall leadership style,'' said a political analyst. "People are unhappy with his style of a corporate chief executive dealing with the beef issue as just another business project.''