Seoul / Lee Myung-bak’s aspirations and political promise

Lee, M.B. (2006) 1% de ke neng: Han’guo Shou’er: Li Mingbo de meng xiang qi ji (CheongGyeCheon Flows to the Future). 1st Ed. Taipei: Wide View Publishing Co.

The book is a Chinese translation of the biography “CheongGyeCheon Flows to the Future” by Lee Myung-bak in 2005. It is a full record of the process of the revitalization project from it being an idea to a completed project from the perspective of Lee. Unlike other official documents, the book featured many personal feelings throughout the planning and construction process of Lee with reference to his own experience as a CEO of Hyundai Construction Company before he entered the political circle.

Scattered incidents during the whole process of the project were also captured in the book. For instance, the debate in the National Congress in June 2003 concerning the project was recorded. The result of the debate, with President Roh Moo-hyun showing positive attitude towards the project, revealed the special relationship between the Seoul Municipal Government and the National Government. “I take revitalization of Cheonggyecheon as a very important project, and the Seoul Municipal Government is also preparing with full confidence, and hence I will show my acknowledgement here and hope that everyone will try hard to cooperate …” was the answer from the President, and it has led to active response from the police department the same evening of the debate in the Congress. The aid from the police was indispensable to the compromise with businessmen and traffic control later on. This event shows that despite the seeming high autonomy enjoyed by the Seoul Municipal Government, the support from the national government is still crucial in determining large-scale projects that happen in individual cities.

It is however note-worthy that the book only represented the subjective view of the project from the greatest supporter and initiator of it. Details of events need to be verified with other sources, especially on the process of compromising with affected businessmen, to obtain an objective view of the entire process.

Note: quotes from the book is translated by author of the post since there is no English version of the book in the market yet

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