|Lee Myung Bak|
Lee Myung-bak at an interview in 2005 at the Cheonggyechon stream restoration site
|Assumed office |
25 February 2008
|Prime Minister||Han Duck-soo|
|Preceded by||Roh Moo-hyun|
|Succeeded by||undecided, not yet|
|Born||19 December 1941 |
Hirano, Osaka, Japan
Lee Myung-bak (pronounced [i.mʲʌŋ.bak̚]) (born December 19, 1941) is the tenth and current President of South Korea (He is the currently serving the seventeenth presidential term since the establishment of the role). The President of the Republic of Korea is according to the Constitution head of state chief executive of the government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces Events 138 - The Emperor Hadrian adopts Antoninus Pius, effectively making him his successor 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common Han Duck-soo or Han Deok-Su (한덕수 (born 1949 was the Prime Minister of South Korea from 2007 until February 2008 Dr Han Seung-soo (born December 28, 1936 in Gangwon-do) is a Korean Politician and Diplomat. Roh Moo-hyun (nomuʝʌn (born in August 6, 1946 in Kimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea is a former President of South Korea Events 324 - Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor. Year 1941 ( MCMXLI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (the link will display 1941 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Hirano (平野区 -ku) is one of 24 wards which make up the city of Osaka, and is located in the southeast of the city is a city in Japan, located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshū For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. The Grand National Party is a conservative-leaning political party in South Korea. Presbyterianism is a family of Christian denominations within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. More specifically it refers to those Chinese characters borrowed from Chinese and incorporated The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language Romanization system in South Korea. McCune-Reischauer romanization is one of the two most widely used Korean language Romanization systems along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which Events 324 - Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor. Year 1941 ( MCMXLI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (the link will display 1941 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The President of the Republic of Korea is according to the Constitution head of state chief executive of the government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces He previously served as the thirty-second mayor of Seoul and is a current member of the Grand National Party. Seoul ( soʊl is the Capital and largest City of South Korea. The Grand National Party is a conservative-leaning political party in South Korea.
Lee was born in the then-Korean residential district of Hirano-ku, Osaka, Japan although he claims in his autobiography that he was born in Pohang, Korea. Hirano (平野区 -ku) is one of 24 wards which make up the city of Osaka, and is located in the southeast of the city is a city in Japan, located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, in the Kansai region of the main island of Honshū For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Pohang is a city in North Gyeongsang Province South Korea. The built-up area of Pohang is located on the alluvium of the mouth of the Hyeongsan River Lee's Japanese name is 月山明博 Tsukiyama Akihiro by birth certificate.  At the time his father, Cheung-u Lee (이층우), worked as a farm hand on a cattle ranch in Japan. His mother, Taewon Chae (채태원) was a housewife and a devout Christian. Lee has three brothers and three sisters. He is the fifth of seven children. After the end of World War II in 1945, his family returned to Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Pohang is a city in North Gyeongsang Province South Korea. The built-up area of Pohang is located on the alluvium of the mouth of the Hyeongsan River Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang is a province in eastern South Korea. South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea and often referred to as Korea ( Korean: 대한민국 tɛː  
At Pohang, Lee attended Dongji Commercial High School. Pohang is a city in North Gyeongsang Province South Korea. The built-up area of Pohang is located on the alluvium of the mouth of the Hyeongsan River A year after graduating from high school, Lee gained admission to Korea University. Korea University is a major Private university located in Seoul, South Korea with a secondary campus in Jochiwon and is regarded as one of the top During his third year in college in 1964, Lee ran for the chairman of student council and was elected. In his autobiography "There Is No Myth," Lee recollects working odd jobs to put himself through college. That year, Lee participated in student demonstrations against President Park Chung-hee's Seoul-Tokyo Talks. Park Chung-hee ( November 14, 1917 – October 26, 1979) was a former ROK Army general and the autocratic dictator of the Republic He was charged with plotting insurrection and was sentenced for five years' probation and three years' imprisonment by the Supreme Court of Korea. He served a little under three months of his term at the Seodaemun prison (서대문형무소)in Seoul. 
Lee is married to Kim Yun-ok (b. 1947) and has three daughters and one son. Lee is also a declared Christian and an elder at Somang Presbyterian Church in Seoul. A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic Religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth An Elder in the Methodist Church -- sometimes called a Presbyter or Minister -- is someone who has been Ordained by a Bishop to the Presbyterianism is a family of Christian denominations within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity Seoul ( soʊl is the Capital and largest City of South Korea.
It was during his three decades with the Hyundai Group that Lee earned the nickname "Bulldozer" for his drive to push through challenges. Hyundai Group is a South Korean conglomerate company ( Chaebol) founded by Chung Ju-yung. In one instance, he completely took apart a bulldozer to study its mechanism and figure out why it kept breaking down. ----A bulldozer is a crawler ( Caterpillar tracked Tractor) equipped with a substantial metal plate (known as a blade) used to push large quantities When he started at Hyundai in 1965, it had 90 employees; when he left as chairman after 27 years, it had more than 160,000. 
Lee's wealth was made during the real estate boom that occurred in South Korea during the 1970s through the 1990s. Through a series of real estate speculations Lee amassed over US$40 million. Though there are lots of regulations and laws to prevent the price of Real estate (especially apartments in Gangnam district) to rise housing cost is a major issue in South In Dec 2007, a few days before the Presidential election, Lee announced that he would donate all of his assets to society. 
He played a role in bringing about normalization of South Korea's relations with the USSR. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Further, Lee also built relationships with foreign leaders, including former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen , former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamed, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH ( born September 16 1923 also spelled Lee Kwan-Yew) is a Singaporean of Chinese immigrant background Hun Sen (ហ៊ុន សែន (born April 4 1951 or August 5 1952) is the Prime Minister of Cambodia. Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad (ma'ħɑðiɽ bin mʊħɑmmæd̚ (recorded as born on 20 December 1925 was the fourth Prime Minister of Jiang Zemin ( born 17 August 1926 was the "core of the third generation " of Communist Party of China leaders serving as General Secretary of A soviet (сове́т, "council" originally was a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev ( Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov;; born 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye Stavropol Krai) is a Russian politician
After leaving Hyundai, at the end of a 27 year career, he decided to enter politics. Politics Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions
In 1992 Lee made a transition from business to politics. Lee was elected as a member of the 14th Korean National assembly. During his campaign he stated he ran because "After watching Mikhail Gorbachev change the world climate I wanted to see if there was anything I could do. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev ( Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov;; born 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye Stavropol Krai) is a Russian politician " 
The rapid development that remade the nation and lifted millions out of poverty in the 1960s and 1970s had a lasting effect on South Korea. Seoul, while having been transformed from a semi-feudal city to one with modern infrastructure, had also seen its urbanism suffer in the process. Lee said he tried to achieve a balance between function and the environment. 
He told the city's people that he would remove the elevated highway that ran through the heart of Seoul and restore the buried Cheonggyecheon stream — an urban waterway that Lee himself had helped pave over in the 1960s. Cheonggyecheon ( Hangul: 청계천 is a nearly 6km long modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea. His opponents insisted that the plan would cause traffic chaos and cost billions. Three years later, Cheonggyecheon was reborn changing the face of Seoul. Lee also revamped the city's transportation system, adding clean rapid-transit buses.
On May 10, 2007, Lee officially declared his intention to run for the Grand National Party as its presidential candidate. The 17th South Korean presidential election took place on December 19, 2007. Events 1291 - Scottish Nobles recognize the authority of Edward I of England. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. The Grand National Party is a conservative-leaning political party in South Korea. On August 20, 2007, he defeated Park Geun-hye in the GNP's primary to become its nominee for the 2007 Presidential election. Events 636 - Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of Syria and Palestine Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Park Geun-hye (born February 2, 1952) is a South Korean politician The 17th South Korean presidential election took place on December 19, 2007. During the primary, Lee was accused of profiting from illegal speculation on land owned in Dogok, an expensive district in Seoul. 
His stated goals were expressed in the "747 plan" and included: 7% annual growth in GDP, $40,000 USD per capita, and making Korea the world's seventh largest economy. PLEASE NO RANDOM FIGURES THERE ARE NO FIGURES BASED ON NATIONAL STATISTICS IN THIS ARTICLE An important part of his platform was the Pan Korea Grand Waterway (한반도 대운하) project from Busan to Seoul, which he believes will lead to an economic revival. The Grand Korean Waterway, officially known as the Pan Korea Grand Waterway ( 韓半島大運河 is a proposed 540-kilometer (336 mile long Canal connecting Seoul His rivals criticize that the project is unrealistic and too costly to be realized. Others are concerned of possible ill effects that such projects would have on the environment.
Signaling a departure from his previous views on North Korea, Lee announced a plan to "engage" North Korea through investment. Lee promised to form a consultative body with the North to discuss furthering economic ties. The body would have subcommittees on the economy, education, finance, infrastructure and welfare, and a cooperation fund of $40 billion. He promised to seek a Korean Economic Community agreement to establish the legal and systemic framework for any projects emerging from the negotiations. Korean reunification is a possible future Reunification of North Korea and South Korea under a single government Lee also called for forming an aid office in North Korea as a way of decoupling humanitarian aid from nuclear talks. 
His foreign policy initiative was called MB Doctrine, which advocates "engaging" North Korea and strengthening the US-Korean alliance. MB Doctrine is the Foreign policy doctrine of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak.
Lee's political ambitions started in 1990s. After he became a second-term lawmaker in 1996 in Seoul, it was disclosed that he had spent excessively in his election campaign. He resigned in 1998 after being fined 7 million won for breaking the Election Law. 
In 1999 Lee set up several companies for electronic financial services. During this time, he met Kim Kyung-joon. Lee established the LKE Bank with Kim Kyung-joon but this enterprise went bankrupt less than a year later and 5,500 investors lost substantial amounts of money.
In 2002, Lee ran for mayor of Seoul and won the election. Seoul ( soʊl is the Capital and largest City of South Korea. However, he was fined for beginning election activities too early. Lee escaped the two-year prison sentence sought by prosecutors. During his tenure as mayor, he was noted for the restoration of the Cheonggyecheon, a popular stream in Seoul. Cheonggyecheon ( Hangul: 청계천 is a nearly 6km long modern public recreation space in downtown Seoul, South Korea.
During the 2007 Election, questions about his relationship with a company called BBK were raised. The 17th South Korean presidential election took place on December 19, 2007. Supposed BBK founder Kim Kyung-joon is being investigated for large-scale embezzlement and stock price-fixing schemes. Kim Kyung-joon had initially stated that Lee was not involved with the company, and Lee himself denied being associated with BBK, claiming that he had never held even a single share in it. However, Kim later suggested that Lee had in fact directed BBK activities.
Kim Hong-il of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office cleared Lee of any wrongdoing, but three days before the election a video of a speech Lee gave to students at Kwangwoon University in October 2000 surfaced, in which Lee "bragged" that he had founded BBK. Kwangwoon University is a university located in Seoul, South Korea.  Two days before the election, the National Assembly appointed a special prosecutor to investigate. The National Assembly of South Korea is a 299-member Unicameral Legislature. 
Special Investigator Chung Ho-young declared Lee innocent of accusations related to fraud and the BBK. Critics suggested that investigators may have felt too intimidated to delve too deeply into the case, as they interviewed Lee in a restaurant in Seoul that was once a geisha house. or are traditional female Japanese Entertainers whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music and dance 
Lee won the presidential election in December 2007 with 48. George Walker Bush ( born July 6 1946 is the forty-third and current President of the United States. The Naval Support Facility Thurmont, popularly known as Camp David, is the rustic 125-acre (0 The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Events 1025 - Bolesław Chrobry is crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland. 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common 7% of the vote.  He took the oath of office February 25, 2008, vowing to revitalize the economy, strengthen relations with the United States and "deal with" North Korea. Events 138 - The Emperor Hadrian adopts Antoninus Pius, effectively making him his successor 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common The United States of America —commonly referred to as the North Korea is the commonly used short form name for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (or DPRK) a State located in East Asia,  Specifically, Lee declared that he would pursue a campaign of “global diplomacy” and seek further cooperative exchanges with regional neighbors Japan, China, and Russia. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending Furthermore, he pledged to strengthen South Korea-United States relations and also implement a tougher policy with regards to North Korea, ideas that are promoted as the MB Doctrine. North Korea is the commonly used short form name for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (or DPRK) a State located in East Asia, MB Doctrine is the Foreign policy doctrine of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak. Lee stated that he wanted to restore better relations with the United States through a greater emphasis on free market solutions. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the A free market is a Market in which property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers  
In mid-April 2008, Lee traveled to the United States for his first official overseas visit to meet with US President George W. Bush at the White House and Camp David. George Walker Bush ( born July 6 1946 is the forty-third and current President of the United States. See also Executive Office of the President of the United States The White House, formerly known as the Executive Mansion, is the Official residence The Naval Support Facility Thurmont, popularly known as Camp David, is the rustic 125-acre (0 Lee’s more aggressive approach towards North Korea was described as a welcome change for Bush, who was often at odds with Roh Moo-hyun. Roh Moo-hyun (nomuʝʌn (born in August 6, 1946 in Kimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea is a former President of South Korea During a press conference, the two leaders expressed hope that North Korea would disclose the details of their nuclear weapons program, and pledged their commitment to resolve the issue through the multilateral Six-party talks. The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.  Lee also gave assurances that both the U. S. and South Korea would use dialogue to end the crisis.
Bush and Lee also discussed the ratification of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement or KORUS FTA, which faces opposition from legislators in both countries. The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (also known as KORUS FTA) is a trade agreement between the United States and the Republic of Korea. While it was expected that Lee’s agreement during the summit to partially lift the ban on U. S. beef imports would remove the obstacles in approving the KORUS FTA in the U. S. ,  Koreans now express extreme hostility towards allowing U. S. beef imports to resume. 
Two months after his inauguration, Lee's approval ratings stood at 28%, and by June 2008 they had reached 17%.  Concerns over a possible threat to public health from US beef imports in South Korea in relation to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement caused popular opposition to the Lee administration to grow. US beef imports in South Korea have been a contentious issue in South Korea-United States relations as the US government has sought to re-open the market to the product and The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (also known as KORUS FTA) is a trade agreement between the United States and the Republic of Korea. The government's original agreement with the U. S. had limited beef imports to meat produced from cattle under three years of age because younger cattle are thought to be at lower risk of contracting mad cow disease (BSE). Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy ( BSE) commonly known as Mad-Cow Disease ( MCD) is a fatal Neurodegenerative disease in Cattle This limitation was similar to the agreement between Japan and the U. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. S. ; shortly after Lee's visit to the U. S. , the agreement was altered to remove limitations on cattle age. Many Koreans considered this a betrayal, and there was talk of attempting to impeach Lee. Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to forcibly remove a Government official Lee later said that a deal had been reached that may allow Korea to ban U. S. beef if it is found to pose a threat to public health. Under the deal, in the event of a recognized outbreak of BSE, the U. S. government will conduct an investigation and inform Korea of the results. Korea can suspend imports, according to the agreement, "if the additional case(s) results in the World Organization for Animal Health recognizing an adverse change in the classification of the U. S. BSE status. " The United States is currently recognized as a BSE-controlled country. 
A longtime opponent of the Sunshine Policy carried out by his predecessors Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, Lee shifted towards a more aggressive policy on North Korea, promising to provide massive economic assistance but only after North Korea abandoned its suspected nuclear weapons programs. The Sunshine Policy was the South Korean doctrine towards North Korea until Lee Myung-bak 's election to presidency in 2008 Kim Dae-jung (Born December 3, 1925, kim tɛdʑuŋ is a former South Korean president and the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Roh Moo-hyun (nomuʝʌn (born in August 6, 1946 in Kimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea is a former President of South Korea The North Korean government viewed this as confrontational and responded by calling Lee a “traitor” and an “anti-North confrontation advocator”. The North Korean response included the expulsion of South Korean officials from an inter-Korean industrial complex, the launching of naval missiles into the sea, and the deployment of MIGs and army units provocatively close to the DMZ. Domestically, Lee's critics claim his strategy will only serve to antagonize the Kim Jong-il regime and undermine progress towards friendly North Korea-South Korea relations
Lee's promise to build the Grand Korean Waterway has stalled due to low public opinion. Kim Jong-il (also written as Kim Jong Il) (born 16 February 1941 Vyatskoye, Soviet Union; official biographies state 16 February 1942 Baekdu North Korea–South Korea relations are the political diplomatic and military interactions between North Korea and South Korea, from the division of Korea The Grand Korean Waterway, officially known as the Pan Korea Grand Waterway ( 韓半島大運河 is a proposed 540-kilometer (336 mile long Canal connecting Seoul 
Some feel that Lee's religious beliefs present a threat to Buddhism in Korea. Buddhism is a family of beliefs and practices When Lee was mayor of Seoul, he declared the city "a holy place governed by God" and the citizens of Seoul "God's people. " He went on the dedicate the city "to the Lord. " In 2006, Lee also sent a video prayer message to a Christian rally where the worship leader called on God to "let the Buddhist temples in this country crumble down!" Lee reportedly received 80% of Korea's Christian votes. 
Hong Jong-ho, an economist at Hanyang University, has claimed that the Grand Korean Waterway would create an “environmental disaster” that would worsen flooding and pollute the two rivers that supply drinking water for two-thirds of the country's population. The Grand Korean Waterway, officially known as the Pan Korea Grand Waterway ( 韓半島大運河 is a proposed 540-kilometer (336 mile long Canal connecting Seoul The Grand Korean Waterway, officially known as the Pan Korea Grand Waterway ( 韓半島大運河 is a proposed 540-kilometer (336 mile long Canal connecting Seoul He also said the waterway would be the most expensive construction project in South Korean history, costing as much as $50 billion. Buddhist groups have voiced fears that it would submerge nearby Buddhist relics, which would cause irreparable damage to a significant portion of Korea's cultural legacy. 
Lee is widely considered pro-U. S.  Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute, a think tank that often advises the government, argues that inter-Korean relations have been rapidly deteriorating, mainly because the Lee Myung-bak government persisted on differentiating its North Korean policies from those of the former Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun governments, ignoring the agreements previously made by the North-South summit and pursued a hardline policy. A think tank (also called a policy institute) is an organization institute corporation or group that conducts Research and engages in advocacy in areas such 
Lee Myung-bak has faced strong criticism over his choice of political appointees – many of whom are wealthy. The concern is that Lee’s appointees will favor policies that protect the rich while failing to address the needs of the underprivileged. Another criticism is that these appointees have been mostly chosen from the nation's southeast region (Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do), which is known as a GNP stronghold. Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang is a province in eastern South Korea. Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang is a province in the southeast of South Korea.  Lee has also had to face corruption charges leveled at his administration. Political corruption is the use of governmental powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain Three appointees have already resigned amid suspicions of corruption. And Lee’s top intelligence chief and anticorruption aide face accusations that they received bribes from The Samsung Group. The Samsung Group ( Korean:, Samsung Guerup) is South Korea 's largest company or Chaebol and the world's largest conglomerate Both Samsung and Lee denied the charges. 
Lee has proposed a number of changes to the country's education system, reportedly with the aim of making education more appealing to the upper class.  Teachers have been highly critical of these changes, arguing that Lee wants to turn education in the country into a "free market" while ignoring the underfunding of education in regions outside the Seoul area. Prior to assuming the presidency, Lee’s transition team announced it would implement a nationwide English-immersion program in order to provide students with the language tools necessary to be successful in a highly globalized world. Under this program, all classes would have been taught in English by 2010. However, Lee abandoned the program after facing strong opposition from parents, teachers, and education specialists. Currently he is trying to implement a program where all English courses in middle and secondary schools will be taught in English only. This will require the government to not only educate vast number of teachers in Korea but will also require the government to recruit university students studying abroad in English-speaking countries.
Under the Lee Myung-bak administration, police are reportedly moving to restrict assemblies and demonstrations "depending on their purposes" as well as imposing fines on people who refuse "on-the-street demands" to present identification.  Lee has been called "authoritarian," "pro-big business and anti-labor. " Lee vowed in 2007 to "get rid of" political and "hard-line" unions. 
Lee received calls for resignation after detractors claimed he kowtowed to the US government over the importation of US beef, which had been tainted by mad cow disease in previous years. US beef imports in South Korea have been a contentious issue in South Korea-United States relations as the US government has sought to re-open the market to the product and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy ( BSE) commonly known as Mad-Cow Disease ( MCD) is a fatal Neurodegenerative disease in Cattle
|President of South Korea|
2008 – present
|Mayor of Seoul|
2002 – 2006
|Presidents of South Korea|
|Provisional Government: Rhee Syng-man | Park Eunsik | Yi Sang-ryong | Hong Jin | Yi Dong-nyung | Kim Gu|
Republic: Rhee Syng-man | Yun Bo-seon | Park Chung-hee | Choi Kyu-hah | Chun Doo-hwan | Roh Tae-woo | Kim Young-sam | Kim Dae-jung | Roh Moo-hyun | Lee Myung-bak