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    China Business
     Dec 10, 2005
Korean farmers plan demonstration at WTO talks

SEOUL - Around 2,000 South Korean farmers plan demonstrations in Hong Kong this month to protest the opening of the local farm market to foreign competition, government officials said December 8.

Activists from the Korean Farmers League (KFL) or Junnong, an umbrella interest group for the agriculture sector, and other interest groups will fly to Hong Kong on the occasion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting to be held there on

December 13-18. South Korean government officials have expressed concern that their demonstrations may turn violent. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry held a session with farmers to ask them to abide by rules regarding demonstrations there.

In September 2003, Lee Kyung-hae, the former head of a farmers' association, stabbed himself to death during a street demonstration in Cancun, Mexico, where a WTO conference took place. Lee had flown there with other Korean activists to protest the international body's move to remove trade barriers worldwide. "We have already inspected the site there ... we will demonstrate in a peaceful manner," an official at the KFL said.

The WTO Hong Kong meeting is widely expected to determine the future direction of the global community's efforts to adopt freer trade and investment guidelines. However, a full agreement on ways to liberalize the agricultural sector is unlikely to be reached at the Hong Kong gathering, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

(Asia Pulse/Yonhap)



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