JOHN MENADUE. The international press at Panmunjom for the KIm-Moon Summit were much more impressed than the Australian press.

I was  struck by the response, amazement and obvious excitement  of the international press at Panmunjom, near Seoul last Friday.  See link. 

But the media interest in Australia seemed remarkably low key and almost disinterested.  At least our media was not as sulky and cynical as the Japanese media,

This summit meeting was surely the most gripping and important that we have had in our region for many years, and possibly decades.  I found it particularly moving to see Kim Jung-un and Moon Jae-in receiving each other so cordially and skipping like school boys across the dividing line between North and South Korea and back again.

But the Australian media does not seem to have grasped the importance and the promise of the occasion.  We have had years of media coverage in Australia of the confrontation between North and South Korea, missile firings that would threaten Australia and the US, and nuclear tests.  But when we saw glimpses of possible peace breaking out on the Korean peninsula our media has not shown much interest.

Is it because bad news is always more interesting than good news?

Or is it that with our media  still joined to Washington, New York and London media as with an umbilical cord  we refuse to grow up ?  In our dependant state  it is  not surprising that our media and Australians generally have little interest or even knowledge about important developments in our region.

There is a long way to go in achieving peace and prosperity in and around the Korean peninsula, but the meeting last Friday was surely quite remarkable. Our media did not think so.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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4 Responses to JOHN MENADUE. The international press at Panmunjom for the KIm-Moon Summit were much more impressed than the Australian press.

  1. Avatar paul frijters says:

    I agree it looks like welcome news, but like most kibitzers, I find myself with little real insight as to the inner workings of either North of South Korea, and hence with little understanding whether I am seeing the prelude of a period of greater peace and stability or some kind of ruse.

    My edginess sprouts from the belief that for the North Korean regime, its own survival and continued standing is paramount, and it is hard to see that survival guaranteed if the two countries were to join as one or if N Korea were to become a much more open society. With a major opening of the country and a S Korean population that remembers all the things they didnt like about the NK regime, sooner or later the current elite in N Korea is in trouble.

    So the suspicion is that the end scenario for the N Korean regime must be some form of indefinitely continued status quo wherein there is no real change to how N Korea is run or is exposed to continued information from outside. That suspicion makes it hard to see the current overtures as anything different than a pantomime. A ruse. We will see though.

  2. Avatar ANDREW FARRAN says:

    Perhaps the explanation is not all that hard to find. The media are captives to the same military/security complex we are all captive to. If peace were to break out on the Korean peninsular they will be deprived of one of the ‘great games’ that have sustained them for half a century or so. Has parellels with the great game that has still runs runs in Afghanistan!
    But not to worry, while Donald may be able to chalk up a famous diplomatic victory in Korea – which of course is yet to be realised – he may also keep things going happily by bringing Iran and Israel into an even bigger conflict in that region, with well marshalled proxies. This is the main game. Not Korea, a mere distraction (and easily soluble).
    The end of civilisation was a too early call. We have seen nothing yet I fear. What has Pompeo been up to running around the main players on that side? Where is the analysis about that?

  3. Avatar Jim KABLE says:

    I’ve been shocked by the various Australian spokespeople including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop – and the ABC news reports: the announcement of Australian surveillance of NKorea, the disparagement of the NKorean government’s recent moves towards rapprochement – (being met and desired equally by SKorea one must say) and the attribution of the positives of these tentative moves to unstable Trump as if believable – not a hint of ironic chuckle in that seriousness at all. We here in Australia are clearly following some Trump/US script – and the moment I am waiting for now is heavy-handed US leaning on SKorea to derail the entire possibility! I once lived just across the water from the Korean Peninsula in western Japan – the continual threats and bluffs from the US – their secret agreement arm-twisted upon the Japanese government and people – making every civilian airport in Japan a US airbase in time of conflict with NKorea – not a good thing for the mental health of most Japanese as one might imagine! The ramifications of unification of the two Koreas would have such positives not just for the Korean people but for Japan and China, too. Of course it would not work out so well for a bullying self-interested war-mongering US and its WMD sales program. Nor of its largely unwelcome military bases scattered around Japan and SKorea. But it might suggest to our own warmongerers to cease their US brown-nosing Deputy Dawg role and rejoice with the Korean people!

  4. Avatar Andrew Glikson says:

    Inherently the mainstream media feeds on news related to criminal activities, whether individual homicide or international terror and wars, siding mostly with those the “powers to be” consider to be “good” and against those they consider as enemies. By contrast, peace efforts, a bit like “motherhood”, are of little interest or are even suspect. It does not look as if the mainstream media is a force for peace in the world.

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