South Korea is seeking to ease some domestic irritation, with a move that could complicate American-Korean trade relations. Seoul is amending its promise to resume US beef imports by imposing new trade conditions aimed at placating political critics of the South Korean president.
In what he described as a “humble acceptance of the people’s will，' South Korean Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun announced a new set of limitations on plans to import US beef.
He says South Korea has requested the American government stop exporting cattle aged 30 months or older, about which South Korean consumers have expressed the most anxiety. He says his ministry will postpone scheduled quarantine inspections of American beef until the United States responds to the request.
The move is a reaction to street protests which began weeks ago, opposing American beef imports.The demonstrations have evolved into much broader, grassroots criticism of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak，s leadership style.
Two months after his February inauguration,Mr. Lee arranged a deal to fully resume imports of virtually all cuts of US beef. The imports were banned in 2003，after an American animal was found to have the fatal brain condition known as “mad cow disease，' It is theoretically possible for humans to contract a version of the disease by eating tainted meat.
李明博在2月份宣誓就职。两个月后,他达成了全面恢复进口 美国牛肉的协议,批准几乎所有部位的美国牛肉都可以进口韩国。 2003年,在美国发现一头牛患上了致命的“疯牛病“后,韩国曾禁止进口美国牛肉。从理论上讲,人类食用感染上疯牛病的牛肉有可能感染类似的致命的脑部疾病。
Mr. Lee’s import resumption deal, clinched during an April summit with President Bush, fulfilled a promise made more than a year earlier by Mr. Lee’s predecessor. It also followed a ruling by a United Nations organization, backing Washington’s assertion that US beef is safe.
Nonetheless, many South Koreans saw President Lee's decision to resume the imports as too sudden, too wide-ranging~and too dismissive of public sentiment.
Protests that began as quiet candlelight vigils, last month, have gradually grown louder and more violent. Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered almost nightly in downtown Seoul, blocking major traffic arteries and leading to hundreds of arrests.
Their insistence on that danger has been fueled by numerous factors: sympathy with struggling South Korean cattle farmers; anger at South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; an undercurrent of anti-American nationalism; and a tornado of Internet rumors about US beef, ranging from the humorous to the hysterical.
这些人坚持这种看法出于几个因素:一是同情韩国那些苦苦挣扎的肉牛养殖户，二是表达对 韩国总统李明博的不满，三是反美民族主义情绪,另外就是网上有关美国牛肉的各种谣言,有幽默 的也有非常不着边的。
The one thing that has failed to back these very vocal protests in any significant way is hard science. One US animal was found to have mad cow disease, in 2003.
However, out of hundreds of millions of consumers, there has never been a single known case of mad cow-style brain infection resulting from eating American beef.
It was this absence of scientifically proven risk Ambassador Vershbow was referencing in his comments on June 3, made after his meeting with South Korea's Foreign Minister.
American officials have repeatedly refused to re-negotiate US beef imports and are unlikely to agree to Seoul’s new beef import conditions. Analysts warn the escalating beef dispute could endanger ratification of the major trade deal the two countries, signed last year.
美国官员反复拒绝就进口美国牛肉重新谈判,并且不大可能同意韩国为牛肉进口新制定的卫 生条件。分析人士瞀告说,不断升级的牛肉争端有可能危及美韩两国去年签署的一项主要贸易协 议的达成。