Troubled Times Ahead for Roh: The New Who's Hot Column Aims to Identify the Leading Asian Personalities to Watch during 2003. in This First Column, We Examine South Korea's New President Roh Moo Hyun. (Who's Hot)

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Roh Moo Hyun, South Korea's new president, looks to be just as open to business as his predecessor. But his attentions may be diverted away from economics for the time being. Upon being sworn in as South Korea's 16th president on February 25, Roh was immediately faced with the escalating nuclear weapons issue in neighbouring North Korea.

While Roh, 56, is in agreement with the US in wanting an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, he is also keen to forge stronger ties with the regime in Pyongyang under what he has labelled a "peace and prosperity" policy.

Roh's predecessor Kim Dae Jung won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his so-called "sunshine" policy of rapprochement with the North.

When it comes to business, Roh has vowed to make it easier for foreign investors to operate in South Korea. "It is my belief that companies that operate here with foreign capital investment are not foreign companies but Korean companies in that they provide jobs, create economic value and pay Korean taxes," Roh told American and European businessmen in January.

Roh will also challenge the chaebol, the Korean conglomerates that have dominated Korean economic life and dictated much of its politics as well. …