NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Seoul on the bailout package the South Korean government has requested from the International Monetary Fund. That package would deliver more than 20 billion dollars to the financially troubled country. She also talks about the situation in South Korea that led to the request. Huge conglomerates helped transform South Korea from a war-ravaged nation to the world's eleventh largest economy, but overborrowing and overexpansion led to insolvency. Now, South Korea's banks are straining under the weight of the bad loans—and Japanese banks, which are huge investors in South Korea, are watching anxiously as well. South Korea is the third of the so-called 'Asian tigers' to ask for IMF assistance in the last few months. Thailand and Indonesia are the other two.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.