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Diplomats¡¯ mindset denounced

Posted November. 19, 2000 20:19,   


Ex-Unification Minister Han Wan-Sang made a critical plea for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take the lead in eliminating the Cold War mentality and bureaucracy to bring the Korean peninsula out of the legacy of the Cold War.

In an address to the members of the foreign service at the conference hall of the central government building in downtown Seoul Sunday, Han called on participants to eradicate deep-rooted Cold War-oriented consciousness. The lecture was intended to educate Foreign Ministry officials in the unification policy of the present administration. It would present problems if some diplomats, who must have a keen sense of history and a pioneer spirit, entertain a hard-line Cold War mentality, he said. He contended that failure of the foreign service, among all government departments, to keep pace with the engagement policy of President Kim Dae-Jung is a serious issue.

"In Korea, the clock of the Cold War is still ticking while the hands of the world clock run abreast of the information age of the 21st century," Han observed. ¡°The Foreign Ministry should take the lead in converting the cost of the Cold War into the prosperity of the Korean people in the new millennium, thus brightening the future of the country."

He branded as Cold War logic theories on the unchanged nature of North Korea's strategies, the need for a slower pace of rapprochement, the prematurity of detente here and wasteful assistance to North Korea, pointing out the inability of government officials to counter these arguments from a broad viewpoint in a rational and purposeful way. Han declared that he is tempted to doubt the existence of the government since the President is doing all of the work supposed to be done by the minister, vice minister and bureau chiefs.

Recalling his personal experience in government service, the former unification minister said the mindset of bureaucrats is contrary to change and that bureaucrats are more concerned about their personal careers than the country and the people. He urged foreign service members, who form the elite of the government services, to bend over backward to move one step ahead of the President.