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[From Kwanghwamun] Jin Nyum and Sasa

Posted February. 05, 2001 12:19,   


Drakul-ic Sasa and Guus Hiddink are renowned foreigners in the Korean soccer world.

Sasa, a Yugoslavian striker, is expressing his hope to be naturalized as a Korean citizen and to play for the Korean national team in next year¡¯s World Cup games. Silver-haired Hiddink of the Netherlands is sweating in training Korean national players.

The two foreigners are burning their passions in the land of Korea, hitherto unknown to them. Seeing the people like them who are striving to make achievements in foreign countries far from their homes, I feel a sort of respect. I can find the unswerving human will to challenge to attain goals through the two.

Koreans have earned a reputation for their progressive spirit from long time ago. Modern history shows that the Korean people, whether they wanted or not, advanced abroad ceaselessly. They went not only to Japan, but also to the sugar cane fields on Hawaii and to the vast Maritime Province of Siberia.

Over the past decades, Koreans rushed abroad in a boom of going to the United States for study or immigration, to find jobs in Germany as mine workers and nurses, and for trade business. Joining them were taekwondo instructors and Protestant missionaries.

The Koreans made inroads to every nook and corner of the global village. Even children adopted by foreign families went to the United States and Europe for the disgraceful title of No. 1 country for export of adopted children. Rivaling the Diaspora, the Jewish leaving their homeland, Koreans also left the Korean peninsula. A phenomenon that took place immediately amid signs of recovery from the currency crisis was the rush of overseas trips.

However, there are people who show behavior quite different from this vigorously progressive spirit of Koreans. They are the bureaucrats.

The world economy has been globalized step by step. The speed of globalization that integrates world markets into one is fast enough to make people dizzy. The trend of the New York stock market immediately influences the Korean bourse. The designated head of the U.S. Trade Representatives does not hesitate to refer to the problems of Korea Development Bank and Hyundai Electronics Industries. The Korean economic trend is delivered to Wall Street in real time. Billions of dollars in annual interest payments increase or decrease, depending on the credit rating of the Korean economy set by the Wall Street. Under these circumstances, high-ranking officials orchestrating economic policies ought to pay attention to helping the international community have a correct understanding of the real situation of the Korean economy.

I wonder where Deputy Prime Minister-Finance and Economy Minister Jin Nyum is. He must be attending conferences in Seoul or in Kwachon City. If he ventures nothing, he will have nothing. If he is determined to revive the Korean economy, he should go to New York and elsewhere in the world to meet big international investors. He ought to present the visions of the Korean economy to them and earn their trust. He has to fly to Washington to meet the new U.S. secretary of treasury. However, he gave up a golden opportunity, namely the Davos Forum, or the World Economic Forum.

There might be some groups who will criticize these kinds of actions as stemming from the worship of the powerful. There might be traditional nationalists who get excited, arguing that it is hurting our pride that the economic deputy prime minister goes to greet an elder brother in Washington. We must free ourselves from such a complex of flunkeyism.

Few will feel shameful if he goes to meet representatives to persuade them according to our need.

If we intend to lift our economy to the level of the advanced countries, our high-ranking officials have to expand the boundaries of their thought and action to the international stages. I expect that the player representing the Korean economy will make a beautiful shot in the Wall Street.