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What Jeffrey Jones Thinks About Korea-U.S. Match

Posted June. 10, 2002 09:37,   


There are many people worrying over Korean youth`s anti-American feelings before an important match with the U.S. which will decide whether Korea will be able to advance into the round of 16. We heard about his feeling about these worries and talked about football. The representative pro-Korean American, as he is called, who sometimes thinks of himself a real Korean, waited the match between Korea and U.S. with excitement and anticipation. In an interview, he referred Korea as "our country" and Korean team as "our team". He has been in charge of a chairman of American Chamber of Commerce in Korea. He got married to a Korean woman and had a baby boy last year. He published a book titled "I am afraid of Korea".

Would you like to tell us how you feel before the match including your prospects and personal hope?

To be honest, I thought that it would be better the two nations did not meet in the same group. Korea is doing very well in this World Cup Games. I wish that Korea would win, but I cannot tell that expressly because I am an American. Whichever team would win, I wish the both teams would advance into the round of 16.

Do American business people in Korea form a cheering squad?

Some 30 Korean and American members of Korea-America Economic Association including two America`s current state governors will go to Daegu to watch the game. But, we did not try to form a special cheering team by collecting American business people in Korea.

How much interest do Americans have in this game?

I went to Suwon on June 5th to watch U.S.-Portugal match. I was surprised to see so many American cheering teams. There were like people who came to Korea to watch the World Cup Games.

There was an opinion that Korean soccer grew much to match with European soccer. What do you think about the opinion?

Korean players lacked confidence in the past, but this time they are doing pretty well and well-organized. Our team has some star players, and they are showing great performances moving in an organized way.

How do you feel about Korean people, especially the Red Devil Cheering Squad?

Enthusiastic cheering gave a huge boost to our team. A hosting country always has a home-ground advantage, and Korean people`s support and cheering gave a confidence to players. On the other hand, those cheering might be a great threat to an opposing team.

Sports and a relationship between the two countries do not go together. But excessive interest in a match result would not bring any side effects to the Korea-America alliance?

I am sure there would not be such a side effect. Last time when we won over Poland, people cheered continuously even after the game finished. But they did not do any dangerous behavior. If we keep order, there would not be much a problem.

Some young people are increasingly feeling bad towards America. What do you think about that?

There are some anti-American sentiments, but they are temporary. It is true that they like American products, studying in America and working for an American firm. In reality, it would be the best that Korea always cooperates with America in every sector including economy and national defense.

You are recognized as an American who understands Korea well. What do you want to say to Korean young people?

First of all, they should know America has been always a friend of Korea, and the two nations have a special relationship. American people respect and speak highly of Korean people. A country having most troubles with America is Canada that has the same language and culture with America. America is the greatest power in the world for now. So, it is good to have such a nation as a friend in terms of economy and military. Young people should not eliminate a good friend but use it well.

Your prospects for the Korean economy after the World Cup Games?

Foreign presses are talking positively about Korean economy. They are all surprised to see Korea get back on its two feet after it suffered a national bankruptcy caused by a foreign currency crisis four years ago. And the World Cup Games raised Korea`s national status. At "2002 Seoul Investment Forum" held last month, an opinion making Korea a hub of Northeast Asia was discussed.