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[Opinion] Diplomats Should Learn from Football Players

Posted June. 29, 2002 07:11,   


Wonsegae from the Ching Dynasty made his presence known in Chosun in the 19th century amid an uprising by soldiers. A mere diplomatic representative as he was, he actually watched the royal family and wielded great power in Chosun.

Young and arrogant Wonsegae was the only man who never stand up when had an audience with King Gojong. Instead, he vehemently criticized the King for doing what he did not approve of. He even kicked the King`s dinner table. His arrogance indeed makes me fly into a rage. The story symbolizes the relations between Korean and China in history.

Why do I bring out an old and sad story amid the euphoric mood of the semifinal miracle and improving national image? That is because of Chinese media`s distorted coverage of the better-than-expected performance of the Korean team.

China is the only Asian country that belittled the outstanding Korean performance, attributing its consecutive victories over European teams to biased referee decisions.

When co-hosts Japan encouraged the Korean team to run to the final, China, which was driven out of the Cup without a single win, showed an ill-willed and jealous response to Korea`s back-to-back victories.

But this one pales besides the incident that China`s security police beat up Korean diplomats and correspondents and removed North Korean defectors out of the Korean Embassy. We feel disdained by the way China treated Korea. But we feel even more disdained in that China could never do the same to the US. or Britain.

If the international law signed by Korea and China can be ignored as such, then does Korea have right to do the same to the Chinese Embassy in Korea?

The action taken by the Chinese Ambassador to Korea regarding the incident is said to be as arrogant as that of Wonsegae back in the 19th century.

The Chinese government promised to grant unlimited freedom to foreign media in the process of luring the 2008 Olympics. But China banned satellite transmission of a video tape containing scenes that Chinese police attacked Korean diplomats. It shows the possibility that the country would restrict the broadcasting of scenes which are unfavorable to its teams when the Beijing Olympics are held in 2008.

The violation against Korea reporters has deepened concerns that how foreign correspondents can be protected from the threat of the Chinese security police when they cover the darker side of the country in the future.

If China does not change its arrogant attitude dramatically, then reporters, players and audience will have to experience the most thrilling games in the 2008 Olympics because of the threat posed by the Chinese police. And if this is the case, the Beijing Olympics will be destined to failure like past Olympics in Moscow and Los Angeles.

Since Kochosun Dynasty, we have had to suffer pain and contempt from China. The period was much, much longer that the 36 years of the Japanese colonial rule. We remember that China`s participation in the Korean War claimed so many lives, but we put the bitter past behind it for the sake of a brighter future. But the Chinese is rendering evil for good.

But even more disgusting than China is the attitude of our Foreign Ministry.

Our national sovereignty was violated and our diplomats and journalists were beat up. But the Ministry failed to get a piece of apology. The ministry settled the dispute only with mutual regret. I want to ask back; What has the ministry done wrong to China? Why should we remain silence?

Diplomatic terms such as `regret` sometimes disgusts us. What about regret? Maybe diplomats could save faces when they have a champagne toast and agree to use a term `regret` while ignoring the public sentiment. But the public feel deceived. Tax paid by the sweat of people`s brow should not be wasted for diplomats who can do only a champaign toast or cosmetic language.

Beware, diplomats! You should study how your predecessors in the 19th century are now estimated. If diplomats have had only half the unyielding spirit of the Korean football team displayed in the World Cup, a series of insulting incidents would not have occurred.