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“Pessimism Is Currently Dominating Korea”

Posted July. 01, 2005 05:54,   


“While I had talks with union leaders and personnel authorities in South Korea, I found that it is pessimism that dominates this country.”

This is a very early part of the cover story of the July 2005 issue of LeMonde Diplomatique and is written by Ignacio Ramonet, an editor of this journal. The LeMonde Diplomatique is a prestigious journal that is published monthly in France and is an affiliate of the daily magazine LeMonde.

The title of this article is “Warning Issued for South Korea.” Ignacio Ramonet, who also teaches in the Seventh University of Paris, visited Korea last month as a one of the leading figures who criticizes American cultural hegemonism, and met several famous people in Korea.

Ramonet firstly pointed to the current Korea’s risky alliance condition with other countries. He said, “Tension between the U.S. and South Korea is increasing now due to different views over policies related to North Korea. When it comes to its relationship with Japan, it is also too early to say that tension between two has disappeared.”

What he pointed next to was Korea’s downturn in the economic sector. He said, “Even though South Korea is one single country that has joined world’s most developing community among third world countries, taking just several decades, her current economy is seriously wobbling.” He added, “Falling consumption and slowing export growth make things much more difficult now.”

In addition, citing his talks with temporary workers and labor union members in Korea, he stressed increasing job instability that has been accelerated by the pressure of globalization. He said, “There is no country that suffers job instability problem as much as South Korea throughout the world.”

He also mentioned Unification Minister Chung Dong-young’s meeting with National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong Il in North Korea at Pyongyang and said, “Even though North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il expressed his willingness to return to the six-way talks, how U.S. President George W. Bush responds to it is still in question. I am wondering if President Bush accepts the recommendation of its alliance, South Korea and abandons any hawkish attitude.”

Dong-Keun Keum gold@donga.com