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“Being a President is Worth It”

Posted September. 15, 2005 08:31,   


“Our concern in 2003 has passed its worst point. We have taken it step by step and reached a point of significant hope. I wouldn’t think anyone would hamper our efforts,” said President Roh Moo-hyun in relation to the North Korean nuclear issue on Tuesday afternoon (local time).

Roh, arriving in New York to attend the High Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (U.N. World Summit), made the remark as he met with Korean expatriates at his place of stay at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Roh reflected on the public concern on the ROK-U.S. alliance at the beginning of his presidency. “When the participatory government started, Korean expatriates in the U.S. were particularly concerned that ‘Roh has a temper. What if he makes trouble?’ Others were not very fond of me and said, ‘That guy is bound for trouble.’ Today, the ROK-U.S. relations are going well.”

Roh added, “How we are doing now is important, but what is more important is how we have evolved from five, 10 years ago and move further into the future. Our bilateral relations are moving towards mutual cooperation.”

Later on, Roh drew a big laughter from the audience when he said, “When I look at poll results, I see that the public is dissatisfied with my work, and I am deeply concerned. But when I meet expatriates overseas and when I meet with our people face to face, they don’t seem to hate me. When I meet with you and break into a wide smile, I feel relieved and think, ‘Being a president is worth it.’”

Roh also talked about the devastation done to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and said, “I saw the news report that Koreans are not housed in large shelters but are in their homes, helping each other out. I am surprised and proud of our expatriates there.”

Roh is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the U.S. General Assembly Plenary Meeting on Wednesday (early Thursday Korea time) in which he will focus on the 21st century international order and Korea’s stance on U.N. reform. Roh will be the 27th speaker that day at the gathering of 172 heads of government and state.

Roh will emphasize building an order of co-prosperity in which nations of all power and status can co-exist and enjoy prosperity together and suggest the European Union as a model for a possible order of Northeast Asia.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com