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[Editorial] President Roh`s FTA Leadership

Posted April. 03, 2007 07:41,   


President Roh Moo-hyun has been the most attributable person in the conclusion of KORUS FTA. Not only did he bring to the surface the FTA issue that had stayed behind the curtain in government talks, he also adhered to his philosophy that the KORUS FTA is another development strategy for a new leap for the Korean economy until a final agreement.

When some members of the Uri Party, members of his base of support, and even some advisors turned their backs, President Roh stayed unmoved. It is just like what was said by the trade negotiation director of the Ministry of Finance and Economy Kim Hyeon-jong during the press interview after the conclusion of the talks: "The president remained a reliable supporter of the FTA based on his firm philosophy to open up Korea."

We applaud the FTA leadership President Roh has shown. The leadership the nation hopes to see and be assured of from the highest leader of the nation is the kind of leadership that exhibits courage for the sake of national profit.

This FTA leadership of President Roh is in contrast to that of Japan. Both the government and the civil sector of the U.S. have long been advising Japan that there needs to be a FTA between the two for the sake of the U.S.-Japan alliance. But Japanese politicians never had the courage. For them, too, the agriculture sector was a big obstacle. No leader in Japan has ever had the courage shown by President Roh to tell the farmers that, "It has become inevitable that the agriculture industry is led by market principles.”

Voices are being raised within Japan pointing out the negative influence the Korea-U.S. FTA might have on Japan`s economy, but they are too late.

South Korea has experienced national failures such as the foreign exchange crisis, due an inability to read rapid changes in the world finance. But it also has experiences to be proud of where it created motivations in and out of the country for economic development on its own and pushed upward overall national standards. The Saemaeul Movement and the Seoul Olympics are examples of this. The success of both of these examples would have been unlikely without the leadership of the highest leaders then. This is why the two events are deemed to be the greatest achievements since the establishment of the nation (Gallup Korea research poll, 1998). The efforts to reach a Korea-U.S. FTA can be appraised as having the same values as them.

But the role of President Roh is far from over. His tasks in the future will exceed those he has accomplished, including the promotion of subsequent measures and ratification at the National Assembly. We hope that the President will do his best until the last day of his remaining term without being bothered by political agendas such as the constitutional amendment for the presidential election. For one, he could give up his proposal for his constitutional amendment if he needs the cooperation of the political sector. Through his support of the FTA, President Roh has paved the way to be remembered as a successful president. We will back his FTA leadership in the days to come.