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Scholar Criticizes Anti-Korea Bias by British Media

Posted December. 05, 2009 09:31,   


A British expert on Korea has criticized his country’s media for being so negative on the Korean economy.

Aidan Foster-Carter, honorary senior research fellow in sociology and modern Korea at Leeds University, said this in a letter to the editor carried by the Financial Times yesterday.

Foster-Carter, who has studied Korea since 1970, said, “Sir, The South Korean government tends to complain that the British financial press has got it in for them. For once, I fear you have given them cause.”

The Financial Times ran an article Wednesday saying, “What are these “mixed data” that have “poured cold water on any premature celebrations”? You say that “industrial output has been disappointing, shrinking 4 per cent from October.”

Citing Korean media reports, Foster-Carter said, “A fall in Korea’s industrial output was chiefly due to October having fewer working days because of Chuseok, the Korean harvest festival holiday. With that taken into account, October’s output in fact grew by 4.2 percent.”

He also criticized negative reports on Korea by the British media, saying, “Korea held a ceremony to mark its having become the world’s ninth-largest exporter, surpassing Britain. And unwelcome as it may be, should the British not be told?”

“If South Korea has indeed now overtaken the UK – once the workshop of the world – as an exporter, then I submit that the cold water should be on our heads. The Koreans deserve cold champagne.”

Among foreign media, the Financial Times has released many articles belittling the Korean economy, angering Seoul. In August, the daily said Korea’s foreign debt exceeds 400 billion U.S. dollars, and that its condition is no different from the one it faced in the Asian financial crisis.

In October last year, when the global financial crisis began, the British business newspaper said, “Among Asian nations, Korea has the highest risk of being infected by the global financial crisis.”

In March this year, it ran a column saying, “Korea has an excessive amount of short-term foreign debt and lacks foreign exchange reserves,” and in May, it criticized Korea’s green growth policy.