South Korea’s ambassador : Romania is still counted as a far away and unknown country for many asian people

Soon, South Korea will celebrate an year since Park Geun-hye, the daughter of the former dictator Park Cheng-hee, won the presidential race for the Blue House, becoming the first woman who occupies this position.

Korea will soon celebrate the selection of the first woman president. How is a woman president different than a man president in South Korea?

As you said, president Park Geun took the position last year. She really is the first woman president, but she is in this area for many years and she was one of the political leaders. And because she is a woman, I think she is more caring, full of compassion to korean people. But she is also a politician and a very strong one, very devoted for her principles. We can say she is a woman president with firm politic philosophy and principles. As I said, as a woman president, is expected form ger to show a more feminine, maternal atitude, but even so, she is vvery strong.

One of her priorities is to reunite the families that live separately in North and South Korea. Do you think this will be posible, considering the north-korean authorities’ stiff position?

The reunification is one of the national priorities that we follow for decades. But considering the very imprevisible position of the north-koreans during the years, especially recently, which makes necessarily for us to reanalyze the whole situation and to say the unification is necesarily, but for this it takes a lot of preparations for the unification to be held paceful and gradually. We are seeking for what we call a proces of trust built in order to strenghten the trust between the two Koreas not only for short or medium term, but on the long term too is needed to restaurate the trust between korean people on many plans, such as families’ reunification, process started in september last year, but North Korea canceled it in the last moment. This year, our president reaffirmed the opening of the families’ reunification, during the Lunar New Year.

For Lunar New Year is a tradition that the families need to celebrate this together and it will be a happy opportunity to put in prim-plan this humanitarian issues,  because it’s about Asian families, and it will be a tragic event, and because this is a humanitarian thing, we have to solve this with any price.

In the past months many alarming news arrived from North Korea, not just because the internal cleansing, but the nuclear threats. Do you think this declarations will calm down after some times or they will continue?

For the moment, I think that north-korean leadership is concentrated on internal agend, Sang Jong Teuk’s execution, they have to clean the mess at their home first. I think for North Korea it isn’t another way than to start reforms, that’s the single way they can survive. North-koreans are under many pressures, from many parts, the hunger, the poverty for so much time, and I think there is just one solution, to be open, to connect to the international community, to have a dialog with people that are open for reforms. This was, I think that north-koreans will face many serious problems.

Let’s come back to South Korea, your country is known for the IT technology, for the advanced technology. Do you think the south-korean economy should be diversified, or the high-tech area will be the first strategy?

Certainly, ICT was a source for our success, one of the korean development’s main engines. But as you said, it’s time for us to think different. If we concentrate only on some areas, it isn’t always the best thing. So, we are trying to deversify on another areas. We could, for example, tie IT area with other industries, for example medical science, agriculture and many others.That’s why our new government is promoting what we call „ creative economy ” . That means we want to have more new companies, IMMs, that can exploit informatics technology. By combining those industries we can make the economy more effective, more competitive. That’s what we call creative economy.

But the technological development changed basic the south-korean society, for example by younger’s addiction for online games. Is this a serious problem, for the korean government to take action?

Certainly, the online addiction is a social problem, because many koreans are proud of their children’s education, sometimes it exceed theirs. But, as you were saying, it’s one of technological development’s colateral effect. We are analyzing different solutions in order to change those trend, for example by introducing some schemes that the korean students don’t have internet access after midnight. I don’t know if this is going to have an effect, but there are many efforts that we are trying to reduce those colateral effects that are coming from technological development.

This diversification you are talking about sounds interesting. Are you preparing in any wat the romanian authorities for recieving those evolutions from South Korea, or to form an cooperation in this area?

ICT area is one of the areas that countries can cooperate between them. And there are many initiatives. For example, the vice-minister for technology will come at Bucharest in february to discuss and to open the ICT center in Bucharest, then we are going to analyze the areas where we can develop informatics. But beyond this, we have a very good project, calles RO-NET, and ICT education. Romania is very strong in ICT area, and we could unite our forces on this plan in order to work together in the future.

It can be a turistic cooperation between the two countries.

More and more koreans are interested in Romania. And not just Romania, but other countries from Balkans area too.The problem is that they aren’t recieving enough informations about Romania. The beauties and the cultural values of this country aren’t known. Even if there is interest, we need to offer informations. Romania has to have exposure for koreans and for asians in genaral. Romania is still considered as a far away and unknown country for many asians. That’s why I think that it would be essential for romanian governemnt to do an suported effort in order to make the country more known. The korean tourists number is estimated by 10.000 in every year, they are coming in Romania almost every year. The number is rising, but is necesarily to be a bigger effort for attracting more koreans. For this, we are in contact with Tourism Minister in romania and we are working together for new ideas that can attract more korean tourists in Romania.


What are the results you have obtained that you are proud of, since you are in Romania?

What I’ve done as an ambassador in the last three years it was to put the things in order. For developing the bilateral relations we had to do the things to happen, instead of organising events and visits. Obviously, the mutual visits that are at a high level are very important, but what we should do, especially, is to ensure the events’ continuity, in order to enusre concrete and lasting results. My intention was to organise all of these and to be more substance and less rethoric. I don’t know how much I succeded, it’s better to let the others judge this thing.


Translated in English by: Helen Chal

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