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  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



“Korea has played leading role in the development of these institutions. Moreover, Korea has been an active member of the Asia Regional Forum which was created in 1994; it is the principal mechanism for security in East Asia. Korea also assumed leadership in the development of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which has 21 member countries” explained Kim.

 

“Korea has contributed to the financial and monetary integration of East Asia. In 2000, the ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea created the Chian Mai Initiative (CMI) in order to facilitate the access of member countries to foreign exchanges; it was a currency-swap system allowing poor countries to cope with small foreign reserves. In 2011, it became multi-lateralized (CMIM) with more funds and simplifying the use of the funds” declared Kim with proud voice.

 

In 2003, ASEAN and, China, Japan and Korea established the Asia Bond Market Initiative (ANMI) in order to expand the bond market in Asia. The objective was to channel regional savings into regional investment” continued Kim.

 

Nancy and Paul were surprised to hear that Korea has played leading role along with China and Japan for the creation of CMIM and ABMI.

 

Kim continued with passion: “furthermore Korea is now negotiating with China and Canada for FTA (free trade agreement). This will allow Canadian goods to get into the Chinese market and Chinese goods to Canadian marker free of duties if the rules of origin are met”.

 

Kim admitted sadly that nobody can deny the internal problem of Korea; the culture of corruption. But, he is eager to tell everybody that Korea is the only country in the history of mankind to liberate itself from absolute poverty in less than forty years; Korea produced the Miracle of Han River. Korea is now the fifteenth economic power in the world. Korea has surpassed Japan in certain high technology.

 

He told his children this with convincing voice:  “Korea now deals with China and Japan as equal; Korea was a vessel of China for more than five hundred years; now China depends on Korea in some areas of high technology. This is the first time in the history of Korea that Korea is a leader in Asia. Korea can do what neither China nor Japan can do. Japan cannot be a real leader because of its colonial past and current economic weakness; China cannot be a trustworthy leader because of its militarism, expansionism, ethnic nationalism and serious internal problems”.

 

Kim told his children also that Korea is highly respected by developing countries in Asia for its economic aid focused on the fight against poverty, the training of civil servants of these countries and the quality of Korean culture and Han-Ryu. The developing countries trust Korea, because it has no territorial ambition or military ambition.

 

Kim was convinced that Korea can be key player in the Asia Pacific region. But Korea must free itself from the corruption culture. The most important sign of advanced county is the strong moral code for behavior.  No country can assume leadership, unless the world respects it for moral value.

 

Kim was hoping that all these discussions and explanations would inspire Korea youth including his children to be proud of Koreanness and love Korea.  

 

Kim has returned to Korea

The plane left the East Sea and Kim could see the ranges of mountains along the east coastline. Thus the plane was ending its voyage. Kim thought that his life voyage was also about to end.

 

Kim was looking at Sookja with closed eyes.

 

“Yobo, I see the Korean mountains below” shouted Kim.

 

Sokja opened her eyes and started to look down eagerly and said:  “ Paul’s Appa, I think that the Korea mountains with their birds, trees, flowers, winds, clouds above, the brooks are like the loving arms of mother. During all my life, I missed so much these mountains”.

 

“Yes, Nancy’s mother, me too!” said Kim.

 

 “I do appreciate Canada and Quebec; Canadians and Quebecers were kind to us;  Quebec is our second home; our kids studied, found spouses and have highly paying jobs there. You see Nancy’s mother, I am grateful to Canada and Quebec” said Kim with honest voice.

 

“Yet, after all these years, I realize that I am still deeply attached to something. Is it Korea? Is it Korean people? Is it Korean natural or social environment in which I was brought up? It may be that I am attached to all of these.

 

But, there is something else more important. I think that it is the memory of what I was before I became adult; it is the memory of my childhood carelessness, the memory of my teenage dreams and crazy parties, the memory of romantic feeling about the world. It was my universe I build and cherished. That is it! I miss my pre-adulthood universe.” Kim was trying to convince himself

 

Kim found out that his pre-adulthood universe was like a harbor to which the sailor returns.

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we will land in the International Airport in twenty minutes. We thank you for having chosen Korea Air. We wish you happy stay in Korea” announced the captains.

 

When the plane landed gently in the airport, Kim had the feeling that his long life voyage ended and came back to his life harbor, where he could find peace and enjoy his pre-adulthood dreams and romantic ambitions.

 

He thanked God and said “Amen”


The end