South Korea Finds an International Role for Itself
South Korea has played a major role in defusing global tensions by getting the U.S. and North Korea to talk to each other. The two Koreas have been divided by conflicting ideologies since the end of the Korean War and had largely been in a state of unending hostility that had kept the world on an edge. Though the two Korean nations speak the same language, they had hardly spoken to each other in the past half a century and more. Of course, there was no question of talks between belligerent North Korea and the lone superpower of the world, even with the help of a Korean Interpreter.
That has changed dramatically as a result of the recent summit between the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un and President Trump. The fact that the summit happened at all, was to a great extent due to the positive role played by the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Of course, South Korea had the most to gain from a thaw with its belligerent northern neighbour, but that does not take away from the enormity of their achievement in trying to address a more than a half-century-old issue, which always seemed intractable.
South Korea is a member of the G20 group of nations and an important middle power. This was evident in the way that it has played a leading role in creating consensus between member nations within the group. Any multi-nation summit like a G20 meeting requires the services of stellar interpreting agencies and certified translation services to make communication possible among delegates speaking different languages. That apart, document translation services, phone translations services, and simultaneous interpreting services of stellar quality are necessary to make a summit like this succeed.
One can imagine how high the stakes would be in a U.S.- North Korea summit or a G-20 summit and how critical it would be to vet the translation services and the translation agencies involved. That applies equally to the interpreting services and the simultaneous translations services involved in these mega events
Coming back to South Korea, another zone in which South Korea is leading the path internationally is in the promotion of green technology that will both protect the environment and support the South Korean economy. South Korea has, in fact, helped many developing countries adopt green technology. In this regard, it contributed more than $200 million to the East Asia Climate partnership. Perhaps China who has resolved to clean up its polluting industries could use the services of Korean-Chinese interpreters to understand what the South Koreans are doing in this field.
South Korea is not just an economic power to contend with, as it also wields tremendous soft power. Its TV soaps are extremely popular in the region, and even the Chinese love watching them. They also have a bona fide international star in Psy who stormed the world and especially the West with his chart-busting song and dance number Gangnam Style.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that South Korea can teach to the rest of the world, especially the developing world, is in how their economy went from a backward agriculture based one to become the eleventh largest economy in the world in just six decades. This is an economic miracle that has no parallel anywhere in the world.
Many attribute this phenomenal growth and expansion of the South Korean economy to the carrying out of structural reforms by linking it to foreign markets. This export- driven vision is certainly the cornerstone of the phenomenal economic growth achieved by the nation. At the same time, the South Koran government did all it could to foster a business environment that was very conducive to growth. Besides, they provided incentives for businesses that invested in innovation.
The World Bank ranks South Korea 4th in the 2018 Ease of Doing Business (DB) Index, to the U.S.’s sixth position. That lets you have an idea about the importance that South Korea attaches to encouraging entrepreneurship as a means to achieving economic growth. If the current Korean peace process stays on course, South Korea can help Northeastern Asia realize its true economic potential.
This would be great news for global stability in light of the fact that North East Asia comprises not just the Korean peninsula, but also the Mongolian plateau, the Manchurian plains of China, and the Russian far-East. South Korea could use its economic and technical expertise to help this region develop in a manner where it could achieve the wealth and prosperity levels of Southeast Asia.
The names one hears most often among the Asian powers that play a leading role in world affairs are those of China, Japan, and India, but the fact of the matter is that South Korea’s role has always been a special one in light of its alliance with the U.S. dating back to the Korean War. By achieving superlative economic success and making it to the ranks of wealthy nations, it has enhanced its international profile considerably.
South Korean brands like Hyundai, Samsung, and LG are household names much like Japanese brands are. Seoul, the capital city, is a bustling and modern metropolis that is larger than world cities like London and Paris. Truly, South Korea is a nation whose glory days are only beginning now. In an uncertain world, South Korea is a beacon of hope and promise. It seeks to find its role in world affairs not on the basis of the size of its military, but the heft of its economy and its technological prowess.
While the world may be obsessed with the U.S.–China trade friction and the economic potential of the BRICS nations, South Korea goes about its ways in a typically unassuming way. It has done extraordinarily well so far, and will no doubt continue to do so. South Korea’s role in international affairs is seeing an enhancement that is as seamless as is inevitable.
- https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2018/march/how-south-korea-economy-develop-quickly ↑