The 60th anniversary of the founding of South Korea has come.
The hands of a father are rougher than the stump of a pine tree. None of the fingers of a father are smooth. They are bent, bruised, and cracked and some of the fingers might even be missing. The rough hands of a father reveal a generation's worth of suffering, struggle, fighting and sacrifice for life. That is, such a life and effort of our father’s generation has made Korea the way it is today.
When looking at the map of the world, the Korean peninsula is truly small. On such a small land, there are no special natural resources. The only thing that the land possesses is people.
The reason for such a small nation being able to obtain rapid economic progress is the proper strategy and effort of our leaders and the struggles of the citizens who shed sweat of blood. Even in the present, over two thirds of the newly developing countries and the underdeveloped countries of the global village are pouring their effort into applying South Korea's history to their course of development.
South Korea's miracle does not merely lie in the rapid economic development.
South Korea created a shocking miracle by liquidating authoritarianism and moving forward into a democracy. In the short period of a half-century, Korea's human history secured the agenda of modernization called "realization of the democracy and escape from feudalism." Authoritarianism ended its role and gave way to democracy.
At this hour, what is Korea's new agenda for its true-to-the-name leap and for a second miracle?
First and foremost, South Korea has to enter the international arena more boldly. Despite the size of its economy which is ranked 10th in the world, it has not obtained a suitable position. At this time, South Korea should contribute to international society commensurate with its national power.
And for the realization of national values such as global democratization and the eradication of global poverty, South Korea has to actively step forward. It has to participate in the activities of international organizations such as the United Nations and actively intervene in and respond to global issues which are being diversified in the era of globalization. South Korea also has to show an aggressive diplomatic and up- and-coming ability coupled with international vision to be included in the G-8 someday.
Next is North Korea's democratization. South Korea has an indivisible relationship with North Korea, one that cannot be easily seperated. Putting aside reunification for a second, if North Korea does not transform into a normal country, then South Korea's continued progress cannot be guaranteed. Even from a brotherly and humanitarian perspective, the reality of the poverty, suffering and human rights violations of North Korean citizens should no longer be allowed.
Third is "development." What motivated South Korea's progress in the past era and enabled its competitive power and dominance in the world was the "power of the people." The passion of our citizens and the importance of education should be revitalized. South Korea should mobilize its citizens' empathy for this goal at the 60th anniversary of its founding. Amidst the citizens' cooperation, the resolve and attitude for national progress should be reconfirmed.
It is hardly worth repeating the importance of the next five or ten years for South Korea's second leap. With the miracle achieved by our predecessors and the strength of our successors, South Korea will be raised onto a solid rock. That is the successors' duty and mission. That will help pay back for the rough hands of the father. The sacrifice. blood. and sweat shed by the father, who threw himself entirely for his sincere and noble dream, should not be forgotten.