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World views on Korea

With Korea starting a five-year term with a new president, the nation’s past, present, and future have been rising as a hot topic among the foreign press. In addition to Italy’s bimonthly magazine Pragmatica whose February issue shed light on Korea’s development history as seen from various sectors, Guangzhou See The World Magazine from China recently highlighted the key factors behind the success of Hallyu and Korea’s cultural industry as well as their contributions to boosting the national brand on the global stage. Both magazines not only showed strong interest in Korea’s outstanding achievements across several sectors, but expressed hopes and outlooks for the coming years with a new president.

[Economic leap made possible by solid educational system]

The Italian magazine gave attention to Korea’s achievements in diverse sectors. Pragmatica’s reporter Gianluigi De Stefano cited a few examples that helped bring the nation to the world’s attention, including PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” K-pop, and Samsung’s smart phones. “Korea has transitioned from an emerging economy to a country that produces high-demand creative content,” the reporter added.

South Korean singer PSY performs during a concert at the Tepebasi Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on February 2013. Since his debut on the global stage with the hit song "Gangnam Style," he has been making more appreances in both the domestic and international music scenes (photo: Yonhap News).

Korean singer PSY performs during a concert at the Tepebasi Arena in Istanbul, Turkey on February 2013. Since his debut on the global stage with the hit song "Gangnam Style," he has been making more appearances in both the domestic and international music scenes (photo: Yonhap News).


As one reason for Korea's achievement, Stephano identified Korea's solid educational system. Quoting an expert in Asia who described the system as “beyond strict, it is fierce,” the reporter suggested that it is something that Italians should model their own system after.

“Whenever the nation encountered a financial crisis, Italy decided to cut down on funding in cultural, educational, and R&D funding,” the magazine explained while making a comparison with Korea that is now witnessing the long-lasting investment on innovation finally paying off. Korea managed to take a firm stand amidst the global economic recession during which almost all powerful economies were struggling, it explained.

[Challenging spirit, a symbol of Korean corporations]

It also reported on Korea’s technology and innovation sectors, strongly driven by large corporations, which it said show potential for further economic development.

The reporter cited Shell’s Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility, the largest floating structure ever by its own account, which will be built at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje Island shipyards. According to Shell Global, the Samsung shipyard is one of the few in the world big enough to construct a facility of this size.

The reporter also introduced two passenger ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, both constructed by STX. Since their launches in 2009 and 2010 respectively, the two creations have been exposed to extensive attention in the marine news, most of which described them as “the largest and most revolutionary cruise ships in the world.

Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest and first Oasis-class cruise ship with a capacity of 5,400 passengers, was constructed at STX Europe’s Finland shipyards (photos: Yonhap News).

Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest and first Oasis-class cruise ship with a capacity of 5,400 passengers, was constructed at STX Europe’s Finland shipyards (photos: Yonhap News).


[Seoul: lab city]

The magazine dubbed Seoul a “lab city” for its wide high-speed Internet coverage (80 percent) and the extensive mobility provided by its well-connected subway lines, all of which provided the optimal environment for examining the social impact of IT. It also described public services provided in more convenient ways, which help to create the illusion among visitors that they are traveling into the future, said the magazine.

In the end, the magazine said Korea’s first female President Park Geun-hye seems to be devoted to fueling economic growth, and the world expects her to succeed in the roles.

South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye was featured on the cover page of the March 15 edition of Guangzhou See The World.

Korea’s President Park Geun-hye was featured on the cover page of the March 15 edition of Guangzhou See The World.

[Hopes for C-pop]

Biweekly magazine Guangzhou See The World Magazine, on the other hand, focused their attention on Korea’s successful development in the cultural sector. The March 15 edition of the paper reported that Korean dramas, whose quality has seen enormous improvements under the support of the government, are becoming increasingly popular among foreign audiences. It said that the cultural productions, which skillfully feature lifestyles offering both traditional and modern aspects, offer China something to learn.

As well, Korea’s position in the global entertainment arena was proven by the national mascot PSY, it said, adding that it is unfortunate that C-pop is not considered comparable to K-pop in China.

[Open a door for a new five-year term]

In another section dedicated to political news, the Chinese magazine published another article on the Korean president’s new five-year term. “In a bid to stabilize the livelihoods of the public and lead the ‘happy lives of Koreans,’ she came up with a new plan to provide support for small to mid-sized companies,” said the magazine.

The story expressed an expectation that she would use her full capacity for the development of Korea, the Korean Peninsula, and the Northeast Asian region.

By Lee Seung-ah
slee27@korea.kr

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