Bridging the Rift with South Korea


By Mark L. Clifford

WAR WOUNDS. Thanks in part to these reforms, Korean products from companies such as Samsung and Hyundai are an increasingly competitive threat to Japanese rivals. The Pew survey showed 59% of Koreans liked American ideas about business practices, while 32% opposed them. In line with this, President-Elect Roh Moo Hyun has pledged to step up the pace of economic reform.

Second, Korea's leadership needs to remind its people that their country wouldn't exist were it not for the U.S., which lost 33,000 soldiers in the Korean war. If not for the allied forces that fought the North Koreans and their communist Chinese allies to a standstill in the 1950s, the South would not be one of the industrial powerhouses of the world, a leader in world trade, and a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.

American troops died fighting for a dirt-poor country that few of them liked and fewer understood. Yet the allied contribution to the war effort is scarcely mentioned in Korea. Tellingly, the war museum in downtown Seoul, a rifle shot from the sprawling U.S. base, makes hardly any mention of this sacrifice. Schools make even less.

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. Third, both governments need to articulate why 37,000 U.S. troops are on South Korea soil,


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