President Pak, I speak today as a friend, an admirer of South Korea, an economist who's written extensivelyabout your country's remarkable transformation from a desperately poor agrarian economy to one of the world's most economically advanced nations.
Korea is the single greatest economic success story of the last half-century. But Korea today faces new challenges which will influence whether in the coming decade your country continues to prosper.
To begin, Madam President, press freedom. A hallmark of all true democracies is under assault.
The recent indictment of Tatsuya Kato for defamation is an example of a disturbing trend of harassment of foreign correspondents inside Korea.
The United Nations as you know has also launched a formal investigation into discrimination against non-Koreans in your country.
Be on the offense to human rights such attacks on the free press can only discourage flows of foreign direct investment into Korea.
And even larger stumbling block for Korea's continued prosperity is its unsolved relationship with Japan. The region's largest free economy and democracy.
The World War Ⅱ ended nearly 70 years ago. Long ago, Japan paid some 800 million dollars in reparations to Koren victims of that war, yet declassified documents indicate that under then President Pak Chung-Hee, those funds never made it to such victims.
The so-called comfort women. That may explain in small part why some old wounds have never healed and those wounds are often reopened by the disturbingly hostile attitude towards Japan seeding Korean media and often encouraged by official statements.
Japan is a major source of foreign direct investment in Korea, a major source of Korean imports.
It's time to further extend and deepen the trade relations between Asia's two most successful democratic economies.
I urge you President Pak to take action on all of these fronts.
Consider your landmark trade accord with Vietnam which has put aside wartime acts by Korean soldiers against civilians during Vietnam's Civil War.
It is time, President Pak, to put progress ahead of past conflicts and extend the hand of friendship to Japan.
The wartime acts by Korean soldiers against civilians during Vietnam's Civil War
Massacre in Vin Dinh Province All 380 People Turned into Dead Bodies Within an Hour.
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